Monday, 26 November 2012

It is finished - well maybe!

Just a dusting this week
All the electric trenches are dug, and the job of getting electric to our greenhouse would have been finished if we had got enough cable to finish it, but we don't. Not quite sure why the cable has not arrived yet and it is worrying, as the dry but dull weather we have had has now changed and we even had a dusting of snow this last week. The forecast for the rest of the week is not good either. If you are of the praying kind, then please pray the cable arrives tomorrow before the rain or snow comes.

Yup we still have a muddy mess and we still have an open
I mentioned that we had holes developing in our field last week and we thought it might have something to do with the high powered cable laid last year (update - my husband reliably informs me this was not last year but a couple of years ago. Doesn't time fly when your having fun?), so we had the electric guys in to have a look. It seems the electric cable is actually about a metre away from the hole and they can't work out what is happening as the hole they dug filled up too quickly with water. The rather large hole that they made is still there and so we can see what happens to it over the winter and spring. Ian can then have another look at it and decide what to do with it at that point.  At least they have marked where the cable actually is and so Ian isn't likely to put the back hoe through it when he digs the area.

Trees wrapped for winter with straw blankets around
their roots
I emailed my PhD proposal to be looked at before submission proper and I have had some positive comments back on it, but unfortunately that too is not quite finished either. It shouldn't take long to make the recommended amendments, but I didn't get the chance today as I wanted to get some jobs done out on the land just in case it does snow later on this week.

Ian sharpening the ends of the sticks for
marking the edge of the drop to the
greenhouse ditch
Other land jobs this week included marking up the road for winter, so we can find it even if it does snow. I also got a thicket of trees thinned out and the thinned out trees will make some good supports for beans and peas next year. It's nice to get at least something prepared ahead of time. I have also finished off some beds and paths in our orchard plot. It all looks far too neat and tidy for me, but at least it means we are ready for the spring sowing. There are still bits that are not prepared, but they will wait until next year as I am taking the easy route of covering the weedy area with black cloth. It makes digging the area over much quicker when it is needed.  I also decided to wrap the trees up this week, although it is still damp the weather forecast is not looking too good and so rather than wait until plummeting temperatures I went ahead and got them all safely tucked up with straw blankets for their feet and plastic bubble wrap around their branches.

A pipe to span the trench to make sure the
water runs away from the greenhouse ditch
and not into the trench
Ian has also plodded on with winter preparation and autumn type jobs. He has been continuing to cut the trees that are in front of ditch that we want to dig out. The pile of logs and branches is getting quite big now as the forest has encroached onto the field rather a lot in the last 15 years. At least that means plenty of firewood for next year, unfortunately not good enough for covering a house. Or at least I think they might not be, but I have just checked and alder and birch are considered hardwoods, just possibly not quite thick enough in diameter. I must do some more research! I know I have seen larch used on cladding and they have been thin strips rather than the thicker cladding. Anyway back to Ian! He has also fixed the car this week, we had a problem with the gearbox again and so he took the housing apart and all the problem seems to be is a nylon bearing (well I think that's what he said) that gets jammed every now and again. Doesn't seem such a good system for what should be a robust car! He also made a shelter outside the workshop/stable for the alpacas as when it rains heavily one of them always seems to get stuck outside. It will also mean that there is less snow comes in between the wood paneling on the side.

This male is for keeping and we wonder if
he was the one responsible for the noise.
We said goodbye to one of our chickens this week, as we packed him up in a box and sent him off to a new home (no we didn't put him in the post, just in case you were wondering). Our neighbour's mum has a farm and all her old male chickens died recently and so she wanted a young replacement. We had agreed to this ages ago and we got a dispatched broiler chicken in advance. Seemed like a fair swap! Once we know that he has adapted to his new home and settled in, then we will make a final decision as to which chickens to keep and which to cull. There should be three chickens heading to our freezer, as we are still not too sure about the gender of one of the chickens and being smaller anyway will benefit from a little longer to fatten up if it is male. One of our chickens also went "Cock-a-doodle-doo" the week before. It was really odd as we had just left the greenhouse where our chickens are housed at the moment when we heard it. We both stopped in our tracks and looked at each other as if to say "did you hear what I thought I heard?" Strange thing is that we have not heard it since and no idea which chicken made the noise - probably gone into shock and that is why we haven't heard it again.

