Monday, 30 July 2012

Done and dusted

One, two, three, four, five .....zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Well the good hay has all been done and dusted! Cut, turned and baled. Over 200 bales at that! We lost count after a while so we are not completely sure of the number. So if anyone wants to try counting the number of bales you can start with the picture of them on our ski hill. I have lost around 2 kilos of weight in the process and walked miles and miles and miles. We slept in the caravan all week, as it meant we could get the jobs done we needed to do and didn't have to go home to eat. They were late nights too as we often didn't finish until around 9pm, but then again we couldn't really get going until the afternoon as we waited for the grass to dry. There is not much point in baling wet hay it will only go mouldy.

Garden Tiger Moth
It was a nice start to each day as I set off to get my milk for breakfast from the neighbours farm, although at times it seemed quite a trek and one day I had to have some of the milk on the way back as I was so hungry. It was lovely to be able to chat to my friend each day though and when I got back I would pick a handful of raspberries and blackcurrants to add to my cornflakes. The rest of the mornings were spent either just pottering about or taking trips into the village to replenish supplies. We sure got through the water this last week but then again temperatures were up in the low 30s and did I mention, I walked a lot.

Took a little time to clear this problem, but Mr.Fixit
sorted it!
Cutting was hard work again as I cut the top part of the ski hill with the two wheel tractor and so walked some miles just getting to the hill and back - or rather it felt like it, especially going back. I wasn't too impressed with my cutting this year at all. The lug wheels we have for the tractor are great at keeping the tractor on course and meant it didn't get stuck in pig holes, but they made the tractor heavier and I had difficulty not letting it ride up at times and so it is definitely not a clean cut but rather tufty. Still better than nothing. Ian did the larger section of the ski hill with the two-wheeled tractor and then finished off the rest of the field with the ordinary tractor. We also got to try out the hay rake this year. There were one or two issues and it wasn't set up perfectly, but I'm sure it will be better next year, just as Ian found it easier to cut the hay this year to last year. The baler is slow though and so took two days to do altogether, so it was good that we have had a good long dry spell. I had to follow the tractor to set the bales at a different angle so they didn't roll down the hill and so guess what! Yes I walked a lot, and it was 33C on one day. There were a few times that the baler got clogged and we, or should I say mainly Ian, had to get out and clear it. I sat on a bale and watched, they are perfect sizes for seating.

Ian's little helper
We had some help this week, one of our friends gave us a chicken pot pie to eat and it was lovely even if we had to have it cold. It was lovely not to have to cook and it was lovely that it was ready when we needed it, as well as filling. Ian also had some help with the baling. One of our neighbour's little boy is absolutely tractor mad, so one day he came to see us and got to sit in the tractor and pull the cord that opens the baler to release the bale. He took his job very seriously, it was funny watching his little face. He did release one or two bales a little early before the cutter got into action but it didn't seem to matter too much, apart from the fact I had to be pretty quick to make sure I was on hand on the steeper sections to catch the bales and turn them. There was one point when I could see that he was watching something and seemed to be going "oooooh!" I turned around to see one of the bales had suddenly started moving and had to run to catch it. Good job they are only small ones and not those huge monstrosities they usually bale around here.

Turbjörn as usual outside with Herkules hiding in the stable
(can't call it the workshop any more). Tellus is taking a
little sustenance outside for a change. At least they like the
hay we have.
The alpacas are definitely getting more used to us, but we are surprised that they seem to be spending quite a bit of time actually in their stable, rather than out in the paddock like alpacas are supposed to prefer. It might be that the poor things are actually bothered by the horse flies and some of them are huge - the flies that is! Or it might have been the heat. Mind you I say that they spend time in the stable, two of them do and the other one seems to be made to stay outside. Definitely a hierarchy and not too sure if it is the same heirarchy while they were in Sweden. Herkules is the greedy one and the more dominant one, but Tellus the stallion will stand up to him and occasionally they have had a bit of a fight, nothing serious but a lot of spitting and some rearing up going on. They are obviously deciding who gets priority in which part of the stable. Turbjörn though just lets them get on with it and stays out of the way, quite clever really as while they are arguing over one feed tray, he goes over to one of the others and starts eating in peace. They all very quickly got the hang of shutting up time and now we have no issues getting them locked up for the night and even just one of us can manage. Better than the visions we had initially had of chasing them round the paddock for hours trying to get them in.

