Monday, 25 May 2015

Good question!

Cranberries weeded, mulched and protected again
So what have I done this week? Good question! It is only as I sat down to write the blog I have gradually remembered what it is I have been doing. One of the things was that I have found a cranberry bed, that according to ancient texts existed by our pond under the lobster pot. Translated means, that the cranberry plants have got rather overgrown over the last year and were rather difficult to see, and the lobster pot is actually the protection that Ian made to protect them from the chickens, unfortunately it doesn't protect them from weeds. We live in our own little world at times!
One of our resident swallows

Extension is in progress
According to ancient texts has become a bit of a running joke between us, as we have been doing some sorting out. For instance according to ancient texts, i.e. this blog and over a year ago, we planted blackcurrant bushes just outside our orchard plot, but they disappeared in amongst the grass which was never mown. The grass has now been cut back and the blackcurrant bushes can now be seen. Likewise my badly overgrown herb bed looked more like a dandelion flower bed, but that also has been painstakingly cleared like an archeologist on an archeological dig and once again the marjoram, thyme, sage, chives, winter savoury, possibly tarragon (not convinced I found that), parsley, lavender, yarrow and lady's mantle have all been revealed. They have also been well mulched with wood chips to ensure that it is a long time before I have to do such a massive clear out again. Well that's the plan.
I found the grass! I love the contrasting colours

But the dandelions are giving them a rather sickly hue
I have also planted up another third of our allotment plot with beetroot, carrots, beans and fodder beet today. Our seeder has been such a blessing, along with the new rotatvator. Ian rotavated it a couple of weeks ago, so all I had to do was to take out the weeds that had been coming back, hoe it quickly and then plant seeds. I also laid a hay pathway down the middle so I don't squash the soil and it will gradually add bulk to the soil. Ian has also planted the amaranth and quinoa in the field and our new veg plot. The second planting was insurance against another water-logged year in the field. Especially since we have had to use two year old seed. Ian was rather excited to discover that using a compressor, that he has on permanent loan, he could clean the seed ready for planting. As long as he makes sure it is just a gentle waft of air and not a blast as he accidentally did at one point.
Notice the lack of dandelions in the middle here. This has
been called a Herk circle

This is Herk creating a Herk circle. He basically sits there
and eats around himself. 
The academic work has not been neglected either. A couple of days rain meant I had time to quickly reformat a short paper that needed some amendments for a conference and to begin working on the Sociology course for IGCSE for year 11s that needs to be finished by the beginning of September. Unfortunately the Masters thesis I was supposed to be marking didn't materialise in my inbox until the good weather set in. I was not a happy bunny. That will be completed by tomorrow since it is due to rain again.
We have too many dandelions. Good job the animals
actually eat them. We are not going to cut them, they
go to seed anyway. We will let the grass grow and shade
out the sun loving plants. Well that's the theory and in
places where we have done that, it seems to be the case. 

Ian would like you to note that he still has his winter coat
on, despite the sunshine
Yes we have had a lot of rain and it has been a tad chilly at times. Ian has been bemoaning the bad weather, but I said it is just as bad in Fort Collins, Colorado where we used to live. Colorado is renowned for its sunshine, but that seems to have deserted it just lately. Let's hope it is recharging the reservoirs since they usually rely on the winter snowpack to do that and that has been sadly lacking just lately. I think he got a bit spoilt in Colorado really. I wouldn't trade the lush greenness for the semi-arid dessert. A nice warm day, though cheered him up.
Sofie left Ian a little present to go with his tea

Sweet little me?
We have spent our first night of the year in the caravan this week as well. We will probably be spending more nights there when our alpaca mums give birth. We thought one of them was going to pop this week. She was distinctly uncomfortable but we are not sure if it was just wind or the baby moving around. There were lots of gurgling noises and she was standing up and sitting down a lot - usually a precursor to giving birth but now she has settled down. Although the rain hasn't been welcomed for Ian, the animals have appreciated it. We are still waiting for an essential piece of equipment to arrive before we can start on with shearing. It is a sailing boat pulley and something Ian found very useful to pin the animals down whilst on his shearing course. At least the tooth cutter arrived today.
Snowdrop looking particularly uncomfortable. Poor girl.
She has also been making the other alpacas miserable by
being very irritable

Tim has been behaving himself mostly this week. He has
been close to being on a plate for not going in at nights.
Sergeant Wilson our other cockerel has been stalking me
again and he went for Ian today. I am determined that he is
not going to win. He would be an ideal candidate for lunch,
if it wasn't for the fact he is one of the best cockerels ever
at keeping his ladies from wandering too far. I will see
what a little lesson in humility will do.

