So, it’s been alpaca mania for the last three weeks with all forty two of them keeping us busy and entertained. Making sure the alpaca family has enough pasture to sustain them is always a constant headache for Georg and Silke our hosts. With increasing numbers year on year they are always on the look out for new fields. Five alpacas will generally need at least an acre between them depending on the quality of the pasture.
The four Lindforst Alpaca groups are currently rotated round eleven different pastures of varying sizes I think but with the extra little ones born this year they are in need of more.
Georg breathed a sigh of relief after he had managed to secure a huge area of land owned by the church, with the bonus of a barn, which could be split into two different areas. The plan was to move Sancho and his girls to the new area. Excellent. Slight problem though, it all needed to be fenced. Aaaargh. It was a bit of a beast of a job. Old fence needed to be taken out and areas cleared and strimmed and the barn needed a good clean. It took Tim and Georg over a week of furious work to complete the first area.
Then it was just a case of moving Sancho and his nineteen girls to their new home………………..in the car……………………four or five at a time…………………trying to match up the right cria with the right mother (not easy)…………..with a few escaping (just as well they have a strong herding instinct)…………..much alpaca humming…………..and spitting………..oh yes………green spitting. To be fair there was just one culprit doing the spitting, Philly. Apparently she’s always like it. Aymeric (French helper) suffered the worst of it. Just as well he wears glasses. I’m sure that green spit must burn one’s eyeballs! Fortunately, once she was in the car she was like a little lamb and more interested in what was outside the window than with us. It took three of us three hours to get the whole family moved and I’m not sure who was more relieved when it was done, us or the alpacas.
Three days later they escaped! An early morning phonecall from a local farmer notified Georg that seventeen alpacas were loose. After safely rounding up the seventeen escapees we found three were still in the field. One had her head and leg stuck in the fence. She must have thrashed about a bit trying to free herself causing a big gap in the fence for the others to make their escape. Livestock, they do keep you on your toes. Since starting this Helpx lark we have rounded up pigs in France, donkeys in Portugal and cows and alpacas in Germany.
With the fence repaired and Sancho and his girls safely back behind it the second area needed to be fenced. Fortunately for Tim two new helpers, Geuwen and Elyes, who had arrived the day before, were earmarked for that job. We now know why farmers end up with hands the size of shovels as after several days of banging in fence posts and the like Tim’s hands were twice their normal size. He was glad to have a break from it and busied himself instead with fixing things. He had quite the little outside workshop set up.
Over the last few weeks he’s pottered about happy as larry tinkering with things. Silke did comment that it was the first time they’d had a helper who was able to fix things. She said they normally break everything!
It’s been a lot of work here though with a thousand and one things to do. The animals alone (ducks, geese, chickens, alpacas and dogs) take two people four to five hours of work a day sorting out their food, clearing the pens and pastures, topping up their water, replenishing their hay and driving to where they are. Our time here has been full on with other tasks thrown into the mix beyond animal care and fencing (painting, strimming, clearing, weeding, digging, fixing, watering, cleaning, tidying, pruning, harvesting). Then after lunch more of the same!!
We’ve enjoyed all the tasks we’ve done though and I have especially loved looking after the alpacas, spending time with them everyday observing how they behave and enjoying their antics.
Their fleeces are used to make socks, hats and duvets (alpaca fleece is not greasy like down so they are suitable for people with allergies) which our hosts sell at events, shows and on the internet.
Our time here, though, has come to an end and we are looking forward to pastures and countries new. Thank you to Georg and Silke for hosting us and to all the other helpers who have been here at various times throughout our stay. Our plan now is to leave Germany via Passau and go on into the Czech Republic. From there we’ll travel through Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia to reach Croatia but, once again, time is running away with us and we need to get a move on if we are to chase the sun.
Auf Wiedersehen auf Deutschland!