Monday, 4 April 2011

Reappearing things

The remains of the polytunnel and our reappearing tractor
Good job I make notes from time to time about the things I will blog about, I had forgotten most of what happened this week as I have been doing my assignment for my course allllllllllll week. I think the problem was that I couldn't really get my head around the essay question which made it really hard, but at least I think I have done enough to pass so that should be okay - I hope! I really have to say I admire those who do the course I am doing but work as well, as I am not sure I could manage it. I certainly couldn't manage two units per semester and stay sane at the end, if I was working too.

We think one of the neighbours dogs is on heat and so we
have lots of local dogs wondering about, fortunately they
are not aggressive and as you can see, this one was soaking
up the sun
A neighbour called around one evening to talk some more about a project to make clothes and accessories from local materials and as soon as she walked in she remarked how peaceful it is in our apartment. I guess it helps that we no longer have three small children running around since our children have all flitted the nest now, and hers are still so young, but it is funny what atmospheres people pick up on and I think it is lovely she finds it so restful in our home. We had a great time surfing the net looking for possible machinery to help in producing fabrics for the project, from felting machines to looms. Do you have any idea how many different types of weaving looms there are? I didn't! Neither did I realise that I would have to learn a whole new vocabulary, never mind my friend who struggles with English sometimes. I love all things crafty and seeing the long pieces of felt that can be made on one machine had me hankering to get some more craft projects done, all I need now is a free day!

Returning swans
Poor Ian hasn't been able to get out as much this week, not because the weather has been bad but because it has been so nice and spring like, which means the snow is melting away quite fast now and making everywhere quite muddy. It is really strange to stand in the kitchen hearing the water gushing down the drainpipes while the sun is shining, just doesn't seem right somehow. I'm not complaining though, because I have been busy and Ian hasn't had a lot to do on the land, he has been cooking some of the meals and cleaning the house. I could get quite used to it I think, but I've been told it won't last, as soon as the land dries out a bit Ian is out there. Still it made a wonderful change to come home from studying at the other apartment to be greeted by wafts of cooking and a lovely cleaned hallway. And before anyone feels too bad for Ian, he hasn't been totally confined to the house, cooking and cleaning, he has taken the time to build some nesting boxes to encourage even more small birds into our forest near our ponds (the more birds the less mosquitoes, I hope!) and he has also been out on the land  a little bit and one day while he was there he saw many migrating birds starting to return and in one morning he saw geese, swans and the storks coming back. Our own storks that nest opposite our other apartment, that we can watch from the kitchen window, have also returned and we saw them heading up that way whilst sitting eating our evening meal. It is such a thrill to see them return as you then know then that spring is definitely on its way, well that and all the other birds chirping away.

This scene was similar to the one I wanted to take last week
just before we had another four inches of snow dumped on
it. More and more grass is beginning to show
Ian was out on our allotment opposite our apartment to see how deep the snow was and if any of the things we had left in had started to reappear and met another of our neighbours out there. I was quite proud of Ian as he asked our neighbour in Latvian about his greenhouse (siltumnica in Latvian) as we can see that it seems to have suffered a bit in the snow as the plastic is flapping about, to which he replied so so - or the equivalent of that anyway, he then presented Ian with a small smoked fish that was still warm from the bucket he had in his hands. It would seem he must have a smoker out in his greenhouse and he was smoking the results of his ice-fishing expeditions. Yes people are really still ice fishing here, even though there is a thin film of water on top of the ice. I know the ice must still be quite thick really, but I must admit I wouldn't trust it.

With the disappearing snow comes the puddles
We were quite relieved that this year our car passed its technical (MOT for Brits) without a hitch. Last year we suspect the mechanic checking our car was so brutal with it that he shook the front suspension enough for it to fail the technical - a bit odd for a two year old car. Anyway this year the mechanic was much more thorough in checking the car, even checking seat belts which we haven't seen before, but he didn't shake it to bits. The poor guy though had to put up his hood while checking under the car as there are still bits of ice melting off it. The problem in the winter here is that there gets to be quite a build up of ice underneath that may never melt off until spring - not good for the fuel economy.

Reappearing ponds too 
I mentioned two weeks ago that our English lessons were finishing early for the summer as one of our ladies was going to Ireland to see her husband for two months. I was so pleased when it got to Thursday and I was still doing my essay that I hadn't got any English to prepare, but it was amazing that this week we bumped into a local headmistress that we got to know late last year and she asked us if we would help out in school with preparing the oldest class for exams with some conversational English. Such good timing! Good from the point of view we haven't got our other English lessons and good timing as we don't normally go to the hotel to eat on Mondays, but went tonight as I couldn't really face cooking as I am so tired after last week's marathon essay write (I hasten to add that I wasn't writing the whole time I was doing some writing, lots of reading and lots and lots of thinking). It will also give me a chance to find out where our village is in relation to development, to see what is happening and what is not happening here.

Reappearing geese
As you can imagine I haven't been on the net much for anything other than studying and unless you want to know about the World Bank then there is not much I can tell you but I did find one interesting piece in my trawl and that is the work done by the daughter of a Nazi soldier. Her father died a hero of the Nazi regime and was a part of the terror that happened but interestingly she sees it is important to confront the past and to help in educating the school children that these things did happen and they shouldn't happen again. I somehow think something like this needs to happen here in Latvia, for people to honestly confront the past. Some bad things happened and some good things happened in the past, both in the far past and in some of the recent past, truth and reconciliation would be very healing here. Mind you, wonder how much healing many of us would experience if we confronted some of the things in our own personal past.

Reappearing roads. This one is outside our apartment
as you can see we have been driving on several inches
of ice all winter. 
One nest box awaiting new owners

These bushes were barely visible
earlier on this year.


  1. Thought our spring was slow in coming until I saw your pics! Any movement on the house?

  2. Hi Ju, if you look at last years pictures it is about the same, maybe just a little slower. Although it can seem a long time in coming it seems to burst onto the scene once it gets here.

    We are waiting for a valuation to be done on the house - you think spring is slow in coming!!!!

  3. Nice to see the snow eventually clearing. It seems you've had a good clearing week also with the assignment now finished and out of the way.

    Amazing God's timing - you didn't expect to not have the English lessons but the extra time helped in getting your essay finished and also now to help out with English conversation in the school. It's good when people feel they can approach you about such things.

  4. Your right Mavis, it does indeed feel like a good clearing out week too. I suppose things need to be cleared out to make way for the new sometimes.

    I was pleased the headmistress felt she could come and ask us to help with the English, I'm looking forward to it.

  5. well you have had an excellent week I would say, finishing your essay and getting the cooking done for you!! Result!


I love to hear your comments and will always reply, so go ahead, ask a question or just say hi