Monday, 5 October 2015

Home alone

The dahlias have been wonderful this year. I only have red
ones unfortunately, but they are a very nice one to have
survived two years in our cellar
I was going to do wonders this last week while Ian was away, but it was not to be. The cold I had at the beginning of the week hung around for most of it, it wasn't much, but enough to make me feel muddle headed as I mentioned last week. I did manage to get the dratted paper resent after a very kind friend of mine had proofread it for me. So at least that was one thing out of the way. I would have been better to call it quits and go outside into the garden but I tried to get more work done on paper two instead and so didn't accomplish much.

A full basket of green tomatoes, some
 of whichwill go towards green tomato
chutney, as my stocks are low. A small
bowl for the chickens, a tray of
cucamelon tubers which will be
replanted next year. One third
of a basket of nearly ripe or ripe
I did have spurts of getting things done and so an asparagus bed was prepped, and some sawdust laid down on a path. Some pathetic parsnips were dug up, I cut down some mustard and cress that had gone to seed, put tomatoes and cucamelons in the freezer and picked the rest of the short beans. Today I pulled up the tomatoes, another of those markers in our year. It means that the greenhouse can be prepared for the chickens to come in and then the caravan moved in too. It is perhaps a good job as I noticed the geese are flying south now, well south-ish and that is usually a sign the weather will turn soon.
Starting to look empty now. The "weeds"
to the left are sheep sorrel and so are
never got rid of totally. They are some
times some of the first green shoots of the
year and are nice and tasty.
Geese heading south

First frost of the season
We also had the first frost of the year. It is a good job I felt it turning cold and covered peppers and autumn raspberries. The forecast was not for frosts, but being a little higher than the nearest large town for which the forecast is given, it is normal for our temperatures to be at least a degree or two lower, so I was prepared. One night in the caravan the temperature was 3C, a tad chilly, but at least the heater can quickly warm the place through, without even having to get out from under the nice warm duvet. Hot flushes also have their uses sometimes.
The spaghetti squash succumbed to the frost. At least we
actually did get some squashes of these two plants, even
though it didn't look like we would have any sometimes
due to our cool nights over summer

A little mouldy heart on a bean pod
I actually stayed out every night in the caravan, as it was easier to nip back to our village and pick up the milk that is delivered twice a week and then do jobs like the washing and picking beans at our allotment plot, before heading back to the land to put animals away. I haven't even been to the shop all week, as I don't get through as much bread as Ian does and I baked a couple of small batches of buns, which was enough for me.

Much of the week it has been lovely
weather and our grapes have been
ripening nicely

The only day it rained, of course, was on the day I was home
and wanted to do the washing. In the end I put some of it up
in the greenhouse
It was a good job I spent much of the time out in the caravan, as our neighbour has a problem with water leaking into his house every time we are there. We know he had a problem earlier this year, but it was decided that actually it was water from the roof. This week he turned up with his son, who spoke very good English and I showed him our pipes. He could see that there is no way the water was actually leaking from our pipes, we would be the first to know, as it would come into our home before leaking through the floor. Even the sewage pipe area is dry. The fact is though, that every time I went home, to have a shower, do the washing and wash up - he got a leak. Finally it was decided that the leak was in the main stack pipe between our place and his and so not our problem exactly. Hope he finds the source of it soon, I feel guilty now if we go and use the water.

Brencis behaved for me though
Although the alpacas started out being well behaved, it didn't last. Aggie escaped twice and I had to resort to putting the electric on for the fence. Normally they don't need it, but an occasional reminder is necessary. In fact the boys also had to have a reminder too, well Mr. Herk who likes to eat over the fence needed a reminder. The girls have been fairly well behaved about going in, only Veronica, who really does not like me (as I usually mean something nasty is about to happen like injections or treatment of some kind) was a little reluctant one particular night to go away, but she soon made her way into the alpaca house when she realised that I was going to move her out of the field. The boys, however....... they got worse and worse at coming in. The first time they misbehaved, it was just a matter of moving them into the paddock area and then they went in, the next night took two attempts and on the night I had to go and collect Ian, Mr. Tellus was nearly locked out all night. I decided to make one more attempt, because I had heard dogs in the forest earlier on in the day and so I knew he had to go away. The little tinkers though, have been as good as gold for Ian since he got back.
He was very interested in my camera