Ian has found another use for the two wheel tractor. A fleece
tumbler. The tumbler (or tombola as Ian has nicknamed it)
is attached to the wheel studs of the tractor and by lifting
the body of the tractor clear of the floor it can turn the
tumbler without turning the other wheel. It seems to be
working. On Youtube there was a demonstration of one that
used a leaf blower to aid the process, so Ian will have found
another use for the compressor. He always wanted a
compressor and said one would be very useful, so I guess
he could have been right. 
A friend posted a blog on embracing your past ghosts. Not because we should relish the pain, but sometimes by accepting what has gone on before and how it has changed us, means we can move on from the past. I have been thinking about that and wondering how that applies in my own life and how it applies in the life of others that I know. It makes me wonder what would happen here in Latvia too. Which ghosts need to be laid to rest? Which need to be embraced and accepted for what they are. How can I be a part of the process in myself, in others, in a nation? I have a feeling that might rumble on in my head for a while.
Bonus of lot's of pictures this week. I had from over 100 to
choose from. I love the drops of rain on this leaf

Our little chicks have moved out to join the bigger ones.
The big ones, of course are picking on them and I have
had a couple of discussions with the bigger one, which
we suspect is a cockerel. Thought I would start humility lessons

The strawberries are starting to flower

Asparagus ready for picking

Buckwheat growing. This seems like it popped up overnight

Kale! I err must have dropped some seed

Tackling the weed, errr I mean herb bed. Not my most
glamorous pose. 

Monday, 18 May 2015


No not a volcano and mountains, but
a rather large black cloud moving in
A comment by Karen last week on this blog made me think. She said our preparation is like a military exercise, which in some ways it is and in some ways it isn't. We know there is a specific sequence of events that has to happen before we can do a job and that gets refined each year - well sometimes it does, sometimes we forget what we did and have to relearn every year. As far as the alpaca clean out is concerned we work on the principle that we need a clean house at this time of year for several reasons, firstly it is close to the time of the birth of the cria and we need a clean place for them to be born in; secondly we shear the alpacas in their respective sheds, as it is a familiar environment, and there is nothing worse than kneeling down somewhere that is not too clean; thirdly to keep the pest numbers down - over winter heat is generated by the rotting manure, which is supposed to be good for the animals and once it freezes there is no shifting it anyway and neither does it create a problem of smell, this time of the year it is different though; fourthly if the bedding layer got much higher we wouldn't be able to get in there comfortably. So as soon as we get a dry enough day to use the tractor and trailer we move into cleaning mode and get in there and get the job done.

If you look carefully, there is smoke coming from the
greenhouse in the foreground. It was 6C this evening
Seed and potato planting is another of those jobs and is also very weather dependent. We know there are usually dry spells in the spring followed by wet and showery weather, so we have to move fast to get the seeds in while we can and in so doing also taking advantage of the wet weather to water in our seeds. We also know from experience that there can be quite a prolonged dry spell in May or June and so getting the seeds in and growing well before then is quite crucial. A lot of the time it actually feels more instinctive than planned, but when we see our neighbours doing the same thing then we know we have really just attuned ourselves to the natural cycle of things around here. It took a little time to get used to, as the season is longer in the UK where we learnt the craft of growing vegetables. Having to wait until late April, May or even early June seems far too long, but the longer days and warmer summers usually make up for the shorter season.

Yey! Cherry blossom
There was a bit of excitement this week, I heard a commotion one day as I sat in the greenhouse sifting compost. It was severe enough to make me run outside to find out what was causing it. What I saw was our rather elderly and portly big white chicken, we aptly call Big Bird, flying across the pond - no mean feat for a bird of her size and age, especially when she spends most of her time very slowly sauntering along with a distinct limp these days. A fox was also heading in her direction. With nothing I could immediately find to throw at the fox I just ran and hoped it would see me and scarper - which fortunately it did.

