Monday, 17 August 2009


Ian and I had both been thinking along the same lines this week, a miracle in itself at times. His thoughts are usually on strimming and gardening and mine are on my studies. Anyway we got chatting about the piece of land that we are working on (ok mainly Ian working on) and we both feel that calling it "the land" is clumsy and not a particularly nice phrase, a bit impersonal really. We thought of calling it Corncrake but that doesn't really sound right to our ears, even though that is what the piece of land is called in Latvian, we could call it by its Latvian name but getting our tongue around that is a little hard too. One thing we were absolutely adamant on is that we will not refer to it as "our land" unless we are trying to clarify something because we do not consider it our land at all; I know our name is not on the land book (official Latvian ownership paper), and we are leasing it but the owners consider it as belonging to us, but as far as we are concerned we are stewards of the land, not owners. It is our duty to make the best use of it so that future generations can benefit and even today's generation will be served by it but how that all works out and who actually ends up owning it on the land book I have no idea. I have a feeling though that those thoughts are going to start to leading us towards where we are going with the land and how we are to proceed from this point, all a bit vague I know but we are taking things nice and slow, too much has been rushed into without thought here in Latvia leading to many half finished or poorly finished projects and not a lot of consideration for the future, something we hope to avoid.

I have posted some photos of our garden and as you can see it is not as nice and neat as last year, the two weeks away in July kind of sorted that out. The beans are starting to take over even though I have nipped the ends off several times, never mind we will collect some sticks from the land to prop them up and then we can benefit from them as long as possible, we could even make an arch out of them just for fun. Our courgettes (zucchini) are producing like mad and one of them is now a marrow, as you can see, I was hoping it would slow the production down of courgettes but that doesn't seem to be the case, so courgettes end up in just about everything at the moment and I give them away as often as possible. I gave some to our neighbour the other day and she sent back some zucchini bread made from the donated courgettes and it was still warm from the oven, it was delicious. This year we actually managed to grow some tomatoes to the stage where they are ripening and we had our first ones today, pity they seemed a bit watery I was quite disappointed, at least they are not as bad as the Dutch tomatoes which I am sure are bred to be totally tasteless. We also had some sweetcorn for the first time this year, again not brilliant but not too bad either, not sure if maybe they need another day or two.

Early on in the week we went with a few of the orphanage kids on a trip to buy clothes, they had a list they had to stick to and a budget and they were so happy to be going round choosing items off the list and they did not give us any grief when they weren't allowed something or told they were at their limit. We also took them out to lunch in a cafe and they were really respectful and didn't go mad but enjoyed the food nonetheless. Taking teenagers clothes shopping was never my greatest joy but this was actually a fun day out as they truly appreciated the experience, but then again that was the boys, tomorrow we take a few of the girls shopping so we are going to set off earlier on in the day, can't think why.

This week they published the photos of the bike race here in Ergli, and you can see the numbers of folks in this link and in this link there are more pictures of the children's races, you have to see the determination on some of their little faces. Click through to see the race going up the ski run, they all had to get off their bikes and Ian said there was an audible sigh went up from fellow bike riders as they came round the corner and realised they would have to get off their bikes and push them or carry them up the sandy hill, there are also some pictures from the part of the race where they had to go across a river - makes me wonder if they got the bike race mixed up with a triathlon. Ian was relieved to tackle the water part at the end of the race as the one thing he really hates is wet feet. Unfortunately we couldn't spot Ian in any of the pictures, so if you do, let me know.

My inspiring link this week although it is also a little sad too is the death of the oldest pupil in the world at the age of 90. He is a Kenyan man who took advantage of the free primary education for all at the age of 86, what an inspiration and he continued studying right to the end, he even wanted to get a veterinarian certificate, so he still had ambitions. I hope I finish my studying before that though, as my studying is certainly not free and the next two months are going to be intense as I finish one course and start on the next one. At least I get June, July and August off next year which means I shall be able to work on the land and the garden, maybe I can learn to drive the tractor then. By the way we are still awaiting its delivery, so pictures will have to wait.


Danny said...

Hi Joanna,

Our puny plot is divided into three sections. The one furthest from the house has been converted by Fiona into our produce area: chickens, greenhouse and veg/fruit plots (she calls them borders but I cannot get my Irish brain around that one, seeing as they are in the middle, not at the edges!).

I solved our equivalent of your "the land" nomenclature problem. I refer to that bottom bit as the Lower Forty :-)

That's probably revealing my age - as in the Bobbie Gentry ode. Never mind. It works for me.

Good luck and keep on blogging!

Best wishes,

Joanna said...

Thanks Danny for the encouragement. I shall have to get our family going on suggestions as they can get fairly riotous when it comes to bantering things about, only problem is that we might not see them until Christmas but I guess that is okay.

Shari Schwarz said...

Your garden looks beautiful, Joanna! I also looked at your book list and like the sound of "The Beautiful Mess"... was also reminded about Leota's Garden. I forgot about that one...loved it so much when I read it several years ago. :) I hope you and Ian are well!

Joanna said...

Thanks Sheri. There will be more photos of our garden this Monday and the marrow is even bigger now :oS. We are well and Ian has been enjoying the recent spell of warm weather, he does sometimes miss the Colorado sunshine but still loves what he is doing here.