Pat’s just finished making up these three little fellas from 100% natural alpaca fibre stuffed with hollow fibre filling. Aren’t they cute ? I’m tempted to call them Plácido, José and Luciano – what do you think, which one’s which ?
Well that plan changed pretty rapidly – Mark mowed on Monday (about 20 acres) and it was obvious first thing on Tuesday that, given the hot day forecast, I ought to be thinking about baling and wrapping on Tuesday. So off I went tedding all day – what a dusty job that is – and Charlie turned up to row, bale and wrap late afternoon. The bale count was about 160 all together, which is a very good crop bearing in mind that I use no artificial fertiliser. The question is : how do I know which management change (if any) generated the improved crop – was it spreading slurry after last year’s second cut, grazing the ground with sheep last autumn, aerating the ground to improve root development – or maybe none of those – possibly just due to the wet warm summer and the fact that it’s been cut about three weeks later than usual ? Ho hum, the joys of farming. Today’s main task is racing round the fields picking up the bales and stacking them in nice neat rows – each bale stacked on its end, of course !
At last we seem to have a hot dry spell, so we’ll be making haylage this week. Over the last couple of days I reckon that the ground has dried out enough to get machinery on to it, so we’ll be mowing this afternoon, tedding tomorrow and then baling and wrapping on Wednesday. Last year we took our first cut at the end of June, and here we are nearing the end of July. It will be a huge relief to get the crop done – how many bales, I wonder ?
So here is the end product, the purpose of breeding alpacas. This is a hand-knitted (to order) cardigan, made from 100% pure alpaca yarn, from alpacas bred in the West Country. The black yarn is pure black – no dye – and the grey is a mix of black and white fibre (approximately 18 parts white to one part black) – again no dye. So it’s a totally natural product, and of course being made from 100% alpaca it does not scratch and has no lanolin (to which many people are allergic and who therefore cannot wear sheep’s wool next to the skin). It is light, warm and hard-wearing. The black fibre is all from our own herd, while the white comes from the Lakeham Alpacas herd of Mike and Elizabeth Brookes near Exeter.