Panorama from the Farm

Latest News

2014   2013  

2015

New baby alpaca
Hover over the image to see "Freckles".

There is a new arrival at the farm. This is young Freckles and his mum Ena (Hi, Ena!). They have been joined by Patch and her cria Peter.

In July we exhibited our alpaca products at the Mudgee Small Farms Field Days. We sold all of the rose-grey yarn that we brought along – it's very popular as rose-grey alpaca is not as available as white and it makes for a lovely color in scarves and beanies. Jill has been experimenting with carded mixed fibres and these went quickly, too.

This year we have come to an arrangement with East Station Alpacas of Mudgee. Several East Station animals are now at Marlyn.

Top

2014

We went to an auction to have a look, and guess what? We now have some nice female alpacas from Earthwise, and a young grey suri male. Fifi and Oriental Pearl are huacayas, Holly and Emily are suris.

Another female joined the herd: Storm, from Wiraki alpacas, is a grey huacaya.

Top

2013

October: Just received a batch of nice processed alpaca from Echo Beach (South Australia). There is some absolutely beautiful and glossy black suri fibre from Toto. There are some balls of yarn suitable for a shawl, some roving ready to spin and a batt of fibre with a little vegetable matter, from the second pass of the picker. Did I say it was glossy black? 27.4 micron puts it similar to Shetland wool. Use it as a colour contrast with corriedale or mohair, or with Bacardi (see below).

In the white and cream suri, Yengari's fleece has been processed, along with Etienne, Bellini and Bacardi. Etienne (oh so lustrous!) and Yengari are nice and fine, and are available as cones and roving. Bellini is also fine, and comes as skeins ready for you to dye (should you feel the urge). Bacardi (cream suri) is now 30.8 micron so is more suitable as a woven article such as a blanket or rug. He's available as skeins or roving, with a separate lot made up in skeins ready for you to dye for your next rug.

Hollywood (white huacaya) is still very fine and is available as roving. There was just a little vegetable matter which should be easy to pick out during hand spinning or weaving.

Your very own alpacas! Are you after a couple of herd guards? We have some animals available as their fleece is now too coarse for fine garments. They are healthy, and will be available in about a month's time when their fleece grows a little. We also have some quiet animals which make pretty lawn mowers, again healthy but fleece is too coarse for us. They are all wethers, $200.00 each incl GST. Please contact us for a list as there is a significant reduction for quantity.

September – Shearing Week: As the song says, "Oh, the springtime, it brings on the shearing". How do you get 57 alpacas into a 1950's sheep shearing shed? You start several months earlier, by putting treats such as lucerne hay here and there in the shearing shed, and leave the door open where the alpacas can go in and out at their leisure. We plan the sequence of paddocks that they will be moving to, always minimizing the opportunity to pick up burrs and other contamination. Then a couple of days before shearing they are moved from paddock to smaller paddock, always closer to the shed. It's all a matter of slowly getting more alpacas in than out. Eventually there is a tipping point when there are way more alpacas in than out, and this usually results in the remainder trying to get in regardless of how crowded the entrance is.

With the doors shut, Mike and Jill then sort the animals by colour. Generally we put all the white and light fawns in one area, and all the darker colours in another area. This minimizes fleece contamination during shearing.

The next day we get up early to meet our helpers and our professional shearer who has been booked for this day months in advance. If it is raining, we can rest assured that the animals will be dry. We have a hay shed nearby so if it is too cold, the animals will be warm after shearing.

Our shearer uses a table. Mike and the helper go to the first pen and pull out an alpaca. The shearer ties the alpaca by the feet, sets the rope and begins to shear following a set sequence. Helpers find the labels for the fleece bags based on the alpaca's ear tag. Part way through, Jill takes a mid side sample. Toenails are clipped and 5-in-one injections are done. The fleece is bagged (saddle in one labelled bag, neck in another, the stuff from the legs in the bins is placed in a third bag). Helpers keep the floor swept as fleece gets underfoot.

One big white suri was so upset at being derived of his dignity, instead of going out the side door like everyone else, he flopped into the wool bin full of floor sweepings, toenails and rubbish. Jill tried to get him out with a broom, but the shearer suggested to just leave him there. Sure enough, after the next alpaca was shorn, the first just got up and accompanied him out as though nothing had happened.

At last we finished, tired but triumphant, with a shed full of fleece. The alpacas were let into a new paddock with plenty of feed. They seemed really happy, running and rolling, and eating.

Top