Monday, 20 October 2014

Up and down

This is my land. Well not exactly land I own, but it is my
home and these are the homes of some of my
neighbours. The scene is beginning to reappear as the
trees shed their summer apparel.
There are always points in your life when you get heartily sick of circumstances and fed up and this year has been quite tough for us. Trying to get my head around the paper I need to get finished along with being fed up of neighbourly disputes, was not a good combination. There was a point when I was beginning to feel like "What is the point, they are an miserable, argumentative bunch anyway, blah, blah, blah". Not helpful and not entirely true either. I started listening to "This is your land" from the City of Gold:Visions of Heaven album, quite an old album now, but one I have found encouraging along my journey. I couldn't find the lyrics anywhere apart from on the YouTube video and so I have written them out for you,

Golden leaves
Didn't anyone ever tell you
Didn't anyone ever say 
Did you capture a vision of glory 
As she held out her hand today 
It's reaching to the broken ones 
Right down to where you stand
Didn't anyone ever tell you:
This is your land 

Didn't anyone ever tell you
It doesn't matter the last will be first
For the sad, and the meek and the righteous
And all those who will hunger and thirst
So let the poor in spirit know
These dreams are not of sand
Didn't anyone ever tell you
This is your land 

You'll be give the robes of princes
You'll be  flying on golden wings,
You will live in pavilions of splendour
Be surrounded by beautiful things,
So hold onto these promises,
And keep them in your hand,
Didn't anyone ever tell you,
This is your land,  
This is your land, 
This is your land, 
This is your land

We do live in a beautiful land and I believe in heaven coming to earth, after all that is what we pray in the Lord's prayer, so I need to hold onto the promises that God has put on my heart and keep moving forward. This is my land, this is a place I am connected to for as long as God intends me to be here and I don't see us moving any time soon, if ever. 

This is the forecast for Wednesday onwards. Yes it's in
Danish, because it is more reliable than the Latvian site,
but as you can see we are bouncing on into winter now.
So what has been happening in this beautiful land? Flooding and frosts. Oh yes! Winter is on its way and just to reinforce it to us, the swans who are usually the last to fly away, flew off southwards this week. East of us in Latgale they have already had a sprinkling of snow. As you can see from the forecast, it is due to get cold this next week. That doesn't mean that winter is here to stay yet, that usually involves a bit of a battle between autumn and winter before that score is settled of course. The wet weather and the expected imminent arrival  of cold weather meant Ian has been keeping the alpacas in more. The last thing we want is a saturated alpaca and freezing conditions, especially our little one. Unlike sheep they don't have lanolin to shed the water.

Sorry not the most focussed of shots, but what is clear is the
most important part. There is smoke (or steam depending)
out of the chimney just behind the school buildings.
As you can see from the photo our heating has been turned on. It was turned on at around 6pm at night, just as our evening meal was ready and I had already put our fire on. That meant running around to bleed radiators, rather than sitting down to eat. At first the radiators were cold, but gradually they warmed up and then they got hot. If there is one thing we really are tired of is the dispute over the heating. It has either been too cold, or too hot, or too expensive. Just when something appears to get sorted another problem arises and so this issue has been ongoing with a pretty appalling service and increasing costs for the last five or six years. It was so hot we weren't sleeping properly and so I mentioned it to the new house manager. I was relieved to hear that they were installing yet another new system to resolve it and was even pleasantly surprised that when we got back on Sunday after a lunch out, the system was up and working and the radiators gently warm and the temperature in the home comfortable.

Peppers all harvested before the frosts too. They have been
under fleece for a few weeks now and been doing okay, but
we need to move the greenhouse into winter mode and not
risk these going mouldy. They were all cut up and frozen
that night too
As I said we went out to lunch on the Sunday. It was quite a nice day to go for lunch somewhere, not because the weather was good, but precisely because it wasn't. It wasn't nice driving on the rain sodden dirt roads, but it is much nicer being inside chatting over lunch and drinking lots of tea, than it is feeling that something needs doing either inside because of the rain or dodging the rain trying to work outside. At least it was a chance to thrash out some ideas about how to tackle the paper I am still trying to write. I also spent another day up at my friend's house making soap with goats milk. It is a project we have been going to do for absolutely ages. It was a long winded affair, but plenty of time again to sit around chatting and drinking yet more tea while we waited for various substances to cool down. It was surprisingly easy and now I have several bars of the stuff. It doesn't lather up like shop bought soap, but it doesn't irritate my skin either, especially my scalp, as I used it as a shampoo bar. An interesting activity anyway and much needed light relief for all of us I think.

All the ponds are full to overflowing. There is even a little
flooding behind the large pond as the overflow pipe can't
take enough water away.
In between the rain, which has flooded properties, broken bridges and eroded roads further downstream, we have also had some hefty frosts. The day before one of them was forecast, saw me out in the garden digging up carrots. It was a gloriously sunny autumnal day and quite warm, so a rather nice break from writing. The result was two crates and one bag full of carrots, in three stints over the day and I even carried the crates down to the basement of our apartment block. Who needs a workout? I was rather pleased that I didn't even really ache the next day, or at least not much. The summer activities has obviously given me quite a bit of strength. The following day I went out to the land with Ian and since the ground was hard, surprisingly so with all the rain, we took the opportunity to get the chicken arks into the greenhouse along with the caravan. Another sign of the changing seasons. 

