Monday, May 31, 2010

Beautiful baby birds

This year we have been lucky enough to really enjoy the beautiful birds around us. We think they are swifts, I have looked online and they certainly look like swifts, although apparantly they do everything mid flight, even sleep, and mate.... how bizarre is that! The problem is ours do seem to perch, well it's not a problem for them, only me trying to decide what they are! Well we have many nests too numerous to count, however some of them have been fairly easy to see inside, and watch the little miracles hatch.

Little fluffy heads peeping out!

Another full nest

We saw one little brave soldier take his first flight, he landed about five metres away on the ground. His parents watched intently and flew around him trying to encourage him, it was wonderful to watch!

About to take the plunge!

Mum or dad, encouraging him!

Ok who's next?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Poor Santa, then poor poor Alan!

Feeding time with the alpacas usually goes very smoothly, apart from the fact that they all love their concentrated food, and there is always at least one alpaca, trying to get it's head into the bucket with the feed in. Santa, at six months old, is very playful now, and dinner time is no exception. We usually put down the bucket that has the feed in too, and being that its smaller he rather likes it. One evening a couple of weeks ago the dinner was all gone, but Santa decided to play with the bucket. He tossed it up in the air and it landed right over his head, and slid down his neck! Well the little fella leapt about, not knowing what on earth had happened to him. His mum on the other hand, huge, beautiful, gorgeous but I can floor Mr. Nigel Cobb in a split second, thought something was round his neck, and attacking her baby boy. Of course she thought it must be to do with us, and as Alan neared Santa to try and get the bucket from round his neck, the spit fest began! Well we have seen alpacas spit, luckily for us though, we have only ever had warning spits, that are usually little more than air. However not this time! Poor Alan was cornered by Bermuda who literally, and yes I mean literally covered him from head to toe in green, disgusting spit, and making dreadful alarm calls! Poor Alan rather looked like someone had thrown up, green stuff all over him, and with their three stomach's, yuk, it smelt like it too! Alan shouted for me to try and help, but then Bermuda ran towards me, she was just so scared, bless her heart, she knew something was happening to her baby, and she is the most protective mum.

We felt particularly sad as we had worked really hard with Bermuda. She had rather a reputation, personally I feel she has been happy in a small herd and we have really been able to spend some time with her. She eats from our hand and we can catch her quite easily, bless her, she has come a long way.

Eventually Alan suggested we give them a little more food, so we gave them all half an hour to calm down a little, then she walked calmly towards me and ate out of my bucket, I was so pleased. Meanwhile Alan was able to get hold of Santa, and take the bucket off. No harm done, and Alan headed straight for a shower!

Bermuda on a calmer day
Handsome little Santa!

May, the month of fab family visits :)

The month of May began with a visit from Frankie's partner Chris and his brother Gary. You may remember that Frankie was unable to come as their baby, Kaci's passport did not arrive back in time after it's "random blooming check!" Anyway the boys arrived, and of course we tried to give them the best holiday we could under the circumstances. The weather was very good, not too hot, so Gary could sit in the sun and fry, whilst Chris could keep popping indoors say "Oooh it's too hot for me out there!" Although Chris was not worried about the heat, when he was throwing him self into the pool. We all had a lovely time. We did not do many outings, although we did visit the Cordoba festival of patios, which was absolutely stunning! We certainly must put it on our website as an excellent week to visit Cordoba!

Chris in pose mode at one of the stunning patios

Playtime in the pool!

I was supposed to be having a wonderful surprise.... well it was still a wonderful surprise, but not quite the way it was supposed to be. I was completely unaware that my beautiful little grandaughter Maisie, had been given the all clear to fly, following her heart murmour worries, and Mark and Callie had in fact booked a trip to come over too. I did find out earlier than planned, as Alan had been trying to arrange if Frankie and Kaci would be able to come over with them too, so he had to tell me. They were a little disappointed they could not surprise me, but it was still a wonderful surprise...... if you see what I mean.

Mark was going to hire a car, but the day before we got an email "Mum, any chance you can pick us up from the airport?" It was such a lovely drive, two hours of sheer excitement before seeing Mark, Callie and my beautiful little Maisie again. Apparantly she was a little star on the plane. Once she had thrown up all over poor Callie and did a huge poo, she was all smiles, typical! Apparantly every one getting off the plane before them, was saying how gorgeous she was. Anyway we all arrived home in Montoro and I so enjoyed being a proper hands on nanny for about eight days. Mark and Callie had fun around the pool with the boys. Maisie also had loads of fun in the pool, and lots of quiet times in the big cool kitchen with nanny, wonderful!

My beautiful Maisie tries out her baby pool first

Now in the big pool with mummy and daddy!

BBQ one evening

Little Maisie totally zonked after swimming!

