Monday, 11 June 2012

Planted up

Rows of Latvian beans, peas and squash in some rather
soggy fields today. Well watered in I guess

Been a rather slow wet day for me. There wasn't a whole lot I could do, it was too wet to garden, and besides I needed a day of rest after the last week when we have worked quite hard getting stuff planted and weeded while the sun was shining. The rain for us was just in time to water in the oats, buckwheat, beans, squash plants, brussel sprouts, celeriac, dahlias, and goodness knows what else because I can't remember now (but don't worry it is mostly written down somewhere). Most of the plants are now out of the greenhouse that should be outside, and I am just waiting for the amaranth and quinoa to get bigger and then they can go out to finish off. Apparently they sit around for ages at the seedling stage before growing vigorously and they have certainly done the sitting around bit. I shall grow a few in the greenhouse though, just in case they are a bit late. The amaranth and the quinoa are an experiment to see how well they grow in our climate, as they would make a good grain addition to our diet if they work. 

Our boating lake! You can see the sun did shine this week
I can't complain at the weather really as it hasn't been too bad once it dried up after the spring thaw and it certainly is not as bad as in the UK at the moment where there has been flooding near places I used to live in the North of England. I know our field here in Latvia was flooded again today but it will dry and it is an area we are going to work on over the next few years to raise the level so it no longer dips there. Neither have we the problems that friends of ours in Colorado have, where some of them have been evacuated due to a giant forest fire. I wouldn't mind, but I had only posted a message to my friend asking if the summer had warmed up enough for her as I know she likes the hot Colorado summers, she thrives in temperatures where I wilt. I am fairly certain though that she would gladly swap some rain and cooler temperatures right now. At least the weather for us was nice enough to sit outside yesterday with a take away from the bakery, soaking up the evening sunshine, listening to the very noisy frogs, the cuckoo still prattling on in the background and resting our aching feet. Twas bliss it was, twas bliss!

Flooded again but at least no river running through it.
Forgot to mention our nice hunters put a cover over
the drain to stop any more wild boar from drowning
because as they say a drowned pig is no good, you can't
eat it.
The new chicks are doing well apart from our poor little chick with the gammy leg. One morning I found it hanging upside down from the sling I made it to take the weight off it's legs. I was horrified as I put it down on the floor and both it's legs were all over the place again. I picked it up and massaged its legs, saying "Come on remember how to walk". I put it back down and it seemed to be moving around better and not scrunched up in the corner. It is still having its ups and downs though, we put it into a separate compartment with four other chicks that seemed to be quieter in nature or smaller, also means we don't have all 16 chicks in one box. The chick, or Hoppy as it is now nicknamed for obvious reasons,  seems to be holding its own and even seems happier in there rather than on its own, but occasionally it seems to get exhausted through trying to keep out of trouble or feed in competition with the others, today was one of those days. I picked Hoppy up and it just sat there, so I snuggled it into an old jumper and just had it on my lap for a while and it fell asleep. I think that was all it needed as it seems a bit more sprightly again this evening.

The monster eating machines. They are also fussy, they
aren't that bothered about a handful of weeds thrown in
they only want the fast food, so they get both and then
they have to scrabble around in the weeds to get the chick
crumbs. We will make them work for their food
All the chicks are growing fast and so Ian made another chicken ark, which will suffice for the time being while they are small and while we are deciding which are for keeping and which are to head for the freezer and which can be swapped. We know someone who ended up with all male chicks and no layers which is what she wanted, so if we have plenty of laying hens then we can swap as we don't need that many just yet. Before you all go arrrrhhh how could you, you should see the way the older chicks behave, they don't seem so cute now. In fact they are quite a menace; we think that is because they are the ones that are just bred to eat and not for their quiet temperament. We also think that we have three males amongst those chickens and only one female and I guess that doesn't help. Assuming the little one survives with the gammy leg Ian will make a small box that sits nearer the ground for those chicks, and if it doesn't survive then it also means we have a broody box ready just in case we have a broody hen when the others get bigger or as a box to keep any poorly hens in if necessary.

Getting more sophisticated now. This has a hinged door to
make it easier to enter and it has a bigger box for the birds
to roost in/

Running water! Even the middle pond was pouring into
the bottom pond.
It seems like we will have visitors galore this summer, which is nice. We had another two "bookings" this week. One is a young lass who came to help us before on the land and in the garden and she is coming back for more. It's lovely being able to talk garden and faith together as we work and it's lovely that someone wants to come to specifically help in the garden. Another is a family who we bought our apartment off that we live in now, they are back from Canada and in the area so would like to stay. I had a feeling this might be a busy year for visitors and it's looking that way.

Blackberries are flowering
I have been acting as an international trade negotiator this week. Are you impressed? Well I wouldn't be, because all it means is that I have been talking to a guy in Ireland who is trying to buy some railway sleepers from our neighbour's company and they find it hard to talk to someone in English over the phone, so they asked if I would do it on their behalf. I should know how hard it is to talk in a language you are not fluent in over the phone because I have had to speak Danish to the tax authorities there and I found that far harder than talking to someone face to face. At least now they have a Latvian contact, which is easier, as I was having to learn a lot of new terminology along the way. Did you know that a bale of railway sleepers is 24 sleepers bound together? Well I didn't before this week. 

"I'm not going out in that!" Sophie sitting in the barn and
not exploring outside. Can't think why!
Latvia has been in the news a lot this week on the internet. The lauding of the Latvian "success" though has made me mad. Christine Lagarde the IMF chief has been praising the Latvian success and the collective determination. More like collective acquiescence I think. The last few years in reality has been an exercise in prying the money out of those least responsible for the crisis in the first place to pay those perhaps most responsible. One dissenting voice rang out though and I have to congratulate the man
Dissenting voices were few........... Armands Strazds, an economist with political ambitions. "I feel like everyone in the auditorium except me has been hypnotised," Strazds told bne. "Sweden tricked the politicians and everyone in Latvia into a rescue package that was actually to save the Swedish banks. For them of course, it was the right thing. For Latvia it was and is terrible suffering." 
A dragonfly on the strawberry plants
At least there is more dissent amongst the journalists these days who are beginning to see how brutal the cuts have been for Latvians and there have been articles in both Reuters and The Guardian slamming the so called recovery. To sell Latvia's so called recovery as a success is to ignore the ongoing pain of those least likely to complain.


  1. Wow! Haven't the chickens grown quickly? I hope Hoppy survives, he sort of deserves it after all his afforts.

    I'm glad you're having visitors. When you are away from friends and family, it is so good to have people come and share and encourage you in your journey. Blessings dear friends.

  2. The chickens have grown quickly, but perhaps not as quickly as they would if they were continually fed. These chicks survive better on a restricted diet. The newest chicks will leave food until later and it can be left for them to eat from throughout the day, the older chicks will just eat whatever is there and still expect more. Amazing what selective breeding will do.

    It is nice to have friends visit indeed Mavis and I bet you valued the visits during your time in Argentina

  3. Yes, they are very precious times. Enjoy.

  4. glad you're going to get some help and fellowship. isn't spring amazing, everything growing like mad.i think your ponds would look nice as a series of fountains :-)

  5. I love our ponds as series of fountains, pity it takes so much rain to keep them going :D

  6. very interesting post and it seems you have a bit of an open house. Love the boating lake....did you just have that dinghy to hand????

  7. We love it when people visit Karen, I guess we are just nosy and love talking.

    We did buy the dinghy partly to deal with the weeds and algae in the middle of the pond - honest! It was fun though, must say it was me who tried it out first but I haven't the pictures to prove it.


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