The boy of Joy

Joy popped out another boy today. Like her last two, he’s big, fully done, and ready to go. Tearing around the paddock already at a hour old. Here is Max, Yvonne’s 1/4 Clydie, welcoming the newcomer:

Joy, her cria, and Max

No, Max is not wearing a muzzle to keep him from eating the cria. It actually has a mesh in the front of it, and keeps him from eating too much grass.

Charity Hugs

This last week we have gone out and helped the SPCA in their annual street-appeals. Last Saturday we met up with Grahame, Sue, and their youngest daughter Rochelle in Upper Hutt- we brought Zahir, Zafar, and Hob. (In a few weeks they will be the new owners of Z&Z, and were very happy to get to take them out and play with them!) I took Hob off in one direction, while the four of them went off in another with the alpacas.

We raised a good deal of money for the SPCA during our 90 minutes on the street. My best was getting $5 from a Nun. The most touching story came from one woman who had lost her dog of 18 years the night before. Hugging Zafar made her feel better, and in gratitude she put $20 in the collection bucket. A great example fo the healing power of animals, I guess.

SPCA appeal in Upper Hutt SPCA with Hob

Yesterday I took Hob and Nazani to Coham Court in Porirua for the Wellington SPCA street appeal. We did pretty well again, though it was a bit tough wrangling them two by myself. Lots of cell-phone cameras in action. Nazani was the star, standing there while being cuddled from all directions by a half-dozen people. Hob was in a “don’t touch me” mood, and would neatly side-step most attempts to pet him- while maintaining proper llama manners and decorum, of course!

First of the Season

Missed a good party Friday night, but we reckon we had an okay excuse:

Persil's cria Persil's cria, standing Persil's cria, day three Persil's cria, closeup

Persil finally dropped a little black girl, in between a southerly hail storm and a sharp frost. Persil is now the reigning champion for “most protective mother”. If she thinks you’re too close to the baby, she screams and bites ! Bit of a maintenance headache, that. She’s calming down with time, though.

The first transport is away!

Last night we dropped off Rikaku, Opinicus, Alphyn and Bagwyn at their new home on Paekakariki Hill Road.

It’s weird. They are no long my alpaca.

Buy hey, previously when my alpaca “went away” I had to dig a grave for them, so this is a much happier outcome! Grant and Deb are thrilled at their new pets, and I expect the ‘paca will have a grand time on those steep hills.

While they do have two dogs (German Shepards from the look) they seem very on top of the whole “proper control and training of dogs.” Barring a really unlucky accident, everything should be fine.

I will miss Rikaku and Opinicus the most, as they both had personality. I never got to know Alphyn or Bagwyn very well. And Opinicus may well be a super-star, he has his mothers intelligence, but is much less suspicious. With proper training he could be a “go anywhere” alpaca.

We should be delivering the rest of the boys we sold in early-mid December. *sniff*

Bound for South Australia!

So, we are back from our little Australia jaunt.

Last Tuesday we flew out. The flight was…early. I think they schedule them all so early so that you arrive in time for the work day, and in time for them to use that plane for the morning air-commuter rush. We had a six hour layover in Brisbane, which gave us time to take the train into the city. Thankfully it wasn’t too hot, and downtown Brisbane is okay. The blooming Jaquerandas were certainly pretty. The train system is into town brilliant- clean, quite, and fast. The one big downside is that the train is the only way (without a bus or cab) to get between domestic and international terminals, and with trains only every 30 minutes this could really mess up a connection if time was short.

We arrived in Adelaide about 5PM, but it was closer to 6:30 before we got to the hostel. I have memories of devouring a nice organic pizza, but I was so hungry at the time they could have fed me cardboard and I would have probably eaten it.

Tuesday was spent walking around Adelaide. The botanic gardens are nice, but we were there so early most of the building-based exhibits had not even opened yet! Next up was the natural history museum. Worst. Taxidermy. Ever. Really. Wow. The guanaco was a frightening beast, which really looked nothing like a guanaco. The aboriginal collection was quite good, but I must admit after time lots of wood and stone tools start to look very same of the same. The pacific collection upstairs had more variety, and some very wacky carded hats from New Ireland (?).

The fossils were cool. Opalized fossils! Who knew that could happen? Also fossils from the pre-Camrian period when we had “animals without predators”, which were discovered in the Flinders Range north of Adelaide. Very simple jelly-like animals, but with no offensive or defensive abilities.

Thursday we picked up the (enormous!) rental car, and headed out of town. We dropped by the Cleland wildlife park first. This is one of those places where you can walk around inside enclosures with the non-dangerous animals (Emus, Kangaroos and Wallabies), and look into other enclosures with the more bite-y species (Dingos, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils). We got to pet a Koala Bear! We saw a Tasmanian Devil! It was a fun couple of hours.

To the south and west is the scenic Fleurieu Peninsula. The weather patterns give this area a bit more rain, so we enjoyed a bit of green. (The winter/spring rains were largely stopping elsewhere, and South Australia was rapidly browning off.) Among other things we visited a wind farm near the cape, and after some trial and error found the dirt road that lead right out to the turbines. In a howling gale, less than 100 m from the 100 meter-high turbine, you could definitely hear it. But the noise was no worse that wind through our high voltage towers, or even high wind through pine trees.

I also need to comment on just how friendly the people were. In Brisbane a woman in the train station helped us find our way out of the station, and directed us on fun things to do in her  5-minute-tour of the downtown area. Again and again people stopped to help or provide advice, including an Adelaide bus driver one night who took us across town one night (we were shattered from a long day of walking) for the price of one bus ticket, as it was all the cash we had. Snaps to the friendly citizens!

Friday morning we visited some local attractions and parks, including the abandoned Talisker Mine. Mmmmmm, mining a lead-arsenic-silver load without safety equipment. I don’t want to think about how those poor miners fared in the long term.

Then it was out to Currency Creek (which is about 1 hour SE of Adelaide) to stay with Susan, and look at lots of alpaca. On Saturday we went up to Glenns place (an hour north) to look at the two boys we are considering buying. Right now they are still tied. Ceasar (sic) is a bit bigger, and has a better head. Sinbad has slightly better fiber. We will wait for the next fleece results, which will be in a few weeks, to make the final decision.

But we got to meet Lancelot, Hyouki’s Sire. They look very alike, and share the laid-back personality. We also got to meet Brutus, Concetta’s sire, and she got her attitude from him! Jane, who bred Concetta, commented after looking at her photos on our blog that “she looked happy.” It was very heart-warming to see that a person who has bred hundreds (thousands?) of alpacas, and was until recently on a farm with 650 of them, can still love them each individually!

And while we were gone, Persil stubbornly refused to give birth! Yvonne and Kerry were apparently hoping she would drop while we were away, so they could “have one of their own.” She is now 3 weeks past her due date. Hopefully soon. A nice easy birth. That would be a good start to the year.