Monday, 20 January 2014

Winter's arrived

Sunrise at -18C! Beautiful
Winter looks to have arrived again, only this time we know it is likely to be a bit more permanent than the cold we experienced in November. Now we have the problems of frozen water for our animals, because, despite the cold, there is not enough snow for them to eat in its place, which is what they do normally when we have a cold spell. We have too many animals to carry water easily out to the land and the water situation is not sorted out yet, as it hasn't been the right time to dig the well. We have ponds, but they are frozen over now. Still Ian is resourceful enough to work it out and has been chopping a hole in the ponds to get at the water and today he boiled some up in the kettle, as he thinks the girls are not too happy with the cold water. It took three kettlefuls to get enough to warm the water up and they loved it. Fortunately the boys prefer the snow for now, what little there is of it. Ian is going to have to gather some up from elsewhere and put it in the paddocks. Not that it is hard to collect as the temperatures are down to around -18C (0F) in the mornings, so what little snow there is is not disappearing fast, even in the bright sunshine we've been having, in fact it seems to be increasing with the frosts we've had.

Soaking up the sun in the greenhouse

Two of the newest chickens took up residence in the ladies alpaca house, as I have mentioned before, but unfortunately they seem to have also taken to roosting on the feeders inside the house and for anyone who hasn't had chickens, they poo a lot at night and in this case it was into the hay. Not good! The chickens have actually been doing well up until recently, as they make good cleaners. Any food that the girls don't get, the chickens finish off. Not much use though if they then go and deposit their waste all over the girls food. Ian has put a cap on the hay feeders to try and stop this, but if it carries on, they will have to be removed all together. 
Soaking up the sun outside the chicken house
Soaking up the sun in the paddock
The vet came again this week and gave the alpacas there monthly vitamin injections. She wouldn't have done that, but she was also checking for a skin problem on one of our male alpacas. I am sure the next lot of vitamins will have to be given by me, otherwise I have to learn how to handle the alpacas better. The skin problem must be mites as the none of the boys had a problem until long after the ladies arrived. Maybe the mites arrived because of the stress of moving, we don't know. We need to do something about it, but we can't at the moment, as putting oil on their skin in these temperatures would only make matters worse, even if it did smother the mites. We did suspect the chickens might have introduced the mites, but we have checked them over and they seem okay. 
Even the sheep are enjoying the sun, after so much dreach

More hay please!
Although I am still not actually back at uni yet, I've still got a lot of work to do. I am gearing up to the workload and starting to get more organised and disciplined, which helps enormously of course. I think making a point of doing some knitting (even finished another hat off this week) or sewing is helping, as it gives me a brain break and time to mull things over. I am definitely a great muller over of things and that is where my inspiration comes from in those quiet moments. It is funny how it is the life changes that have thrown me the most and not necessarily the workload. I didn't realise I would find it so hard that the grandchildren are so far. I think it was because I had spent so long as a stay at home Mum that it is strange having to go through the emotions of not seeing the children so much. Especially as my grandson was one this last week.

Yum! Snow!
Still there is always Skype and I have had a lovely couple of chats with the babies and Ian was even around to talk to our grandson. Our grandson was playing with playdoh with what looked like a large plastic swiss army knife and he played quite happily sat on his dad's lap for ages. My little granddaughter was sat in a high chair eating and playing with toys (not at the same time), but she also was quite happy for a good while. Occasionally they would realise that the picture on the screens of either the phone or the computer was actually interacting with them and they would smile at us, which was lovely.
See! Very tasty!
Snowdrop doesn't get a look in very often. Usually off
doing her own thing, but she is getting a little more
interactive these days
I mentioned last week that I was away at the time of posting the blog. Oh the wonders of being able to pre-write a blog and then set it to post while away. I didn't get home until about 9pm and had gone out at 8:30am - a loooong day indeed. It was a fantastic time though. I got to speak to four wonderful ladies who were very patient with me and answered my questions thoughtfully. I did warn the first two that it was the first time I had asked this set of questions and so I wasn't sure how it would go, they were my trial run. My favourite quotes of the day though, were when I asked one lady if she grew her own food because it was tastier than supermarket veg and she replied, "I wouldn't know. I have never bought vegetables from the supermarket." I then asked, "If she had enough money would she still grow her own food?" "Oh yes!" she replied, "because it's mine and it is fresh outside the door." By the way, her tomatoes were tasty. She had then in a jelly of some description and not cooked down like mine, but they had a wonderful taste anyway. Summer in a jar!
Ripe for a caption competition this one. This is Tellus and
he is often photographed.
Looking good even in these
My translator also had a wonderful time too. He was a local lad who now lives in Riga and it was an opportunity to take a trip back home. He would love to move back, but it is a problem for youngsters to find sufficient employment so far away from the city. I think it fired him up though to think more seriously about it and try and find ways to move back. Hearing me ask questions about the community and how people help each other out, about the way people grow their own vegetables, made him feel quite nostalgic for his home village. Not a bad start anyway. My heart is to see more young people move back, but how they do that is another thing.


  1. you take some lovely pics. love the snowy nose :-)

  2. I have to confess, that although the first picture is mine, the rest are done by the in-house photographer, Ian


I love to hear your comments and will always reply, so go ahead, ask a question or just say hi