Monday, 21 October 2013

They're here!

APH2 (alpaca house 2 of course) complete with new
fence and gates
We had 203 sheep last week! "What! How did that happen?" is maybe racing through your brain at this point, especially if you have been following this blog. I had even hoped to have a picture of them, but that was not to be. You'll have to take my word for it. One of our neighbouring farms has lots of sheep and was running out of space to move them to and asked if they could put their sheep on our ski hill. We were delighted to accommodate them as it meant that we could finally get some mobile manure depositors up there, to put some added fertility into the ground to enhance the grass we grow next year. We have taken hay from the ski hill for the last four years and put nothing back into it and so it was more than ready for that. However, if you have been following this blog, you will know that we were expecting to get our next group of alpacas and sure enough they have arrived safely and I am assured they are tucked up nice and snug in their new accommodation, which Ian finished off this week.
Meet Estelle, Snowdrop, Veronika and Alicia.

The transfer in Riga! Helped along by some willing helpers
dragged out of the comfort of their beds on a Sunday morning
Come on girls this is your new home. You'll like it here.
I had hoped to get to see the girls before I took off to Estonia again, but it wasn't meant to be. It was partly my fault that I didn't. I have done that much research on the internet to try and find transport that matches up that I got a bit confused. I had decided to go in with Ian in the morning, see the alpacas and then catch the train, but since the ferry came in at 11am and my train, so I thought, was setting off at 12pm, that didn't give a lot of time. I did catch up with the transport people to tell them where they should be as they had set off in the wrong direction and fortunately parked up not far away, but I didn't really feel like asking for a peep to see what they were like, because I didn't want to disturb them too much and it was at the edge of the old part of Riga .... and I had a train to catch. We had already been joking with people that if they heard of some escaped alpacas in the middle of Riga, they would know they were ours, so I didn't want to tempt fate too much. I got to the train station and realised my mistake, after thinking that maybe I had missed it for a brief moment. Arriving early at least meant I got a cup of tea, a bite to eat and a much needed loo stop. Some friends of ours also came with us into Riga to help make sure the girls were loaded properly since I wasn't certain about being available to help and it meant they were there to help at the other end in the unloading. I gather it went without a hitch and even better than our boys last year. At least I have pictures and they are so sweet looking.
Hmmm! Nice grass! What do you think of our new place?
Veronica! She is pregnant along with Snowdrop
Our animals have been a bit odd this last week, I understand it is something to do with the time of the year, heading into winter and all that. Anyway maybe you know the scene from Chicken Run when the farmer says "They're up to something" well they were, some of our little chicks made their escape, some flew at the door and some tunnelled out. Ian got them back into the ark quite easily with a little persuasion of some food, unfortunately not necessarily the right ones in the right ark, since we have two from which they had managed to escape. We were intending on keeping them separate for breeding purposes and this made it a little tricky. Fortunately there are differences, but we are not confident we know them all yet as Ian hasn't spent the winter in the greenhouse studying them in his spare time. We did manage to work out the majority though - those that were being picked on were in the wrong ark. It was also noticeable that there weren't so many brown chickens in one of the arks, as previously there had been more or less equal number of brown and white ones. The little chicks weren't the only ones misbehaving, James our male chicken went for Ian and was swiftly reprimanded for it, but then he took off and we couldn't get him in. After a few minutes chasing him around and since Ian wasn't feeling well at all we decided to leave him to it and if he became fox food then so be it. The following day, the majority of the chickens including James did not stray far from their hen house for a change but one of the big brown chickens went missing this time.
Snowdrop, step sister to Herkules, one of our boys. Can
you spot the resemblence?
Alicia, she is the oldest one of the group. She was going to
go into retirement and hasn't had a cria (baby) this year but
her condition has improved enough for our seller to say she
maybe able to get pregnant next year. We do hope so, as
it will be nice to have some different colours amongst our
The chickens weren't the only ones making their escape this week, on the same night that James was acting up one of our alpacas was sat outside the wire fence when we came back to put them away. Ian had spent the day at home because of not feeling well and I had been sorting out our home, trying to make some sense of the mess in it. Fortunately Herkulees didn't run off, just sat down on the wrong side of the fence and when Ian went up to sort him out by laying the fence down for him to walk over, he walked straight in, almost as if to say "I've been waiting for you to turn up, so I can get back in." Somehow the wire was snapped, but not sure that Herkules our alpaca would have done that, maybe it was already snapped and Herkules being Herkules would have eaten his way under the other wires and before he knew it would have been on the wrong side of the fence.
Estelle, the baby of the herd, she is 2 years old and her
wool is incredibly soft. She will be mated for the first time
next year. Notice the sturdy fencing, that is to keep the
male out as much as anything. Or to keep the girls in maybe
New glasses! Not the most flattering picture, but at least I'm
We both got new glasses this week. Mine are varifocals and so I had to wait a while between getting my eyes tested and them being ready, Ian just needs some reading glasses and they were ready in about 20 mins. While we were in town we also got the piece of paper sorted out that allows us to get buildings registered on our land and hopefully they will now send the tax bills to us, instead of another place where they often get delayed, before finding their way back to us to pay. At least this is progress, we can now both read small print again and we get a step in the right direction for house building, well kind of...
Our giant orange pepper. It is getting to the stage where
the peppers need harvesting, green or not!
Ian having a chat with the new arrivals
The next piece of news is a little difficult to explain, but we ended up buying another apartment. We didn't set out to do this, but someone asked us to help, as theirs was being repossessed by the bank and they would be homeless otherwise. We don't intend to own it for long, otherwise our own dream of building a house will draw even further away, but we didn't feel we could let this family down, we tried to think what would God want us to do in this situation. Hopefully their circumstances will change soon and we can sort something out, but until then we now own three apartments and before you think us very rich, they are not expensive being situated in very rural Latvia. We did feel a little bit down as we knew we were risking our own house build, because savings won't last forever anyway and it was already beginning to look like we might end up living in just the basement of the house with no hope of building further up, but at least it would be warm, dry and cheap
Ian dug out the dried up pond a little more
so that we hopefully have more water next
year,. It looks a bit of a mess at the
moment. Still it is starting to fill with the
damper atmosphere and the occasional
rain. Still more is needed to recharge the
wells of locals before the winter. 
The Stockholm-Riga ferry which our girls arrived on
It was at this down point a strange thing happened. Ian had been playing hunt the trays that he uses to feed our male alpacas with, this is a regular game as they bury their feeding trays under the hay ... I'm sure they don't do it deliberately, or maybe they do ...... anyway on this particular day, Ian was looking at the gap at the base of the shed to see if the alpacas had hidden it there and spotted a whole load of eggs. Our chickens have been laying intermittently, which is only to be expected at this time of the year and so weren't too surprised that we hadn't seen many. Ian occasionally has a look around to see if he can find any, but not spotted many in odd places for a while. The little dears though had managed to accumulate 22 eggs and as Ian carried them back up to the caravan, the word that came into his head was nest egg! So call us daft or whatever, we think we will find a nest egg sometime, maybe when we aren't looking. So that raised our hopes again anyway.


  1. Welcome to the new additions to your growing 'family'. I like Ian's interpretation of the hidden eggs and agree with him. I'm always amazed how suddenly God tells us things when we least expect it. Maybe your latest purchase of the flat will in itself turn out to be a nest egg.

  2. It is amazing how God works indeed and I look forward to seeing how it all pans out in the long term

  3. Great blog. The girls are very cute indeed :-) I dont know how you do it all with your studies and looking after the land too - you amaze me :-)

  4. You should see my home and befuddled state at the moment, then you would understand :)


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