About Us

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Wokingham, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Easter-Wood Alpaca Stud is a family-run, BAS-registered Alpaca breeding enterprise, located in the Royal County of Berkshire. Sheila and Jeff Easter set the company up in mid-2008 when they purchased their first 5 Elite Australian Alpacas.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

A mixed bag.....

It has been some days since I last blogged as it has been extremely hectic here at Easter-Wood for a while now and with the latest changes in the weather conditions, it has put even more challenges in place for us.

Quite honestly though, we have been blessed with good weather for the initial stages of the cabin assembly and now the shell is complete, it only leaves the inside to finish off and as the weather has turned somewhat wet, we are at least dry now!

This afternoon however, during my twice-daily feeding session for the alpacas, I was caught unexpectantly in the middle of an intense downpour. It not only completely soaked me right through but was so heavy it really spooked our young elites who were displying signs of fear as the rain and hail lashed down, turning their little paddock into an instant lake!! In stark contrast, Cambridge Ice Cool Lad, who occupies the paddock adjacent to the weanlings, simply sat down and chewed contently on his haylage.

At this point I decided to bring the poor things into the barn for the night where they would be dry, warm and out of the fearsome wind, hail and rain! Such is our British weather!!!

Yesterday, I learnt another trick that our farm cat had got up to................not content with stalking and eventually catching a mouse, she decided that her prey had to finish it's days by dumping it into the disinfectant foot bath sitting outside the barn!! Never seen that before!

We also have a very busy weekend approaching as the alpacas are scheduled for their 3 monthly toenail trimming exercise. Hope the weather is not too wet as they are so much more difficult to hold!

Signing off now but will be back soon.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

A vet visit

Following some difficulty with the matings of a couple of our Elite girls earlier this year, we decided to seek professional intervention and called in our vet to conduct a uterine flush on one of them and scan the other to check her pregnancy. We first ushered EP Cambridge Olympus into the barn and Graham, our vet gave her a mild sedative before administering the uterine flush process. She was an absolute gem and after this was finished we gave her an antibiotic with the hope that she will be ready for mating again with Cambridge Ice Cool Lad in a weeks time. We are hoping that this time we obtain a positive result! The really good news was that after scanning Yuralee Sunrise of EPC, we saw that she was indeed pregnant and that Cambridge Ice Cool Lad had done his job well!

With the weather being mild for a change, the alpacas are enjoying the grass which is already showing signs of growth again. The weanling males are really looking good and have grown so quickly over the past two months so I must try and capture a good photo of them!

The cabin is progressing well with the underfloor heating being laid tomorrow and the roof tiles should be finished by the weekend.

As I write this blog, the weather has decided to take a turn for the worst and I can now hear the rain pounding on the roof of the caravan so I will turn in for the night and will be back soon.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

.....and yet another fine day!

This morning greeted us with a fine, warm, sunny day and it was certainly an uplifting feeling. This weather evokes memories of Spring and it was with this in mind that we approached the next phase of the cabin assembly. Today, we are focused upon installing the cedar roof shingles and as can be seen from the photos below, the first half of the roof has almost now been completed.

 The first two rows are installed

 
 The finished south-facing roof


Throughout all of this activity of course, we are also getting on with our Alpaca business and tomorrow, we are having our vet visit us to scan a couple of our Elite girls which are proving a little difficult to ascertain their pregnancy status. It is always a challenge to accurately determine the "spit-off" results and so we are turning to our vet for some expert prognosis.

The Easter-Wood farm cat, that we purchased at a recent farm auction is really well at home now and is not only extemely cute, she is most effective as a "mouser". Her appearence whilst receiving visitors however generates much engineered attention and she simply adores being fussed over, bringing about a welcomed diversion to the ever present graft with the cabin assembly.

We have decided to take a break tomorrow so as to re-charge our aching limbs, so will be back with more photo coverage later this week.





Saturday, 13 March 2010

The latest at Easter-Wood...

With apologies for being absent from our blog for almost a week now, I can now give you an update to our cabin build. After just 10 days, we are now in the final stages of completing the "shell" with possibly a further 3 weeks to complete the internal construction. The following photo's gives you an idea of our current progress and we are so looking forward to finally running our business from a proper "base"!
End of the 6th day of build with part of the roof installed
 This is the cabin this morning..
......and this is this evening.

