Monday, 5 March 2012

Spring on its way? Maybe!

Beautiful sunset to end a beautiful day
Well there we were sitting outside the caravan in the sunshine, in a lovely warm 18C and sipping coffee - that's the life. Don't get too excited though, thinking Spring has burst suddenly upon Latvia, as the caravan is currently residing in the greenhouse. The warm temperatures in the greenhouse do not reflect the outside temperatures, just the heat in the sun despite the weather turning decidedly cold again this week. Even though there was a downturn in temperatures, it still felt like Spring was on its way. In our greenhouse the vines are starting to show signs of life as the buds begin to swell (hopefully not too much though as the temperature is still pretty low at nights -10C last night) and the birds seem to agree too as they have started singing their little hearts out.

The Lada freed from the icy grip. It is perhaps not so easy to
see in this picture but that dark patch on centre right drops
away quite a lot and that was what Ian was struggling to
get the Lada out of. 
We would have sat there longer sipping coffee if the Lada hadn't got stuck (I can almost hear my son-in-law sniggering already). It was meant to be a simple job. Go to the land, get the trailer out of the barn and using the Lada, pull it up the hill, okay so far. Then we took the trailer back to our other flat, dropped off some firewood which had been sitting in the trailer, popped over to the shop got some OSB (sheet wood for outside if you don't know what I mean) and back to the land. Great so far! I started making a cup of coffee, got the chairs cleaned off for sitting on and went to see why Ian was taking so long. Arrrh! Now we have a problem! The trailer had been towed down the hill to the barn area, taken off the Lada and backed into the barn, but the Lada, was stuck! Ian ended up getting the tractor out, it was a bit tight as there were lots of places where the snow was deep or hiding things under it. It took a long time and a combined effort to get it out. I had to sit in the Lada to reverse it out while Ian was pulling it with the tractor, but at times the wheel was so hard to turn that I needed help. So Ian had to get out and help me turn the wheel while we straightened the car up (sounds complicated and at times it was).

Des res, for some future chickens. This means they will have
protection from the sun and foxes (well when the wire is
It was not the only trying part of the week, we also had maggots in the pantry again, well in one of my food cupboards to be precise. I suspect it is actually one of the local shops rather than my cupboard because it is not an ongoing problem, but one that seems to surface from time to time. Well now all offending food items have been sent to the compost, where maggots can freeze to death and the rest of the food is now in jars and under quarantine. Bleh! From now on, all food will be put in jars and not left in bags. I am not discarding that much food again. I am also having difficulty getting into the write up stage of my project, I feel like I am tinkering around the edges rather than getting on and doing some serious work and so I could have done without the morning lost clearing out the cupboard and jarring things up. Today was a particularly bad case of procrastinitis but that was because we had a rather late night last night.

Okay it looks a little barren here, but that is grass, real grass
compare that with the picture below of what it is like
where we are and you will see why it is so exciting
Yesterday was one of those delightful days, even if I did pay for it today with a lack of work as I couldn't concentrate well. First of all we set off for some friends in a place called Stelpe, which is south west of us and as we drove the sun was shining. As we dropped down south and a little bit in altitude (we can't say there are big drops in altitude as you have to remember that Latvia at its highest is around 300m high), the snow got thinner and thinner; it didn't completely disappear, but for the first time in about two months we actually saw grass and suddenly we both felt like we wanted Spring to arrive. The roads around us were rather slick due to the sunshine melting the snow during the day and then freezing hard again at night but we still made it safely anyway. We spent a wonderful afternoon there and was treated to a proper roast lunch, which stood us in good stead for the second half of our day. I don't think I boared them too much though discussing all those boaring subjects I have been involved in over this last year. I lost count of how many times I mentioned the wild boar project, but our hosts were gracious and we left as always wondering where the time had gone.

Still lots of snow where we are
Our next stop off was a small theatre venue in Riga to see a friend of ours who we have probably known now for near enough 10 years, and he is not that old either. We first met him at GanĨauskas Christian camps as he led worship. Our friend Andzejs is a drummer in a band called Gainfast and he also teaches drumming to youngsters. and the occasion we had been invited to was a concert performed by his students (link in Latvian). We weren't really sure what we were going to really  and wondered if it was just going to be drums, but it wasn't. He invited many of his friends in the music industry to sing, along with some session musicians and the youngsters drummed along to one song each. The songs were obviously geared towards the giftings of the youngsters, some were quite short, but all the drummers were given a chance to gain confidence and succeed as well as having the thrill of playing to a packed theatre with some talented musicians. Some of the youngsters were extremely talented and we were quite blown away by some of the performances. We didn't understand much of what was said, but as usual we watched and what we saw was an older generation of artists investing time and energy into the next generation and encouraging them. That kind of investment into the next generation I find inspiring and encouraging and gives me hope for Latvia. Too often older people want to hold onto power or knowledge here and not share with those coming up, fearing the competition and too often that attitude holds this nation back. The next generation need supporting and encouraging if they are to go further than the generation before. If this nation is to move on, then it needs everyone working together, encouraging and supporting and I saw that happening last night. Oh and don't get the wrong impression, some of the artists were not that much older than some of the drummers, but still they showed how to encourage those who come after them.
A pensive looking Andzejs from the days of GanĨauskas

Inside the des res, some perches and a box for nesting
not sure how it is going to work yet and may require
modifications later, but it's a start anyway.


  1. I believed the high temps for a moment! Well, we can have a strong imagination!

  2. It would have to be a strong imagination if you were there, the glare from the snow says it all :)

  3. Haha! Like Ju-north, I thought - WOW such a change in temperature in such a short time. I was almost envious of your early Spring. But, yes when you see the snow on the landscape, it all becomes clear.

    I hope it won't be too long before you can get outside and start planting and doing all the things you enjoy.

  4. Seeing grass again, did make us long for Spring. Up until this weekend I haven't been that bothered, but I think staying in to write up and seeing the sunshine just makes me want to be outside. I am so looking forward to this summer, no writing to do and no studying - at least I hope so.

  5. I wish you lots of luck writing up your work...I was like that when I was studying...I did everything else but start my writing....once I started though it flowed and I loved it...I didn't have the same kind of distractions as you however....maggots? snow??

  6. Thanks Karen. I must admit it is flowing but was distracted today by folks doing diy, interspersed with a younger neighbour playing loud music. They seemed to alternate


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