Monday, 10 October 2011

451 and still counting

Mushroom in our forest. Not sure what sort,
so if you know I would be happy if you send
me a message or post a comment.
Well 451is how many pig holes or areas of damage that I have counted so far. I have at least finished covering four of the five areas of land, but the biggest area is still to do and I have only covered a small portion of it. At least in our area the hunt has been in the vicinity and so the wild boar have decided to take a vacation for a couple of weeks - well we hope it is at least a couple of weeks. The weather is definitely against me at the moment though, as the temperatures have plummeted and it has been drizzling. Drizzle is okay for just traipsing around fields looking at the damage done by the wild boar, but trying to measure the holes means I get a muddy wet tape measure that sticks after a while, the notebook gets covered in mud too as well as wet and I can't imagine it would do much good for Ian's camera that I am borrowing to take the photos as evidence. I think the next time I am out measuring the holes it will be woolly hat and gloves time, and that won't make things any easier.

Will post a picture in situ next week. Hope
it looks less of a mess where it is though by
then. Things are starting to pile up out there
on our land and look untidy.
We did get the horse box that Ian went to look at and it matches the caravan beautifully as both are in Latvian red and white, and guess what! I forgot to take a photo of it (so you will have to make do with the advertisement picture of it). Next week perhaps! I did get some photos of our cute new kittens though, so yes we did succumb. They are giving us hours of entertainment as they go hurtling around our laminate floors chasing old bean pods, toilet rolls, screwed up tissues, a stuffed old sock and the light from a laser pen. They are also causing us great consternation due to the fleas they both have, but they are getting better now that we found a flea comb.

This is Bella, but don't be fooled by that innocent look.
Bella is the first kitten we got and she is completely hyper. She charges around the house like a cat on a hot tin roof. She was thankfully toilet trained when we got her, but as many kittens do she often bites - gently but still! We have been gradually training her that this is an anti-social habit and she had better desist. She is also the first one into any trouble, most of the time and spends most of the time picking a fight with our other kitten. It is funny how she sort of chirrups when she has been caught doing something she knows she shouldn't.

Sofia, the quieter kitten
Sofia, Sofie or Sofs for short, is a far calmer character. She seemed pretty timid when we brought her home, but that could be because she is a barnyard kitten and not as used to people as Bella was. I first saw her when I was walking around the farm for my wild boar project with the owner of the farm. She was sitting watching two other kittens playing and looked so cute and I guess you could say she was the reason for giving in. We were worried that being a barnyard kitten she might be a bit wild but she is far from it. A gentle creature - unless provoked by guess who! - and perhaps deaf, either that or she has a high tolerance for all sorts of strange noises that freak Bella out. They have adapted now to each others company and show no jealousy over food bowls but definitely both jealous of people's laps. It is not a kitten each but usually they are both sat on Ian's lap (or mine now as I try and type this). Not sure what they will think of us tomorrow though as they will be off to the vets for check ups and injections. Sofia is the smaller of the two kittens but maybe actually quite a bit older than Bella, so not sure if she was just underfed or just a small cat, so we will see what the vet says about that.

One on your lap, both on your lap
Another milestone this week was our Wedding Anniversary. We have now been married 27 years and we have known each other for 29 years. We met the first week of the first term while at uni and got married between our second and third year and so the anniversary of our meeting was two days before our wedding anniversary. It has been an amazing time and if you had told either of us what we would be doing, where we would be and where we go in that time, I am not sure we would have believed you. It has been a great journey and I pray that our kids enjoy the journeys in their married lives as much as we have. Now I wouldn't like to give you the impression it has all been plain sailing because it hasn't. We still have adjustments to make to our new lifestyle and having each other around so much, we have had our ups and downs too, but thankfully not many arguments. Early on I took to writing letters to Ian to tell him about how I felt about certain situations and this allowed me to put my thoughts down in a more considered way, especially as the first draft usually got thrown away.

