Monday, 26 May 2014

Wash out?

A stormy scene
We had one of those rain storms this last week that results in instant flooding within minutes. Ian had just finished planting beans before the rain, so they would be "watered in," when the heavens opened and the deluge began. The rain washed gullies in the side of the road and started to eat into it in places. It also washed the woodchippings down off our roadway near our barn and into the woods. They've been down since late last year, so have already withstood the odd heavy downpour before now and the spring melts, with no problems. This time Ian recovered four wheelbarrow loads of chippings from the forest edge. The rain also ended up pouring through the roof of the boys shed. Ian has rigged up temporary plastic sheeting to keep the boys dry, as it has needed fixing for a while, but he knew it wouldn't stand the volume of water that was pouring down, so he spent the duration of the storm in their shed encouraging the water to flow the right way. At one point he realised that he was standing in a puddle of water, as the water was also pouring in through the front door. He will get around to fixing the roof, but just hasn't either had the weather or the time to get going on that yet.
Our damaged woodchipping road

Flooding around the sandpit at outside our apartment
The barn was flooded too
The good news is that at least it looks like the buckwheat, oats and barley all withstood the downpour. We weren't sure if they had germinated or not and there were small gullies in the fields, but in the following few days the shoots really began to show. The beans maybe a different story, as we can see places where there are groups of them and Ian used the seed planter to plant them in rows and it is too soon to tell where they ended up. At least the animals enjoyed the fresher day following the storm, the girls especially as they actually made it out of the shed. They still haven't produced yet and so Ian is still on babywatch.
The girls enjoyed the soaking to cool off
Looking for chicken food?
We have had two lots of visitors this week. The first was a young couple and an even younger relative of theirs. We haven't seen the husband for ten years, but we have known him since we first came to Latvia, his new wife is someone we don't think we have met before, but you never know, as she did go to the same camp we have been to, but she was rather small to remember much and I think she will have changed somewhat for us to recognise her. Now that's scary! The young wife's mother lives in one of the neighbouring villages and wanted some hens and we decided to reduce the number of free range hens we have, so we struck a deal. I have mentioned before that two of them in particular had got into bad habits and were wandering too far, which was encouraging the others to do the same. The young cockerel was partly to blame too, but we wondered what would happen if there were less ladies to look after and if those particular ladies didn't wander as much, would that curtail his meanderings? Well so far the wandering seems to have reduced, although I have still found the errant young chap in our greenhouse again! I think he is getting the idea that the ladies are not for wandering as well, at least I hope so. I am hoping that the change of area, will also settle down the older ladies that we gave away. We know the younger two were not so bothered about wandering far from the hen house and with a new cockerel, hopefully that will keep them in order.
After the rain, looking down the hill

Five days later the oats are greening up now (looking up
the hill)
After the storm 

Five days later the barley is showing some strong growth
Feeding the alpacas, although on this occasion it is Ian
feeding these two as they weren't so cooperative today,
the girls were though (and no, Ian isn't in a dress and
wearing a blonde wig, he is standing on the other side
of our visitor)
The second group of visitors was a last minute arrangement. My supervisor was at his summer home in Latvia and it was his birthday, so he invited a few colleagues down from Estonia to join him, as well as Ian and I. Unfortunately Ian couldn't join me, as the timing for putting animals away would not have fit in with a trip up and the folks coming down from Estonia, so I went on my own. It was nice to meet up with folks in a more relaxed setting and we had some quite interesting conversations. The guys all went for a sauna from time to time, but a younger lass and I didn't join in that part. The downside was the mosquitoes have emerged and I got well and truly bitten and the bites have been driving me mad for two days. I can't remember how we got onto the subject of manure, but at one point my other supervisor mentioned that he had just got some chicken shit for his garden, at which point I remembered that Ian, in a half joking way, had said that there was some alpaca poo in the back of the car , if anyone wanted to take it, (not quite sure why we had half a bag of alpaca poo in the car, but there you go), so I relayed the information. Cor! I never had such an immediate response and my supervisor said definitely he would take it. It was only a small, half bag, but at least he was happy with that. Next time I ought to take more and think how much to charge, as he did offer to pay for it. Some of the folks were travelling back up to Estonia in the early morning, but some weren't and so I extended a welcome to see our land and of course our alpacas, which was accepted. I somehow think, folks wouldn't be as quick to come if it wasn't for our alpacas. So we had a pleasant early afternoon sat in the shade of the barn, since it was so hot, after a brief tour of our land and a visit to the alpacas.
Does my bum look big in this? No but the belly does. Ian
has seen the little one kicking too
Hmmph! I would rather you didn't take pictures of my rear
Oh look! Dandelion heads
The rest of the week has been studying, surprise, surprise. I am at the stage though, where I am going to have to submit a reduced version of the final piece, as I just do not have the time to complete the review I'm writing, within the time frame that I have. I am sure I already have more than enough to pass the course, but I want to use the work for other personal assignments towards my PhD and so I will have to come back to it at a later date. Rather annoying, but time is of the essence, especially when I have to organise a reflection workshop for an organisation on Friday. Busy week! Actually I am quite pleased it's a busy week this week, as it means that I haven't paid too much attention to the European elections. We didn't vote this time around, but that was due to a mix up regarding some papers we should have sent back. Anyway I am still appalled at the rise of the more extreme elements of the political factions and I just hope and pray that it wakes up the more moderate politicians to engage better with the electorate, rather than see a slide into fascism.
Estelle after her shower

Veronica, not looking her best

Ian's been busy of course this week.
This contraption is hopefully what we
will use to restrain the alapacas when
they are being sheared. Not been tested yet

Ian added some windows at my height to improve ventilation
in the greenhouse

Looking outwards

He has also been cutting grass again. We noticed that cow
parsley was beginning to flower and we don't want that
going to seed. It is a biannual, so a couple of years of making
sure it is cut, will hopefully put a stop to that particular weed.
Pity that wouldn't stop the dandelions.


  1. and I know that you have a new addition now...congratulations!! Mosquitoes? I was savaged by them too in Sweden last summer...awful, I was scarred for weeks and even blamed the bites on bed bugs for a while!! Paranoia set in...and my bed had never been so microscopically examined.....ever..

    1. Thank you Karen. I know that paranoia, ours are fleas. Occasionally we pick them up, either from the cats or just from the fields, but after a bout of them - oh boy! A good steam clean is essential :)


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