Thursday, 1 May 2008

A Day Out for the Alpacas

There was no blog last night as I was getting myself far too stressed. A change to my routine was looming and I was finding it hard to deal with – a left over bit from my panic attacks. No matter how hard I try going through everything logically there is still a bit of me that panics – but I get a little bit ahead of my self.

Monday was as I said a nice dry day but just in case you think the weather is fine here this is Wednesday as a downpour hits and there is thunder and lightening over the nearby town – which is the nearly obliterated hill in the distance. So Wednesday was potter around inside a bit more.

I found and set the humane trap for the mouse I’d seen the other night and it popped out and into the trap. It popped in and out so quickly it was able to grab the bait and get out before the door shut. That’s why the trap is now sitting on the edge of the mat to try and make the door drop more easily. Did it work, well no, the trap was sprung this evening and both bits of bait I’d put in there are missing. I’ve re-baited it but with a bigger piece of bait this time in the hope it will slow the mouse down just long enough to get trapped.

Today is May the first so a Public Holiday here. It’s also the day for Lily of the Valley, well this (slightly out of focus picture) is what’s left of mine; It’s just about over but I did find a couple of blooms to grace my table tonight.

Right so what was I so worked up about? Well the alpaca shearer is in France and having only 4 alpacas and no facilities for easy shearing I had to take my alpacas to another alpaca owners where they could be shorn. This would be only the second time I’d driven with the trailer and the first time with the animals in it. I have a fear of trailers stemming mainly from being a long term passenger in a car towing a caravan regularly at 80 mph causing the caravan to lurch the car back and forth and occasionally get into a sway despite there being a stabiliser!

I have a little, 1-meter by 1-meter trailer and I’ve got really used to taking that out but the livestock trailer is 8ft long so a bit different.

I had been told that I would need to take the alpacas along either today or Friday. Since I’d heard nothing yesterday I thought it would be Friday. 8:15 this morning the telephone rings and I’m asked if I can get my alpacas up for shearing for 10 am. Real panic! The shearer was about an hour and a half drive from here and the trailer was still in the barn. I agreed to get there as soon as I could.

Plan A was to take the trailer over the field to the alpacas with the tractor since the rain had made the ground so wet. I fitted the tow hitch I’d borrowed to the tractor and then found I was missing the piece that stopped the hitch rotating. There was no way it was going to keep the trailer attached.

Time for plan B; I hitched up the car and took the trailer across the front lawn so that I could drive down the slope to position the trailer. This lot took a good half hour but the trailer was then in position.

I got the alpacas into the holding pen and then tried to herd them up into the trailer. They were having nothing of it, no way were they going to go in. By now I was getting more stressed. Eventually I picked up Ashan, the cria and put him in and then Chestnut who is a lovely boy and very docile. I then tempted Silver in with the granules and put a hurdle in place to keep them in while I worked on Noisette. Silver being her usual self (she’s the escape artist) found a way out, she barged the hurdle down bending the retaining hook.

Time was ticking on, this was already over half an hour trying to load them; a bit more granules and Silver was back up and in and with that superhuman strength that comes with desperation I managed to manhandle Noisette up enough that she decided to eat the granules too. You will not believe how quickly I closed the gate behind her. It was now 10 am and I resembled a beetroot.

Next question, would the car be able to pull the trailer off the field? The answer was a resounding yes, I programmed the address into the Sat Nav and off we went.

The trip was wonderfully uneventful and the trailer towed like a dream. I would love to show you pictures of the shearing but I totally forgot the camera in all the rush but here are my lovely 4 looking far thinner that they started the day.

I am off to have 2 glasses of wine with my supper and hopefully a good nights sleep with tomorrow being a calm and relatively stress free day.


Alan said...

I had a friend who transported his llamas in a minivan. It was quite a sight to have him pull up and unload three full grown llamas and all their pack gear from his Toyota van. He said it worked really well. I don't suppose he used the van for much else...

Looks like a successful day and a great adventure.

softinthehead said...

OMG I was exhausted just reading that - well done you :)

Georgina said...

Wow I don't envy you. Trying to get 4 animals to stay in a trailer must have been hell. My horse won't load into a trailer and what should have been a lovely morning riding in Hatfield forest turned out to be half a day of stress and danger. Well done you. Is there a special method of clippin or would horse clippers work? Debs

aims said...

Oh Deb! How on earth do you do it?

You do have superhuman strength!