4th March 2007. Hi folks, excuse me talking with my mouth full, but it's been raining so much here for the past week that you've just got to grab the dry moments for quiet snacks in the field.
I've been thinking about skiing. I've figured out how water skiing works - you wait for a Devon "Shower" like we've been having for seven days now, and you ski down your field on the wet grass. Obviously you humans can only ski in wet weather, and only down sloping fields.
What you need are MUD SKIS, I just happen to have cornered the market on them, but I'm not biased, honestly!
We had another visit from our new owners Mike and Mark during the week (in our only dry spell), and they brought some friends to see us. This is always a welcome diversion - I get to go out for walks on my halter every time this happens. I had a quick chat with Charm, she was all excited about the prospect of going to shows, until I told her that she had to have ALL the hay taken out of her coat, and she'd have to have the mud washed off her legs before she could go anywhere.
6th March 2007. Hi folks, we shall ignore the fact that it has been raining cats and dogs for the last forty days and forty nights – any advice about building that ark, yet?
The BOSS is still on about my waistline – or lack of it - and is now referring to me as “The Plump One” to visitors! Number One fan, Jax, says I should take up Pilates, I told her "That’s for the girls!", "How about Ti Bo", she says, which I understand is a type of kick-boxing – well that's easy, I certainly know how to kick, and I am sure the BOSS can find some empty boxes about the place.
Then there is Yogi, but that will have to wait until the shearer has been as I have to be bear! Oh, come on out there! You have got to laugh! it's too wet to even eat around here, so what else can an alpaca do, but try to amuse his adoring public.
I’m getting quite excited about it all – new scenery, new faces, new GIRLS, and I’m going to be in charge of the youngsters. I shall be able to teach them ALL I know – the BOSS often says I know more than is good for me!
So I shall be able to put yet another of my many talents to good use. "Ted the Tremendous Oracle" .............. Yep! sounds about right to me!.
12th March 2007. Its ME again. Well, you would never believe it, but we have had several days in a row without any RAIN!
The paddocks have dried out, the mud is not quite so gloopy, and the sun is warm on our fleecy backs – it's SPRING-TIME! Well, at the moment anyway, so I say “Let’s make hay while the sun shines”. (Actually what I said was "Let's make LOTS MORE hay while the sun shines", but the BOSS edited that bit.)
Speaking of which - to help me on my diet that cunning Other Half has moved my hay rack to face into the girl’s day-time paddock, so me and my pal Barnaby have to pull a few wisps from the back of the rack, – exercise and dieting all at once – (and intelligence, - it was MY idea to pull it through the fence, and as Barnaby is always hungry he didn’t take long to figure it out either once I showed him how easy it was. If you pull hard enough you can drag a whole lot through the bars)
As always there is a down side to good weather here in Devon. It seems that we are all due yet another injection and it is nail trimming AGAIN! I don’t think our nails grow THAT quickly, its just an excuse for the BOSS to give us all a kiss and a cuddle. The BOSS got the feed bucket and an ample supply of supplement and tried to persuade the ladies and Chris to come into the catch-pen. It seems they are not so easily fooled! Calling, blowing kisses, shaking buckets, waving arms – no way were those girls going into the pen! Finally BOSS stomps off and leaves Other Half sitting on the fence chatting to Alex whilst she goes to find the Blue Bag. Oh, that will make them want to come in to the catch pen – I don’t think!
Funny thing about women, they are very unpredictable and change their minds a lot, have you noticed? Well, alpaca females are no different it seems! As soon as BOSS’s back was turned they all trooped in to the catch pen without any encouragement – Other Half gently closed the gate - and Hey Presto! Girls ready for nail trimming, - easy or what? They won't catch ME that easily, just watch!
With six females and little Chris in the catch pen there was not much room to move, let alone run about, so each one was caught and very quickly nails were being trimmed – and big surprise – jabbed in the rear! No one seemed to mind until it came to Charm! Of course she has to be different – lying down seemed to be her choice of position to have her toenails cut, and despite a lot of leg waving – fun for us boys, I can tell you – she took the jab well and stood up as if nothing had happened.
