Monday, 31 May 2010

Noshing time

Ian rotavating the orchard. The yellow coat is not to keep
rain off but the mosquitoes
Ian raking our new orchard
We had to pay a visit to the tax office this week to register our new company. We were given a book of codes to describe what our company is going to do, there were hundreds of codes and some were very similar to each other, so which ones more closely matched what we planned to do? Tricky! Fortunately they were also in English so we didn't have to rely on our dear friend to translate it all, in fact she gave me the book to make the decisions; don't blame her really as she has so much to do because most of the information etc is in Latvian, of course! Well we decided on mixed farming for one, herbs another, silvoculture with something else and I can't remember the rest (plus the list that I do have is in Latvian and I can't read the writing very well), I think we managed to cover all the different bases though that we are endeavouring to include in our company without being so specific that we haven't got room to grow or diversify if need be.

Inside the greenhouse is now planted up with tomatoes
cucumbers, melons, peppers, chillies and  sweetcorn 
It has been a very busy week in the garden as we try and get as much started as possible, the season is short but thankfully intense. I sowed some seeds in trays in the new polytunnel,  it was so nice not to have tray after tray of seeds on our windowsills but unfortunately something got into the polytunnel and noshed on some of the seeds. Whatever it was wasn't that fond of the beans as only one was half-eaten but the winter squash which was just sticking out of the soil awaiting some more compost to cover them up were all neatly picked out bar one. I hope the one it left will produce something as the aim was to save the seed to produce more next year. It wasn't the only thing that got noshed either, one of our new apple trees had its barked noshed and so they are all now covered with a natty new coat made out of fleece, not sure if it will do the trick or not but it is the best we can do for the time being. Our orchard is looking rather good now as it has been rotavated, raked and seeded with grass and clover (clover to give nitrogen to the trees), okay the rotavation should have been done first but we had to get the trees in quick and early spring or early autumn is the best time to put them in. What we need now is some gentle rain to water the seed in, although in practice what will probably happen is all the grass seed ends up at the bottom of the orchard.

Our tomatoes are racing away now
I have also been well and truly noshed by mosquitoes, my head is like a relief map of the alps, my hands are covered in bumps and I even have a few bites on my knees as the the mossies took advantage of a gap in my jeans, it wasn't even a big gap but they found it. The problem is so widespread in Latvia this year that getting hold of insect repellent is very difficult and even if you find it there is only the stuff with DEET in, which is definitely effective at keeping the little blighters at bay but makes me feel ill in the meantime. We have a little Boots insect repellent for kids, left over from last year, but to be honest it is so vile as it makes us wheeze when it is sprayed, how someone can spray it on kids we do not know and so we would rather not use that either. Hopefully our youngest son who is coming out at the end of this month will bring some citronella insect repellent with him, otherwise he is back on the plane to get some. One thing that I have been talking to God about is the mosquitoes, if the earth will eventually be redeemed will there be mosquitoes and if there are will they still be drawing blood? And if we are a part of redeeming the land for his glory will he get rid of the mosquitoes? Unfortunately I haven't had an answer on that one yet and so I guess we will still have to put up with the little blighters for a little while longer.

Speedwell, I think!
I am not noshing quite so well though as I have more tooth problems, a filling fell out, it is sensitive but fortunately not painful. Can't complain though as it is a filling which was put in when I was pregnant with our middle child who is now 22 - lasted a while then and certainly lasted better than the two gold crowns which were put in first and I somehow managed to swallow. Whoops!

Rainbow coloured beetle
The wildlife around is seems to be bursting with energy and colour now even with the cooler weather we have had this week. There are loads of ladybirds on the land and some rainbow coloured beetles (see the photo), I have no idea what they are called though. One incredible sight I saw when I went to fetch some water for our plants from the pond were shoals of tadpoles, not sure if that is the technical term for a group of tadpoles but the pond was black with them, they were all congregated together but slowly moving off in waves. We stood and watched them for ages, marvelling at the seething masses and then suddenly we thought of our pond on the land and grabbed a bucket and caught some. We put the bucket in the back of the car, wedged in nice and tight, but one thing you have to know about Latvia is that some of the roads are only gravel roads and so are not the smoothest of rides. When we got to the land we were greeted with some very sad little tadpoles on our runner board at the back and a few swimming around in the ridges of our plastic lined truck boot (not very technical I know but I am trying my best!), fortunately not many had escaped and those that had we scooped up and put them back in the water. We poured them gently into our pond and Ian assures me there doesn't appear to be any dead ones floating but lots still in the pond swimming around, so we are very happy about that.

A relief to some maybe but I have not pondered much this week as I haven't had a great deal of time. Hopefully once all the seeds are in then things will quieten down a bit and I will have more time but then I am looking at the backlog of washing and cleaning so perhaps not! Heh ho! It is different from studying anyway.

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