A rather ragged looking tail now. He looks a bit bedraggled
here as it has been a miserably wet day
The poor scared chickens were all gathered around one cockerel regardless of which batch it was from, meanwhile the other cockerel was trying to be brave and warn everyone. I couldn't get hold of Ian as he was strimming and couldn't hear his phone and so I spent the next half hour trying to coax the chickens from the chicken house back into their place to shut them in safe and sound. Unfortunately one of the chickens was really freaked out and I didn't dare pick her up as I knew the cockerel would not be happy.  The other batch of chickens went into their ark no problem, but I had to go and get Ian to coax the cockerel in as he wasn't going anywhere near me and my attempt to catch him with the net, whilst successful was not fruitful in the end as he escaped from it, before I could get hold of him. Ian found a few of his tail feathers a couple of days later and so we think the fox must have nearly got him – no wonder he was a bit freaked out.

Asparagus is starting to come through, but only one plant
is showing signs, which is a bit worrying
On our way home we saw that fox again, a fallow deer and a stork in a field and it made us think - how many other places would you see those within a short space of time on our way home from “work”? The variety of small birds is not huge around us, probably due to the harsh winters but we definitely do have swallows, siskins, wagtails, blackbird, chaffinches, bullfinches and I think some type of warbler. What we do see on a regular basis, which is a bit more unusal are ospreys, eagles, storks and cranes. Today we saw some white egrets on our way home from town after a visit to the dentist.

I tried taking a picture of the baby chicks but they weren't
cooperating. You can see the two black ones can't you?
From left to right, grey, black, mottled white, black, white.
No? I can't see them very well either. Maybe another day
Whilst on the subject of dentists, as you may have gathered we have finally found a dentist that speaks English and works within a reasonable distance. She isn’t the cheapest dentist around (either that or the prices have gone up recently), but at least I can call her myself and make an appointment. The other good news is that it only took one injection and it didn’t hurt whilst she administered it from some weird gadget that counted down to us in English. She laughed and said it was an English-speaking machine and could translate for us. I wish! The bad news is that one tooth will have to be extracted at a later date, one tooth had a hole that was so deep she had to do root canal treatment and I still have one tooth that needs a filling. So that means two more trips to see her and she booked us in for the hygienist the next time.

Mr. Tellus has been enjoying his yearly
outing to see the ladies. Well one in
particular. We are fairly certain the
younger alpaca we tried to mate last
year is not pregnant and so trying
again this year. We will only mate her,
the older ladies can have a rest from
producing. Tellus and Estelle though
only seemed interested for two days, so
 will try again in a few days time.
Ian had a late evening phone call this week with a request to transport a horse for a friend. It is the first time that our horsebox, has actually been used to transport a horse. It has been used to transport a cow, sheep and alpacas in terms of animals; it has also been used to transport furniture, hay, the two wheel tractor, rotavator and wood, so it is quite a novelty to use it for what it has been intended to for. Ian was quite pleased that the horse even left us with a present of some manure, but it did stink the greenhouse out when he put it on one of the beds. It has now been dug in and so doesn’t smell so much.

One we didn't part with
We said goodbye to twenty of our chicks this week, nine of the little ones and eleven of the bigger ones. We kept all the pretty looking ones – so much for selecting for meat birds or good laying birds. We thought it would be interesting though to see how they turn out, as some of them are so black I wasn’t able to take a photo of them in the dim light of home. Oddly enough there weren’t any brown ones, even though we do have about three good brown layers. Another twenty are on to incubate for another request for new stock.

Various salad type leaves in the greenhouse
Bill a regular commenter on here recently listed all the seeds he has sown on his farm on his blog, so I thought I would have a go at my list. I haven't put all the varieties, because some are seed we have kept or been given and I cannot be 100% certain of the variety. Ian is much better at keeping records than I am but he doesn't do much in the way of seed planting - unless it is en masse.

Carrots, Leeks,, Parsnip Kale, Short beans x 4 (red, stripey, spotted, black), Climbing beans x3, Turnip, Broad beans, Swede - 3 (rutabaga for my American friends), Beetroot, Cabbage x3,  Chinese cabbage,  Scorzonera, Carrots x2 (more later), Kohlrabi, Chicory x2, Celtuce, Onions -at least 3 varieties, Rainbow chard, Garlic, Welsh onion, Calabrese, Chenopodium giganteum

For the Greenhouse
Spinach, Peppers x3, Chick peas, Spring onion, Sweetcorn, Cape gooseberry, Rocket, Lettuce (outside too), Radish (outside too), Tokoyo Bekana, Peas, Tomatoes x 20, Mizuna, Sesame

Herbs and Flowers
Sage, Coriander (cilantro), Basil, Marigolds, Dill, Basil x6, Fenugreek, Cress, Mustard, Winter purslane, Spicy shrub, Parsley x2, Bergamot, Peppermint, Lavender, Marshmallow, Nigella

