Saturday, 23 May 2015

Lest we forget...

It's the shearer who has the full on job. 
Our job is  support and service. We have to keep the alpacas coming too the shearer dry, relatively unstressed and without pause throughout the day so he/she can maintain a rythmn and get on with the job without drowning in fleece. 
Then we must get the shorn alpacas out away back to their paddocks where they can relax and adjust to the new temperature of their existence. 
Our second job which is also primary to TOFT is to get the fleece off the table and get it skirted, sorted and graded and into the appropriate bags in the six minutes before the next one arrives. 
 We find great bacon sandwiches for 2nd breakfast around 9 am, a great lunch at 1.30pm and cake and tea around four keeps the table humming until 7.30pm weather permitting.
The weather held good this year everyone performed professionally and with good humour, job was done and we all carry the experience as a memory until next year when we shall do the same again. All that is left now is the tidying up. The sorted and graded batches go off to the mill next week to be turned into TOFT luxury yarn. The rejected fleece will be picked up by the stuffing man, sheds swept and cleaned, hurdles returned to the paddocks and all will seem like it had never happened- except of course we have 200 pink panthers wandering around our paddocks until October when the re growth start to soften the look again.
'Twas ever thus...

Friday, 22 May 2015

All done and dusted - jobs done for 2015

That's it a huge thanks to everyone who helped and of course not forgetting B D Wheeler and his helper Benny, my son Grant for catering, and Whoopy Daisy for ferrying, sorting childminding and being a friend of all the world and my talented daughter Kerry Lord who now has the job of turning the best of what we have to offer into magnificent luxury yarn for the TOFT Alpaca Studio. Give it the old TOFT magic young lady. Thanks everyone for a very enjoyable shearing from a TOFT Alpacas. 
I am now off to see my mate Jules for a skinny Latte in the TOFT tea room.

TOFT Alpaca Studio team the stars of the show

Shearing has now been declared officially over for 2015. The weather held off Linda and Freya did a fantastic job of herding, walking and ferrying the TOFT herd, all 200 of them to the shearing shed and back again without any major incident. The stars of the shearing shed were the young ladies for the TOFT Alpaca Studio led by Emily( seen here in red all scrubbed and clean) Petra, Caroline and Liz. All new to the shearing they have been on a steep learning curve over the past three days. Undaunted they rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in learning the flick, sorting the fleece, packing, picking, brushing wiping and sweeping with good humour and commitment throughout.
 Thankyou ladies one and all from all at TOFT Alpacas- you will dine out on this experience for years to come!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Caroline working on her flick...

The reputation of a good roustabout is his or her ability to take the fleece from the table or floor and flick it onto the sorting table. Caroline joined us yesterday in the shearing shed to practice her flick and by the end of the day she looked born to the job. Day 3 today- 158 down 42 to go..

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Archie gets the stand up treatment...

Exhibition stuff from Mr B D Wheeler yesterday as he took his portable shearing pack to TOFT's resident Llama Archie and sheared him standing up. He made it look easy and was given a round of applause by all the watchers on completion.

Shedded up in the dry...

Tomorrow mornings workload all,shedded in the dry ready for shearing in the morn to give us a good start whilst the rest of the herd dries. 80 down 120 to go. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Perfecting the shower dance as we shuffle them in and out between the showers

Suns out, rains in, rains out, suns in... in between the alpacas perfect the shower dance as we try to keep them dry for shearing by trotting g the in and out of the sheds between showers. Hey ho. We now have 8o alpacas shedded up ready for the morn and roughly 120 out in the fields to dry for Thursday. 

Shed's all set and ready for the shearing...

A lot of hugging and puffing by all at TOFT yesterday as we hooked and hooked, swept and sorted all our hurdles and available sheds ready for the shearing. We begin tomorrow, Wednesday and hopefully finish 200 alpacas later on Saturday. Unfortunately the weather forecast doesn't look good so we needed to get all our available space clear yesterday to enable us to shed up at least 80 alpacas ready for tomorrow. We can't shear when wet so it's vital we get enough dry to get through tomorrow on the hope that the forecast is right and by Thursday the sun is out and all is dry. We shall see, all. I know this morning is  TOFT is ready and waiting for the shearer to arrive.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Bang bang bang... Those gate posts take a while

26 in and 8 to go... It's a long old job banging in the fence posts on this new quarantine facility at TOFT. This is my view for hours on end. Stiff neck- tell me about it!