Who us?

This is my best side I think! (Herkules)

Getting big now!
The only problem with having spent the week in the caravan and getting the hay in is that the other gardens got sadly neglected. I was a little bit worried about the state of them, but it hasn't taken me as long as I thought it would to do the weeding, thankfully much of what we have planted has started to take off now with the heat and out competed with the weeds, especially the squash plants. I had made a nice isolation enclosure for one type of squash plants so that we can collect the seed from them but that is making a bid for freedom and taken up the whole of the space and was happily making its way through the bean plants that were surrounding it. The beans have finally got enough heat to get going but unfortunately the potatoes have been hammered with blight and one of my experimental plants, Aztec broccoli succumbed to black fly. At least now there is more than peas and lettuce coming out of the garden for us to eat. We have even got our first decent sized cabbage and tomato sandwiches are gorgeous.

Okay I hitched a lift a couple of times.
Health and safety? Definitely!
Heat exhaustion vs hitching a lift!
No competition
Well that's about our week really. We cut, I walked, we turned hay, I walked (taking the hay off the steepest part of the slope), we baled, I walked, I walked to get my milk, and I have walked up and down the gardens weeding and that was it. Or at least that feels like all we did. I did catch up with a bit of the internet when we got back to civilisation and it was funny to read one blog that I usually follow called "Taking time in a rushed world!" Time was not something we had in abundance this week, we had to get the baling done while the weather was holding. It was not something we could put off till next week and just shows how our time is governed by the seasons and by the weather now. For instance if you want to guarantee time to see us and time to talk then the winter is the best time, the rest of the time it depends. If it's wet and we can't get on with much then sitting around a table chatting is great, but if it is dry then somethings might have to be done. The article, however, was something that is quite close to our heart and that is waiting until the time is right to do things.  We waited 6 years before we knew the time was right to move to Latvia, but the article talks about people waiting 20 years before embarking on what they knew God was leading them into -something that we find difficult to comprehend these days in our instant society.
Unfortunately we weren't the only ones busy
this week. Oh yes! The pigs are back!


11 comments:

ju-north said...

Congrats on getting the hay in, on caring for the animals, on walking, on losing weight! Have I missed anything out?!

Joanna said...

Lol no Ju, I don't think you did!

Biggran said...

alpacas look cute. It reminds me I need a new mop head.

Mavis said...

You've been very busy again this week but as you say 'make hay while the sun shines' - literally in your case! The alpahacas seem to have settled in and the chickens are growing. What a difference from this time last year!

Joanna said...

Big gran They sure do look cute. If I don't get my hair cut soon I will have a mop head like Herkules too.

It has been a busy week Mavis and yes an incredible difference to last year. Wonder what next year will look like?

Liz Eph said...

oh how swallows and amazons - camping and going to fetch the milk from the farm for breakfast :-)

Joanna said...

Lol I love that book Liz, I will think about your comment when we go out on Thursday night again

Anonymous said...

Hello, I simply wanted to take time to make a comment and say I have really enjoyed reading your site.

Joanna said...

Thank you for your encouragement and taking the time to comment :o)

karen said...

boy I'm exhausted reading your posts! You do so much...my brothers father in law is called Torbjorn! and I am still beaming!

Joanna said...

Karen, I was exhausted last week. Wonder if your brothers father-in-law minds having an alpaca named after him? He is the sweetest and shyest of our three alpacas. Glad you are still beaming.