As well as enjoying the great company of Chris, Gary, Mark Callie and Maisie, Alan's mum and brother also joined us for a week, which was great! They came just in time for the fabulous Cordoba feria, or festival. Mike, Alan's brother, had n't been here for about 18 months, so the place had changed rather a lot! The weather was great, so they had a good time relaxing, I hope. Sadly, Chris and Gary had to go home before the Cordoba feria, but the rest of us went. Apparantly it goes on all night, but we dragged ourselves away around 12.30am. I had been flagging rather, and then just beore we were leaving, we passed lots of marquees that had been set up as bars and restaurants, many with flamenco dancing going on inside! Oooooh I would so love to do that! What a great month May was!

Mark, Callie and Maisie at the entrance to the Cordoba Feria

Maisie had a good time!
I love this photo!

Real flamenco, in a bar!
Two gorgeous little ones, dressed for the occasion!

Mike with his best mate, Carlos!

A bit of a blow, poor Miliko!

I can write this blog today, as I am having a good day, and so is little Miliko, but I'm afraid this is a bit of a difficult blog to write. When we took Miliko to see our local vet, Andres, we discussed with him the fact that Miliko's breathing ability was getting worse, as the weather was getting hotter. He was still coming out walking with us, or should I say running with us! He would run from tree to tree then stop for a rest, then run to the next tree, and so it would go on. We knew when he had his dislocated hip operated on, there had been a problem with his jaw also. Our vet in Cordoba that operated on him, had sadly had to break his jaw during the operation to enable him to get a tube down his throat. He discussed this immediatley after the op with us, and of course monitored it, when he was regularly checking his hip. At the time of the operation, luckily he also took an x ray of his head, to show the jaw problem. Well Andres had booked Miliko in for a castration, but the day we took him, he said he had been worrying about the operation, for a week, since he had done the blood test, and if something was to go wrong he would not be able to get a tube into him. He recommended we saw the vet in Cordoba, to discuss the options with him. He told us that if it was a bone problem it could probably be fixed, however if it was muscular, there was the possibility that nothing could be done.

The appointment was made, with Andres phoning Javier and discussing his thoughts on Miliko. Miliko of course was treated like the long lost puppy, loads of fuss and attention, and they always call him Miliko Miliko Miliko, which has him so incredibly excited his whole lttle body shakes, bless him! We spent aproximately half an hour with the vet, as he showed us books with images of jaws, and explained in great detail Miliko's condition, which was then translated to us by Maria one of the young vets at the practice.

Sadly it certainly was not the news we wanted, or even expected to hear. We thought his condition was either operable or not. We were sadly told that the trauma caused to his little body, that dislocated his hip and jaw, had caused the soft tissue in his face to malform. The x ray from around three months previous was noticably much better than the x ray done just two weeks ago. The problem is, if Javier was to operate and for example do a similar operation to the hip dislocation but to the jaw, once again the soft tissue would become even more damaged. Bless his heart, it was rather like being given a death sentence for him. Javier measured the amount Miliko could open his mouth and it was 17mms. At this stage he can eat small pieces of food quite well, but struggles with larger morsels. We have to feed him three times a day to keep his jaw mobile, to see if this helps the condition. We are taking him back one month later. Javier is willing to try and operate, although he knows it is more than likely to be unsuccessful. So we have to take it day by day. There will be a time when he cannot open his mouth at all, but we will love and care for him until this time is closer. We will discuss an operation again, but we will be led by our vet. If he operates and Miliko goes through that ordeal we do not want him to be in the same situation again just a couple of months down the line, that will be no quality of life for him. So poor darling little Miliko is likely to have a short life with us, and we will have the best time together we can possibly have! Below are just a few of my favourite photos of him!

Sitting on Blue, watching TV

Having a cuddle from Arthur

Cuddling Geri

Can't get comfy!

Carlos's turn

The three "little ones"

Probably my favourite!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Frankie and Chris's Nightmare

Frankie and Chris were planning on bringing my gorgeous grandaughter, Kaci out here for her first holiday in Spain. Kaci's passport was sent for, in pretty good time. In fact when Mark phoned the passport office, as they were ordering one for Maisie, he was told not to worry about paying for a fast track passport as they were being processed and out again in aproximately ten days, and that was in April. Sadly those in higher places, in the passport office, decided that Kaci's would have a "random check" on it. A letter was sent to the lady that counter signed the form and passport photos, regarding her business and then had to be returned to them. Frankie at this point was phoning the passport office daily, often twice a day, desperatly hoping there was something ...... anything she could do to speed up the process, as it was getting tight for time. Friends were suggesting all sorts, going to London, paying for it to be done for an emergency etc. Frankie suggested all these things! Sadly as the passport was already being processed they would not upgrade it, even if the difference was paid for, and an emergency passport will only be issued for a life or death situation, plus a first passport for anyone these days has to go through so many channels, after all my grandaughter could have been a five month old terrorist!!!!! An adult obtaining a first passport these days has to go through an interview! Anyway the plane tickets had been bought and paid for, and Chris's brother was also coming out with them, for a holiday. It got closer and closer then the decision was enevitiable that Frankie and Kaci would not get their holiday :( It was an extremely upsetting time all round. Obviously I was very much looking forward to seeing my darling daughter and having lots of cuddles with Kaci again. Poor Chris had to come, as his brother was coming too. Poor Frankie my heart went out to her! She was told told so many different things by so many different people too. At one point Frankie was told it had been passed by the inspector, then the following day she was informed the inspector had not even looked at it yet! She was given a day that the passport was arriving, and therefore she had to be home all day to sign for it, and the evening prior to this, the passport was already in her post box, and she had not even signed for it. Thank goodness for the internet and we could keep in touch, and thank goodness Kaci will not need another passport for five years

Shearing time again!

