Monday, 31 March 2014

I've seen the light

I wonder what these two are discussing?
....... you know, the one at the end of the tunnel and I don't think it is a train about to hit me - at least I hope not. I have actually finished off a lot of stuff this week, or at least posted them off to others to see what they think, before they push it back my way to do more work on. It feels good to finally see the workload depleting, unless my supervisor makes up more work for me tomorrow when I go and see him. There was also no further catastrophes on the travelling front. My Latvian classmate gave me a lift to Valmeira where I managed to grab some lunch and the late bus back to Cesis. It had only ten minutes to spare according to the timetable to catch the following bus and so it was a bit worrying, but it was a needless worry, as it actually got in 5 minutes early. I got back home on Tuesday and it felt like I had been away for a month, but it was really only a week. The last long stint away was to Peyresq in France, but that was so peaceful and remote with only around 30 people there, can't remember exactly how many, but it was around that mark, unlike the over 600 mark at the conference the other week plus catastrophes which didn't help.

Our very fluffy cat having a wash
It was nice for a couple of mornings to take my time getting up and not having to rush out somewhere. I took the Thursday off, but that meant getting up early to get out on the land with Ian. He is an early riser and the sun is up, so off he goes to see to his animals. Still the for the rest of the day I just pottered about and we sat and chatted for quite a while. I also helped Ian with the injections of vitamins and worming/anti-bug medications, which basically meant passing him the needles and then holding the heads of the alpacas after Ian caught them - support role really, but not one he can do alone with the set up we have at the moment. Ian is working on some ideas to make life easier for himself if I am away and he needs to give injections. Alicia our old alpaca is much easier to do something with, but if Snowdrop ever got sick, he'd be in trouble, she is so big and not as compliant as Alicia. Having said that, Alicia is getting rather canny when it comes to injection time, she knows and doesn't necessarily run away, but just sidles off.
There's just one problem! Her hair is that long........
She has to strain her head right back to get to the end of it
Since Spring seems to have arrived I decided to plant seeds, but since this is Latvia I played safe - well safer - and planted some in the greenhouse and covered them with fleece. I planted parsnips outside, but under black cloth to protect them, they take ages to germinate anyway and will stand a some frost. Inside I planted collards, spring onions, little round carrots, kale and corn salad. So I hope we have something to eat from that little lot sooner rather than later, our veg store is running low on variety now. It was with this in mind that I headed out into the field and snipped away at the just emerging nettles for a good spring tonic, the first harvested crop of the year. It was nice but a little gritty, must find a better way of rinsing them without stinging myself. Don't panic, for those who don't know, nettles are safe to eat after cooking, honest!

Oh yes! The sky was definitely blue that day
There have been plenty of other signs of spring, such as the kiwi plant in the greenhouse has started dripping from the buds, which means it's waking up from its winter sleep and some of the winter barley seems to have survived and started sprouting again, only hope the chill we expect this week doesn't finish it off. The storks are also back, the true harbinger of Spring around here and the first Ian knew of their arrival was when the chickens went berserk and started flying off in panic, pinging into the wire around the alpaca paddock in the process. Other signs are the bees, the wagtails, the ospreys and frogs in the pond. It is still rather chilly at night, the greenhouse can register -6C overnight, but then be up to +25C half an hour after sun up.

Spot the chickens! Hiding behind the alpaca
Ian had more visitors this week. The first he knew was Alicia screeching, a sure sign something was up. Ian went to investigate and found three adults and two children, heading for the alpaca paddock.  It was a lady who works in the local supermarket and her family, and she once translated for us when we visited the local orphanage. They spent about half an hour at our place and Ian let the kids feed Tellus, Ian also managed to get hold of Tellus, so they could feel the fleece. From hanging onto him the other day for his injections, I know he has a lovely thick fleece on him. He'll be a challenge to shear soon.

This is a series of pictures. Our attempt to capture a picture
of both of us, using a timed shutter with the alpacas. So
here is the first, just setting it up
I had an interesting email yesterday, from someone I don't know and at first I wondered if it was spam, because there was a link in it, but it was such a well written and lovely email my gut reaction was that it was not. I admit to sending it off to my son-in-law to check, since he is the tech savvy one and he thought it was probably not. Well I took a risk and I'm grateful I did. Hichu, wrote a piano piece entitled "A Journey to Somewhere" and put it up on the internet and then tried to google it, to see if it would come up and my blog came up. So if you want to listen then here is the link. To me it speaks of the halting and uncertainty of setting off on a journey to somewhere and is a lovely tune.

Come on boys, where are you?
I had a vague note from my oldest son, saying a present was on the way and was booked to arrive Saturday after 6pm. That actually got me worried, as I was thinking "no delivery company delivers on a Saturday and especially after 6pm." I asked for a tracking number, but he wouldn't give me one as he said it would spoil the fun. I was intrigued. At 6:20pm a ring on the doorbell and standing at the door was a lady with a bunch of flowers. It wasn't my birthday present after all (my birthday is later on in the month) it was a Mothers Day present. I know in most of the world Mothers Day, or Mothering Sunday is usually in May, but in the UK it is related to Easter, so is usually in March. The lady said some very nice things, well they sounded nice and I nodded and smiled, as you do when you haven't a clue what someone is saying as it was all in Latvian. That wasn't the only surprise I even got a phone call while I was travelling on the bus up to Tartu from my youngest son. We were never very good as a family about doing things for Mothers Day and so I was a little taken aback by all the attention, but rather nice.

Close but not quite
I think the biggest shock though was a post on  my youngest facebook newsfeed that quoted the verse below, I would think most have you have seen some version of it.

At 6 yrs "Mommy I love you"
At 10 yrs "Mom whatever"
At 16  "My Mom is so annoying"
At 18  "I wanna leave this house"
At 25 "Mom, you were right"
At 30 "I wanna go to Mom's"
At 50 "I don't wanna lose my Mom"
At 70 "I would give up Everything 
for my Mom to be here with me"

We definitely went through the stages 10, 16 and 18,  just not sure they were at that age though and so for the turnaround to "Mom you were right," feels rather odd at times, but nice.

Arrrhh! There we go, that's better
Another milestone passed this week, we finished watching War Time Farm. It was a fascinating story, as they said in the programme, we hear a lot about the effects of war on the cities, but not in the countryside. It was also quite surprising how much changed in those few years and in someways how much high intensity agriculture of today stems from that era. It is a good job that finished though 'cos we have farming to do.
Finally both of us, and an alpacas behind. 


ju-north said...

Nice to see your smiling faces in sunshine!

Joanna said...

It was sure nice to see the sunshine

Mavis said...

I like the music - nice tune and peaceful sounding. Glad your week hasn't been quite so hectic. Nice photos of you both with the alpacas.

Joanna said...

I thought the music was peaceful too, very pleasant. If you type in just, that is rather nice too

karen said...

oh I love the Mother verse, true. I got scented candles and cupcakes...heaven.

Joanna said...

Not sure if it is quite true amongst all my children, but the one who rebelled the most is the one that has turned around the most

Liz Eph said...

lovely pics of you both. the alpaca backside really enhances the view :-)

Joanna said...

I don't think we could have picture without our alpacas in now :D