Field types

Wheat - April awned (small bed of these), Oats - hulless (again  a small bed of these), Buckwheat, Clover, Beans (brown and beige), Sunflowers

Estelle, Tellus' lady friend. She badly needs her teeth
cutting, but hopefully the remedy the
tooth-a-matic (what a name!) is on its way.
The twenty varieties of tomatoes does not necessarily mean many of each, honest, it is just people give us the odd one and we add them to the varieties grown. Some are even named by the people who gave us them because we lost the names along the way. I think we will start to drop some of the varieties this next year though. The clover will be in for a few years to improve the soil in a particularly sandy area, so it will be cut to mulch it into the ground. At home I have also started on the squashes and cucumbers – there is no point in starting them too early because of the risk of frosts if they are planted out too early.

Snowdrop has been showing signs of discomfort just lately
and so we hope those are signs of an imminent arrival
On a positive note Ian's mother's house has now had an offer put on it that has been accepted. Not sure how long the process will take now though before it is finally sold. I know it always seems to take an inordinately long time in the UK.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Spring Cleaning

The bird cherry is flowering this week
Some people clean their houses in spring, not us! We clean out alpaca houses. Our house might need a spring clean but there isn't time for that. Cleaning out the alpaca houses is one of those jobs we know we have to do and pleased when it’s all over, mucking out is never an easy job and it took us most of the day. We have tried an experiment with the boys’ house this year and instead of just putting wood chippings in the drainage channels which worked well, we put a whole layer of them over the floor. We will see if it helps to keep the bedding drier even in the wet times and if it makes cleaning them out next year easier. If it is we will do the same in the girls’ house. We must admit though that we hadn’t got the energy to do the same in the girls’ house this year, as it meant finding one of the wood chipping piles that we have around and then shovelling it into the trailer. If we decide to do it next year though, we can be prepared beforehand.
A cleaned out alpaca house with some of the wood chippin

It looks quite creative now with the contrast between the
soil and the green. The barley is growing well and the two
stripes on the left are clover. The beans and sunflower
seeds went in the curved section in the middle
That wasn’t the only major job that was done this week. We also prepared the garden at our other flat and put the potatoes in. It might be a bit weedy this year, as they have gone into a rather weedy old strawberry patch, so I am not looking forward to keeping on top of the weeds, but at least there are only two sites this year for planting, as we have given up one of our gardens. Ian also rotavated the field out on the land again, so I could plant sunflower seeds and beans and in preparation for buckwheat and oats. We have a seeder to put in the larger seeds and although it was rather pricey for what it is, in terms of materials used, it has been worth its weight in gold for saving us both time and backache.
Now the chickens and caravan are out of the greenhouse
Ian has been able to prepare the beds for the summer veg

There are lots of cowslips this year

Here's a close up. 

Ladybirds are back
Seed trays planted up
It hasn’t saved aching feet though. There are several plates that can be fitted in the hopper depending on the seed that is being sown, so of course I chose the bean one for the beans. I noticed though that instead of planting one at a time it was planting three, so I decided to swap plates to one for peas that seemed to fit better. Which of course meant a long trip back to where I had put the other plates, so I wouldn’t lose them, one of the reasons for foot ache. For the next lot of beans which were a different colour and of course a slightly different size, I had to swap back to the bean plate – but only after noticing of course that it wasn’t always dropping seeds. What a palaver. The other reason for aching feet is the number of miles walked, backwards and forwards with the seeder.
The sheep are behaving themselves this week and making
an impression on the grass already

The new vegetable bed with straw paths for when it gets
wet, so I can still have access to the beds without getting
muddy feet. 
We still haven’t got the oats in as we would like to have done, we still need the seed and not sure if it might be a bit late now, but no harm in trying. The buckwheat is a short-season, frost sensitive crop and so can go in near the end of the month, the same as the squashes. I have though planted up about ¾ of our new vegetable bed with parsnips, carrots, beetroot, more beans (pretty coloured ones though), onions and some dahlias. I am not sure if the dahlias will come though, they look a bit dried out as I couldn’t plant them last year. I have planted up chickpeas, celeriac, broccoli and other things that I cannot remember now, in trays in the greenhouse. I have labelled them though, thank goodness and written down all the seeds I have sown in my veg plots in a book where we keep those kinds of records. It works most of the time, unless I forget – which has been known.

