Monday, 2 May 2016

Is it summer yet?

The chickens on the field where the alpacas have been. A
chance to put some fertility into the grass before the alpacas
go back on the field later on in the year.
The caravan's out, the chickens are out, the greenhouse is now a greenhouse again, ready for planting up instead of a storage area (well it will be when it is tidied up) so that must mean that summer is on its way. Well maybe! It does mean that we are now stopping out in the caravan most nights and only go back home to get washing done and collect the milk. The mosquitoes are also already biting, so they must think it is nearly summer too. I wasn't happy about that. They suddenly arrived and I found bites before I really realised they were flying about. I need to get a repellent organised for spraying on me and the animals.
These chickens have got the job of turning over one of the
gardens in preparation for next year. Saves me. Last year
they were totally free range, but the foxes and birds of
prey had been slowly reducing their numbers and so we have
decided to keep them nearer to the where we are. 

A yearly job of moving the caravan outside
Trying to plan all the jobs we have to do has been quite a logistical nightmare. There are jobs to get the gardens ready, jobs that need doing before the grass grows and hides all the logs and twigs for chipping, jobs to get ready for our visit by a coach load of pensioners, shearing to prepare for and studies to complete. It keeps us out of mischief I guess. Ian decided he really needed to shear at least some of our alpacas before he goes shearing the ones in Estonia just to remind himself of the sequence. It was a bit slow going and he will have to get faster, but at least we now remember the order to do everything and some of the things we need before we head up there, so it should be a lot easier.
A job for this week. Tidy this lot up!

Mr. B and Mr. P. after shearing. Also after they have both
rolled about on the molehills - hence the dusty brown
appearances of both of them
We always start any shearing with Turbjørn because we know if he has to wait he will be very difficult to control. He is the alpaca that gets the most agitated and being a big animal we sometimes struggle to get him calmed down enough to work on him. The others are much calmer animals. The shearing sequence is white animals first with the darkest animals last. Poor Mr. P. being black got rather anxious as he was kept waiting and so we had to put Mr. B. in with him, once Mr.B was sheared to allow him to calm down before he was sheared. At least being a smaller lighter animal, he wasn't so difficult to pin down anyway. Part way through the shearing Ian noticed a mouse at the back of the alpaca house, fortunately it decided on a quick exit rather than interfere with the process. Also fortunately, neither of us are particularly freaked out by mice being in close proximity.
Earlier on in the week it had been rather wet, so Mr. P had
a slicked hair do.
We bought another small greenhouse, partly because my office
and greenhouse combination is not likely to be ready very soon.
This will be where we will start some seeds off like the cabbages
and squashes

Lightweight dumbells? No not really! This is Ian constructing
a frankenshifter. For those who have followed the blog for a
while, you will know what we mean. Ian has made a few
Frankstein constructions - in other words used parts from
other things to make something new. In this case these are the
wheels and axle from a small trailer with off cuts of wood
from one of the alpaca house constructions. We used this to
move the chicken arks out to the fields - easier than carrying
I had planned on being in Tartu today, but someone I was due to meet got delayed during the week and couldn't make it. I had arranged to meet my supervisor too, so instead I re-arranged to Skype with him rather than travel up for one appointment. Horror of horrors though I forgot. I am having difficulty with the notifications on my computer. Both Outlook and BusyCal don't always notify me of an event or a task, or just as bad, notify me after the event. I don't have a good memory anyway and so I rely on my computer, it is not helpful therefore when it messes around with the things I need to remember. If anyone out there knows what is wrong, I would love to know. I obviously need to put it right, especially when I have multiple tasks and meetings to remember.
The finished construction. The chicken arks rests on the top
of this and we use the handles on the arks to push 

Not a Franken creation but Ian using the carder last week, to
card the wool from our alpaca fleeces
At least this week I got two important things ticked off my list. Paper number two is just about finished and now needs my supervisor and co-authors to check it over. A short paper for a conference was also submitted with less than an hour to go before the deadline. It was a good job I thought I was going up to Tartu, because I had stayed overnight at home rather than out in the caravan with Ian. He likes an early night and so wouldn't have been very pleased to have been kept up waiting for me to finish the submission process.
Another construction underway - a toilet.
With 54 pensioners coming next week
we thought it would be a good idea to have
a toilet for them to use, rather than
trying to climb in and out of our caravan.
This will be a composting toilet and we will
use sawdust in it.

We are beginning to feel more confident that Estelle is
pregnant. She is suddenly starting to fill out, but a better
indicator is her behaviour - the poor lass seems very weary
and not her normal self.
There hasn't been much in the way of perusing just lately, too many deadlines for that to happen. One thing did strike me though was how annoyed I get with end time prophecies these days. These are the prophecies that talk about how there will be great calamities and then God will come in and sort it all out and wrap up the world. I am doing research for the future, my focus is on the future and I feel it was something that God told me to do. For me one of the most important parts of the Bible is where Jesus teaches his disciples to pray "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven". It speaks of the future, it speaks of God and man working together on Earth. This is what drives me, not the thought of it all burning up or deteriorating into a horrible mess.  Time is short indeed, but it is short for doing something concrete about bringing our planet and the people on it to a place where it can recover from the damage we are inflicting on this beautiful place called Earth. So we have to work together to accomplish that - now that sounds more like the kind of plan of a God of love to me.
We might not have the wonderful bluebell woods of the UK
but we do have wood anemones and the carpet of flowers
is getting bigger every year

They are such pretty flowers

We won't shear the girls until after the pensioners have been
at least. They need to be able to see some fluffy looking


busybusybeejay said...

You lead an incredible life.Where do you see yourselves ten years down the line?How hard is it not to see children and grandchildren?I am fascinated by your choice of life style but do you see yourself driven by God and if you do ,do your family miss it?

Joanna said...

It is an incredible life. I wouldn't have believed we would be doing something like this if you had told us 10 years ago.

It is hard not seeing the grandchildren so much, but maybe when they get older they can stay with us for the holidays. That will be nice.

I guess we have never followed the crowd and so our family wouldn't really expect much else from us. We would like to see each other more, so I guess we make the most of when we do see each other, which is also nice.

Karen Ruane said...

hope you get your computer problem sorted out, it can be so frustrating. I haven't visited for a while, I've been in France you know!! (wearing a Brexit badge) It seems your life gets ever busier.

Joanna said...

So do I. I am now paranoid about missing something else.

I have been keeping up with your trip to France. It looked a lot of fun but I'm surprised they let you in with your Brexit badge :D You might need a visa next time if the UK does Brexit :D

Life is pretty busy at the moment. Planting seeds, studying and now multiple groups coming. We are up to four in May