Tuesday, 3 July 2012


Sofie in the barn
Sorry it has been a rough week again this week, so sorry if this is not too upbeat. Sofie our cat has been missing for five days now. Not sure where she may have gone to. We would take both our cats out to the land and they would go off and return every now and again, as if they were checking we were still there. Sometimes they would make a dint in the furry population around us - which is what we need as the moles and shrews make massive tracks all over the land and they are sometimes as bad as the wild boar - not quite, but nearly. However this week our cats have been making a dint in the feathered population, which we are not happy about. Both the cats found a little nest amongst the wood shaving pile with oak bark making a roof for it. There were perhaps six little chicks, but alas they are no more. We tried to rescue them, but we just couldn't do it. Our cats got the taste for them! That night Sofie came home with us but we didn't manage to bring Bella in. The next day Ian took Sofie back out to the land as normal and as usual Bella appeared soon after his arrival. Sofie took off and came back about lunch time and that was the last we saw her. No idea whether she had had enough of us trying to get worming medication down her and coupled with our disapproval of her new found delicacy maybe she took off and is sulking somewhere. I have never had a problem getting worming medication down a cat but Sofie seemed to test our experience somewhat. She was foaming at the mouth trying to get rid of the stuff, even the tasty cream we had. What is worse is to think of her suffering somewhere though, if she has been hurt or injured, but if she is, she is nowhere nearby as she has not responded to our calls.

A comfy place to sit
Meanwhile Bella has been further depleting the feathered population. This time it was a small bird that first flew into the barn window and stunned itself. Ian could see it was woozy and thought the cat might get it, so he picked it up and tried to find a safe place for it. He stuck it in the chicken cage (we realise in hindsight that was perhaps not a good thing to do with the diseases they can carry but it was an instinctive response). Of course the bird was not happy at being confined and tried to get out and it got as far as sticking it's head out from between the netting - that was enough for Bella and she whipped it out of the cage. In disgrace once again! The problem is that she has a tendency to hover around areas where she knows there is an easy snack and suddenly taken a lot more interest in the chicks. They are still small and can get their heads through the netting - but only just and is getting more difficult all the time for them. Well needless to say Bella has been at home the last few days, as we would not have been around during the day to supervise, just there to let the chicks out and put them away again at night. She doesn't seem to be missing Bella either, although she is trying to lick us more, which was a distinctive trait of Sofie.

At least the ferocious crocodiles that were spotted this week in our living room were more the sort to make us smile than get us worried or warrant our disapproval. We had visitors this week, our two friends who we have known since our first trip to Latvia and their three young boys, all back from Canada for two months. The older two boys were having a great time, taking the cushions off our chairs and scattering them on the floor and pretending that they were ferocious crocodiles, or were they to save them from the ferocious crocodiles? I'm not sure now but it was very funny to walk into the room where they were laughing and giggling to see the cushions strewn around. Perhaps they should have asked before doing that in someone else's house, but it just took me right back to when my kids were small and cushions would be on the floor because they were part of some grand imaginative play and that's the way it should be. Give me kids with an active imagination any day, rather than kids who whine because they want to watch the telly.

A gorgeous sunset
Our next visitor has arrived and she is a real blessing too as she is coming to help in the garden. Bliss! Our other guests have been a blessing too but in different ways, I am just amazed that a teenager wants to come and help in the garden and eat fresh healthy food picked straight from the garden for tea, amazing. She's lovely. I also got to see her mum for the first time, so that was nice and made looking after our neighbour's little girl a lot easier with lots of people to watch out for her and play with her. Mind you the little one gave me a bit of a fright as she sleeps outside in the pushchair, very common here and in Denmark, and the first time I looked out it was obvious that she was asleep, but the next time I looked she was standing up in the pushchair and I am two floors up from ground floor. Well you should have seen the speed I got down those stairs. Anyway she didn't sleep for me after that.

Hoppy seems happy enough and getting around
on it's one good leg
It's been a wet week this last week, not all the time and certainly not as bad as in the UK by any stretch of the imagination, but it is rather inconvenient and allowing the weeds to take over. One day I participated rather reluctantly in the sport of speed planting. i.e. trying to plant some plants in the gradually increasing rain. I am grateful though that it hasn't been that bad really, as some of my friends and family are facing. The hot weather in Colorado and the resulting wild fires has meant that some of my friends had had to be evacuated, the hailstones the size of very large marbles punctured holes in the old porch roof where my son lives, and the rain flooded roads causing more big potholes where my parents live and folks taking hours to get home where Ian's family live. Been quite quiet on the weather front really here by comparison, maybe I should be grateful that the worst I had was trying to plant in the rain.

