Monday, 1 October 2012

Now what did we do exactly?


The view from our new house perhaps? The sun glinting
through the autumnal looking aspen trees.
Ian and I were reflecting over the week on Sunday and we were having trouble remembering what we had done, apart from the highlight of the week a belated Jubilee party, there was little else of note really, just more general tasks and more harvesting; oh yes! and the addition of another piece of equipment to our repertoire. Could be a short post then, unless I get into the flow of something.

Our Jubilee package
Some of you maybe wondering why we had a belated Jubilee party! It wasn't going to be, it was just going to be a meal round at friends. I had organised to cook, but take it round to their house as it was easier for their two children to keep to their normal routine and yet still fit in around our routine of putting the animals away. Life can be complicated sometimes over the simplest of things. Anyway that morning a parcel arrived from our son with Ian's belated birthday present from him and one from me, plus a few extras such as union jack paper plates, union jack flags, union jack cups and some masks of the Queen and Prince Phillip. As one of our friends is British too, we thought it was the ideal opportunity to have a British meal, cottage pie followed by apple crumble and custard with some British tableware. It added a bit of fun to the proceedings.

Maybe the view from the rear of our house?
Others maybe wondering what more equipment could we possibly need? I wonder the same thing at times, but as we work on the land, we find there are different needs. One of our problems is cutting down grass in areas where it has been neglected, as it often means we have a lot of grass that just sits in clumps and doesn't rot down very well, either that or we have to spend time collecting it. We want to improve these areas so that they are producing good quality hay again, but that means either ploughing and reseeding, where we would lose the special qualities of the local mix of grasses and could end up with a problem of soil erosion or we keep cutting the grass back and clearing it. Well now we have another alternative of a mulching mower, only this isn't your normal lawnmower or even a sit on and ride model - neither of which would be suitable because of the size and topography of the land, this is one that fits onto our two wheel tractor and weighs in at 94kg. The first runs with this colossal machine had Ian exhausted, but he realised eventually that the quick release mechanism which acts as an extension was altering the angle of the machine and making it more difficult. Raising the wheels a bit also made for a much faster and easier run. Ian is now happier that the machine will do what he needs to keep the ground elder down and encourage more grass growth, as well as tackling places where it is not feasible to use the tractor.

Meet the Blade Runner!
Before

After! Might not look much, but that
is long tough grass and not the sort of job
to tackle with a normal lawnmower

Serious lawnmowing. You can see where he has been by
the stripes. 
This week someone made the comment that Ian and I are deep thinkers, this isn't the first time someone has said that, but it always comes with a bit of a jolt to me. I thought that thinking through ideas and projects was what you are supposed to do, especially in our walk with God. I realise that many people get busy and don't have much time, but the bible encourages us to think and meditate on God's word, that doesn't just mean the bible, but his words to us during our lifetime. When I look back we have accomplished a lot, we have made quite a few significant life-changing decisions and yet we don't pack into a week what some folks do. It is amazing that it is possible that you can be so busy doing things that you don't actually do anything significant. Living in rural Latvia means we can live life at a slower pace, we don't have a whole list of activities that we join in, but we interact with people, we watch so that we can learn from the cultural clues and we get on and do what we need to do on the land and in the garden. Nothing too demanding, but it does give us time to think. We have busy times of course, that comes with the rhythm of what we do, our work is governed by the seasons, our busy times governed by the weather. If it isn't raining then there are always jobs that need doing outside and if it rains, well then it is a quiet day or an opportunity to work in the greenhouse, the barn or on our home. Winter is a true time for relaxing, when jobs on the land are few and far between, unless it snows a lot of course. Winter is also a time to reassess, to think through the year that's been and reflect on what we could have done differently and to plan for the year ahead. Well that's the theory anyway and on the whole, that has been the pattern of our life for the past four years, weddings notwithstanding.

I was messing around with a picture of me
when I was a baby for the student café that
I monitor. They probably already think I'm
ancient and so I gave it a sepia tint - have to
confess, it would have been black and white
otherwise. Not that young then!
On the more mundane side of things in our life this week, the carrots have now all been harvested, we have three crates of carrots, so that should see us through the winter. It is very different to last year when the carrots were okay but we had an abundance of pumpkins, this year I have a reasonable amount of broccoli harvested and it is still coming, enough beans and plenty of carrots and onions, but few pumpkins. Ian will be disappointed that I won't have enough pumpkins to do spiced pumpkin for his breakfast in the late winter this year. I also had a bit of a disaster today, my blender broke. Big deal? Yes it is! I use it such a lot and so it means we are going to have to go out and buy another one, otherwise I will have to work out another way of blending the tomatoes to a pulp and that will involve more washing up and since my dishwasher (Ian) hasn't been so efficient until yesterday when I commented I might have to trade it in for a newer model, that is not a good idea. The dishwasher, aka Ian is currently trying to fix the broken shower that has flooded the shower room floor - not a happy lad is he! It was working fine before when I used it last, late this afternoon, but I must have done something to start it leaking. Oh joy of joys! I need a shower soon, hope it gets fixed. There does seem to be much muttering and the words "why can't they make things properly these days?" was uttered more than once. (Update: It's fixed but he has resorted to drink, and he is sat with a bottle of beer - don't worry it is not every day he does this!)


6 comments:

ju-north said...

Love reading your thoughts and commentary on your lives. I often wish I was good with words and talking! I sometimes think all my head contains is cotton wool!

Joanna said...

Thank you, glad you enjoy reading the blog. As for a brain full of cotton wool, I don't think so, or if it is it is amazing what beautiful and evocative pictures come out of it. I would encourage anyone to take a look at your blog to see what you produce, they are wonderful pieces of artwork.

karen said...

such a cute baby!!! I bet you had a great time celebrating the Jubilee, I'm quite sad it's all over, the Olympics too.....
http://karenannruane.typepad.com/karen_ruane/

Joanna said...

Aww thanks and you can even see the start of the mop of curls I would have a couple of years later.

We did enjoy ourselves indeed at our jubilee party, it was great fun! Nice that the Queen and Prince Philip could drop by too.

Mavis said...

You say that you don't know what you've done this week but I bet you've been as busy as usual. Sometimes we think that if we haven't done anything different or special then we haven't really done anything. But sometimes we just have to be who we are, doing the everyday things that we do. I know you enjoy the special moments when God speaks to you through the ordinary day-to-day things.

Joanna said...

I know what you mean Mavis. I had a discussion with someone recently who was marvelling at the appearance of gold dust and diamonds in special meetings and I argued (or debated might be more accurate) that seeing the drops of ice on a winters day raining down like diamonds was just as precious if you have eyes to see.

That reminds me one special moment this week, but I will save it for the next blog post.