Monday, 26 August 2013

Oh so quiet! Not!

The first time one of our alpacas looked like the one in the
middle, we thought he'd died. But no! Alpacas like to
sunbathe. In fact two of them were doing just that before
the photo, but one decided to sit up, just as I was taking it.
It's all quiet down on the farm, well if you ignore the roar of the tractor, as Ian digs up tree roots and the clacking of the two wheel tractor as he does another marathon grass cutting session. At least the work is paying off as the invasive ground elder is slowly disappearing. There has also been the sound of hammering as Ian continues on with the new alpaca house. Also in the distance there has been the continual yap of a neighbours dog - wait a minute, it didn't used to, maybe they have a new one, must pop round one day and find out. I don't have any tales to regale you this week on our attempts to capture escaped animals. They've been quite well behaved. Well that was until this afternoon. Some of our chicks were looking under the weather yesterday, and one we call Ronnie Runt for obvious reasons was quarantined for a couple of hours in the caravan, but then he/she picked up again and was sent to rejoin the flock. This morning they were all looking fine, but by this afternoon one had died and Ronnie Runt and another chick are back in quarantine for the night. It was about this time last year that we had similar problems and so we will have to try and work out what's going on with them.

The side view! If you look carefully, you will
see that the top looks like it has ventilation
between the uprights, but Ian is putting a
second layer on over the gaps. Don't want the
beasts getting cold now do we!
We do have more news though on the alpaca front, the deposit is paid for our new girls and we have agreed a possible date or range of dates with the transport company who brought our boys across. So far so good, but this is Latvia and we don't get too excited until the animals are in their paddocks (and not escaping everywhere). At least Ian is now getting on well with the alpaca house and he went to a local shop and found they actually have the kind of OSB sheets that he wants - amazing. The next big job will be trying to find the right kind of wire to do the fencing. These little darlings will have to be well and truly fenced in, to stop the babies escaping next year and one of our dear boys from joining his potential girlfriends. We do not want winter babies!

The pipe with a plastic cover and this is only about 10m
from the house (updated as promised)
Ian took his tractor up to a friend of ours this week to help him dig up a broken sewer pipe. Our friend did a test dig and discovered that it was crushed and needed to be dug out some more to see the extent of the problem. Boy! Was a sight to behold. It's a fairly new installation, but it would appear that the local company charged for pipes not even put in (prior to our friend's buying the place that is) and the pipe that was put in was not even a sewer pipe but a pipe to drain water from the land, in other words a pipe with holes in, and so the result was that instead of carrying away the water, it has been leaking overflow sewage from the septic tanks into the ground - fine if it was into sand and if it wasn't so close and uphill from their well or so close to the house. The result is that in spring the garden is a smelly swamp and they are not very sure about the quality of the water from their well. Ian dug a trench away from the short pipe that had been put in, along a line that could have been the result of some previous excavations and there was some more pipe, just not connected to the other sewer pipe. Is it any wonder that this local company, owned by the local pagast (council) is forever digging up around our village! And does this sound familiar? A company owned by the pagast, i.e. owned by the people really, who does shoddy work for the very people it is supposed to be working for?
The pipes used, not sewer pipes at all

The trench that Ian dug and the new pipes
ready to go in.

Showing the inside of the panel
We've had more visitors out on the land this week, at this rate we'll need to produce guidebooks. One couple have been meaning to come and visit since we got our alpacas last year and we have just not got organised. That isn't to say we haven't seen them or visited them, just not got our act together for them to visit us. One comment that was made, that we've heard a few times is that they had heard our stories, but until they had visited they couldn't really imagine it properly. So the moral of the tale is: if you've read the blog, or heard us ramble on and on, come and see for yourself what we are really doing. See the pole lathe and have a go, come and spend a few hours cutting grass - you'll never complain about cutting your own lawn ever again, come and chop wood or how about using the solar dryer, since it now works - although perhaps maybe next year, it is getting towards the wrong end of the year for that now. We also had a visit by a possible builder for our house, but there are still costs to examine. At least we should get to know what type of ground we are dealing with as he will borrow a drill to drill for soil samples. Looking forward to that.

Autumn is here and so are the smoky fires.
I have been having a few Skype chats with my grandchildren this week, the wonders of technology, well kind of. It is odd how frustrating it can be when the picture quality is not so good and yet a not so long ago not even that was possible. Our littlest granddaughter gave me plenty of smiles, until she got tired that is and then she went crabby, we nearly gave up on the chat, but she fell asleep and so we just continued on. Our grandson looked like a little old man at one point sitting on the floor with his hands on his knees watching his dad set up the tv with us on. It was very comical to watch, we were crying with laughter at his faces. Our rubber granddaughter (now for this you need a bit of Swedish. Apparently it is a term of endearment for an adopted into the family person, so our friend was called a rubber mum by her partner's Swedish son after he visited them for the first time) anyway as she was on her way out she shouted out "Bye Grandma Jo," whilst I was talking to our youngest son. I guess that makes me a rubber Grandma then. Languages are fun aren't they with their little quirky sayings.


  1. Fantastic! I can just hear you talking whilst I read! We have Skype frustrations as well, between bad connections and crabby children, it's an adventure every time. LOL

  2. Oh one day you will have to come lori and one day something like Skype will be perfect.

  3. Your blog always makes me smile - rubber Grandma! I'll think about that all day now!

  4. So pleased it makes you smile and you've seen the place so you can picture things more easily

  5. hiya rubber jo, we have the winter "smog" too - the clean air act was much needed in our overcrowded islands, but no thought of it here. our valley air gets quite grubby in the winter with the number of people who still heat with wood round here.

  6. Hiya Liz. We don't get particularly grubby in winter here. It is just spring and autumn when the smoky bonfires are lit. The woodsmoke from the stoves sometimes gets trapped by temperature inversion but we are still a very clean area to live in. You can tell by the lichen and the mosses on the trees

  7. boy it's always so busy at your place!! sewage pipes and sunbathing alpacas.....never a dull moment.

  8. Oh we like to keep a bit of variety going :)


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