Now, our little Chris had other ideas! By this time all the adult females had been let out into the main field – mistake number one! There was now plenty of room for Chris to dash around and be silly, even Charm looked at him as if he was daft! It is surprising how fast a seven month old cria can run.
Other Half finally made a lunge for him and grabbed a handful of fleece – mistake number two! - Chris may have been captured but did he stop moving? NO! He struggled, spun like helicopter, kicked and wriggled – then suddenly caught sight of his mother, Betsy, glaring at him over the fence. Scary or what!
He stood very still for few minutes while BOSS checked his toes and found only one to be clipped – all that fuss for nothing, silly boy, and he didn’t even notice the injection as he was too busy whispering to Charm who had come over to give him support in his hour (or minute in his case) of need – Ah well, fortunately by this time it was getting late, and BOSS decided to leave us boys to another day – unfortunately no extra supplement, but then no kisses or jabs either.
Bye for now, speak to you all soon, your happy friend, Ted.
21st March 2007. Hi, did you know I have been writing my diary for over a year now! It has been a very eventful twelve months.
I hope you have all enjoyed my ramblings and will continue to follow my adventures once I move down to Dartmoor with all my friends and family. We don’t have a moving date yet – you know what it’s like when you move? Lots of loose ends to tie up and arrangements to be made. So during all this non-activity, the BOSS has been away on sick leave.
She went to Basingstoke to stay will her mum. Ah well! Not MY idea of a holiday I can tell you. Well now she’s back and full of energy and ideas, and insists we rush around with her!
Ah, here comes "Somebody", actually its Other Half, but I hear BOSS call him "Somebody" quite often – "Sombody" should do this or "Somebody" needs to do that! Other Half always ends up doing those jobs so it must be HIS nick-name. I wonder if I have a nick-name? Boss calls Alex "Lovely Boy", and His mum Betsy, "Camel Breath" – now that’s not nice is it? True, but not nice. Me? Well, sometimes I hear "Teddy Bear" called across the field, but I just ignore it, or "Little Monster" – that I definitely ignore! If anyone out there can think of a NICE nick-name for me, then email me at Ted@littlegemalpacas.co.uk and we shall discuss this further.
26th March Hi there! Saturday was a day full of interest – well, every day is interesting down here in SUNNY Devon.
BOSS helped Charm through her halter training with care and consideration, as always. What a bright little thing she is – only two lessons and she has got it – after a quick word, (up close and personal) with Other Half. Now she is ready for the show season, so she says, or to be more accurate, so BOSS says! Charm might well have other ideas!
Next it is Chris for the halter training course – well I have a feeling that will be a little more difficult – not much up top; that little guy, if you know what I mean, and such a mummy’s boy!
Mike and Mark, our new owners, came up from Torquay for a visit. They wanted to have a close look at Crystal Dream’s (Chris) fleece, so were introduced to the new game of "Catch-Chris". Once caught he cried pathetically, and his mum Betsy let fly one of her famous Aerial Spit-bombs – everyone and everything was covered!
Eventually he was released and dashed off into the field to find Mum, bleating like a lost sheep! Such a wimp! Good job he has a stunning fleece, and has Arunvale Cloud as his dad so we all put up with him!
After everyone had recovered we all had a nice chat (far away from Betsy and Chris) as us boys were eagerto know about our new home. On Sunday BOSS and Other Half went down to Dartmoor and took some photos. There are acres and acres oflush grass with stunning views and we will have cows to watch as well as Mark doing all the building and repairing that is needed to make 47 acres of Dartmoor into a beautiful alpaca farm – with beautiful alpacas of course, headed by the one and only Alpaca of Distinction. I think Mike is going to watch and give friendly advice whilst he takes me and the other lads for long, interesting walks. There is even a spot just for me, with a bubbling brook and shady trees, were I can entertain my fans and have picnics with my new family and friends on sunny days.
Sue West runs Little Gem Alpacas and Alpaca Angels from Wiltshire in the UK
Feel free to contact Sue either by e-mail - email@example.com, or telephone 01985 219118 (mobile 07799 761289)
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