Monday, 11 November 2013

Diamond moments

A close up of our old girl, Alicia.
You'll be glad to know that I didn't have a meltdown this week. Thank you for so many kind words and words of care and concern for me, I do appreciate them and they certainly helped. Fortunately I bounce! Not that I'm up and down all the time, but I don't tend to stay down for long, I'm too much of an optimist/daydreamer for that. Having a meltdown though, did send up some red flags to me, that I needed to get a little balance in my life and so I have been looking for the little diamonds that make me smile and there seemed to be a few of those this week. One moment was sitting in a chocolate shop between meetings and eating a lovely dark rich chocolate cake and drinking a pot of tea, with the wafts of very chocolately smells enveloping me, a heavenly moment for sure. The moment was brightened all the more when a slightly portly chap, with a distinctly white bushy beard and red checked shirt walked past the window - Father Christmas! Well that was the thought that came to me. The next amusing moment was when a young chap strode into the place with a resonant "labdien" (good day in Latvian) to the ladies at the counter, out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed a handlebar moustache on a strikingly tall young man. I had a job not to snigger into my tea. He definitely seemed a theatrical sort and maybe he was, as we were just across the road from the opera. I did my best not to stare as he turned around to face me and sat down. I suppose I might incur the wrath of other handlebar moustache wearers for my response, but it isn't every day you see a young chap with such a distinctive moustache - although, maybe he was wearing it for Movember, hadn't thought of that.
The boys looking grubby this week in the rain

It was nice to get an assignment finished on the Monday and the teacher happy with my work, that is another course done and dusted. There was also no homework for this week as we had a guest lecturer from America in. He was a nice enough chap, but I did have the feeling that the stuff we learnt could have been said in the first hour. I also cringed a bit at being told to stand up and take a breath every now and again, to keep us awake, as well as cringing at the comedy show excerpt from something called "The Big Bang" but then again I have never been a big fan of American comedy shows anyway. I expect others found it more entertaining than I did.
The alpacas have been attacking the hay this week. We are
wondering if we will have enough, or whether to buy some
now while it is cheaper. The jury is still out on that one.
At least we haven't had any chicken losses this week.

I said I had two meetings this last week and they were good, well worth trailing back into Riga for. One was a young chap who is looking at the results of participatory development meetings and we chatted over the things he had found. It confirmed many things I knew about and suspected, I was also able to add some insights of my own. I am hoping that he does keep in touch and I can see for myself some alternative ways of doing the meetings that might have a more productive outcome. Currently the meetings are just really stone throwing matches, with no real dialogue and certainly not the point of participatory meetings. The clue is in the title, people are meant to participate in a meaningful way and it just ain't happening. The second meeting was more a getting to know each other meeting and the outcome was I have now been invited back to do a guest lecture towards the end of the month. Very exciting! 
They turned the section that Ian had
recently dug for electric cable into a
mud bath with deep footprints in it.

Unfortunately it was Ian's turn to flip out at me. He had had a bad day, first of all he was greeted by the sight of a small herd of cows out on our land, they made rather a mess of the place in some areas. They are definitely harder on the land than our alpacas and sheep are. At least they left us some manure in places, but also some rather deep holes from their hoofprints. It's bad enough with the wild boar, without some neighbours cows joining in. Ian had to take a trip up to the neighbour to see if she could ring round and find out whose animals they were and later on a couple turned up to collect them. Ian said the cows were quite tame and even came up to him in a timid sort of way, just at the point though where he was trying to drive them away from our greenhouse, the owner turned up and called to them, as well as rattling a bucket and off they ran to him. They obviously knew who fed them.
Put huge footprints through our new blackcurrant plot
Dislodged old hay bales