Riga near to part of the Latvian University
I have also been to Sigulda and Riga this week to join a summer school for a day. I had thought of joining them for two days, but it didn’t look very easy to get back home from the places they were visiting on the second day and so decided not to. I have enough of trying to figure out bus routes as it is. Since I was due to arrive in Sigulda a little ahead of the group, I fitted in a visit to a friend. We had cowslip tea, something I had never tried before and it was the brightest of yellows. It was a good year to have cowslip tea, as there are lots in the fields. I know in England they were over picked for cowslip wine and so much rarer, but here they are pretty abundant, as are most things that grow wild here. If it can grow, survive or emigrate to Latvia, then it is abundant. So wild garlic, storks, forests, wild boar – well I think you get the idea.

Who are you looking at!
One of my Masters students is out on military manoeuvres this week. 10 days of compulsory exercises, which I presume will have more of an edge this time around with the noises being made from over the border in Russia. It really brings it home who will be in the forefront should there be any action, young men and women who have nothing to do with the decisions that their leaders make. Having said that, I should say that some people feel that it is actually the media that is hyping the threat. I know I read more about the threat on American news sites than I do on Latvian or European ones. It is a worry, but so far it is a distant one.
The grapes are really taking off now and there is the promise
of lots of fruit again 
Snakeshead fritillary 
I must admit to being tired. At one point I asked God to prove he exists due to the disappointments of not seeing changes that I wanted to see. I have never, ever done that before, but God is the kindest person | know and gently showed me, he is still around and I am who I am because of my beliefs. I guess it could also be hormonal changes adding to the tiredness, since I am that sort of age for all that kind of thing, but you'll be glad to know I am feeling much better this week. I might be physically tired but not as emotionally tired. I think that has something to do with having done very little academic work this week and the physical activity has helped my brain to settle.
Lot's of dandelions again
The five spice has lots of flowers on this year, so we are
hoping for lots of fruit too

Monday, 11 May 2015

A short delay

For those who follow my blog and know I post on Mondays, very sorry I will not be posting tonight. It has been a long day and I don't have any photos yet to show for it, so I will take some tomorrow and let you know what we have been up to this last week. So do call back again tomorrow.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Here comes summer

You can see how much greener the grass is. This rainbow
is the lowest rainbow I have ever seen out on the land

 Summer’s here! The caravan is out of the greenhouse, the chickens in the arks are out too, the swallows are back and so are the cuckoos and the weather is forecast to rain! About right then!

Ian out working well into the evening. He is using the
spring tyne to break up the land for rotavating. These
areas are still too wet for the rotavator and so he needs them
to dry out a bit and this should help break it up and take
out any big stones or large chunks of grass.
The days are getting longer and today we were outside working until gone 7pm. I managed to get quite a few different seeds in and vegetable beds mulched up in preparation for the rain. I even lightly mulched the seed beds so they don’t all wash out again. There are still plenty of seeds to go in and some to start off next week, but it has been a good start. I have been potting up tomato plants too. They are only small and certainly not the size of the ones we saw in the Spring Market today that was taking place in our village. There are definitely some advantages to heated greenhouses or lots of windowsill space. Still the ones I have started will be ready in time to go in the greenhouse when the time is right for transplanting. There is not much use in getting them in too early, as a late spate of cold weather can kill the lot, even in the greenhouse.

A funny face from our grandson
Ian had a good time away. He was rather surprised to see our youngest at the airport, he hadn’t been expecting him. Ian picked up a car and found he had been given a very good upgrade. He had booked a small car and instead got a bigger car with bells and whistles, fortunately it was also a diesel and best of all it even had a sat nav. He was so pleased about that, as he doesn’t think he could have found the farm where he was doing the alpaca shearing course without it. Ian and our youngest both went down to our middle child’s place as Ian was staying there overnight, so he could see the newest addition to the family. Lucky person! He also got fish and chips in the evening and had sausage and bacon butties for brunch. A real britfest there.
The newest addition to our family
As promised, some pictures from the conference I was at
last week. This shows the tables set for the dinner - doesn't
it look posh?
Ian also went to see a lady who I got to know via her blog, she makes the most wonderful pieces of artwork, so full of vibrant colour and she spins. Not only does she spin she knows how to spin alpaca wool. It turns out she only lives around the corner from our son and his family and so was an ideal opportunity to meet up. Ian took her some of our alpaca wool and had a quick lesson in how to spin. Apparently he has the right technique and should be able to get the hang of it. Now all he needs is a spinning wheel.

