Monday, 12 October 2015

A race against time

The Amaranth after the frost. Hopefully
the seed is still fine and I have started
processing it.
I mentioned that last week we had our first frost and this week we had our second frost early on in the week with the forecast for even cooler weather on the way, this meant we had to get motivated to sort out some of our crops. We harvested all of our climbing beans, they were all just about ready for harvest anyway and then we harvested the cabbages, although they will stand some frost the forecast was for up to -7C and that is a tad cold for them, so better in the freezer than destroyed. We also harvested as many apples as we could. In addition I potted up the basil to take home. All in one day. Not bad hey! Those geese were definitely in the know.
A peaceful scene, belying the fact that Herkules has been
escaping for much of the week. He has been forced to stay
in with a little help from the more powerful electric charger.
It is not as if there is nothing to eat, just not first choice and
since the other two in particular have weight issues they can
jolly well stay in that area until they have finished the grass

The caravan in its winter quarters
I did cover some crops up in fleece, as it was impossible to harvest everything, but it wasn't perfect. The autumn raspberries did okay for a few days, but the number of hard frosty nights we have had finished them off. Such a shame as there were still plenty to come and they had been ripening nicely. The hard frosts has meant we can empty the greenhouse sooner than anticipated and since I am planning to be away this next week and then about five days later I will be away for a whole month, we decided that the chickens and the caravan needed to be put away in their winter abode. Another one of those markers in the year, that tells us the seasons are changing.
Of course the chickens had to go in first, even though it is
still dry weather outside. I still think they appreciated the
move, one of them laid an egg and they had stopped prior
to this

I know you are not supposed to move
asparagus, but it was not working
where it was and so we have chanced
it and moved it to a sunnier spot. The
asparagus bed had also got weed
infested and so another excuse to move
them. They look nice and neat now
As many of you know who have followed my blog for a while we often have trouble with wild boar (wild hogs) but lately there has been African Swine fever making its way through the country. It is an extremely infectious disease apparently, so I had a look at the updated maps showing the spread of the disease and it appears to have moved into our area now. Not sure if that is the reason we haven't had much wild boar damage this autumn or it is because the ground is so dry meaning there aren't as many grubs to dig up and eat. Whichever way the decrease in pig activity has been very welcome. If it wasn't for the fact that wild boar will be suffering, I would even go so far as to do a happy dance.
Wish I could say all the beds were as nice and neat. Maybe
next year

Ian working hard and wrapped up against the chill
I am not sure it was a good idea to let Ian go to our daughter's, it seems to have had expensive repercussions. He suddenly found out that a laser levelling device, a laser measuring device and an electric mitre saw were the must have items for the newest constructions he is doing. Wouldn't mind but he has had to take back the laser level already, though it did start working again after a bit of tinkering at the shop and now he will have to take the measuring device back. Not good for Bosch products really. I always associated Bosch with good quality and now not so sure. I've told Ian that he will now have to build the house to justify the costs. Hahaha! I wish. To be fair though, he had already requested an electric mitre saw to make the building of the alpaca houses easier and faster.
The base laid out

I helped with the first two uprights and the rest, Ian has
been busy with while I'm away
It wasn't the only repercussion. Our daughter has a blood sugar monitor and since diabetes runs in Ian's family he decided to try it out. Our daughter informed him that he was showing signs of being pre-diabetic due to his fasting blood sugar levels (she is a qualified nurse). That meant he needed to buy his own monitor when he got back home, more expense. Fortunately the monitors themselves are not so bad, but it is the strips that rack up the cost. I decided to try the monitor one morning too and what was even worse was that my fasting blood sugar was higher than Ian's. At least I can lose some weight to see if my levels will go down. I have lost the usual weight over the summer but I would need to keep an eye on it over the winter. Ian doesn't really have any weight to lose and trying to keep his calorie intake up without overdoing the carbs is going to be a bit of a nightmare. Thank goodness fat is getting less bad press than it used to.
Our little pest. If she can get in the way
she will at the moment. At least she is a good
mouser, just wish she would not leave them
lying around all over the place

Tellus in the frosty morning light
It is quite odd really, as one of the ways of managing blood sugars is to use less carbohydrates that cause the sugar spikes. What is needed is a slow release carbohydrate or a way of slowing the release down. Many moons ago while we were at university, we took part in some studies to observe how to modify the sugar spikes from foods like apples and sweetcorn. It is as if the research we were part of back then is going to affect how we eat in the future. We did something useful after all. Wish I could say the same about the paper I have been trying to get published. It has been sent back again regarding the quality of the English. I know this blog is not always written in perfect English, I am often a bit tired when I sit down to write it and it isn't an academic exercise and so I am not always so careful, but really my English is not that bad, nor is my co-author and definitely not the lady who proofread it. I am really quite bewildered by the comment and thoroughly exasperated by the process. Oh well! At least the editor made the changes she felt necessary and so I need to go through them and find out what the problem is ..... again!!!!
Herkules our escape artist

Turbjørn looking quite jolly in this picture
We had a brush with the law this week too. The regional police have been doing a tour of the area looking to generate a few Euros by some accounts. We were travelling back from the land and there was a BMW behind us and Ian was expecting it to pass us once we got onto the tarmac, but it didn't. Instead a police car overtook both of us with lights flashing and then pulled up in front of us. The policeman was unusually brusque. Once they realise we don't speak much Latvian the Latvian police usually try and deal with us as quickly as possible and are usually reasonably polite, at least not rude. Ian wasn't quite sure what they were asking for and so I explained that it was the driver's licence, but in the meantime the policeman seemed to be muttering something about in Latvian speaking Latvian. I realise that we should, but it would have been quite rude if we had just been visitors and at the time he didn't know whether we were or weren't, apart from the car being registered in Latvia. The policeman looked rather disappointed that Ian had zero for alcohol when he used the breathalyser and they couldn't find anything wrong with the car either.
An empty space where a caravan once stood

Estelle. Now is she pregnant or not? We think she is
To wrap up this week, I am in Jelgava on a course. The course description is something similar to the research the students did for me earlier on in the year about Sense of Place - how people are attached to places and what they feel about them. Should be interesting to hear some different perspectives. It was a rather early start as normal when I catch buses and it was also a very cold start, as it was minus 5C (23F) this morning. So after that early start, I am now sat in one of the university hostel rooms, which is noisy from the traffic outside and that is with the windows shut and I can hear voices from the room next door, but at least I am not sharing a room and the bed is comfy. I am also longing for a cup of tea, but there won't be one until later on in the day tomorrow because they do not seem to have a kettle in the communal kitchen area. They have mugs, two cookers and two frying pans, but I cannot see a kettle.

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