Sunday, 31 January 2016

Racking up the head collars at TOFT

Busy everyday now sorting and shifting and humping stuff as we move into our new shed and get organised for the next ten years at TOFT. Collecting all the stuff in one place is a major challenge as 'secret squirrel' seems to have deposited stuff all over the farm. Time to open every black hole at TOFT get out the junk. Sort the useful and discard the passengers. 'Twas ever thus.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

TOFT Woodsman badge for me

Windy but mild day at TOFT today but best of all a dry day. Perfect for 'doing' in the woods.  I must confess I am addicted to woodsmoke. The second it hits my nostrils I'm 11 again and on my first Scout Camp, running around in shorts and plimsolls wetter than a duck in a storm, desperately collecting kindling, blowing embers to get the dinner on and loving every single second of it. 
50 years later and I'm busy chopping, sawing, burning and clearing as you do... and within seconds I am there again. After a day of 'doing' I'm also as mucky as a chimney sweep and smell like an old kipper - Perfick !

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Incredible what you find on an alpaca hurdle on a cold and frosty morning

Work this one out. We had a good frost this morning at TOFT but I've never seen anything like this in all my days. Frost is truly a creative wonder.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Where's the Chomp?

There's only one thing to do when the snow covers the ground as it did today.  Open all the hay racks and make sure that all the girls and boys get all the  chomp they can eat to cheer them up. Ironically if it had been cold enough for the snow to stay with us the boys and girls would look magnificent. As our world has dripped constantly from sun up to sun down they look like homeless souls lining up at a food bank. 
After a magnificent snow filled start all we are left with this evening is more mud and slop to wade through in the morn. I never thought I'd end up wishing for a prolonged freeze but we are all getting a little fed up with the wet. A week of hard frost and dry skies and we could get something done and put a smile back on our alpacas faces. 'Twas ever thus!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Who be this then...?

Look who I found hiding on the wall of the feed store in the barn at TOFT. We are very busy this week clearing the old brick barn of the accumulated alpaca debris of the past 19 years and relocating the usable into the new barn.  It's surprising what you come across and each drawer you open bumps you off track down memory lane at light speed.
In a week where my eldest son Scott is celebrating his 27th birthday I came across this picture of him about 11 years ago when our foundation sire PA Accoyo Cornelius first won the Sires progeny shield at the BAS National Show. Proud, proud moments for TOFT at the time. Huge advances at TOFT in the meantime. Proud moments now as I see the man this happy soul has become. Enough I'm starting to feel old . Happy Brithday son and may 2016 fulfill all your expectations.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Shifting stuff...@TOFT

That's what we are doing at TOFT this week and last. And me and my new mate Makita will probably be doing so for at least a month to come. We are shifting and shuffling, stock, files, tools and the debris to 25 years around and about, up and down and round and round, as we organise our new shed into the storage facility we so desperately needed.
As I spend many hours erecting and reshaping shelving to suit I am reminded that the first set of shelves I ever put up was in  my Dad's garden shed around 1963. 
Since that time my journey can be tracked via the shelves I have built, bought, erected, removed, reassembled, readapted, as we moved flats, houses, sheds to finally arrive in the new incarnation we are dealing with today.
As all my children will soon embark on the joys of owning their own homes I have a feeling that the next two decades will also involve an awful lot of shelves, sheds and shuffling for yours truly as their life adventures develop. (At least we now have the cordless miracle Mr Makita to help) We know no fear and I thank the 'man' every day that I shall be around to share their journeys. Bring on the stuff....!
Hey ho, Life is ....shuffling your stuff until you can no longer shuffle anymore. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Jobs done- new entrance to the TOFT Studio....

Well that's done. 4 days start to finish and the entrance to the TOFT studio is now up to Highway Specification - looks great but makes the rest of the road look a bit rough. Let's hope the lorries stick to the road and quit cutting the corners. A big thanks to all our customers this week who adapted well to find their way to the parking. All back to normal tomorrow.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Couldn't wait a minute longer

We just had to spark up our new  Norwegian fire pit this morning to run it in. Well you just have to do these things. Young Lordy was out collecting twigs for the fire thirty seconds after he got out of his pyjamas. Needless to say we are delighted with our new toy and will be having "'bondy' tayties the night". Yumlicious!!!

Young Lordy supervising the new TOFT Studio Access

Work started today at the crack of sparrows on a new drive access for the TOFT Studio... It will be finished tomorrow, we hope because we are open again on Wednesday. For a young boy who's all of three this is better than Bob the Builder turning up.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Damp dudes...on the ranch

Another damp day at TOFT today after what seems the dampest Xmas holiday ever. The mud is sucking at our wellies like a live animal and our beautiful pedigree alpacas look like damp dishcloths on legs. Hey ho...

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Xmas comes again...

Way back in the summer Shirley and I were judging the first Norwegian National Fleece show. One night, on the farm where the show was hosted, we sat around a Norwegian fire pit cooking sausages and drinking beer into the wee hours, as you do. I was so impressed by this fantastic experience, especially the Norwegian Firepit. It was so fit for purpose I couldn't stop talking about it. So much so, that on my return to the UK I mentioned to an alpaca friend of mine Richard Kingston of Jigsaw Alpacas who I know works with steel. I showed him a photo asked if he'd look into how I might get one of these babies at TOFT and ...  blow me he only went and made me one. This evening he and his partner Laine delivered this magnificent UK version of the Norwegian Firepit for our enjoyment at TOFT.

My boat has come in. My cup runneth over and my wellies are dripping with joy.  The very second it stops raining, if it ever does, I shall spark this little baby up, cook sausages and 'bondy' tayties and invite friends and family round to drink beer and talk bollocks on the patio into the wee hours of the night. It's a must when you have one of these magnificent babies in your armoury! Best Christmas present ever- the best a man can get! Thank you Richard and Elaine I owe you big time. xxx