Monday, 3 October 2011

A catalogue of tales

Typical open fields of the Latvian countryside, under threat
due to the damage by wild boar
Maybe I should refresh my memory of what I put the week before - sorry I used the same picture two weeks running of me standing in a hole that pigs have dug. It took my very observant husband to point that out to me. So in preparation for this week I have just quickly skimmed through last week's offering and I am sad to say I still haven't got around to photographing those transformations. So what have I been doing all week? Mainly still processing food, stripping beans off bean plants and then depodding them, and measuring pig holes. I have catalogued over 300 places where pigs have dug holes or churned up grassland, some very close to buildings and I'm nowhere near finished yet. Just need for some more fine days to get them done before the weather closes in. Apparently 10-14 days after the geese fly south for the winter it snows here in Latvia or in Estonia, well they were flying last week so it is kind of worrying. It is sad to see how much damage to grassland the pigs have done and they have been through our land again this week and I had another 40 holes or churned patches to measure just on our small patch.

My audience whilst measuring pig holes
Pig holes are not the only thing I have been cataloguing, since it was raining today and not conducive to being outside, I catalogued my jars of produce so I have a record of what we actually have. I had my jars all neatly arranged in rows in alphabetical order all over the floor, so I could write down what I had, when Ian tried to get  up out of his chair and in trying to avoid jars of chutney he slid across our laminate floor, pirouetted and neatly landed on his behind. He is fine and so's my chutney! In all I have 172 jars or bags of processed food, from chutneys and ketchups to pickled cucumbers, dried tomatoes and herbs to jars of jam and bottled tomato sauces of various kinds. The worse thing is I'm still not finished! Still got some more jars of beans in tomato sauce to do and no doubt there will be more tomatoes to process depending on whether the basketful we have ripens or not. It does sound a lot but then again it takes a lot of jars of tomato sauce to last through to next year when we have new tomato plants producing tomatoes. If you see those photos of people with a week's worth of food laid out in front of them, you can get an idea of how much you need to process if you want 6 months worth of food. It's a lot! Our big freezer is just about full now, and not much room in our small freezer and so I was really relieved to hear someone had some spare jars, so I could bottle up more food. We had travelled all the way to the big town to get bottles and they had sold out, so we ended up spending a lot of money on lots of other things instead that we needed. It all sounds a bit excessive at times, but the thing is that the more that is bottled up the less we have to spend and the further our money will go. No we are not about to run out, but that's not the point. What is there has to last until we start earning properly.

Not sure if this frog was also watching what I was doing
In one way we are saving money by generating our own food but on the other hand we have been spending in preparation for next year. We are getting our own trailer and small baler, so that we don't have the problems of large bales rolling down our ski hill and we can bale up all our good grass separately from our poor quality stuff that is only good for composting, they are awaiting shipment now from the UK. We have also bought a hay rake from a local company and were able to pick that up ourselves in our trailer (see pictures below) but in preparation for next year and getting alpacas, we also on the look out for a double horse box - I will have to keep you posted on that as Ian is going to look at one tomorrow.

Our autumn hasn't been as hot as in the
UK but it has been rather warm for this
time of year and we have had some
gloriously autumnal days
Most of the time we are quite sensible in our decisions but there are times our hearts rule and at the moment we are not sure whether to listen to our hearts or our heads. There are quite a few kittens around at the moment and some of them are absolutely gorgeous and we have been offered different ones at different times. In short, we are sorely tempted. Is it fair to keep a cat indoors in a third floor apartment? Should we move up to the other apartment? At least that is a ground floor flat. But it is smaller and we struggle with space for the amount of stuff we have now. Should we downsize? Should we get two and then at least they are company for each other, even if they are inside? Decisions, decisions! Can we procrastinate long enough to avoid the decision? Who knows, you will have to look next week and see what we decide.

Our new hay rake. Next problem, how do you get it out
of the trailer with no fork lift truck to hand? Easy one tractor

Some tow ropes and hey presto!

Jobs a good 'un!

Wheels on- sorted!


  1. I´ve just checked and I used that same photo on my blog also when I spoke of the damage done by the wild boar! I hope all your hard work succeeds in getting something done to help.

    I guess you´re ready for a break after all your work on the farms and at home processing all that food. Well done to both of you for all your work and how you´ve coped with everything.

  2. I am indeed ready for the winter break, to really get going on the planning for next year and time to visit friends.

  3. you have done an amazing job of storing up supplies and I can't believe you will have snow soon. Glad husband didn't damage the chutney!! That would have been grounds for divorce...

  4. Thanks Karen. Not sure about grounds for divorce but I would be seriously dischuffed :oD

  5. Alpacas Jo? How exciting. Is that for the wool?

  6. Yes we hope to produce wool or knitted garments, as there are a lot of talented spinners, weavers and knitters here

  7. Have you started writing your Latvian Adventures book yet!?

  8. Maybe when I retire :oD, or maybe I need a ghostwriter? Know anyone who would be interested?


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