Monday, 11 May 2015

TOFT Clovis looking very tidy on his first evening out...Boys 2 Girls 1

TOFT Clovis joined us today around lunchtime and his pedigree is evident from the outset. He is out of TOFT Catena a first time Mum from Barrabinda Flinders Star and his Father is TOFT Jaina son of Skywalker and all one can ever say on the first day is he shows a lot of promise. TOFT Catena is a 3rd generation first time Mum and if TOFT Clovis is the sign of what we can expect from the other elite maidens then It is going to get very exciting here in the next few months.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

TOFT Princes in waiting ...on the new grass

Can you hear them munching? All the TOFT stock moved paddocks last week to enjoy the new grass growth. Centre here, surrounded by his gang of brothers is TOFT Timogen National Brown Champion in 2014 and 2015. 
These Intermediate brown males, sons of Lavender Park Tulley and half brothers to TOFT Timogen are loving the new chomp, look great against the green and are hopefully working up an appetite for the girlies! 
Timogen will be staying here but TOFT Titus, Tai Pan and Leander son of Jaina are all looking for new homes. We shear on the 20th so anyone interested in seeking out top colour genetics for their breeding programme needs to look soon as these wonderful fleeces will soon  be in the bag.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Jobs on... A new quarantine paddock begins at. TOFT

Well we've started so we'll finish. The youngest is getting to grips with a machine we hired as he breaks ground on our new project at TOFT. Only 35 gate posts, 20 strainers, 17 gates, 150 stakes and 70 struts to go and we'll have ourselves a second quarantine/ isolation facility at TOFT. 17 paddocks in total. He'll have tamed the beast by the end of that lot, I'm sure.
We have been running the existing quarantine of 15 paddocks successfully for 8 or so years and now we are doubling the size of the facility in the coming weeks.
This enables visitors who come for mating to the TOFT stud males can bask in their own family sized paddock with an empty one either side and the only contact the alpacas will have with any other whilst staying at TOFT will be during the mating itself which is also strictly controlled for biosecurity. This new facility will give us 32 isolation paddocks to accommodate more visiting females. You lucky lucky boys!

Friday, 8 May 2015

All right now ....

Unusual occurrence last Weekend when TOFT Nubia a maiden Skywalker girl gave birth to TOFT Tallulah a Lavender Park Tulley. Girl. This was our first cria of the season and with no precedent on the ground Nubia was totally surprised and bewildered by the new arrival. They struggled to bond, cria tried hard, Mother not sure why she was being pestered. Scott our eldest boy in charge. He followed the procedures, administered colostrum before the five hours, penned mum and babe together overnight, we bottle fed for a day or so, mother in law Myra playing a huge part as usual, as Mum and Babe got to know one another. Result? Over a couple of days it all came right until TOFT Tallulah is now running around the paddock with a tummy as tight as a drum and mother and babe are inseparable. Well done Scott a textbook re-bond and a great result. Lavender Park Tulley girls are as rare as warm days in winter so we hope she goes on to fulfil her huge potential!

Yoiking stuff around and 'doing' at yer do

I had the big guns out at TOFT yesterday with my youngest son lending a hand clearing the winter Hayracks off the main paddocks. We emptied all the big feeders and cleared the debris off our main hay paddocks so they can be harrowed and fertilised ready to grow the feed we need for next winter. Light was fading fast as we finished. It's always a good day on the Manor when it ends with the job finished. Thanks Son.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Are we gonna get on with it..... boss?

No ladies, we are not. You will have to wait for next week for the boys to come over and play!
At TOFT we start mating the first week of May. On Monday these older TOFT ladies who did not get pregnant for this season will join the queue of maidens lining up for the boys attentions. Draycote water will start to echo to the sound of orgling males for the next four months. If you have not yet decided where you are headed this season for elite genetics then check out TOFT Alpaca Stud and come and join the orgy!