Our cute furry friends have grown in numbers over the last few years and we are delighted to be able to offer some for sale. We have various options available including individual females, females with cria at foot and packages. Please visit www.alpacaseller.co.uk or http://www.alpacasoflewis.co.uk/ or
contact us at email@example.com or 01851 850 700 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting for more details.
We were a little concerned that the last of our bred females was getting quite late and started to doubt she was pregnant at all. Then, on the morning the shearer was due to arrive, out popped a cria. The boys win this year with 4 boys v's1 girl.
We're thrilled to announce that Nadia gave birth to her first cria this morning and what a gorgeous boy. Just love his rich brown colour. Once Nadia is shorn she is actually a similar brown but over the year her fleece fades with the sun.
The joy of our yet to be named cria was sadly over shadowed when only half an hour later we discovered Tara who wasn't due for another 10 days had also given birth but was pining over her motionless cria. We suspect she chocked on a piece of membrane which is upsetting as it could have been avoidable although we have been on cria watch for a couple of weeks now.
All we can do is be as vigilant as posible and hope things go better with our three remaining expectant mums.
A while back Mac TV filmed a piece with us for a programme about 21st century crofting. If you’re interested the programme is called Trusadh and will be on at 10pm tonight (3rd April), BBC ALBA (Sky Channel 168, Freeview Channel 8). We're on about 15 mins into the programme.
Last week, after many prototypes and various styles of hats, gloves, scarves, hand warmers etc... we took our favorite items to An Lanntair who agreed to stock our products. This is fantastic and a major step forward for us which now means that, all going well, we will soon be able to cover our alpaca costs and continue to build up our herd. We just checked with An Lanntair and they have confirmed that despite the time of year there has been a lot of interest and have sold quite a few of our items. Time to ramp up production I think... if only I knew how to knit!
We continue to get many enquiries on how our CF11 wind turbine is doing. It's now been running for 7.5 months and generated 20,000 kWh which is just about on target for us to meet our annual estimated generation. I previously mentioned the issue we had with our grid connection for the first 3 months so were only running at 6kW (50%). Well soon after, we were told we'd be getting a stronger pitch control actuator but until it was fitted we'd be restricted to about 175rpm or 8kW. I'm happy to say that although there were a few issues relating to the upgrade we are now properly running as an 11kW turbine and have just generated 1,000kWh in the last 4.5 days. Had we not had any of these issues I'm confident we would have / will generate in the region of 40MW per year. I'll be posting monthly generation figures here - https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pMgdBC-cyC82Xq-qAdpGMfw along with other turbine owners figures. See row 30.
I'm having to bite the bullet and get access to the turbine sorted. With the recent visits from C&F to sort it and the fun an games getting stuck in a boggy field I'm putting in a bit of a track accross the feld. This is me in the mini digger I hired and Harris doing his best to doink his sister (who is holding the camera) with the bucket!
A month or so ago, when walking our dog, I came accross what looked like an injured seal pup which had made its way up our shore and onto the track. It apeared to have blood about its jaw but was clearly able to get about and scurried back into the sea when it spotted us. I managed to get a quick picture before it was gone. A couple of days later I saw it again on the shore and thankfully it looked fine with no sign of any blood.
We had good intentions of sending off our alpaca fibre for spinning at the start of the summer but have only recently got round to it. We should get it back in the next couple of weeks ready to be knitted up. All our other wool that we had has been made into products and we are just considering whether to sell it on-line or in some of the local tourist shops or perhaps both. Anyway, here are a few of the items we have but are still experimenting with some other patterns.
As we hadn't had a summer holiday for the last few years we decided to treat the kids (and ourselves) to a week at Disneyland Paris. It was fab and brought a lot of memories back for Anne who worked there for 2 years in what was supposed to be a summer job while at Uni. It was a lot of walking and of course a lot of €'s but worth it. Anne's already looking at brochures for next years holiday!
We've had loads of enquires about how our C&F Green Energy CF11 wind turbine is doing. We discovered early on that there was an issue with high voltage on our grid supply which was being caused by the transformer we were connected to. C&F worked out and configured us to run at 50% (6kW max) without pushing the voltage too high until SSE replaced the transformer. Despite this, in our first 3 months we still generated about 4000kWh (would have been 8000kWh had we not had the 50% restriction). I'm happy to say now that SSE have upgraded the transformer and we are back on track to achieving our expected generation or maybe even exceeding it. We'll have a better idea after the winter.
This week, at long last, we got our turbine up and running. Even although there's hardly any wind its still generating and in the short time it's been running has slashed our domestic meter readings by about 70%.
Its typical that when our turbine went up the wind dropped but as anyone who has visited Lewis will know it wont stay that way for long. The installers arrived with the turbine at 5pm on Monday and were away by 9am the following morning.
Our new CF11 turbine on a 15m mast
We've also made some progress with our alpaca wool and have recruited some new knitters. We have given out all our remaining wool from 2 years ago and we're already seeing the fruits of their labour so we're going to push ahead and send of the last 2 years fibre to be processed. Once we have a selection of products we'll post some pictures here.
After honeymooning in Harris and watching too many episodes of "Build a New Life in the Country" we moved to a little croft on the Isle of Lewis, just over 2 years ago. Now we are actually embarking on our dream of becoming...alpaca farmers!