Farm Diary

Autumn at last!

While “the beast from the east” has been freezing Europe, we have suffered “the pest from the west” – searing heat and enervating humidity. Today, however, there is a hint of autumn in the air, as we enjoy our lowest daytime temperature this year: just 23 degrees.

Last Monday, 48 members and guests of Casino Probus club braved the heat to visit us – our biggest group ever, and delightful people.

Hopefully the next few months will see much more pleasant conditions. It’s actually the best time of year to visit us, with cooler temperatures, greener pastures and increasingly fluffy alpacas.

Meanwhile, the stars of the show continue to multiply. Herd numbers now stand at 33, with Opal and Onyx being our latest additions (see photo on our home page).

 

Advertisements

Inundated with visitors

We’re very pleased to report that we had a huge number of visitors – tour groups and campers – over the Christmas/New Year and January school holiday periods. We are always delighted to meet new people and, of course, tours and camping form an important part of our business model.

However, we would like to remind everyone that we conduct tours by appointment only, with at least 24 hours notice being required. Unfortunately, if you don’t book ahead, you will almost certainly be disappointed: we will either be booked out or have something else planned for the day.

It would be great if we could operate like a tourist park and be open to the public any time, but, in addition to welcoming visitors, we have a very labour-intensive farm to run. We have to plan our farm work around tours. We also have to have sufficient food in to feed our guests. We’re not a cafe!

Please give us as much notice of your proposed visit as you possibly can; we hate having to turn people away.

Autumn comes early

February is traditionally the month we dread for heat and enervating humidity, but this year we have had a dream start to the month with cool, autumn-like conditions prevailing for the past 10 days. Unfortunately, from all predictions, that is all about to change, with a week of searing heat bearing down upon us. Even so, the forecast temperatures don’t look any worse that a “typical” February.

We have had two new crias born in the past couple of months: Napoleon, by far the biggest cria we have ever seen, and rapidly catching up to his father, and Opal, who is much more normal in size and is Jahna’s first healthy cria (she lost her two previous babies), so cause for some celebration. Next in line for the maternity ward is Felicity (Bluey) who will burst if she doesn’t give birth soon.

The normal gestation period for an alpaca is very fluid and can vary from under 11 months to over 12 months, making it quite difficult to accurately predict when a birth will take place.

Happy New Year

A very happy New Year to all our friends and followers.

Unfortunately, it has not been a good start to 2018 for us: a violent thunderstorm on New Year’s Day brought down a huge oak tree on our boundary fence. Fortunately no animals were in the paddock at the time, but it took us an entire day to remove the debris and repair the damage. This is one of a belt of trees (mostly noxious plants) almost 200 metres long growing on the council “nature”strip outside our fence. Repeated requests to the council, over many years, to remove them have fallen on deaf ears. Now they are so out of control that almost every time we have a bad storm one falls on our fence (three times last year alone).

tree

Can lightning strike in the same place twice? On January 2, it literally did for us: another destructive storm tore trees apart and dumped so much rain and hail that we have had to close the property to visitors for three days. The same storm devastated our nearest township, Maclean, with the main street looking like a bomb site.

We can only hope for better days ahead …

Exports to China

Two of our Paca Pillows sold to China this week. We’re doing our bit to solve the trade imbalance! 😉

Perfect weather

After a very shaky start to spring, our drought finally broke in early October and we have enjoyed glorious cool, moist conditions for the past two months. Pasture grass is growing so quickly the pacas are overwhelmed by it. It’s back to three days a week mowing, but worth it to see the farm looking a real picture for our day visitors and campers.

grass

Lots of junior farmhands

Throughout November we’ve had visits from several Family Day Care groups. The kids enjoy morning tea, paca feeding, making fleece batts, climbing our heritage camphor laurel tree and playing with the farm cats.

Thanks to bus driver Cate for all her help and support.