Friday, 2 May 2008

Friday in the Sunshine

I thought I’d start with a picture of the May blossom. I actually took this picture a week ago but that tree and the one up by the house are still blossoming and scenting the warm air.

The first job today was to clean the trailer as I was not able to yesterday. Cleaning entailed removing all the straw and droppings, then I pressure washed everything and scrubbed the floor. After that I gave it a good spraying of disinfectant, which I left for a while. I then noticed that my boots weren’t clean and I had traipsed some mud back into the trailer so I hosed and disinfected my boot, hosed out the trailer and sprayed it with disinfectant again and left it to dry.

Having done the trailer I also cleaned and disinfected the feed trough I use for the alpacas and their catch rope as that had got rather trampled on yesterday while trying to get them loaded.

Next up it was ‘dose the alpacas’ time; in the bucket are the harnesses, catch rope and wand, some emu oil, a stack of tubs containing individual doses of wormer for them, the syringe and the feeding extension for the syringe. To the left are their granules and the thing at the back is their feed trough.

Getting the alpacas into the catch pen is no problem; they love their granules so I feed them in the catch pen and as yesterday I just close the gate once they are in.

Once they’ve finished eating I then catch them individually and place the harness on them and tie them to the edge of the pen. They are beginning to get used to this and while they don’t want to let themselves be caught, they tend to give in gracefully once you have the rope round them.

You may have heard the old adage, ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’, well I have a new one. You can hold an alpaca and open it’s mouth (just) but you can’t get it to take it’s medicine!

The extension tube thing I got does make it easier than just using the syringe, well that was until the tube out of the syringe broke. I think I can safely say that as long as the wormer can be absorbed through skin, I should be totally worm free. In truth, the alpacas swallowed a lot more using the extension tube than they have of anything else not using the tube so it was a success.

When the two brown alpacas were shorn it was then easy to see that they hade mites and as part of the treatment for that I need to soften the skin that has been damaged by the mites. I’m told the best thing is minted udder cream but it’s not available here in France. I have some udder cream – my mother used to swear by it as a hand cream, especially after gardening. I do have some mint oil somewhere but I wouldn’t know how much to add so I though I’d give the emu oil a go as it is supposed to be easily absorbed and good at softening the skin. I’ll see how well it’s done tomorrow.

Yesterday, as soon as I’d got the alpacas home I’d gone through the catching routine and given each one a dose of spot on anti fly and mosquito treatment as the flies are out and about again. I’m also a bit concerned about Blue Tongue as it is in areas both to the north of here and to the south. I was really pleased to see practically no flies around the alpacas today. Yesterday there were a few and the alpacas were missing their blanket of dense fleece that kept them away from their skin.

After an hour or so's mowing, the major part of the afternoon was spent removing a support pin from the cultivator that tows behind the tractor. The pin that was there was very worn and too small for the hole it was in and the nut was rusted solid. It was this pin that had moved and allowed the cultivator to shear the attachment pins and then bounce crazily behind the tractor, cutting the tyres.

A bit out of focus (sometimes I just cannot get the camera to focus on what I want – but I won the camera so I’m not complaining) but this is what it looked like after a couple of attacks with the angle grinder. Thankfully, the grass is still damp as the cutting process generated lots of sparks and although I did cut into the cultivator its self it was only a couple of light nicks. I finished off using the hacksaw to cut the final piece off, as I wasn’t confident I would miss cutting a slot into the main unit.

New bolt in position and looking good. It will be getting a test drive over next week as long as the weather permits.

And finally the collection of bits once I’d finally managed to cut the off the nut.

Posts may get a bit erratic over the next week as my good friend Sue L from the UK is coming to visit.


Robin Follette said...

Enjoy your visit! I hope you have lots of fun.

Breezy said...

Don't you just love the smell of May blossom ours is probably going to be about two weeks behind yours as it is just starting to appear. My next door neighbour gave me a little posy of Lily of the Valley yesterday after she found out I didn't have any. Must get round to planting some it is so pretty.

aims said...

One of my favorite sayings is - where there's a will there's a way -

Obviously you go by that saying too!

Georgina said...

Deborah, I haven't a clue about Alpacas, I know their digestive system is closer to sheep than horses. I asked Bob. I can't understand why the syringe wormer is such a problem. Let me know if you need help. Debs x

Anonymous said...

Hsve fun with your friend :)

farming-frenchstyle said...

Don't leave home without your udder cream! Good for chapped hand and lips and (dare I say it) psoraiasis. Get your supplies on the next visit to UK! Can't you get pour-on for alpacas? (Wormer, not udder cream.