Monday, 8 December 2014

All grown up!

Our granddaughter enjoying
creamy porridge with
strawberries and grapes from the
freezer. Or should I say enjoying
the strawberries first and then the
Our little granddaughter is visiting at the moment with her Mum. It might only be a few months since she last visited, but she is now chatting away and saying distinct words. She has also developed quite an imagination. So much growing up in so little time. The snow is still on the ground here and so our little Ozzie granddaughter has got to see it for the first time , she wasn't very impressed. She must have picked up an Ozzie gene for the heat somewhere along the line, despite having two northern British parents. Her Mum and I took her outside to see the snow and she found it really difficult to walk in it, which she didn't like. She also got very upset when I tried to start moving snow about to make a snowman. Eventually she got the hang of walking about and then let me make snowcastles with buckets from the sandpit, which she then enjoyed demolishing. Today she had her first ride on a sledge, that was much more fun - at least at first. We went to look for a Christmas tree and she got a bit bored and fed up, maybe a little cold too and on the way back she complained about being in the sledge, then started crying as we tried to get back as fast as possible. In the process we freaked the sheep out with the noise of the sledge on the snow and our crying granddaughter, so they charged their fence, broke it and ran off.
Making snowcastles

Amazingly the old sheep shelter is still standing, although
they don't use it these days
Our granddaughter and her Mum disappeared into the caravan to warm up and the sheep spotted Ian at the greenhouse and so trotted over and followed him back as good as gold to their pen. He didn't even have to entice them with food. The problem is that tomorrow we were going to get a ram to put in with them and now Ian is not happy about doing that in case the ram got out. Our sheep know to follow Ian back to the pen, but would they do that with a ram about and would a ram be quite so obedient? It doesn't look like we will be having lambs any time soon then, as that plan has now been shelved.

Frosty backdrop to the girls alpaca hut
Our granddaughter isn't the only one growing up. Agnese is getting quite big now. She and Estelle still have a run around from time to time like young alpacas and Ian enjoyed standing in the middle whilst they raced around him. Other days they fall out and spit at each other, as alpacas do. We started with the vitamin injections for all the alpacas for the winter months today. That will be a regular monthly chore until about March time now. It is definitely getting easier to do these jobs as they get more and more used to us.
Amazing cloud formations

I love winter sunrises. Not only do I not have to be up
rather early, they are the most intense colours
The last chore we tackled with the alpacas was cutting toe nails at the end of November. Ian had to wear his glasses for that, something that is coming a bit hard for someone who had far better than average sight in his younger days. This last week he came home and asked if I had seen his glasses as he had been looking all over for them. Nope! Not I! The last time I saw them was, yes you've guessed it, when we were cutting toe nails. The next day I got a text, "Found the glasses! They were in the alpaca hut, those boys do think it's funny to hide things." They were actually just on the bit of shelf where he had left them. Shows he doesn't need them that often then.

Just because you can never have enough frosty winter
scenes. They are so bright after the dark autumn days
Our chickens are also growing up. The boys we moved into new arks proved to us that we were right in thinking that they were getting close to being grown up cockerels by Cock-a-doodle-doing. It is strange to hear cockerels again as we get out of the car in the mornings. It has been quiet around the place since we lost the older cockerels to a fox. Fortunately the hens have settled down now and are laying again, after only the briefest of stoppages due to the stress of the male interloper. It is nice to have a regular supply of eggs again after the rather sparse number over the autumn period.

I love the splash of colour of the playground equipment
We've had other visitors this week. Not long ago one of us commented on the fact that it seems strange we haven't had a visit from the immigration department for a long time. Lo and behold two ladies turned up at the door this week with a paper in one hand and the immigration insignia on their jackets. They asked if we had seen some American neighbours of ours, but I hadn't as they had left about two years ago, which I told them. They asked about another family and I was able to tell them they were still around, but I knew that was okay to say that. They never even asked for my passport or registration documents. They just seemed happy enough with the information and left. The funny thing about these visits by the immigration people, is that Ian has only ever seen them in passing on the stairs and never had to prove his existence to them, although I have shown them his registration documents. He is never actually at home when they show up.

A truly glorious winterscape of frosted trees and deep blue
On the same day, as my visit from the immigration officers, Ian had a visit out on the land by some guys from a government mapping department. I presume they were just checking up to see what the changes were that were showing up on their newly updated maps, such as our greenhouse and barn. They left Ian a leaflet explaining what they do, but of course it was in Latvian, so that wasn't much help. What was of help though was the website that was listed on the leaflet. Ian checked it out and is delighted to find that they have maps that can be overlaid and by changing the transparency of the top layer, it is possible to see the transition from one map to the other. This shows the landscape changes over time and helps us to see how much the weed trees have grown over the years. When I say weed trees, I just mean the trees that are growing up in areas where they aren't really supposed to be growing. The trees are being gradually thinned out though, so that there is adequate room for the alpacas to graze and a chance of shelter from wind, rain and sun.

Our frosted oak tree
And my thought for the week? What is truth? It seems such a relative term and I don't think the lack of truth is worse now than it ever was, it is just a different expression of it. I find that too often the posts that are reposted on facebook that purports to tell us about particular people portrayed in a negative way are untrue. Recent examples are suppsosedly how many MPs were in the British Parliament to debate their pay and their expenses compared to other deemed more worthy topics or the photoshopped manipulated image of someone holding up a poster outside the fire station in Ferguson supposedly saying  "No mother should have to fear for her son's life every time he robs a store." Factually they are not true (you can read the truth behind the photos here and here), but there is a truth in both of them though. Whilst the picture does not tell us the truth as it actually happened, I think it does tell the truth of what is in our hearts. We often want to think the worse of our "enemies" or at least the people on the other side of the debate. Sometimes the truth is downright inconvenient. The picture of the MPs may not be factually true, but the output from their debates in the policies signed into law would suggest that it paints a sort of truth and I must admit to being sorely tempted to repost this one. More often than not though the picture paints the ugly truth of our own hearts, that we want to demonise the "other." What does it mean to "love your enemies?" Whether that enemy is a single individual or an amorphous group, we are called by Jesus to love them. Even telling the truth about our enemies is not always enough either, we have to question our motives in revealing ugly truths, is it calling the person to a greater accountability or just gossip?

Competition time! And the winner is..... actually no one got the whole answer, but some of you did get part of the answer. The picture shows our cat Sofie, curled up on top of the caravan skylight window for warmth.


  1. What a blessing to have your granddaughter visit (and her mother, of course). We haven't seen our granddaughter in months. :( Hopefully we'll see her soon.

    What is truth? I've spent a lot of time wrestling with that. Whenever I think of that question I hear Pilate singing it in Jesus Christ Superstar.

  2. A blessing indeed and one that is easier now they have moved back from Australia.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one wrestling with the truth and what it actually means.


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