The one that got away. She can sure fly far when she needs
to. This chicken is a bit of a loner, she always has been. She
is also an intelligent bird, which is not always a good thing,
as that means she can be difficult to catch by us. She is the
last remaining chicken from the ark she lives in,
occasionally she will join the others in the chicken house
but more often than not, she prefers her own space and
walking with the alpaca girls.
Sergeant Wilson, our cockerel had another go at me during the week, but since then I haven't had a problem. It might have been partly down to the fact that I saved the chickens from another fox attack. I heard the commotion and ran down to find out what the matter was. I saw flying chickens and the chicken we call, Big bird, running; behind her was what looked like a youngish fox. Fortunately the fox turned tail and ran off. I counted all the chickens and none were missing so I then put them away or at least tried to. Most of them went away no problem, but the younger brown chicken was not going anywhere near the forest, which is where their accommodation is. I ended up catching her in a fishing net and then hurling her into the chicken house (that actually sounds worse than it was, but I had to be quick so the others did not get out and she flew down to the floor with the others).
Ripe carrot seed

Autumnal blackberry leaves

Granda and Granddaughter enjoying a meal out
Ian had a lovely time in the UK with the grandchildren. They are both happy, smiley children, especially for Granda. He also helped to plasterboard the new house that my son-in-law and daughter are renovating. He did come back with a wish list though of a laser level and an electric, compound mitre saw. He was enthusing about how much easier the jobs are with them. Just hope they come in useful for building our house and not just the new alpaca houses though.
Our youngest grandchild. Such a happy smiley little chap
and looks like Ian when he was a baby apparently

Our little granddaughter in pensive mood
Don't go Granda!

Some of Ian's shopping
Ian also had a trip up to Northumberland to see his brothers and their families. The brothers actually had a chance to have a really good chat together on their own. Not sure when that last happened. They had seen each other when Ian travelled up to see his mother, but rarely did he see them together and even rarer to be on their own. Another day trip was to see some alpacas and the timing couldn't have been better, because they are having an auction of some of their stock in about eight weeks time and so quite happy to sell us some at a lower price than normal. They are converting to a mini-zoo and so need room for other animals. Of course there are details that are needed to be sorted and a new alpaca house to build.
The sheep needed moving when Ian got back, but at least
they stayed inside the fence while he was away. The only
incident we had was when we tried to pen them in before
moving. One of them stuck its head through the poultry
netting and got itself stuck, not just once but twice. 

Ghostly apparitions in the greenhouse. Grapes, peppers,
chillies and basil all wrapped up against the coming cold
The news this week has been far from cheery. It does not fill me with a lot of enthusiasm to hear that Latvia has been declared one of the least welcoming for the Syrian refugees and it is quite worrying if that turned into something more about foreigners in general. It is so easy to feel despondent with it all, but then I read an article about someone who took a bike ride around what used to be the Berlin wall, something that didn't seem possible just 25 years ago.

The paved path sliced through the dense forest with an unseasonably cool summer wind bringing goose bumps to our skin. “Hard to believe this was once one of the most militarised borders in the world, right?” Möllering asked.
He was right. I couldn’t imagine pedalling the Pakistan-India border where they take pride in their militarisation with daily rituals between the two armies; nor could I fathom going for a two-wheeled jaunt through the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. It all seems like a complete impossibility – just as it would have to any Berliner if you suggested cycling the Berlin Wall 25 years ago.

The impossible is now possible and that gives me hope. What can seem like an impossible situation of war and mayhem, can seemingly overnight be over. People can rise up and show care and compassion as if from nowhere.  Dictatorships can fall. I very much pray that there will be a revolution, but a peaceful one. I very much hope that people can join hands together against seemingly impossible odds and overcome the oppressor, much like in the Baltic Way 26 years ago.


  1. That's quite an impressive collection of tomatoes. There are precious few green ones on our now-dead vines. No green tomato recipes for us this year! We're starting to hunker down for winter too. It will be mild by Latvian standards, but we have thin blood here. :) Today it's time to plant garlic and onions. Next week I'll harvest sweet potatoes. That will be the last major task of the year. Looking forward to time with books an extra cups of coffee this winter!

  2. I needed some green tomatoes as we are running low on chutney. We usually have plenty as our season is so short and probably cooler than yours mostly. I will be hunkering down too for much reading and writing, I would like some time to read more books, but I don't think it is going to happen this year

  3. It's good to be reminded of the positive changes that have taken place within the past 25 years. There seems to be far too much focus on the bad at times. I am hoping against hope that we can perhaps elect a more rational being in our next presidential election. Looks like Canada may have swung to a more liberal position in their recent election.

    Watching the folks attempting to escape from Syria and other nations in that area reminds me of the plight my family faced escaping from the Soviet invasion during WW II. I consider myself lucky indeed to have survived all that turmoil. My heart goes out to all those desperate folks especially with winter coming on and borders closing.

    1. You are right about the focus Gunta. I am sad to say though that not many Latvians share your connection to the refugees - not that I have heard of anyway.


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