The village lake has been returned to full
capacity now as the work continues on
the new hydro-electric plant
You can tell it is winding down time as we even found time to go to the bakery for a cup of tea and a pastry, which we haven't done in a while. We have made it to the bakery to get a pastry to sustain us through the day, well a pastry or two if the truth be told, but not had the time to go and walk there. We probably didn't really have the time as it was one of the few dry days this week and I guess there was plenty we could have done, but life doesn't seem quite so urgent as it has been, as we have got done a lot of what we need to do to be prepared for the winter, or at least what we have been able to do. Must mention the fact we needed to go to Jekabpils for some supplies we couldn't get locally and well since we were there we had to have some English style fish and chips at the local Tomato Pica place (thought it might become a regular feature). Despite our times of relaxation there needs to be a final push though to get wild boar holes logged, the last of the veg dug up and then next month it will be putting plants to bed before the real snow and cold arrives. We may get some soon (none forecast yet but you never know) but that usually melts to leave us with a muddy mess.

We were surprised to find our heating came on today. It hasn't been that cold recently, although it was today and it isn't October 15th yet either. The regulations are less than 8C during the day for three days or below freezing at night for three days. This usually means a cold September early October, but the unseasonably high temperatures we have had meant it was just not cold enough for heating and we have only had our wood burning stove on a couple of times. We had planned on lighting it tonight  as it was around 4C most of the day and only got up to 6C at its warmest, but there is no need now.
Our barn is now finished, they added the locks today. The
concreting has to wait until next year now though

Our neighbours on the allotment are a bit bewildered as to why we are not out digging the garden over, in fact we put clover seed down as a winter cover crop. Most Latvians have pristine dug plots over winter and then dig it all over again in the spring which destroys the soil structure, it also leaves the soil open to leaching of all the nutrients from it over the winter. By leaving plants intact we risk the pests not being disturbed but then we rotate our crops and so is not as much of a problem and I remain to be convinced that digging brings all the harmful bugs to the surface to be eaten. Another factor for leaving the site covered with vegetation is that we have a sloped site which is sandy and that means that it is more prone to leaching. We are trying a bit of the technique used in the link (Garden of Eden film) I shared the other week of using wood chippings, unfortunately we can't get the chippings with the leaves on our plot (we can do that on our land though), but we can mix it in with compost and manure for a more nutritious topping. We have sourced the wood waste from a local wood mill, which means there is a lot of bigger pieces of wood in, but they will rot down eventually and they had a pile of well rotted stuff as well which we can mix together with the drier stuff. We can also rake up leaves from nearby trees to add to the mixture too. Now we just need to find time to do this and the right weather, although spring time will also work if necessary.

The new hydro-electric station, still
under construction

It has left the river with a lot of sediment. One friend of ours
has lost a swimming area to the silt but has been assured
that it will wash away in the spring floods - we shall see.

A neat little water works station (well at least that is what I
think it is).  Beats the dilapidated old building that it replaced

The newly tarmacked road up to the technical
school, it was just a dirt road before which we
have many of.

The new skate park


  1. Many congrats on your anniversary! the new kittens look adorable! Pity you can't train them to attack the boar!

  2. Hi Ju, thanks for the congratulations. The kittens are sweet indeed, but I guess we will just have to attract their bigger cousin the lynx back onto the land. They like the odd piglet or two

  3. That is a lot of holes made by the boar. I hope you manage to finish your work without too much discomfort or cold.

    A belated Happy Anniversary. And I can just visualise you sitting in the bakery eating pastries - Mmm, nice.

  4. It is a lot of holes indeed, Mavis

    The pastry was rather nice

  5. The kittens are absolutely adorable - I can imagine that Bella will be a bit of a handful!

  6. She is a bit quiet today, not sure if the flea medicine has upset her and so Sofia has eaten all Bella's food too - fatty!

  7. a very happy anniversary and your kittens are very cute!


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