Monday, 22 September 2014

Harvest time

Squash plants hardening off in the mini
Beans, plums, squash, apples and fodder beet have all been harvested this week and we haven't finished yet. The fodder beet at our apartment allotment had to be picked because there appears to be something eating them, probably voles. There are no cats at home and so the voles are free to eat away. Quite a few were just hollow shells with slightly wilted leaves on the top. While I was picking plums from our plum tree, the lady we call the goat lady came across and said I could come and collect apples off her tree. They are laden. I couldn't do it that day though, I had work to do and so I told her I would come in the morning. Bless her! She even collected them for me and all I had to do was carry basket loads and put them in our cellar. The alpacas and the chickens are enjoying the feast, well the lady alpacas are, the boys are a bit more picky but they are eating them and the chickens will eat anything practically. Funnily enough the goat lady already knew they were destined for our alpacas, as she mentioned them as she handed over the apples. I even managed to say in Latvian that the alpacas like apples - at least I think that's what I said. Anyway I also sorted out the badly bruised ones and they have gone into making Glutney (basically chutney with whatever glut there is and so this one contained plums, apples, squash and onions) since we are getting low on that, plum and apple juice for making cordial later, plum and apple jam and two small buckets of apple cider vinegar started.
The weird year means that many plants are still producing
and not many are large/

Can't believe we are well into September and our tomatoes
are still ripening away and not succumbing to blight
I forgot to mention a couple of things last week. One was we finally have a tarmac road that runs past our apartment. I think there is an election looming and so some things miraculously get done. Not that I'm a cynic you understand! I seem to remember though that another section of the village was tarmacked before another general election. I haven't got pictures yet, but since I'm away at the moment I can't take any and forgot before I left. We are not sure how long it will last though, especially the edges and now it makes the road quite narrow. Not quite sure if the sides will hold up if people will want to pass. So an improvement? We'll see.
The green grapes are also ripening now
Autumn raspberries
We also visited some friends whose mother lives in our apartment block and they have some land quite nearby to ours. We had heard reports of this piece of land, but never actually been. They showed us around and it certainly looks impressive with a lot of work put into it. They have an outdoor cinema in the woods, a woodland trail, a trail around a grassy area, a lovely sauna (I still haven't partook of a sauna as the thought does not appeal, but the building was really nicely done and the guy built it himself), a lovely lake they have made with fish, a cherry tree that has to be seen to be believed it is that high and the pièce de résistance as they say, the makings of a distillery in a kind of igloo shape. They have an amazing floor of friend's cast off tiles, but the lady said never again as it took too long to get them pieced together. The idea is that when it is finished they will get a license to run the place and it will be open to the public. She offered to have pieces of work made from alpaca wool on display too. They will also make bespoke alcoholic drinks from local ingredients - should be interesting.
Next years tomato seeds bagged and LABELLED! A miracle
for me at times
An autumnal scene, heavy dew and spiders webs
Back to this past week, it was Ian's birthday on Saturday and so we decided to do something special, get up at 4:20am so he could take me to the airport. Very sweet heh! I know how to treat my hubby. At least he got back to the land, let the animals out and then caught up on some sleep in the caravan. I have said it before, that caravan has been an absolute Godsend! It is used every day and allows Ian to crash during the day if he needs to. As for me, I am in Porto in Portugal for a conference I hasten to add, not gallivanting around.
The greenhouse set against the backdrop of rapidly changing

The Doctoral Colloquium was good and helpful. It is nice to be surrounded by folks who are older who are either just doing their PhDs or recently finished them - it gives me hope. There are still lots of younger folks too of course. The evening finished with the conference proper that I am also attending and a small reception. I arranged with my supervisor to eat with him and his wife afterwards, but then the thunderstorm that threatened rolled in. At first it was nothing serious, but then the heavens opened and it poured for ages. Apparently Porto should be brown, but this year they have had a really wet summer and everywhere is green and one person who lives in the city said she had never seen a sky like that - it just looked like a regular thunderstorm to me. After one particularly loud crack of thunder and for the safety of those remaining folks, the organisers bless 'em started ferrying folks to the hotels which were fortunately close by, so I managed to get back without a good soaking.
Mr. Tellus looking very noble as usual in the autumn sunshine

Agnese growing well and eating well. Her fleece is gorgeous
with such a lovely crimp on it
I had another senior moment today and managed to leave my phone at the breakfast table at the hotel. I didn't discover this until I got to the conference and was left wondering what time it was for most of the day. Not always so helpful, as I had also forgotten to put my watch on. Fortunately the hotel staff found it and kept it safe and it is now back in my grubby little hands. These kind of things had better stop happening, I'm not too keen on this amount of disorganisation. At least I didn't spend the day worrying about my phone, I felt pretty sure it was at the hotel or at worse on the bus they used to ferry us between the hotel and conference building. I had enough to think about as I was doing a presentation today on a theory or hypothesis I have about using music or song and dance to help people overcome the barriers to cooperation. I think it went okay, must ask a couple of the young women who came to see me and my presentation. Both of them are also students under the same supervisor as me, but at a different university - he teaches in a few different places and I met them for the first time this week. I have also been spending time finding out what it is like to live in Tokyo, one thing is sure it is expensive. Whilst I wince a little at prices - not too much, but a little - my new friend is thinking wow that's cheap.
Two shorn sheep with the third now tidied up from her
Rastafarian look
The girls munching their way through a new patch of grass,
well grass and lots of weeds actually, but once they have
 eaten the grass down, Ian will flail mow the weeds too.
Managed to find a few minutes to make this as a present
for my daughter. I don't think it would fit in the suitcase
though, so she will have to take it with her another time


Bill said...

Glutney. I love that. :)
Our tomatoes are all gone now, save a few cherries. The blight had no mercy.

Your piece of art is beautiful. A wonderful gift.

Joanna said...

Glutney is a very English style of pickle, but good use of the excess produce in future years, at least three months, but even better left for a year or two.

I know that feeling with the tomatoes, too often we are left with lots of green tomatoes thanks to blight, but this year not many but just enough to make some more glutney, as I think I'm running out, unless I find some hidden jars somewhere.

I'm glad you like the art work. I was rather pleased with the result and I have collected some nice autumn leaves to do something similar.