The submarine that we sat near for dinner
at Seaplane Harbour Museum
This caught my friend and I by surprise.
Before we realised what we were doing, we
 found ourselves going up a very steep incline
and then we had to make our way down it.  I think
if we had realised how steep it was going to be
we would have found the alternative route around
the place.

This is the contraption we were climbing. Not quite sure what
it is, apart from a steep bridge that is quite slippy to climb
He then went onto stay with a friend of ours who we also got to know through this blog. She came out to stay with us a few years ago and we had a great time. She lived closer to the place where Ian was taking the course. At one point I asked her if she could pass a message onto Ian via facebook and found out that they had done a LOT of talking. Once you get Ian started, you can’t shut him up (hehe we’re as bad as each other).

Lunchtime for me. Squash, nettles, chilli and peppers
Ian was delighted to get the chance to shear about 5 alpacas. It certainly took him a lot less time than he has taken to do ours, 20 minutes as opposed to two hours. He also found out the best way to secure the animals and so he is now trying to source some pulleys that they normally use on yachts, so he can create a similar set up. He found out how to cut teeth using a special machine, only we can't now find the machine. Their's is about 10 years old and is an attachment that can be used on various machines. It seems that the only gadget is the one that Ian found on the internet and costs hundreds of dollars and yes is American, so would need to be run through a transformer.

The barley has finally sprouted
While Ian was away I asked him what I should do with the alpaca boys as Herkules was up to his usual trick of eating through the fence. Ian said not to worry, he will move the electric fence when he gets back. The next morning I sat down for a cup of coffee whilst watching the alpacas, when I noticed that dear old Herkules had got out. The problem is that he got out in a way that I didn't think he would find his way back in so easily. So I thought I had better encourage him back in. I made the mistake though of not first fastening the other two into the paddock and Herkules was not cooperating, he rather liked the very green grass he was eating. Before I had a chance to react, Turbjørn nipped through the spot which I had opened up to let Herkules back in. He is the most awkward of our alpacas to cooperate. He is very bright and very nervy too and not as easy to con into doing anything. To cap it all Tellus got out as well.

One of the gooseberries we purchased
today from the Spring Market
All three out now meant that herd mentality would kick in and they could just drift off, eating as they go. I tried to encourage them in but realised it wasn't working, they were too interested in the grass they weren't even interested in the grain. I left them to it for a while, no point in spooking them. I went and got some hay to part fill up their feeder and took some to the sheep who also needed moving and so needed the hay to eat. I didn't want them out, that would have been a disaster. Next I played the gently as we go game, making sure they didn't head off in the wrong direction and just gradually manoeuvring them back in. One by one I got them all into the paddock area. Next I decided to move the electric fence so that they wouldn't think of escaping again. By the time I had finished that it was lunchtime and my morning had disappeared.

Red currants. Might not look much now
but hopefully they will grow. We also
bought male and female sea buckthorn,
quince and potatoes for planting.
It wouldn't have been so bad, but I had two deadlines for papers to be submitted by the following day and I had hoped to get them done that day before I went to collect Ian from the airport at night. Amazingly I actually got them both finished and submitted, even though one needed checking over by a colleague and I needed permission from a couple of photographers to use their photographs for the other one. Sometimes things do come together after all. At least it meant that I only had to do some quick checking of one of my student's work the next day, which meant that Ian and I could actually spend time chatting and pottering about on the land. I have enjoyed a whole long holiday weekend doing the gardening, either at our other flat or out on the land. It was wonderful not to have to do too much in the way of thinking beyond digging up weeds and planting seeds.

The result of my work in the orchard plot vegetable garden.
At least half the plot now looks nice and neat. Still have the
bottom half to work on yet.
Ian did get the sheep moved finally. Far, far away - well over the hill really. The grass is definitely good on that side and he doesn't have to listen to their very loud baaing. I am sure they are the loudest sheep ever and very demanding at times. We think that they have helped to improve the grass a lot on that side through their manuring and eating down of some of the weeds. That means we have another area of good hay now. Ian went to check on them on the way home one night. He stopped the car by the side of the road and went towards them, they panicked and jumped the fence and ran up the hill. Ian is not sure if coming from that angle spooked them or if it was the reflective, light, green stripes on his new coat. Anyway he had to get back in the car, go back to the greenhouse where grain is stored and entice them back into their electric fenced areas. Fortunately these days they do follow him when he has food and they were quite content to go back, where they have since stayed.