Monday, 22 February 2016


Looking wintry again
We've been taking it in turns to ache. Ian of course from the operation, but that is clearing up nicely and me from having to do battle with a snowblower, because finally we are getting snow in some quantity. Unfortunately the snow is not the sort we would normally associate with February, the light fluffy stuff that occurs at very cold temperatures, it is the heavy, wet stuff and that is harder to shift.
It has tended to drift over the last few days

Good job the chickens aren't in there this winter.
Ian did get to come home on Wednesday, although it was rather late. I heard he had got the all clear about 4:30pm and fortunately I had already put the animals away and was just outside our home when he called me. It still took me a little while to get sorted before I set off and arrived at the hospital at 7pm. We then had to go and pay for the operation before leaving, which added to the delay. The journey home was a protracted affair, with toilet stops and having to take the longer route home to avoid the atrocious Latvian dirt roads. They were not the sort of roads you want to take shortly after an operation and I was worried that further damage would result if we went along those.
They are in the greenhouse instead. Note the covering on the top.
That is there after the brown chickens escaped three days in a row.
This wasn't enough and now they are completely covered with a
fleece, which rests on a large cardboard box to give us the height
to get underneath for feeding and egg collection

Mari eating and Agnese having down time. It is hard to tell
Estelle and Aggie apart now, as they both had the same father
Of course Ian wanted to see his babies, the alpacas, as soon as possible. Not sure that was a thoroughly good idea, but he is recovering well generally, so not too bad. Aggie, his favourite, wasn't talking to him, the traitor! Obviously her allegiances are with the one who feeds her and since that is me at the moment, we are friends. That makes a change, normally she runs a mile if she sees me, as she thinks I will be treating her or party to toe-nail cutting time.
Snow clearing duties around the greenhouse.
That will have to stop now, there is too much

Contented sheep, despite the weather
Taking over the jobs that Ian normally does has meant getting lessons on using the tractor as well as the snowblower. I used the tractor to take hay to the animals and managed fine, apart from one minor detail. Ian forgot to tell me how to tip the front loader. I could raise it up and lower it, but couldn't work out the mechanism for tipping it at all. In the end I lowered two hay bales for the sheep, over the fence as low down as it would go, then walked all the way around to the gate, which of course was on the opposite side and then just pushed the bales out. It worked. The next lot of hay, there was too much snow to get the tractor out safely and I hadn't had snowblower lessons, so just managed with a sledge.
Ice rain overnight meant that one morning I had to fetch a hammer
and screwdriver before I could get into the boys alpaca house and
through the girls' gate. The ice had effectively glued them up and it
was difficult to get prise them apart. 
Brencis is still feeding from his Mum, but she will only feed
him outside. It was quite a dilemma for her the other day as it
was snowing quite hard. He will have to be separated from
her quite soon
Today getting hay for the sheep was even harder because the snow has got quite deep for my little legs and was over the top of my winter boots - the problem of kid size boots. So once the snow had stopped falling, I got on with the snowblower and spent about two hours trying to sort out the paths to the sheep and the boys alpaca house. It was tough work and doesn't help they are such a distance and not exactly a flat route to the boys. Even though Ian had shown me how to use the machine yesterday, the snow overnight was sufficient to need the paths doing again. It's a good job the alpacas don't eat as much as the sheep and also there is sufficient storage for them in the houses that I don't have to top up as regularly.
Some serious icicles forming
Wet alpacas! I fastened them in today because the boys were
messing about. First Herk was sitting in the doorway and he
won't shift meaning two of them were outside. Later on they
went in, much to my relief. Looked again later on and this
time it was Herk being kept out by the others. He was
saturated, which is not good when temperatures may drop
next week. 
It is with some trepidation at the moment that we are watching the news about the EU referendum. I sincerely hope that Britain does not exit the EU, otherwise that makes it very complicated for us here in Latvia. Our permanent residency is dependent on Britain being part of the EU and therefore there would be a chance it could be revoked. There are also different rules for EU members than for those who come from other countries regarding land ownership, so no idea how that is affected. As we left the UK within the 15 year period - just! - I am seriously considering registering to vote in this referendum. At least my vote will count and it affects me personally. Normally I stay out of British politics, because I have no intention of going back there.
We have had a little problem with snow drifting into the boys
house, but the new one seems to be orientated better to avoid
the weather. Still could have been worse. Hay stuffed into the
over hangs stops the worst of it.

One rung was moved off the top of the hay storage and the
bales unstrung to allow the girls access to more hay, without
having to go and fetch it from the barn.

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