Friday, 25 March 2011

Establishing New Routines, and Potential Territory Disputes

When we first got together Andy and I had completely opposite morning routines.  I would leap out of bed at the first chime of the alarm and be off.  Andy would set his alarm an hour early and hit the snooze button repeatedly for about an hour and a half before he could raise his head from the pillow.   Over the years we've met somewhere in the middle, and the purchase of a radio alarm has saved my sanity.  However, for many years our morning routine has been that I get up, make two mugs of tea and two bowls of meusli and bring them back to bed.  Stand over a snoozing man with a full bowl and a spoon and he just has to sit up.

I'm really liking the new routine.. Andy leaps out of bed before the alarm even goes off, he does the morning alpaca feed, inspections, chat and cuddles.  I still make breakfast, but we can now eat at the kitchen table.

It's my job to see to the boys at the end of the working day, because I'm always home first.  This week I've been very naughty and I've been closing my shop an hour early to get home and spend that hour with the boys in the glorious sunshine.  That can't possibly become a new routine of course, but this is their first week and it's the quiet season at the shop...

Also, I've been worrying too much, worrying about people opening gates, about people feeding the boys the wrong thing, about them getting their legs caught in gates (happened at Beck Brow), about them being spooked by unfamiliar noises or dogs. etc. etc.  Most ridiculous of all, I told Andy I was worried about them being bored, you can just imagine his reaction.   However, I'm gradually realising that they are the least spookable most contented bunch, that everyone around us is keeping an eye on them for us, and when I get home tonight with a padlock for the lane gate they will be absolutely safe.

The boys are also establishing new routines.  They seem to be waiting at the shelter just in time for every morning and evening feed. 

They no longer spend the whole evening in front of the house at the point where we cross the fence to go home, although it's still a popular spot.  They've given up hanging around the gate to the sheep pasture, they've realised I think that a) sheep are not weird alpacas b) you cannot protect sheep through a gate c) sheep are too boring.   Actually these sheep are all just about to give birth, late here because of the high elevation.  So this is the quiet before the storm, the noise when the lambs are small is deafening and constant.

The last few nights the boys have established a new sleeping spot, right in the middle of my archery terrace, having already established their poo pile on there.  I can forsee future territory disputes.  What is an archery terrace?  Well when you move into a rural location if you want all your new neighbours to think that you are daft "offcumduns" get someone to level a strip of your sloping paddock, about 30m long and 5m wide.  This will leave a brown strip visible from all the surrounding hills and farms leading to rumours of swimming pools, tennis courts, huge agricultural developments, blocked views, blights on the landscape etc.  Then put down grass seed and wait. 

Then on the remaining two or three good weekends of the year you can get out your archery target and bow and spend an hour doing archery practice, and three hours with a metal detector trying to find the arrows that have embedded themselves in the overgrown pasture.  Having established that you are indeed daft offcumduns no further damage to your reputation can be caused by starting a new stock enterprise where the stock can be cuddled, but not eaten.  At least the overgrown pasture is being dealt with, whose daft now eh?
Checking out the poo picking tools

While it is true that most sheep are boring sometimes one can surprise you.  Click on this image to see a very pregnant sheep on top of a 4-5ft wall on top of the knoll behind the house.


  1. Worrying comes with the territory I am afraid. Wait until you have a dozen or more heavily pregnant females almost ready to drop. Then and only then will you realise the levels of worrying involved in alpaca farming!
    However, you shut that shop,get in that field and enjoy your boys!
    Welcome to our world!

  2. Enjoy Bev...the new Andy...and the boys!