Monday, 21 January 2013

It's a .......

A baby sleeping bag in process for another new grandchild.
This one is made from a recycled picture I was making for one
of our children that never got finished. It was going to have
velcro dinosaurs to stick on the fleecy fabric. The picture
was completed but the dinosaurs never materialised.
Boy! Yes our first grandson was born on Wednesday, carrying on the family tradition of being born on that day of the week. I was born on a Wednesday as were all three of our children, one only scraping in by 10 minutes, having been born at ten minutes past midnight. Ian is the odd one out, as he was born on Friday. It was meant to be a home birth but ended up a hospital birth at the last minute due to a minor scare, nothing serious and mother and baby are now doing fine. What was scary was to discover that he is one lucky little boy, as there was a knot in his cord, which does not seem to have caused him a problem in the end. I knew about the impending delivery in the morning and was on tenterhooks all day and in the end had to stay up quite late, knowing nothing of the transfer to hospital until after the event. It was a little nerve wracking as I didn't want to intrude too much, but I was also obviously concerned about what was happening. At one point during the day I had to go out to the shops and as I was walking the name Calum came into my head. When I got home I looked the name up and it is a Celtic name for dove, a peace bringer. His name is not Calum, but his name has a similar meaning (sorry no names here) and he is already spreading some peace and reconciliation, as a neighbour of the young family, who they were not getting on well with for one reason and another has given them gifts for the arrival of the new baby, obviously an opportunity for reconciliation.

Delivered safe and sound
It was not the only delivery this week our microwave finally arrived, a day late but at least it arrived. I said last week it was late and so the following morning I phoned to ask what happened and within two hours it apperaed delivered by an older couple, not the normal delivery type of guy. We live on the second floor (UK), third floor (Europe and US) and so deliveries of heavy goods is never easy, the poor guy looked rather puffed out as he stood at the top of the stairs, he wasn't a sprightly chap shall we say. Our next challenge was the instructions, they are in Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian, not in English nor Danish or Swedish - languages I might have managed with a bit of checking. I now have to polish up my technical Latvian to understand the finer details of the cooking programmes. I have managed to work out though how to microwave, microwave with grill, microwave with fan oven and use the fan oven. Not bad for guesswork! The crisp function and steaming function are new to me and so I'm not sure how they work yet.

One of our better roads. The sides of the roads
are starting to get rather high. Another good
load of snow and it is likely that they will be
looking for places to dump it.
Ian is spending a lot of time out on the land on his own and I do try to get out with him occasionally. The problem for me is there is nothing I can do, except ski that is, and so Ian has made a trail for us to try out. It wasn't too bad, but not quite flat and no grooves for cross country skiing and so I ended up doing a little bit of skate skiing which I'm not terribly comfortable with. Ian meanwhile powered himself round, virtually by upper body strength with parallel skis - I did give that approach a little try but gave up after a minute, I haven't got his strength that's for sure. The track obviously needs a little working on, but it's a start. One of the interesting things about the snow this year is it is soft and powdery, nothing too unusual about that as that is the type of snow you get at this time of year in these temperatures; what we found out one day though as the sun came up is how easy it slides off the roof. We were stood at one end of the greenhouse, just chatting about this and that, when suddenly the snow started sliding off starting at one end and working its way systematically section by section to the opposite end, it was like we had shutters and someone had pressed the switch to open them in perfect order. Obviously the sun had set off a chain reaction, but it was so weird to observe.

My new rolling pin
Ian hasn't much to do either. Working in the forest is difficult with the snow clinging to trees from previous wetter snowfalls and getting quite deep now as bit by bit the snow builds up and so he doesn't do that. There is no land work, apart from clearing snow from time to time as it builds up a bit too much. The alpacas aren't cleared out, we let the bedding build up as that is supposed to keep them warmer and also you cannot move frozen bedding, so layering the dry bedding on top works just as well. Clearing that out will be a spring time job, that we are both looking forward to (well if you believe that you'll believe anything). The chickens likewise don't need much clearing as anything that is liquid freezes solid and cannot be a health hazard at that temperature, anything solid sinks to the bottom of the bedding, so again it gets layered up in the ark. Their sleeping compartments get cleared out on a regular basis and that is about it. Which all goes to mean that Ian still needs to find things to do and as mentioned last week, he is really getting into the woodworking lark.

