"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Shorn - part 1

I have so many photo's that I have decided to split this posting into two parts.  This is part 1  :)

So, we were up bright and early at 4.15a.m. last Thursday.

S'funny how getting up early is always so worthwhile - once you are up... :) And I have to confess that it's the best part of my day - I love the peace, quiet and the feeling of serenity it evokes within me.  All is right with the world during those early hours - admittedly not normally that early, but I wasn't fazed.  But, what is an extra hour or two added to the day?

But, that particular morning was not a day for serenity.  I was actually quite nervous.  Would we get Miranda and Kris into the horsebox?  How much of a battle would that be? Would they agree to disagree (i.e. have a spitting session) as soon as they got in, and would we see the horsebox careering all over the road behind the car as they sorted out their differences en route to Helderstroom Alpacas farm?  It is not advisable to mix a pregnant alpaca with a male - especially in that close a confinement, but we had no option.

I felt quite guilty the day before - little did they know what lay in store for them the next day.
Kris - in all his tough looking, masculine fleece
Thankfully, they munched away quite happily - so I knew that they would at least have full-ish tummies...
Miranda and Kris - little do they know what is in
store for them
Just a quick reminder of what they looked like before the shearing took place...
Miranda - her coat is not as thick
as most of her nutrition has
gone to her cria.  Plus, she's been
pregnant for the last 6 years, with

just 2 - 3 weeks break in between
each pregnancy

You get a small idea of how
thick Kris' fleece is from this

So, after collecting the horsebox from our electrician friend in the nearby town of Swellendam, we proceeded to get everything ready for the next morning.

RMan backed the horsebox up with directions from me.
Alpacas - they must be the most curious creatures
on this planet.  Anything new, and they have to find
out what it is all about - immediately!
Fortuitously, and with absolutely no forward planning, the ramp of the horsebox fitted exactly between the gateposts and the pergola poles.  There was literally 35cms leeway on either side.
Didn't we see something like this about 2 months
ago when we were schlepped to this new place...?
Surprisingly, Rman managed to get them esconced pretty easily - they weren't mad about the ramp, but a hefty tug on the halter, and there we go - inside - all safe and sound :)  They settled down on the bed of straw I had provided.

After making a quick flask of coffee we were on our way.

Naturally, a petrol tank top up was required - we didn't want to be stuck on the side of the road with the two alpacas - so we stopped at the closest garage. They had a couple of non-descript Christmas decorations up, but then, around the corner, there were these two beatuies...
Baby scarecrows - brilliant :)
I've been to that petrol station on numerous occasions, but it was only whilst taking this photo did I actually read what was written on the wall.  This was the site of a hitching post during the years of 1730 - 1790.  Amazing!

Casting my gaze further afield, I spied this...
Dada scarecrow keeping his eye on what's
happening in the petrol station
... and finally, my eyes spotted this little peaceful spot.
I wouldn't mind being a pigeon and visisting this
It's always nice when someone goes above and beyond, and, making the effort to pretty up a petrol station, and share the history of the origins of their place, earns the owner quite a few brownie points in my book.  Guess, all things considered, they're still looking after horsepower, albeit in a different form.  Just after we purchased our smallholding, and purely by accident, I stumbled across a book by James Michener, called "The Covenant".  What a pleasant surprise to find out it was all about the early days of the Western Cape - and specifically, of Swellendam.  A fascinating and excellent read.

The trip was uneventful, and the N2 road relatively empty.  Bearing in mind that I have not travelled the N2 in almost a year, I was so excited and delighted to spot this near Caledon...
What can I spy in the distance?
... a wind turbine farm.
Exquisite wind turbines.  I love them :)
Happy days.  There may be hope for this government yet...!?!


DFW said...

I think it's nice that any business makes an effort to keep things neat & clean. My husband has a small engine repair shop & people are always commenting how orderly & neat things are. Can't wait to see the after pictures of the alpacas. I bet Kris is going to look naked!

Harry Flashman said...

I've read The Covenant. Good book. South Africa doesn't look like I thought it would. Every time I see pictures of your place I think how much it looks like the plains states here.

Are you and your husband descended from Boers, or from Rooennekkers? (Did I get that right?) I hope it isn't something mean, I saw it in books about the Boer War and I think it just means red necks, slang for English.

Dani said...

DFW - I couldn't agree more!

Kris - hmmm, I think you would classify it more than "naked"...LOL

Dani said...

Harry - S'funny how many places in the world are similar - but I guess that's due to the shift of the earth's mantle all those years ago... ;) I am surprised by that too.

Nope, RMan is of German decent (born to German parents, but South African born) and I'm English born. So much for WW2 - Germans and English meeting, marrying and raising children together. Makes war see so pointless, doesn't it...!

Rooineks (rednecks) was a term coined by the Boers for all the Europeans who arrived here and sufferend from severely burnt neck backs - from the unfamiliar sun LOL

Harry Flashman said...

Wars are an incredible waste of assets, including human assets. But there will always be wars, as long as the people who declare them don't have to go fight them. And sometimes, when others won't just leave you alone, there's no choice at all.

So neither of you are Boers. But there must still be a lot of people there who are descendents of the Boers. We have the term Redneck here. It is a derogatory expression for a country person, and for the same reason, they allegedly get sun burned necks working outside.

Dani said...

Haerry - Yes, there are still planty of "Afrikaaners" (the direct decendents of the Boers) in South Africa. "Rooinek" used to be a derogatory term - now it's just a phrase used for someone of European origin :)

Leigh said...

Looks like your alpacas are well trained. That's very good! Kris's fleece looks absolutely gorgeous and Miranda's is a really pretty color. Mmm, I'm imagining how they would look blended.

Thanks for recommending the book. I'm a slow reader (not much time for it) but I do love a good book.

Dani said...

Leigh - Unfortunately they're not - they're very skittish.

Yeah - I love Miranda's colour too :)

Quinn said...

Thanks for the book recommendation, Dani - I'll put it on my list to look for :)
Bet the pacas are a lot more comfortable without all that warmth! Is the sudden transition from heavily fleeced to totally shorn a risk in any way or are they just massively relieved?

Dani said...

Quinn - You're very welcome :)

Yeah, I reckon hat the alpaca's are grateful now - it's like anything, sometimes it's not enjoyed whilst it's happening, but you sure can reap the rewards in "hindsight" LOL No, there shouldn't be any problems - they don't shear them down to skin level, so they still have some protection against the sun and rain...