More pipe to ensure water runs where we
want it too during the upheaval of digging
We had a bit of a surprise this week, as we arrived on our land I saw something pale sticking out of the ground on our hill, but it was way too far to see clearly what it was. I asked Ian and he said he thought it was a tuft of grass. It turned out that it wasn't a tuft of grass at all, it was a fox. It must have been sat in the middle of the field wondering what on earth it was going to do now as it was stuck inside the electric fence. It dashed this way and that but couldn't work out how it was going to get past the fence. Ian came to fetch me and the sight of two humans advancing towards it was enough to help it overcome the fear of the fence and off it shot. At least we know the fence works - sort of! It must have run into the fence and got a bit of a shock, as the wires at the top of the field were lying on the ground or at least popped out of the fasteners. They wouldn't have done that if it had just walked into them.

Finally got around to having a fire to burn
tomato plants. It has been too wet or we've
been too busy. We also got rid of some
rubbish from around the place too
We found out this week that we finally have recycling facilities in our village. We have even got rid of some plastic bottles that have been lying around for ages. So years after everyone else we can now get rid of plastic, paper, cardboard, tetra packs, cartons, and glass bottles. Very exciting! (I guess we don't get out much) Sadly another bank in Latvia closed its door this week and that means the only permanent bank in our village has closed its doors. Fortunately though it was a bit more orderly than the last time a bank closed and people have had time to sort out alternatives and if they don't do that personally they will just have their funds transferred to another bank who has agreed to take on the accounts. We are not sure though if we the bank taking on the accounts will keep our branch open or not. We do know we get to keep the ATM, but that is a bit of a moot point as that particular bank already has an ATM in our village anyway, just hope they keep it better stocked than before, as occasionally it is not possible to take out much if the money is low.

This isn't as flat as some places, but you can imagine
being able to look forever as the prairie goes on and on.
This was taken from our time in Colorado
Finally I am nearly finished (hope there are not too many sighs of relief there) but I have been revisiting Rich Mullins songs. He sang about his faith with such honesty which was straight from the heart and even now some of his songs can make me cry, which is saying something as normally I am not the emotional type. Some words from one of his songs really struck me this week as words for our times and it is from the song "Calling Out Your Name"

From the place where the morning gathers
You can look sometimes forever 'til you see
What time may never know
What time may never know
How the Lord takes by its corners this old world
And shakes us forward and shakes us free
To run wild with the hope
To run wild with the hope
The song itself is about nature calling out its praise and I really grew to love this song as it mentions the prairies which I saw for the first time in Colorado. But this song has a new resonance in a time of shaking, when nothing seems certain and feels so uncomfortable. To know that God takes this world and shakes us forward and shakes us free helps me to understand more than ever that the shaking has a purpose and it is not just some random act of the universe. God indeed wants us to run wild with the hope, the hope that he is setting a new order to things, that life cannot carry on the way it always has done, he has a purpose in creating a freer world, a fairer world. One where we can run free with hope.
Of course Colorado is not all prairie. Here is a picture from
Cameron Pass in the Rocky Mountains.


Liz Eph said...

I love bonfires :-)

Joanna said...

So does Ian and I have to admit we both stood and watched the fire for quite a while. Well we couldn't leave it unattended could we? :D

karen said...

I do wish you had put the chicken in the post!! It would of been an adventure for her!

Joanna said...

An adventure for "him" not "her" :o). He will be having quite an adventure of his own as he now has another harem, with no smaller whippersnapper to annoy him.