A toasting fork. The copper wires works but they are soft, Ian
is hoping to find some stronger but thin wire and he is
going to soften the rather abrupt edge as well. 
Up until now, Ian has been what you could call a functional woodworker. His work has been solid but not exactly aesthetic, although I guess aesthetics is in the eye of the beholder. His work this last week though, has been developing quite nicely with some quite artistic pieces being created. He has been finding out what it is like to work on different kinds of wood, alder and oak mainly. Alder has a lovely way of turning from a pale wood, to a wood with an orangey hue as it oxidises. The oak though has a lovely grain to it. So this week he has made two dibbers, one for us and one for a neighbour (a dibber is a handy gadget for making holes in the ground for planting young seedlings), a rolling pin just the right size for a tray I have, that I make my pastry on, and a toasting fork. The handle really is beautiful, but the wire for the fork needs a little working on.

Instead of a sloping side, Ian has straightened
the side to create a nesting area.
Ian did get back to the more functional woodwork in the week though as he made an extension for one of our chicken arks. The accommodation area for the first ark he made now seems a little small for the number of chickens to be cooped up in at night since they have grown quite big and so Ian added on a little chamber for nesting and removed the hardboard separator where the previous nesting area was. This has opened up the main area and made it more comfortable for the birds at night - at least we hope so, without actually hooking up a camera we can't tell for sure, but at least the chickens are using the new nesting area. We had a record number of eggs today, four, two from each ark, which at least means that some of the hens in the other ark are now coming into lay. We are still waiting for the day when we have nine eggs, then we will know they are all in production.
Here you see the access area to the nesting area
so we can get to all those lovely eggs. The string,
by the way is not to hold it on, it is the string to
raise and lower the door for getting into the
accommodation block

A dibber
We had a lovely unexpected chat this last week with the kind of friends who you can pick up and chat with as if it was only yesterday you last chatted. We haven't actually chatted for at least a year I think, maybe even more. They have a new Kindle and unbeknown to me, one of the things you can use them for is for Skype and so they were trying it out and I happened to be on. They are two people I really respect for growing in wisdom, not from book learning but from listening to God. People not defined by their education but by their faith. They have always been folks who sought to walk with Jesus from the start, even though they have been a bit isolated at times due to the fact they lived further away than most and to be honest not your usual church going backgrounds. It makes them more real at times than some folks I have known and their faith more immediate and it shines out of them. Love 'em! Skype is wonderful for keeping up with our new grandson too, we had a lovely chat today while he was awake - clever kid you see! Okay! I'll be honest, he cooed a bit, and I chatted to him and his dad, but he was listening, you could tell. Will be fantastic when we can interact more, looking forward to it, although I am looking forward more to when we get the chance of a cuddle.


  1. Congratulations on the grandson. You deserve a cuddle... then a few more years and he will be ready to work the land with the rest of you!!!! We have had some storms here but that REALLY looks cold where you are!

  2. Congratulations on your new grandson! Three of my four boys were born in the early hours of Saturday... as was I!

  3. Thank you Martin. We get to see him for a cuddle in April, looking forward to that

  4. Oh yes! It was cold this week -25C one morning

  5. Thank you Gina, funny how these things happen

  6. You've had a week of deliveries - a grandson, a microwave and a delayed Christmas present (that you mentioned on Facebook.) Now there's just the electricity out on the land to be delivered! Praying that won't be too long in arriving.

  7. Oooh I do hope you're right Mavis, thanks for praying

  8. oh congratulations on the new baby!!!!! absolutely wonderful news...I am grinning from ear to ear even though I did see it on facebook last week. and congratulations at having your own interior designer!! such beautiful pieces that money definitely couldn't buy.....

  9. Thank you Karen. My own interior designer is getting better and better - all will be revealed on Monday


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