Monday, 21 March 2016

Variety the spice of life!

The snow started to melt and then it snowed again
It has been a varied week as per usual. One day out on the farm, other days sat working on the computer and another doing ordinary jobs like cleaning - only they don't seem that ordinary to me at the moment, but something slipped into the schedule out of sheer necessity. Don't expect a spotless house if you visit. This week I also taught at a workshop and I actually got paid for it, which was lovely.
But you have to admit, it does look pretty

A weird build up of ice on the car
The workshop was such a joy. It was actually quite simple in many ways, but it connected with the people in a way that sparked some amazing interactions. I didn't have a huge amount of teaching time, so they were more discussion starters to get people thinking. I first had a game to show how the local economy could work better, showing people how money can flow when we think creatively. We then looked at wider networks and where people had connections to other places.
My glass sculpture from a glass workshop after my presentation.
It will be fired and given a frosty look

Working on an activity, artists and workshop attendees
My last exercise was my favourite and linked artists with others to tell their stories. It was interpreted in some quite different ways, which was brilliant. It showed how interactions with artists can initiate new ideas and how artists could also convey the information in visual forms that communicated well with others and were great for conversation starters. I was also sent a sweet letter afterwards, that thoroughly blessed me, thanking me for taking the workshop. It felt like we, the leader of the organisation and I, had both appreciated the work each other had been doing.
Other pieces created in the glass workshop

Mr. B. seems to have settled in well now. Here he is eating
snow alongside Turbjørn. All the alpacas have been eating
snow again this week. They have got fresh water, honest!
As I said I also spent sometime out on the land. The mite problem is kicking in, as it seems to do every year as soon as there is a hint of spring. Hopefully we are now much more aware of the issues and know how to deal with it, but it is worrying that it keeps coming recurring. It won't be enough to keep using the same treatments over and over again and so we will have to keep an eye out for alternative treatments too. At least it only seems to be a problem for the girls at the moment, the boys seem fine, even Herk who usually seems to get the problems first. That was a relief as our youngster Mr. B. (or Brencis for his full name) has only just been moved from the girls place and thus was a likely carrier of mites.
Peedo, finally has a nickname and from now on, will be known
as Mr. P. Here he is looking a little frosted after stopping out
in the snow. He could have gone inside

No signs of concussion now
Ian got a little worried about one of our cockerel's this week. He found him flaked out and being stood on by the other chickens. He got hold of him quite easily and laid him on the floor by the side of the ark and he didn't move much. He then realised that it was not a good idea to leave him there in case he recovered and wasn't able to catch him, so he put him in our usual recovery place, the cat box. He put water and food in there and almost immediately he started picking at the food. Not much later he seemed to have made a miraculous recovery. The only thing we can think of is that he must of slipped off somewhere and concussed himself.
Chanel enjoying the spruce tree

Mr. P. investigating what Ian is doing
He's been fine ever since. So fine in fact that he actually started crowing just before I was due to set off for the workshop on the Friday. I had literally just got to the door when we heard the cockle-doodle-doo. Even our new cockerel hadn't made that sound so far since we got him and so we were shocked. We headed back to see who was responsible and saw the shocked look on the previously concussed cockerel and thought it must have been him. Then the new one started so we changed our mind, but next a competition started between the two of them. It was almost like a fanfare to send me off on my new adventure. It hasn't lasted though, none of them have crowed since. The new cockerel though, has finally gone in to the hutch part at night. He just didn't seem to understand or bother to investigate why the girls all disappeared every night.
The signs of an unwelcome visitor, dog footprints around the
alpaca enclosure. The dog had raced around too. Herkules
sounded his warning cry but Ian didn't get to see the culprit,
just the evidence.

A frosted forest of grass
We have taken on one of our friends to help us with the farm. It is much easier for her to write emails and get price lists and so hopefully we will get things running more smoothly. She will help us with the alpacas too and be available for visiting groups too. It is a bit of a step of faith that having someone available to help over summer will help us to get things moving in the right direction to be able to support our lives here.
This oak tree has grown around some barbed wire that must
have been nailed to it in the past. How long ago
did that happen?

Not time to plant anything yet!
It is unlikely that the farm will be our only source of income but it needs to be getting us there. At least we do get most of our food from off the land, although it is going to be close this year. Our freezer stocks are getting low. We have loads of frozen berries and tomatoes and not much else, we also have stores of potatoes, beetroot, carrots, onions and squashes but most of those are low too. At least I do know what we can eat in terms of leaves that are going to start to appear soon so there will be fresh onion leaves, dandelions, nettles and a whole host of other greens that are good in Spring. Of course it is not the end of the world if we run out, there are still the shops, but if we can avoid it, we will.
Frosted sheep too. You can tell their coats are keeping them
well insulated as the snow doesn't really melt in the cold

Signs of spring in the greenhouse. When the sun comes out
the temperatures actually get quite high in the greenhouse
I often hear moans about the youth of today, but let's be honest, when was there ever a time they weren't moaned about? I'm sure folks used to moan about my generation too. I think we need to give these kids space to re-think their future, not one constrained by the greed and selfish of our generation.
Different generations getting along
The storks are not back on their nest yet. 
I get heartily sick of folks knocking these generations for being self-absorbed, but has anyone asked them? Selfish? That's rich coming from the generations that have over- used resources to such an extent that some of them, if not many of them, will either run out or be badly polluted. A same generation that moans has saddled the next ones with debt to furnish their comfy lifestyle whilst they might not live to reap the storm of the future trajectory that we have set this planet on. Selfish? Let's give the younger generations a break and help them to put right what we started and to re-imagine a new day. I think this Guardian article sets out the problems they face quite well
Ian has been looking at my Kitchen Aid mixer, which is showing
signs of wear. The delight though is it is easy to take apart and
the parts to repair it with relatively easy to obtain

Signs of Spring at our other apartment too
I have been digging out a few poems I wrote a while ago and this one was originally written in 2009, but I think it still has echoes for today, as the chill snowy wind blew around this week.

When the wind of history blew

When the wind of history blew
The banking system shivered
Drew its coat around itself
and carried on
Tree felling before Spring to give space for more growth

When the wind of history blew
Governments trembled
Threw some money into the banking system’s begging hats
then carried on

When the wind of history blew
The people paused and
For a moment considered a future different
To one they had relied on
When all seemed to be restored
Once again they carried on
Not as much snow here, but a cold, cold day

But a few saw the cracks
Opened up by the wind
Growing, creaking its way into the system
Space is being created
Space into which a new Kingdom will come
Quietly without much fanfare
But sweeping across the nations
Blowing through
Sculpting a new tomorrow


  1. a concussed cockerel? There's never a dull moment at your place....I agree about giving youngsters a break. They have so much more to deal with than I ever did. Leave school straight into a job, 100 % mortgage, no social media pressures or distractions. I think I was part of the lucky generation.

    1. Well at least that is the only explanation we can come up with. He lost most of his toes to frost bite and so we guess he hasn't always got a lot of grip. Not sure why him and another had problems with frost bite to toes, it has not happened before. Combs and wattles yes, but not toes.

      I agree we are some of the lucky ones. I can see it running out though, as our retirement age slips away. But yes we have benefited from the fat years really.


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