Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Happy days

Another reason to be happy, isn't this
sunrise glorious? What a joy to wake up
to scenes like these
Our youngest is now a happy boy, his computer got fixed and best of all they recovered all his data. All he lost was a days work whilst he waited for his computer to be fixed. The nice people at Apple even fixed it for free, because he had had previous problems with his computer. Phew! We were happy too, our glass bowl which we had sent with our friend filled with a meal for her husband, who hadn't joined us for last week's meal, because he had to work, came back with a rather nice dessert in it. No idea what it is, but it tasted good! I also got lots of interesting books to read this week, "Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley," "Conflict and Cooperation in Participating Natural Resource Management" and "Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts" - you can spot the theme can't you? These are all books that have either been recommended to me, or came up in my literature research for my Master's thesis and so hopefully they will all be useful in my write up. At least they will help me while away the winter evenings with a little light reading. Our vet wasn't left out too as we bought her a book "Alpaca and Llama Health Management." I know we are not getting alpacas until next year, and we haven't even been to see the guy who we hopefully will be buying the animals from - that's next month - but we need to be laying the groundwork now; it is no good waiting for something to go wrong with our alpacas to then try finding out how to deal with it, and winter is a good time for reading. She seemed happy enough to be getting the book anyway.

Tate Modern here we come! I spent a good afternoon's
work on these objects of great artistry, commonly
known as wrapping trees up for winter to stop the deer
eating them or sharpening their antlers on them.
We finally made it once again to the Farmers' Market in Straupe (link in Latvian), where a brave group of people are endeavouring to create a market for local farmers and businesses and at the same time increase the quality of goods sold. It is hard trying to get the concept going, as it is not as simple as importing the idea from elsewhere, although other examples are useful, but it is working and the market place looked busy while we were there. In fact there are many companies/farmers from further afield who would like to sell their goods at the market. It is difficult to balance the concept of a local initiative with the need to have enough stalls to attract people to come to the market and one that they are still working on. It is also hard trying to work out who is a genuine trader of goods produced by them or their family and those who buy in goods from abroad. Having contact with the organisers of this market, I hope will be useful for our own area when the roads are tarmacked making travel easier for traders and customers alike. I did buy a couple of presents while I was there, and I didn't go for the cheapest, but I bought my goods from a lady who was making the goods while she was there - so I know she produced the things I bought. What are they? Well I can't tell you, I know the recipients will be reading this! We also bought seeds and beans, partly for consumption over the winter but also for plants for next year, as it will be interesting to see how well they do, compared to the beans and seeds I buy in from the UK.

Not so happy to find this! This is the
kind of damage those dear little pigs
can make. I have to admit though that
it is quite incredible the depth of holes
they can dig with their snouts, and
the size of stones they can move. 
We also finally made it to a little craft shop that we have passed many times. The owner started out as a stone mason for gravestones but he is a creative soul at heart, so the website says,  and so some of the stones ended up as ants and tortoises. The best one I saw was a wild boar shaped stone, complete with wrought iron ears, snout, tail and legs - the best type of wild boar, apart from one on a plate, I think at the moment. Unfortunately it was a lot of money, and rightly so, but I was seriously tempted to erect this as a dire warning to the wild boar that traipse across our land. I bought an angel instead to add to my Christmas decorations from around the world, not that they will be going up again this year, as we are away in England. Probably a good job though, as I think our dear little kittens would have a field day with decorations. Better to wait till next year and they maybe (only maybe) a little calmer.

These are four Capercaillies, which we came across when
we took a detour just for the sake of it. Amazing what
you can see when you get off the main roads.
It has been another amazing week in the news, some of it is just downright depressing, but some of it is quite exhilarating and powerful. I was horrified to see a policeman casually spraying sitting students with pepper spray. I am not quite sure what horrified me the most, the fact that he sprayed obviously non-violent students, or the casual manner in which it was done. However it was amazing to watch how each student present was recording what was happening, no longer can incidents take out the journalist to remove any chance of recording it, all have the opportunity to record an event with the use of phones, video cameras, ipads and computers - many uploading the images as it happened. If that fact was not amazing enough to see people bringing accountability to the situation, it was more impressive to hear the rise of the chant "Shame on you" and the students peacefully but firmly causing the police, armed to the teeth, to fall back. Not a rock was thrown. The police appeared to only have two options, carnage or retreat, and they chose retreat thankfully. When the chancellor of the university, where the students belonged, decided to leave the campus the following evening, despite the presence of many students outside she was treated to a most powerful sit down silent protest that lined the route to the car. There was an atmosphere of restraint and yet somehow there was also the force of an unspoken argument, disapproval that hung in the air. Is this what was meant by the New York Mayor, post Occupy evictions at Zuccotti park, when he said "Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments?" I doubt it, but those students certainly occupied the space in a very powerful way.

"I think I'm stuck again!"
She is up there so often now we are going to have to install
something to stop her walking across the fleece lining,
preferably before it gives way underneath her.

More wood chippings for our garden, as Ian continues to
thin out our forest to provide us with firewood for next year
but also to improve the health of the forest.

Alder oxidises on exposure to air and so
you get these bright orange stumps when
they are cut.

Our raspberry bushes with their fir coats. Looks like they
needed it!
It snowed again this week, not much but still a reminder
that winter is on its way.


  1. your tree art is wonderful! If your name was Emin or Hirst it would be snapped up for millions!!!

  2. Don't know how you find the energy to do everything!

  3. Not much energy today! Our chat ran rather late into the night


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