The others seem happy enough with their new abode too
And going back to the animals we have been so near and yet so far as regards the alpacas. By yesterday we had paid the deposit and we had a date. The first date the lady doing the transporting was told she could book the ferry though was the 19th July which we said was fine, unfortunately by the time she came to book the tickets the space must have gone and she can only get a space in August and she is busy then. It is so frustrating. We have the transport and could have gone for them back in May or June, instead we have been going through all sorts of problems trying to work out how to get them here. I am truly fed up now. At least the chickens are happy in their arks, some consolation anyway.

The middle section of the roof lifts up so we can put in feed
etc. They don't have as much room as in the big arks but
that is fine as they still have plenty for the five of them.
One of the dangers that someone mentioned just lately is when the going gets tough it is easy to step back into what is comfortable and well known and I have been resisting the urge to seek the comfortable points, but I realised today that sometimes you have to go back to go forward. You have to go back to what you know, to remind yourself of your journey so far, to take a look back at where you have been. Remind yourself of your escape from captivity and the route into the promised land so to speak. I realise that is not really going back to what your comfortable with, it is taking stock of where you are. Going back over the process of where you have come from, to get to where you are now. To remind myself of where God has been all that time, to realise he never left me and he isn't about to now. I think that kind of going back is okay, it is sometimes necessary to remind yourself of the truths of your walk with God to be able to face the future with some kind of confidence. Not the sort of confidence that says "you can move mountains" but the sort that says "if the mountain has to move it will be moved and if we have to walk around it or over it then so be it, but whatever happens God will still be there."

Fairly certain this is a male, as well as the one peeping out
 behind, in which case we have three males and one female of the broiler chickens.
Had a lesson in reading comments before making judgements this week with Hilary Clinton's call for restitution for Jews - not quite what I thought at first!!!!!!! I thought it was a case of individuals being given back land that their family had owned in the past and my first thought was "Oh no! Not more ex-pats getting land and doing nothing with it!" However the call was to restore property to organisations that are still present in Latvia and that is a different issue altogether. It did, though, set me thinking once again about the issue of owning land! I recognise that there should be a way for people to recover what is rightfully theirs, but there is another issue at stake, neglected land! I see many examples around us of land owned by people living in America, Australia or even Sweden etc. abandoned and neglected but owned! Some have been driven away by the war, or ideology and some by the recent economic crisis. The problem is that Latvia cannot be productive on land that is not managed and keeping it just for romantic reasons of ownership is not good. Some people would live here if they could make farming work and that is one issue, but to just simply own land because it belonged to Granny without taking care of it is wrong! To own that land and bring the next generation into farming, supporting them and helping them to do so would be a step forward. Owing land with special natural ecosystems within it is possible, but it still needs at least a modicum of management just to ensure that one aspect is not getting out of hand like wild boar, or other successful species that can ruin a habitat as well as contribute to it. Owning land without putting investment into it, whether that be time, effort or money is not helpful to Latvia right now. For more recent migrants, economic hardship is one reason they cannot manage their land and I can understand that problem, but for migrants from a long time ago, then I think it is about time they thought about what they invest in Latvia and how they go about it. Not forcing people into their new ways as sometimes happens, but working with the population that is here to build something better and something that benefits the communities who live and work here, rather than hold onto what is theirs simply because they can.


  1. Children and animals - never a dull moment! Having some breathing space from time to time can be useful - hope you are still being encouraged!
    Married to the land!

  2. Encouraged indeed with your comment as I had just been talking about being rooted in the land, similar sentiment to being married to the land.

  3. I'm so sorry you had the cat situation and were worried. I'm happy for you that it is sorted now and did I read that correctly? Children sleep outside in the pushchair? All night? Oh my, I feel quite faint.

  4. Thanks Karen, we are very glad it is sorted now too.

    And yes you did read it right. Small children do sleep outside in their pushchairs. I know that is a practice that died out many years ago in the UK, but is considered quite healthy for children here

  5. I am sure it's healthy...health wise. Not so sure if there wouldn't be any other risks here in the UK though????

  6. I know what you mean, but I wonder if the fear is far greater than the risks. People in Copenhagen used to leave their kids outside at church on a Sunday morning. That really startled me.


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