Hard to believe June is already upon us, and summer is in full swing.
We’ve been a little quiet with updates here but we have been beavering frantically in the background since our last check in.
It would be very fair to say that we underestimated the scale of the work that lay ahead of us as we set out in February!
It brings us a deep sense of satisfaction to tell you now, that we are ready!
Our first group of alpacas arrived here into their newly fenced paddock this week.
This group travelled together (not very far!!) and settled in almost immediately. A big hello from Cookie, Smokie, Claudia, and Buttercup.
They are all just over a year old.
Buttons is here too to keep an eye on the younger crew. So, what have we been up to?
Having chosen the well field to be our starting point we set about bringing to the fore its most charming and unique features.
To the west and north the well field is bordered by a small area of wooded land. It was planted with spruce and pine in the 50’s and has a dense and established undergrowth. Lots of elder, some holly, aspen, sycamore, elm ash and hazel.
It teams with life and birdsong. We will follow up with a little more about the birds we have noted here in our next update.
The introduction of the Alpaca required a considerable amount of fencing. For now we have only females, but should we introduce some males down the line we will need areas to keep them separate. We decided to step our boundaries back from the ditches by around five meters all around the field. This will allow us to invite that bordering habitat inward and create a small path around the enclosures. A gradual retreat if you will.
We left large “hare’s corners” also.
The Hare’s corner is an old farming term for the area in the corner of a field which was left untilled. As many machines could not get into the corners fully this area would be left to nature.
We took it a step further and have left a rather large triangle in each corner of the well field.
We got a little carried away with the well, and have planted nine hazel trees around it. We have planted fifty hazels around the outside of the field also. Hazel is a native species supporting many bird and small mammal species.
We dug a large pond at the centre of the field on its western edge. The edge that borders the wooded area mentioned earlier. We had the help of Geoline Ltd. for this for which we are very grateful for, it was quite an undertaking and another underestimation on our part.
We have gone to a depth of five feet at its centre, and it measures around twelve by twenty meters. We dug a trench from well to the lowest area in the field for this and it has been filling slowly but surely since. Its been a particularly hot and dry spell here recently so we are very encouraged that the water has continued to flow into the pond.
We had been told that we would be surprised by how quickly life would come to a pond, but we really didn’t expect it to be as quick as it has been! Visitors have included two ducks and a little grebe, many insects gather and already we have seen the dragonfly!
We have erected posts for a walk in shelter where the alpaca will be able to step out of rain or driving wind in the harder months ahead. We will use the shale we removed while digging the pond to raise the floor and give them a dry area on which to stand.
Its been a steep learning curve for us, from the curation and management of a group exhibition and auction, to the implementation and execution of plans.
We are already taking all those experiences from the last year and a half into the planning our of next outing!!
Our first consignment of alpaca/ galway wool yarn is almost complete and will be with us later this week. We are super excited to try it out and cant wait to put it to good use.
We have some exciting projects in the pipeline for that! Stay tuned!