It seems no time ago that we were preparing for alpaca shearing a year ago. We were going to be very thin on the ground with friends/ helpers this year as there seemed to be a shearing curse going around! Our friends David and Di from the gorgeous area of the El Torcal national park were struck by the shearing curse! Our dear friend Di had a nasty accident with their lovely donkey, basically there was a donkey and a rope involved and poor Di, finished up with a broken leg in hospital. She is now part bionic and we do hope feeling much better and on the mend. Then there are our good friends Mike and Linda from near Ronda, and there was an alpaca and a bampoo pole involved, well to cut a long story short poor Mike had to have five stitches in his hand, the day before our shearing, so he was unable to drive up to us. Ginny Cobb had to stay at home and play midwife as they had alpacas due to give birth. Thank goodness Nigel, was coming and our lovley family that were holidaying with us from Holland joined us in a bbq, or we would have been eating Alan's fabby home made burgers for weeks. Actually, come to think of it, everyone was full before burger time, so we ate them for lunch and dinner for the next three days. Anyway I am digressing!

James and Kym Dixon, once again thankfully did the trip to Spain to shear for us all here. It is amazing how their confidence rubs off on the alpacas, and they just allow themselves to be sheared with very little fuss or bother. We had one little wingey baby, Santa! He squealed like a scaredy cat, or alpaca, through the whole experience, then I noticed Kim throw an old towel over his baby manly bits as little bits of wee wee were shooting out now and then, bless him. Well the shearing was done, the animals were all feeling much better, it was time for us all to crack open the beers and relax. It was lovely to have James and Kim stay over too, as they were travelling north from us the day after!

Rafa and the boys

Little weeny Rafa


Eduardo being checked out by Rafa, after being sheared


The boys watch Marcus being sheared

Gorgeous fluffy Galaxy

"Careful with me bonnet James!"

Little weeny Galaxy


Lovely Lily

Our big girl Bermuda

No harm done, tucking in nicely!

Dear little Santa

Looking very handsome!

Working towards our first guests

Well as usual I am well behind with my blog, as we now have our third group of guests here, one day I will catch up again. We had a huge amounts of painting to do once again, but it really had to be left until we were pretty sure the rain had finished for the summer. Our first year here, we had what was known as "The May of Rain" when it chucked it down, practically the whole month. This year thankfully we had very little in May, but by gum we saw it fall throughout the whole winter So we took some photos before our first guests arrived, all set for spring bookings, even with quilts on the beds! They wont last long!

Apartment living room and kitchen

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 2

Bedroom 3

Sunday, May 2, 2010

We have new Spanish friends :)

One evening Alan came in carrying a carrier bag, he said it was hanging on our gate. Inside the bag was a letter written in excellent English, from a young lady. Apparantly her auntie and uncle live fairly close to us and her auntie loves the alpacas and were interested in "buying one" First of all alpacas are herd animals, and are happiest in a herd of at least three, plus we thought her family would probably think there were around the same price of a goat....... er no! However if we were not able to sell any animals they would love to meet us.... yikes! Well Leonore left her email address, so we emailed her that same evening, and explained about the cost of alpacas, and some other facts for her to discuss with her auntie and uncle. Leonore emailed us back almost immediatly and said her family would love to meet us. She was actually going back to England two days later, where she was working, having finished university. So a quick date was fixed!

The following day Alan and I had a short drive to Leonore's uncle and auntie's olive farm. We were told the kilometre sign where their house was opposite, and we had a welcoming commitee of seven people waiting outside for us. We were welcomed as long lost friends and immediatly taken inside from the heat, into a very rustic, but beautifully cool room. It had very old trinkets and other interesting items hanging on the walls, and from the ceiling, and even a gun that the "auntie" had found in the garden.

Well the drinks were drunk and it was time for us to meet their many animals. We had only met Willy the miniature Yorkshire terrier, and their were twelve other dogs to meet, for a start!

Soon to be a mummy!

We were given fresh eggs to take home

Their piggy family

Loads of land for their goats

Having shown us there loving and cared for animals, it was now time to be impressed by their amount of land! A huge amount it was land too, the sum total of over 5000 olive trees, and an area of 400,000 square metres, which is 40 hectares, which is 400football pitches, how mental is that!

Right to the top of that hill!
Yes that hill!!!