Monday, 2 November 2009

Contrasts and hold ups

Our life at the moment is full of contrasts, well maybe not full of them but certainly a mixture of what feels like bizarre moments. For instance today, I was studying as usual and Ian was in the kitchen dealing with pumpkins, two of them had rotted whilst sat in our basement (fortunately these ones did not explode like the other one) so it was decided that the others needed dealing with now rather than later. Ian was actually hanging around waiting for a phone call from the tractor company to tell him a tractor service engineer was on his way to fit a front loader on our little tractor (only three weeks late but who's counting) which is why he wasn't out at the land dealing with wood, as he has been for the past few weeks. So there is Ian up to his elbows in pumpkin when he gets a call from Cyprus, his hospital technician's experience was required, so he switches into consultancy mode, that dealt with and it is back to pumpkins, next the awaited phone call from the tractor company, the service engineers are on the way, farmer mode. As for me, I acted as secretary whilst Ian couldn't answer the phone as his hands were covered in pumpkin gunk, finished off the pumpkin seeds that he had been in the middle of sorting, then a while later cookery agony aunt "How do you roast a chicken? Thought you might know!" says the voice on the other end of the phone, next moving onto sorting out details regarding our house in England which we need to deal with since our daughter finishes her course in about a months time and will be leaving and somewhere in the midst of all that I am trying to write up an assignment. My assignment might get finished soon! 

Ian gave the land a nickname this week "The Everglades", because the land is so completely saturated that the lake which briefly appeared after the snow melted in April has reappeared  as have other small ponds. Unfortunately for Ian the Everglades, Latvia is a tinsy winsy bit colder than the Everglades, Florida ie 28C in Florida and freezing here or maybe that is not a bad thing as now our Everglades has begun to freeze over, so maybe it will be possible to skate on the Everglades before long. Still at least we now know what to expect next year and where the problem areas are. This is such an important part of getting to know the land, rather than rushing in and inflicting whatever solution we feel like and ending up with a mess, we are spending the time information gathering from the internet, gleaning information from locals and by good old fashioned observation. Of course there are jobs to do and Ian has been clearing out the mass of tangled undergrowth in the woods and giving the taller trees breathing space and room to grow, so he is not bored, in fact you can see the wood pile he has amassed in the photos from the fallen oak tree branch (by the way kids your dad says "See, he hasn't lost the touch of building a wood pile") but these are really frittering around the edges jobs and this winter we will really have to sit down and start planning what is going where and how we progress with everything, maybe the ubiquitous 5 year plan, well kind of. 

Progress continues to be slow with the polytunnel. The holes that were dug for the concrete are now full of water. Ideally Ian would have dug the holes out with a digger he bought but it didn't fit the tractor (that was another saga). If it had fit then the polytunnel would have been up by now. After a lot of emails he finally found out that it would fit with a £1000 special attachment. Ouch! (I do have to point out at this point that Ian had done the research and the digger should have been fine for the tractor but nowhere did it mention that each tractor has to have its own attachment as they are not standard) Plan B, a friend brought out a machinist who apparently works wonders, an old chap but friendly enough. Well we all stood around the tractor and our friend translated back and forth between Latvian and English, and the old chap seemed to think that he could create an attachment to fit the tractor. Perfect! Can do it in a couple of days! Brilliant! All we had to do was get the tractor up to his place. Problem! The front loader was meant to be fitted today and as I said earlier the guys came out to do it but there was an issue and they decided that they needed to take the tractor back to the company, an hours (car) drive away and they were going to drive our little tractor back there which perhaps manages 2o miles an hour. Hopefully they got the tractor back there, or maybe they are still wending their way to the tractor company as I write? So no tractor for the time being. Plan stalled yet again!

I know the post was a little long last week so I left something out that I felt was noteworthy, so here it is. An Estonian saying goes "In order to see new things, you have to follow common paths - paths you know." so said Urmas Tartes after winning a photographic award. How true, how often we miss the obvious or the new because the path is so familiar. Wonder what I have missed along the way?

The Latvian meteorite which was spread across the news sites last week certainly did turn out to be a hoax, in fact it was all a marketing hoax to demonstrate that Latvia is a creative place! Hmmm! The Latvian interior ministry was not amused though and requested payment from the company for the time involved, all 13000 LVLs of it. Makes me wonder how many people were involved because the police are not that well paid at the moment, about 400 LVLs a month, but it broke down into 3000 LVLs for the policing and 10,000 LVLs for the military for maybe two days work at the most. Sounds like it may have escalated into a major incident.

I was chatting with a friend online this week after I posted a link to a newspaper article that gave a pretty fair appraisal of the economic climate in Latvia and she asked what God was calling us to do regarding the problems facing Latvia. Good question! After a bit of thought I replied that I was going to pray for an apology from the Swedish government and banks for their part in the crisis. They have not shown a compassionate face in all of this and they are as much to blame as the Latvian nation but to listen to them you wouldn't think so. I think though more significantly God delights to raise up surprising solutions from out of the way and despised places and I pray that God raises up a solution here in Latvia, one that will bring joy and health to this planet we live on. 


Suky said...

Thank you so much for the photographic link. I would have missed seeing such wonderful photographs had I not clicked on the link.
I love your blog (found through Cottage Smallholder) and find it very inspiring and thought provoking. Thankyou :)

Joanna said...

Welcome to my blog Suky and thank you for your encouraging comments

Mavis said...

I agree with Suky. Those photographs are amazing.
You certainly seem to have had an interesting week - no time for boredom there then!

I like your poem, btw

Joanna said...

Certainly no time for boredom. As I said before I don't really do constant busyness, I like time to reflect and ponder but the end is in sight as I have to hand my assignment in by Friday and then it is just normal course work for me and Ian can just potter about cutting up trees for quite awhile yet, there is at least 10 acres of woodland to tidy up.