Sunday, 25 November 2012

A bit dense

In my youth. Not so long ago. It was common, and almost polite, if someone was perhaps not the sharpest person around, to refer to them as 'a bit dense'.  "He's a bit dense, that one" would be muttered while watching some youth attempt to woo his love at the local disco by setting the curtains on fire. Believe me, this was not an atypical Friday night in the further reaches of back-of-beyond where I grew up.

However, in my middle age, and in Alpaca circles, being a bit dense is an accolade and the cause of some celebration.  Indeed, if you are an Alpaca, your station in life and your very future may ride on your density.  For those followers of the blog who are not Alpaca addicts (I know of one or two) density in an Alpaca relates to how many fibres grow per square mm of Alpaca skin.  The more the better, as it means you get more fibre per animal and therefore make more money. In our case, this theoretically could translate to loosing money a little less quickly .

But money isn't everything and being dense has other advantages and disadvantages. 

Advantage.  The chances of getting to use your wedding tackle is higher if you are dense.  This didn't work out for our boys.  But news on this front is encouraging.  Not pretty, but better than it was.  

Advantage. When it finally stops raining for more than an hour, and you get a nice clear frosty night. If you have a nice dense fleece,  You can choose to sleep out on Bev's archery pitch and leave a warm patch on the grass in the morning.

Disadvantage.  The problem of being dense and 'well covered'  Is that it can effect your vision. Here you can see the problem, even if the problem cant see you !

 Poor Kenzie. He has to lift his head and peer out under the fleece that covers his eyes.

The only solution is a bit of a trim.  Its not easy. His fibre is so fine and dense that it clogs scissors and it takes a bit of effort. But the effort is worth it.

Here is an 'after' shot.  Its not pretty, but its effective.  I have a theory that Kenzie's somewhat anxious outlook on life may not be totally unrelated to his restricted vision and I am sure that he appreciates his thinning out.

While snapping Kenzie's new cut I caught this moment.  I am not sure what was going on.  I think Noah has something interesting stuck to his back.  A bit of dead buttercup ?  I small bit of poo ?  Or maybe Fin was just spreading the love?  Either way the boys are happy, apart from the soggy field that it !


Sunday, 11 November 2012

4 'B's

A tale of four Bs.  and I am keeping the best till last so you have to read all the boring bits before you get to the cute photos.

B is for :
Bout of man flu on my day off.  Everyone say Ahh.  But I do feel like poo.  Speaking of which;

B is for : 
Bricks for Burning.  Some time ago we posted about the surplus in the poo dept. One method of reducing the supply was identified as burning it on the fire.  The weather being what is has been there has been ample 'garage  time' and I used this to create, out of only 'found items' and ingenuity a new stride forward in poo brick mold technology.

'Found Items' is a term I have come across many times while accompanying Bev into her world of creative art.  There is a certain kudos in the art world about using found items. The use of found items is a statement about the modern world and its throw away culture.  It is also a reflection on the beauty of the every day that is often overlooked.  In the world of Andy's garage however 'found items' are a statement of compulsive hoarding of 'come in handy' stuff and a reflection on clutter and chaos.

The design process chosen was 'organic' following the school of 'make it up as you go along'.  At this point I have to acknowledge the prior art of messers Paul and Debbie of the Barnacre poo works.  I do believe however my creation has moved the state of the art forward addressing the obvious issues of robustness that their designs have, often failing after only 5 years of use !

The finished tool

This was all some time ago.  I delayed writing about it because I thought that it would be best to include some pictures of the finished product.  I have chosen to use quite mature raw material and it has a very high moisture content.  For some unfathomable reason Bev has banned me from using the simmering oven of the Aga which would obviously be the most effective drying method.  In the face of such unreasonable behavior I have had to construct a drying rack.  We are now some 5 weeks into the experiment and not sure we have anything that would burn rather than steam.  Below some 'product' enjoying an airing in the weak northern sun.

The finished product

B is for :
Balls (or the lack of them).  All is not well in this regard.  We are more than a few weeks down the line from the castration and progress towards healing is not what we would like.  Noah is fine , Kenzie is half fine but Finian isn't quite right on either side.  The reason that the healing has not completed as we would like is that the wounds were too wide.  There has been slow progress and no sign of any infection, the wounds being well sealed with scab and dry.  The boys are in good health, eating , drinking, pooing , weeing , and doing everything one would expect and nothing you would not expect.  But we have been worried and concerned.  Today the vet was called to take a look and he has removed the scab, cut back some protruding healing flesh a little and administered further anti-biotic.  We will be keeping a close watch.

There are a few learning points here:
  • This I think is more of a problem in bigger boys? - No I am not convincing myself here.  I have heard of plenty of older castrations without trouble.
  • Because the boys were carrying too much fat this was a problem to remove.  
  • If we ever have to do this again I think that I would ask for more cross stitches. 
  • If in doubt - Call him out.  We have pontificated too much.

B is for :
Boys !  More of them !  We have decided to grow the herd a little and have bought two new boys.  We are now sure the paddock will support more animals.  We would like some darker fibre and anyway two more does not add up to 2/5ths more work.  (Though poo volume is expected to rise in line with the number of bums - there may be a crash in the poo brick fuel market).  The new boys are still with their mums in Cumbria at Beck Brow the boys have been previously known as Pedro and Domingo. We can now reveal that they will be assuming new identities. 

Image (c) Beck Brow 
Hamish - FKA - Pedro (image (c) Beck Brow)

Image (c) Beck Brow
 Dougal - FKA - Domingo (image (c) Beck Brow)