I suggested a while ago that we could do with some shelves
at the bottom of our caravan as the arrangement of the table
just meant that everything got piled up at that end. Ian had
a brain wave as he looked at how to tackle the problem and
found by turning the table round we had much more space.
My many ponderings often revolve around economics and economic models. I know riveting you might think, but if there is going to be a change in our societies we have to detox ourselves from the toxic effects of the capitalist society. No I'm not about to expound on communist philosophies, that doesn't work either. The question that revolves around my brain is what kind of economy is God interested in? How do we value what should be valued and stop putting a £/$ or € sign against everything to try and determine its value. I know that sometimes if you charge a small amount of money then people may take more care over what they do or how they respect the event or item, but if you try and give something away they may take that as a cue that it is of no value.

Ian has also installed a plug socket into the toilet, so he can
put the fan heater in there. It will be a blessing in those
rather chilly days.
This hasn't always been the case and is still not true in some cultures. In some cultures a gift is important, not because of its monetary value but because of the significance of the gift. So if I lend or give someone an item, how do I communicate that the item is important and should be cared for, not because of the item's worth but because I have done this as a gift? We somehow have to build trust and respect that doesn't revolve around money in order to free ourselves from dealing in issues from a monetary mindset. Oh the thoughts that revolve around my head. Feel free to add your own and for anyone who has ever lived in what some would call a hippy commune then tell us why that community is either flourishing or died a death, we need to learn from such examples, examples of people daring to challenge the norms of how society functions.

What everyone has in their living room,
don't they? These are sunflower seeds
drying. Unfortunately they were getting
damp and mouldy in the greenhouse
and barn and so needed dealing with
before we lost them
This last week saw the Saiema (Latvian Government) adopt a new law that means that when someone loses a house through a bank loan they can hand back the keys and the bank cannot chase them forever and a day. As far as I understand they have a similar policy in America, but it is not so popular in Europe. Some people argue that it leads to irresponsible borrowing. I find it interesting though that banks don't like American type policies when it doesn't suit them. I also do not see why people who were lent the money irresponsibly in the first place, should be hounded by banks. Their lending practices have been pretty appalling and shameful for banks especially from the Nordic countries. I am not sure justice and fairness play much part in their thinking to be honest. There are now different ways of raising funds that means people do not have to rely on banks as much as they did and so it will be interesting to see where all that goes.


  1. What a rollercoaster! Land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! You are carrying the word/Word so be encouraged!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Ju :)

  2. I thought I'd give it another go at commenting. Perhaps I'll get lucky. I can't help but agree that things have gone out of kilter with greed being uppermost, or so it seems much of the time. I hope it's a cyclical thing and better values shall come around again someday.

    I'm thinking our upcoming election here in the USA will be interesting to see if the status quo will be maintained or whether the big money interests will buy yet another set of puppets. I tend to be a optimist, but there are times when it gets difficult to keep believing.

    1. So glad you managed to post a comment Gunta. No idea why you couldn't before.

      I too am an optimist but like you said, sometimes it is hard to keep believing. I will look with interest too at the upcoming election. Let's hope for a revolution of hearts and minds

  3. It's gotten cold here too. Not Latvia cold, but cold enough for us to wake up shivering when we crawl our from under the covers. I plan to turn on our heater on November 1--because that's when I always do it and I'm being hardheaded. :) Let's all hunker down for the long dark days of winter. A good time to rest. I have a major writing project that I keep putting off getting started on. I've convinced myself that I'll do it this winter. We'll see. Blessings and peace.

    1. So what kind of temperatures does it get down to at this time of year where you are Bill? We often put a woodstove on in autumn but just at night, then again it does also get rather damp here at that time of year. This year the frosts were early, but not the earliest we have ever known. The earliest one was 1st September.

      Hope you manage to get your writing project done and now I must get back to mine and stop procrastinating

    2. We're in the 40s at night this time of year. Our average first frost is October 31.

      It warms up during the day so I don't want to crank up the heater till we have to (we use an outdoor wood boiler).

    3. 40s during the night, so that would be between 4C and 9C, quite toasty for this time of year if it was here. We try to refrain from using the woodstove until we need to as well. After all there is no need until you are wearing at least three layers on top, if not four and the only reason for putting it on any sooner is if there is a need to keep the place dry. Well that's my take on it. I used to wear four on top and leggings on under trousers during the day, until half an hour before the children were due home from school, then the heating went on. It is amazing how much you can tolerate with hot drinks and a walk around every now and again to keep the circulation going.

  4. OK, so you are colder than me but can I please still use my hot water bottle?

    1. Okay, if you must! But only if you have a four layers on top and two below :D It saves oodles of money if you do


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