Lipstick for goats

Lipstick for goats

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Naked weird looking dudes - yes my alpacas.

Toshi and True are finally nakie, skinny, weird, extraterrestrial looking dudes walking around the paddock. 

A few years ago I took up my friend’s offer of guidance during our first try at shearing our alpacas.  Hubby did better than I did; it was really hard feeling and seeing where I was going on their bodies under the fleece and I was scared of slicing them open.  

Truesdale is extremely unhappy with my styling efforts of 2013.  MacIntosh decided to go on strike, sitting down on the job, until he received better fringe benefits.

We averaged 40 minutes per alpaca.  It was a great experience to learn how to shear them but 40 minutes is a huge amount of time for the poor guys to be shackled on a table while I fluff around. I can only imagine a year on that time would blow out while trying to remember how to go about making them nude without the experienced supervision. 

For the cost of a shearer it is much easier to take them up the road to be shorn with our neighbours ‘pacas by Ian, a top gun shearer, and his son Michael.  I timed them this year – 5 to 8 minutes per alpaca including vaccinating, a refreshing drink of delicious drench for worms, a pedicure and the latest hair style!!  Far less stress for me, not to mention for True and Mac as well.

The shearers come complete with their own gear - table, generator, clippers and this year extra eye candy in the form of Quinton from the USA on a working visa helping them.

The table and shackles holding the alpaca look like some medieval torture rack but I can assure you it is not harming the animal in fact it is the gentlest and best way to stop the alpaca from hurting itself while being shorn, especially for alpacas not used to being handled. An alpaca looks to be a cuddly gentle animal but in fact can be very feisty, they also spit the foulest smelling cud when feeling confronted. 

Years ago my husband met a man who wrapped himself in rubber foam sheets secured together with packaging tape around his body. I sort of have the Michelin man in mind when I think of this. He then sheared his alpacas in a standing position; their heads tied to a post so they couldn’t cush (sit down).  They kicked out at him but the rubber absorbed the blows.    

To try to shear an alpaca in the same manner as a sheep would hurt the ‘paca’s back and be extremely difficult and uncomfortable on the shearer due to the animals size.

With the temperature about to skyrocket into the low to mid 30 degrees Celsius I bet my boys will be glad of the indignity of being hoisted on a table and being undressed. 

2015 the shearers are much better hairstylists than I am!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Braidwood a historic little town

What better thing to do on a rainy day than be a tourist in town.  With the ‘Historic Braidwood Town Walk map’  firmly in my grasp  and the rain lightly falling I wandered the streets for a few hours and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

It’s not often I can take time out to ‘smell the roses’ and I have to say the roses are particularly beautiful at this time of year. The gardens look so much prettier in the rain; the leaden sky sheds a lovely diffused light making everything look softer, while the droplets of rain lying gently on the petals cleanse and refresh the blooms.

Braidwood was the first NSW rural town to be heritage listed in 2006, following a period of unpleasant dispute between those who wanted to preserve the town’s character and charm and those wishing to develop it.

The village was established in 1837 being named after Dr. Thomas Braidwood Wilson who had been granted land here in 1826.  Dr. Wilson was the surgeon superintendent on several convict ships to NSW from 1822.

When gold was discovered 1851 in nearby Araluen Valley and other surrounding areas the population of Braidwood swelled to over 10,000, this was when many of the substantial buildings were constructed.

Welcome to my town - Braidwood NSW.

 Wallace Street Braidwood - park end
Still on the main street

This house in Elrington Street dates to the 1840’s being the oldest dwelling in town. 

The old Maternity Hospital circa 1860’s was run by a sister of the notorious Clarke Brothers, the bushrangers who ran riot during the gold rush in this area. The building is now an antique store.  The owners have a bizarre sense of humour, note the mannequin holding the baby in the top dormer window!

All country towns have at least one pub.  Braidwood has two but at the height of the gold rush eleven hotels had been built to entertain the predominantly male population.

The Braidwood Hotel (formerly the Commercial Hotel) built 1859 is the oldest in Braidwood and still licensed.

The Royal  Hotel rebuilt in 1890 on the site of an earlier ‘Royal Hotel’.  The original name was changed to the Royal Mail Hotel in 1969 when scenes were filmed there for the movie “Ned Kelly’ starring Mick Jagger. I always thought Mick J was an odd choice to play our infamous bushranger.
The owners of the Royal Mail Hotel and some guests will tell you the pub is haunted. Room 14 in particular features lots of strange activity.  Well darn when I stayed there I wasn’t visited by any ghostly apparitions but then I wasn’t lodged in room 14, I always miss out on the fun, but if I had known about the pub being haunted I don’t think I would have slept very well, constantly checking there wasn’t a spook at the end of my bed.

Ryrie Park.  Dr. Wilson and prominent settlers provided exotic plants and flowers for the grounds. It’s a bit like a botanical garden with the trees labelled with their exotic unpronounceable names.  Markets are held in the park once a month. It is a lovely place to sit for awhile.

The Post Masters residence 1865

Workers cottages from 1860 have survived in nearly original condition and yes they are lived in. How cute are they! 

This is the old Wesleyan Church. It is now a private residence. I do wonder about its occupants.  There is a creepy baby mannequin suspended from the ceiling, sort of flying in front of the left window.

What town is complete without a few churches.  St Bedes Catholic Church and St Andrew’s Anglican Church are both built of local granite.
St Andrew's Anglican Church

St Bede's Catholic Church

I love this cute quirky building. It houses the Braidwood Times newspaper.

The ‘Villa” circa 1850’s.

The Granite Store 1870

The Commercial Banking Company built in 1888 as a bank and managers residence certainly reflects the prosperity of the gold mining era.

The Albion Hotel 1872 was the most luxurious hotel in Braidwood and had a reputation for excellent food it is now a cafe on the lower level.

  Braidwood’s first bank The Joint Stock Bank built about 1855 . 

Tidmarsh was an Inn built circa 1856.  It appears today exactly as it did in 1862, complete with shingled roof.

Built as another hotel in 1845 of local granite this building now houses the Braidwood museum.

If you guessed another Hotel you are right!  The Criterion Hotel 1870.  A feature of this hotel was a long stool on the Wallace Street footpath on which patrons sat to watch the 
passing parade. 

This court house was built 1900 on the site of the earliest courthouse of 1837.

If you are ever passing through town do visit the Dojo Bread shop. The yummiest bread is made from this rustic little shop.

There are so many lovely cottages and just as many beautiful gardens.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of Braidwood as much as I did!