|Spring has sprung. The alpacas in the distance (the white|
specks on the opposite side) have been let out of their
paddock to feed on green grass. Unfortunately we still have
bare earth from the winter damage too.
|The voles were busy over winter too. Those|
channels through our little blackcurrant
bush cuttings are the remnants of the vole
runs. Hopefully our cats have been doing
their job, as I haven't seen many of the little
beds from rotted wood chippings two years ago as they are so easy to deal with - no digging over at all, just remove the weeds and rake over a bit. I did add some alpaca manure at the end of last year to the beds as wood chippings alone are not enough to feed the plants, but apart from that I haven't put a lot of work into them. It does mean I managed to sow onions, parsnips, peas, carrots, beetroot, spinach and salad leaves outside with no bother this week. It is a good job that the beds don't need digging over much anyway as my arm still aches, although it is much better than it was. It aches because I am doing more and more with it, and it protests. My guts are still not right either after that course of antibiotics I had a few weeks ago and I had to resort to the medicine cabinet yet again this week (not that you really wanted to know that, but that's my life at the moment).
|First area ploughed|
We managed to fit in a quick visit to the local Spring market this week, so we got some lovely local cheese and two sacks of seed potatoes. One lot of our potatoes we don't want to use again for seed due to the possibility of blight, so starting with a fresh batch seemed the best move. The other batch are full of small potatoes that have sprouted and we will chuck them on the ground and cover with straw, if they come they come, if they don't they don't. Well that's the theory anyway.
One of the difficulties we have of living here is not speaking the language, but it is not always a problem and we are not the only ones that struggle. I saw a local I knew and stopped for a chat, he's actually German and doesn't speak much Latvian, so our conversation was conducted in German and English, but somehow we managed to understand each other. Shows how communication can happen despite the barriers. He now knows we were in the UK and Australia visiting grandchildren and I now know he saw our neighbour driving our car around.
|Ian backing up to the greenhouse|
|Caravan on its way out after nearly 7 months of being cooped|
Sometimes we expect life to be conducted at 100mph and sometimes it just feels like that is what it is doing, whether we like it or not. But life isn't like that all the time, or it shouldn't be. Life is full of ebbs and flows, season of activity and seasons of dormancy where nothing seems to be actively growing, something that Mark Pixley in his blog talks about. Living life at full pelt will lead to burnout and that is something I'm very conscious of, I've seen it happen far too many times for my liking. Some people can hack it, but from my observations they can only do that by screening out other things and in so doing don't absorb the stress. I wonder if they miss out on other things though, well that's not for me to know. I think one of the antidotes to living life at full pelt is to have a garden, especially a vegetable garden. It is in the garden that you can begin to appreciate the ebb and flow of the seasons. It is in tending the garden that you can see the point of removing some of the good things in life to let other things grow and develop better and at the end of the year, when the frosts come, there is not much to do apart from tidy up and dream of next years crops and pour over seed magazines, the ebbing of the year. I'm not the only one who thinks it is good to reconnect with a garden, as Nancy Sleeth says
"Oh, if every church and school had a garden, how different this world might be! Caring for a garden provides something that cannot be purchased at the grocery store: the satisfaction of eating food planted, tended, and harvested with our own hands. A garden cultivates gratitude, reminding us that every ounce of food that passes our lips ultimately comes from God. And as any experienced gardener will attest, a garden keeps us humble — constantly aware that the enemy, entropy, is very much alive."
Seems like as good a reason as any!