So the big news (more or less) is that we’ve picked up three new alpacas. Woo ! There’s a couple up near Gisborne that is retiring and moving to town, so we bouhg tsome of their original females at very reasonable prices. They may or may not meet our specialized breeding goals, but our theory is that while our specialized plans are coming to furition, we can make at least a *bit* of money selling animals for this other line.
Anyway, so last weekend we hopped in the ute and made the seven hour drive up to Gisborne. Something like driving from Philadelphia to Boston just for the night. We were fortunate with the weather. The drive started with rain, but then that broke up into patches of low cloud mixed with blue and slanting morning sunlight. Spring is well under way just north of us, so in addition to the usual lovely rolling green pasture, snow-capped mountains, and picturesque gorges, the drive featured fields of early veggies, plum orchards in full flower and buckets and buckets of new lambs, some obviously just born that morning, and still wet and wobbly. (Sorry, Mom, still no pictures of the lambs — they tend to run when you get close.) The twins tend to cuddle up and nap together. If you get a pair with one white and one black, the cute rays are devastating.
Anyway, we got to the farm about 3:30. Beautiful big old 1918 house, with orchards, a big garden and a pretty old ivy-covered barn. The alpacas are Chilean decendants of the Ag Research herds, so healthy and strong, if not exactly fashionable-looking. We’d made a deal to take the three blue-eyed whites, and one of the four “fancies” — in this case brown-and whites. Unfortunately, the one we wanted had a cria that was still too young to wean, so we plan to have her shipped down separately in a few months. We shifted the three whites into a set of cattleyards (big, sturdy, knee-deep in mud in some places) for the night, and found a motel.
The next morning, we picked up the girls. It was definitely much much easier to load them using the cattle chute — shoving them out the end of the chute and down the couple of feet to the bed of the ute — than it would have been trying to get the three of them up the ramp. As it was, they were quite stroppy. They all kick if suitable provoked, and Minty especially has no qualms at all about spitting at people, if the people are annoying her. (Leading to comments like, “Ew, I’m all… Minty”, and “I’ve washed my hands three times, but they still smell Minty”.) They’re not too bad, though.
Then the long, long drive back. Got back with enough daylight to drench them (give them an injectable wormer) and put them up in the dog run for the night, with some hay. Oh, their names are Minty, Latte, and Persil (Persil is the name of a brand of laundry detergent).
Here are some pics. Persil in the back of the ute, and Latte and Minty. When they got out, they were all walking stiff and funny, from having been sitting for so many hours.
Meeting the rest of the girls (and Jim):
The three together. They still keep themselves to themselves, but we’re confident they’ll ventually make friends and join in the herd.
Stephen bringing everyone down the race (Stephen put up those fences, by the way !). We’ve been taking them down to the stream paddock to nosh the lush grass.
This is apparently the routine — when they get to the bottom of the driveway, Joy hops up to the little ledge, and then runs to catch up after everyone’s gone past:
And, on the way past, Minty pauses for a portrait: