Monday, 2 April 2012

Spring cancelled!

Well it was nice while it lasted
After all the excitement of seeing the grass again last week it was sad to see it get covered again under a layer of snow. Spring and winter have had a right spat this week, with any signs of spring being rapidly covered by yet another layer of snow, then the sun comes out and melts the snow and spring fights back, only to succumb again later. Currently it is white again. Not white enough to keep the storks away though and I saw one today flying in over the nearby school. Silly birds, they should have waited until the weather warmed up.

Green grass! Okay I know for most of you that is not the
most exciting thing in the world but it was a sign of spring
At least Sunday was lovely, well out of the rather brisk northerly wind that is. It was lovely to see the snow receding throughout the day and although the grass looked a little weary, it was still good to see. Our land was still wet but not gushing, as the amount of snow still left to melt receded. I mainly pottered around the greenhouse and took forays out in the sunshine to take photos. We have peas, cauliflowers and cabbages starting to sprout in our greenhouse within the greenhouse, but we had to put a layer of polystyrene under and over everything to help ward off the cold night time temperatures.

But it didn't last and we saw signs like this most of the
week on and off.
Today though put a stop to all that euphoria as it snowed for much of the day and Ian has been trying to tiptoe around me as I continued to work at my dissertation. I have been trying to make sure all my references are squared with the text and typed up correctly - a bit of a nightmare and a tedious job really. Ian doesn't do that well cooped up any more, but at least a brief wave of domesticity over came him and he changed the bedding and got his outdoor clothes washed. I'm sure it won't last and he'll be out in the fresh air for much of the day again. He did manage to fix the leak from our top pond and it was not as bad as he feared, with a realignment of the overflow pipe and a big stone to block up where the pipe was laid originally and the pond is now as good as new, waiting for later on in the year when we do some more re-sculpturing to strengthen the ponds and level off the forest side of things.

We have had nice sunny days and you can see the snow
has nearly all gone in places. A bit tundra like though
and the wind was raw.
Ian has also been trying to co-ordinate a trip to the UK to get some alpacas and that is proving to be a big headache. First of all we want to travel using ferries as much as possible to save long overland trips with our horse box, but there will be nothing in it on the way to the UK, going back though we will have animals. With me so far? Well on leg one Klaipeda, Lithuania to Kiel, Germany it was easy, provisionally booked no problem, leg two same company, Esbjerg, Denmark to Harwich, England we have to book as cargo!!!! Leg three Harwich to Esbjerg we have animals, further complications, and leg four is also cargo division but different department! It's all the same company and I won't bore you with all the details but suffice to say, it is no wonder people travel by plane or drive.We are now seriously looking at seeing what is available in Sweden as Ian got a much more prompt reply from Tallinlink who do the Riga-Stockholm link than from the DDFDS routes to England. It is also a bit cheaper than we thought it might be and is making the extra costs of the alpacas look worthwhile. So we now email the Swedish alpaca people and see what they have to say about costs and see what they have. The internet does have its uses in many ways like for booking trips and finding out information, but I also think it makes it even more frustrating when things don't work well, there seems to be less excuse for systems not to work.

The overflow pipe from the top pond to the middle pond
is creating some amazing ice sculptures. They look like
crystals in the sun
I was reading an article this week on municipal ownership in America where a district is planning to take over the provision of electric for the area. Now you would think it should work wouldn't you, power in the hands of the people? Yes it can work when the people are motivated enough to make sure it does, but when people do not expect much, then it won't, as many of us have experienced in times past when local authorities ran many of the local services in the UK and sometimes it was not run well at all. Problems often begin when people expect poor service and don't know how to challenge the status quo, then it doesn't work and the service becomes run for the interests of a few and not the people who really own it. That is the problem with the heating company here, it is supposed to be owned by the local pagast or district, that means it is owned by the people, but it is not run in their interests. Somewhere along the lines it has been hijacked and run with only a few interests in mind, but so badly its own debts are high. So who will be accountable for that? Where is it all going to lead? So where is it going wrong, is it too late to bring the company back from the brink? Who knows! Things can trundle on for a while and we are waiting for the procedures to take their course before pushing for the next step. The ideal would be with a fully accountable and affordable system, it should be possible, as many people have got the resources to actually supply the woodchip boiler that heats the apartment blocks and the school and surely it can't be any wetter than the stuff they are burning at the moment. We see smoke constantly emitting from the boiler house at the moment, and that is not comforting that means they are trying to burn water and not dry woodchip. Not impressed!

The hay rake is looking a bit lost now on the hillside

Fixed!

Home-made bread! Hmmm!

Lots of little tomato seedlings using wood slivers that you
can buy for starting the fire here to label them. Hopefully
we will keep everything labelled up properly this year.

4 comments:

ju-north said...

Winter has returned here as well - suddenly lost 20 degees!

Joanna said...

I'm not sure which is worse! At least our temperatures hadn't gone up that much, we did have one day at 11C, but that was it.

karen said...

Oh I well know about nothing being easy here in England....yes we over use our cars as there is so much standing in the way of alternatives not least the poor service and the horrendous cost. Ian reminds me of my dad...like a caged animal when he can't get out of the house.....

Joanna said...

I guess it starts by realising the problems Karen and then getting together and actually challenging the status quo, but I'm afraid that often people are too comfortable for that and just like moaning about it instead.

I presume your dad gets out and about a lot then! :o)