Ian then had to go around to check on any problems they had caused. He found they had dislodged a hay bale from our hay stack that then got soaked in the rain. He couldn't put it back on the stack and so decided to chuck it over the fence into the alpaca paddock so he could put it out of the rain in the overhanging area we have. In doing that he caught the fence and managed to not just snap one fence post, but four. Fortunately he had some spares from making APH2 paddock, but it was a job he wasn't really wanting to do that day. To absolutely cap his day we had a miscommunication. I went into Riga with some friends and after eating we were coming back together that evening, Ian though had asked me that morning if I was coming back on the bus and apparently I answered "yes!" I obviously misheard what he said (I really need a hearing aid) and only found out when a slightly irate - no, a very irate husband rang to say "where are you?" My reply of I'm on my way back with our friends did not go down too well. We have made up since though and I am forgiven.
At least they left us some useful manure, just not always in
useful places. This is in the middle of a tractor track and
not actually on the field where we would want it.
The rain means our stream is beginning
to flow again
There were other diamonds to glimpse this week. I travelled up by bus again this week to Tartu, so that meant a 2 1/2 hour wait on yet another fairly grey day in Cesis. I bought my ticket for the bus and then set off for a trip around and an explore of parts I haven't actually seen before. It was still a fairly dead place to be on a Sunday morning, but I did go back to another chocolate shop that I went to last week, where there are no drunk people asleep and had a black coffee and a piece of cake. I would prefer tea, but I am okay with a cup of coffee in peace than tea with a group of loud drunks first thing in the morning. On my way back there was a lady at an ATM, just as she was finishing up getting her cash a cat walked up to her meaowing away. You could almost imagine it saying "Got any money for a bag of cat food, love? I'm rather hungry this morning. Not many mice last night to be had." On one of the four buses I took that morning I spotted a lovely woodpecker pecking away at an apple on a tree and the rather grey day at one point broke and I had a glimpse of blue sky. The sunset was also gorgeous, with the sun setting bright orange in an early wintry way behind a house and tree. Even two of the bus drivers were very pleasant guys. All of these moments I drank in and let them water my soul. 

The light wasn't good but the red topped sticks mark the
channel. The last one in the row marks the site for the
proposed well. Convenient for the animals anyway,
but means a channel scarring the land up to the house for
water pipe and electric cable for the pump.
We had one of those dodgy guys out to our land to tell us where water is flowing. Not quite sure what to make of it all, but around here the water diviners are even used by companies to detect water and electric cables. You will of course be pleased to know that our proposed house site meets with his approval and is not sited in an area of bad energy. He also says our land drainage must be blocked as it isn't flowing, not surprised really it could well be blocked, but also there hasn't been much rain over this last year and so even the drains we know are not blocked have not been showing signs of water until this week. He said we have got somewhere where there is water and it starts from an area where we have our tractor trailer and Lada parked, but at that point it is about 15-20m down, it then runs along the hill in the direction of our ponds and is about 3-6m down at that point. Well we won't know until next year when we start digging, but Ian has mapped out the channel of water that he pointed out. Half of us is sceptical and it's all hocus pocus, but the other half does wonder. After all how many of us are really attuned to the electrical fields around us? Water running has an electrical charge, can someone be sensitive enough to feel it? As I said, we'll find out next year when we start digging.
Hay feeder constructed in APH2 for the
girls. It means they should have plenty
of access to hay no matter what time of
day or even if it is raining. We need to
keep the two pregnant girls in good

I can't finish without mentioning something that I read on the BBC website about some Afghan troops working in one area and the General said
"When the US forces were here, they used to nickname the Pech Valley as the Valley of Death, now we are calling it the Valley of Peace."But one has to fight and work hard for peace, it does not come cheap."
What a positive declaration that is. How easy it is to nickname something in a negative way that can then influence how you perceive a place or even influence others. In the Bible, names of places could carry very strong messages and this sounds the same. I also agree with the sentiment about the need to work hard for peace. I am reading a book by a Latvian MEP, Sandra Kalniete, called "Song to Kill a Giant" and it details the time of transition of Latvia from the Soviet system to independence. It makes me sad to realise how much dignity and restraint was exercised in making the transition, they fought with words, with singing and holding hands, not violence and bloodshed and yet the transition afterwards has been fraught with mistrust. There is much discord between people as the distrust they held for others before the transition from the Soviet times, resurfaces in many ways, making it difficult for people to work together, one example being our apartment block, as the rumbling issues continued this week. If only they could work together in the same way they sing together. That would be worth fighting for.
Ian has put shelters over the hay for the girls on the outside too

Salt and water in safe places


  1. lasses from Lancashire are very good at bouncing. I do it too. Is there any other way? I don't think so....and poor Ian. Next time you go for chocolate cake you should bring him a piece.

  2. It's the best way indeed Karen. I think I should take him chocolate cake sometime, seems only fair.


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