Monday, 13 May 2013

Spring is here... or is it summer?

The leafy lanes of Tartu. This is taken on
the hill near the centre of Tartu where
the ruins of a Cathedral lie and the vague
outline behind the statue is the outline
of those ruins
What a difference a week makes. It is almost as if spring is racing into summer. One week the trees are all bare, the next they are covered in rapidly expanding leaves. Normally we see a more gradual change, but this year, the late winter has meant there are some trees playing catch up and all seem to be developing at once. I'm back up in Tartu again this week and it has been so nice to walk along the paths that are not covered in ice and, despite the thunderstorm this morning, the temperature is rather pleasant. The last time I was up in Tartu, I was constantly afraid of going outside, in case I slipped on the ice again and hurt my arm even more. My field of vision was reduced to the path in front of me and it took an intense level of concentration to walk on them. This week I have been able to saunter along, taking in the peacefulness of leafy lanes. Watching the guys out on the grass doing push ups and laughing to myself at the fact they had started off so fast but were now struggling to keep going, still they managed more than I could do, perhaps I shouldn't have been laughing to myself. It must have been a club of some sort out training, but I didn't manage to work out what kind of sport they might be training for.

I'm not quite sure what this bridge is here for, but it is on
the same hill as the ruins. There looks to be an observation
point on the top of the mound, but what is viewable from
up there I don't know as the trees have grown up so much
around it. There was also a young couple up there and so
I didn't want to interrupt.
Last week was a week for planting, interspersed with revising for the dratted statistics or attempting the assignment. Ian managed to get the gardens rotavated and the flatter plot ridged up, which meant that we could get the potatoes in and we finished off the last two bags of onion sets too. One plot is on a slope and requires short ridges across the slope to catch the water and stop run off of nutrients and so that plot needs ridges putting in by hand, not as easy as using the ridger on the two wheeled tractor, but doable. At least the soil is not heavy clay and even after a shower the night before it was still easy to work. The plot that could be ridged was much easier to do and we just made holes with my spade, which is smaller, and pop the potatoes in. We won't hoe them up, but put straw around them as they grow to reduce the weeds. The British way of putting them in, maybe more productive, but is so much harder to do and in a wet year would mean the potatoes are sat in water, this way they are sat in the ridges and water can pool underneath them and we still get a reasonable amount of potatoes out of them at the end of the year.

Freedom! The alpacas have been given an even bigger area
to eat from now that the grass is growing well. The area
they had last week, only lasted about two days, before they
had eaten most of it down. They look so white against
the green grass!
Many of our tomatoes are planted in the greenhouse now, but still covered in fleece to protect them from the strong sunlight and any danger of low temperatures. In a few weeks time I will take the fleece off and start tying them up to the metal wires we have running along the length of the greenhouse for support. It is exciting to see the young plants bursting their way through from the trays I planted up and, before I left for Tartu, there were cabbages, chinese cabbage, calabrese, pumpking nut squashes and sweet meat squashes, amongst others, all starting to poke through. Ian also planted up one of our ploughed areas with oats, whilst I continued planting up carrots and beetroot outside. It has been dry since the snow melted and the ground needed a shower to encourage more grass growth and seeds to germinate and we have had that now. By next week I will probably be moaning about the weeds.

We don't have many problems getting them put away now,
they just follow Ian into the shed whenever, he has their
evening feed in hand. He doesn't even herd them in.
I had an interesting time this morning meeting with fellow doctoral students, all a little further on than me, even if it is just a semester. It makes a change from sowing seeds anyway. I was so pleased to hear another student was also struggling with the statistics course, as I at least felt it wasn't just me, not so good for her though. I also found out that doing the course in Estonian wasn't any easier, even though the slides for the lectures are all in Estonian. The task for today was to give a presentation about me and the aims of my research. Being a little older than most students meant my introduction was perhaps a tad longer than most, but folks enjoyed it and there were questions not just about the topic of my research, but also about the alpacas we are raising. My fellow statistics sufferer said it had always been a dream of hers to have some land and alpacas. Maybe we can sell her some in the future.

The carpet of wood anemones look wonderful
On a completely different note, one of the things I have found I am getting quite good at is spotting what I have found out are called Spambots. They are comments that people/companies put on blogs to encourage others to click through onto their webpages. It is obviously too much hassle for them to actually personalise their comment on the blog and so they tend to be fairly vague in their wording, with phrases that are so general they can apply to many different blogs. The trick to working out whether a comment is a spambot, is there is no reference to the blog post at all, not in any direct way anyway.  usually check a comment that I'm suspicious of by copying it into google and seeing what comes up. If the same comment comes up all over the place, then I definitely delete it. If you want to know what I mean and see some of the types of comments that are posted all over the blogosphere here is a site with a list of them. It makes quite entertaining reading.
Ian grading the road with our friend's grader he welded
together. It has helped a lot to flatten out the ruts and bumps
on the road and where the wild boar have been. The areas
have also been raked and seeded with a hay mix of seeds
Updated broken link


  1. I'll see you in the autumn. Have a good summer. Hugs & blessings.

  2. Definitely Pene, thanks so much for letting me stay. Have a good summer


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