Monday, 4 August 2014

No! No! No!

Our oat field wasn't very big. This damage just about
obliterated it. The barley is still okay and so is the
It looks like the wild boar thought that since we had cut down their sleeping place in the hay, then they would go and sleep in the oats instead. Not just once but twice at least. Now much of our oat crop is on the floor. Our hunter assured us he had been a few times to take a look but they are animals that migrate and so it is hard to find them. We do wonder though if he is looking in the right place, but since he doesn’t speak any English, just German as a second language, it is a bit of a problem communicating effectively with him.
There always has to be time for tea though. Here is Ian's
solution to my insulated cup always falling over. It didn't
last though, as a tea cup holder that is, as it was stacked
away with the other bales later

So hot that the little swallow chicks were all flopped over
the side of the nest
It has been one of those weeks when it is hard to know what has actually been accomplished. I seem to have spent an inordinately long time on little jobs that add up and steal time. A few minutes here and a few minutes there. Everything taking longer than I think it will and before I know it another week has gone by. I don’t think the weather is helping, it is very hot in the 30s during the day and mid-20s at night. We have been sleeping out in the caravan sometimes because at least it cools down quicker than our apartment building.

Some commenters on my blog wonder
how I manage to get everything done.
I guess you might imagine my allotment
plots looking like this
The reality is more like this. It isn't quite
a before and after picture. The first
picture is one I did manage to clear and
the second one is one I haven't got around
to yet
Improved storm drain
It hasn’t helped that we can’t leave windows open at night to let the cool night air in. In our caravan it would just fill with mosquitoes and we haven’t worked out a way of being able to put up a flyscreen and yet still be able to open the windows. In our apartment we now get mosquitoes in there too, we didn’t use to, but I think we do now because the trees have got bigger and closer to the building. Even if we put screens on the windows there, it won’t stop the local dog from barking though. It is no wonder then that one afternoon I had a nap that lasted 2 1/2 hours. I don’t often have naps, but I think I needed that one. It didn’t help the productivity output for that day though.

Finally the squashes are starting to take off, well some of
them are anyway
Some of the jobs I managed this week was to complete another lesson plan, some more gardening, tackling the tomato forest in our greenhouse and travelling backwards and forwards to get milk for Agnese. I suppose that is unusual in itself, I’ve actually been driving quite a bit this week.

The buckwheat is ripening
Ian has completed another ark for the baby chicks to go in (picture for that next week). They are growing fast and getting a bit big for the big upturned basket I put them in during the day. I do move the basket around and so they get plenty of fresh greens to eat. Talking of chickens, we swapped cockerels around again. The small cockerel was absolutely and utterly useless at keeping the girls together and so we swapped him for the one we think might be a bit aggressive - he is being given his last chance. So far he has surprised us, he has kept the girls in-line and hasn’t gone for me at all, even when I accidently got between him and the girls. He hopped out of the chicken house when I was feeding them and checking for eggs, but I stepped out and out of the way and he hopped right in again. James would have gone for me in that circumstance. So he has now been named Major Fowler in honour of the “Chicken Run” cockerel, as he reminds us of him.

The barley is ripening too
The storks are gathering, they'll be off soon. Doesn't seem
long since we were expecting their arrival
Ian has also been cutting more grass on our neighbours field. Much of it will just be left as it is no good for collecting, but we hope will improve the grass by doing so. While he was cutting he saw about 10 corncrakes, some of them quite young. One was unfortunately eaten by a stork and so Ian leapt out of the tractor and frightened the stork off, to give the others chance to escape. He also walked through the last swathe to make sure there were none in there, only to have a couple of them fly out when he did make the final cut. The corncrakes got away anyway and into the long grass at the end of the field, where they will be much safer.

The swallow chicks are so funny to see
Ian the Saviour of Corncrakes, has also had other jobs to do that were unexpected. The first one was a puncture on the car that our neighbour kindly told us about. That meant a trip out to the land to let the animals out and then a trip back into our village to get the wheel repaired. Extra fuel, extra time and a job he could have done without.

Feeding the girls
The next unexpected job was due to our errant sheep. We came onto the land one morning to see our sheep asleep in the middle of the field between the caravan and the alpaca enclosure, in other words they were not where they were supposed to be. We were grateful at least that they hadn’t wandered far. Ian went to take a look at how they had got out and found a place with a lot of wool wrapped against the wire, so we are not sure if they got spooked or had just had enough of being where they were. He thought they needed moving anyway and so set up a place in a nice shady spot for them. Where they have been set to work cropping the grass in an area that is difficult to cut due to the pig damage.

Posing with Agnese and no he doesn't cuddle her all the
time. Too much handling is not good for alpacas, but
Agnese knows she is an alpaca and that's good.
Herk (short for Herkules) is giving us some worry again. His skin still hasn’t quite recovered from the mite infestation and putting on oil in this heat, won’t be pleasant and he is already suffering with the heat. To cap it all his eye is watering again, just after we thought we had sorted it out the last time. It could be that with the heat they guys have been arguing again and he has either got something in his eye or bumped it. At least it doesn’t look infected though.

Laughing over the posing for the camera
Our neighbour’s daughter writes for the school magazine and so asked us a little while ago if she could interview us. We said yes and this week we had the interview. We got asked all sorts of questions on alpacas and also our view of farming in Latvia, as well as our views on Latvia itself. It was great to be able to say some positive things about living in Latvia, especially as she said, so many are leaving. Now she has to write all of that into a 600 word article - should be interesting. She set off on her way home and then a few minutes later returned, she had found a four leaf clover on her travels and so gave it to us. I don’t believe in luck exactly, but I’m willing to think of it as a sign of some good things coming along.
Of course this is what I do every day! Not! Only for spectators

Estelle is usually so cooperative 


  1. I really love the picture of the swallow chick with the open mouth! We have a nest of them in our barn. The other day I was cleaning out a stall and I was able to spend some time watching the nest. I was amazed at our frequently the parents feed the chicks. Ours have gotten so large they can barely fit in the nest. And whenever I'm around the barn the parents dive bomb me. Very disconcerting!

    I really enjoy your blog.

    1. I thought that picture was just too good not to share. So funny! This is the first time we have had swallows nesting in our buildings, so it will be interesting to see how the parents treat us soon. Glad you are enjoying the blog


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