 Installing the windows

The "Team" taking a well-earned break

Our cabin assembly is a remarkable experience for us, not least of which has demonstrated that for all those that have a passion to develop their own Alpaca breeding business, it can be achieved and my aches and pains are certainly testament to that comittment!!

Back to Alpaca business............with the dry spell we are experiencing currently, it is good to see our Alpacas enjoying the sunshine at last. Temperatures are climbing and as a result, they are finally getting to graze on grass once more. Our girls are all looking well pregnant with the first of our Elite females due to deliver in early May. EPC Cambridge Sara, having produced an excellent male from EPC Cambridge Neptune last year is due to give birth from a mating with EPC Cambridge Samson. We are really looking forward to seeing what she will produce!

Thats all for tonight but will be back soon.




Sunday, 7 March 2010

Cabin Progress

I apologise for the fact that our blog these days seems to be nothing but a diary of our Cabin assembly but it is currently a major focus for us and that which is in fact, the corner stone of our business! Today's continued fine weather brought about further rapid progress and as shown, the photo below depicts the days final work on the roof beams:
 

The work tomorrow will be to install the final roof beam, made of Douglas Fir, completion of the end gables and installation of the ceiling which makes up the structural basis of the roof. I am still quite amazed at the rapid progress we are making and all of this within a week of starting!

More progress report tomorrow......

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Good weather, Good progress!

Since our cabin assembly commenced last week, we have been amazed at the rapid progress that can be made and what with the good weather we are currently experiencing, we are set to have the cabin shell completed by the end of next week.

Yesterday and today, we have made great progress in assembling the log walls as can be seen from the photo's.
Yesterday's progress on the log walls
The speed of assembly is very clear by todays' progress
Our "Team"

Tomorrow will be spent on preparing the assembly of the roof and since the timbers for this part of the cabin are even more heavier than the log walls, I am sure that I will end up exacerbating my already aching limbs so I will now close to have a good nights sleep!!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

A short blog tonight

Weather today was great and so we took the opportunity to wean off our little Miss Moneypenny. As she seems a regular "independant", we decided to place in the paddock with the elite youngsters and as we expected, once the little introductions were over, she settled in very well and was soon tucking into the haylage with the others.

As I have promised to keep up to date with the progress of the cabin assembly, here are the lastest photo's taken today. The photo below shows the final touches to the floor joists;
This photo shows the start of the log walls going in with some of them in the foreground;

With the promise of fine weather for the next few days, we should be able to really crack on with cabin. We are hoping that the complete shell will be up within one more week (weather permitting)!

I am now off to get some well-earned rest!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Canada comes delivering!

What a busy last two days we have experienced! Yesterday was the scheduled delivery of the component parts of our Log Cabin. It finally arrived in a 40 foot shipping container and as the access to our farm is somewhat "tight", the driver decided to reverse down the full length of Longwater Lane.....not a good idea! It became evident that his ability to accurately control the direction of his vehicle in reverse was not particularly great and once he started his way down the unmade section, his driving skills became even more erratic and at about 100 metres from our farm gate, he ran off the road into extremely soft verge. Yep, you got it, he got stuck!! After trying to ease out of the deepening trough for approximately 1 hour, we decided to unload the container by hand from this spot. Fortunately however, I had the good fortune that my son, Neil and a number of my colleagues had very kindly agreed to help me unload. The most weird activity throughout the struggle to release the vehicle was that a group of the locals (you know the ones) had decided to gather and photograph our plight!! How bizarre!! 

Unloading a 50 ton shipping container full of pine logs by hand is not for the faint-hearted and after a further hour or so, we managed to hire a telescopic fork lift vehicle and this made the job so much easier but despite that, we were still hard at it until 7:30 that evening! 

Today, after nursing the many bruises and aching limbs, we started assembling and as can be seen from the photo's, good progress is being made. By close of play, we had laid down floor joists covering almost threequarters of the base.

 That's all for now but will be back soon and I promise not to become to much of an anorak about the Log Cabin. (It's just that we have waited so long for it!!)