Monday, 9 May 2016

The Netty Office

In my office
I finally have an office, what do you think? Of course any of our Geordie friends will know exactly what I mean by a Netty Office, yes we finally have an outside loo. The good thing is that it is actually quite nice and cool and the internet reception was fine, so I spent the afternoon down there and worked. Not so sure I will be doing that after it has been used a few times though. It is a composting toilet though and so it shouldn't be too bad really. It isn't just a hole in the ground sort.
Taking a well earned rest in the office

Another Franken-creation using up the
off cuts from the girls alpaca house.
The little door at the back is to put a box
in for the sawdust composting toilet. The
roof was from the boys feeder that suffered
catastrophic damage in a storm. The latch
is made from wood but the hinges are new

Not a very good picture because the light was so bright. 
It has been a rush to get it finished as we were expecting a group of 54 pensioners and while I am sure quite a few of them would head off into the forest if the need arose, we didn't want them to have to do that if we could avoid it and so Ian worked on it all weekend. It has been on the list of jobs to do for a while and so it is nice that we can send visitors to that rather than them having to try and squeeze into our caravan loo.
Wool drying from a dying session the two days before. At
least that is fairly easy to do and carry on with other jobs, as
the wool boils in the dye bath for thirty minutes. 

Our visitors. Not sure there was a whole bus full
and we think there must have been 46 in the end.
Still a lot of people to show around
It was very hot for our visitors today, but many of them seemed genuinely interested and put up with beating sun to listen to our story and ask questions afterwards. Unfortunately our alpacas didn't seem genuinely interested in the huge number of people - I think the most we have seen on our land is a group of school children of around 30, so not big people either. Usually groups are around 3-8 people. They had brought quite a few tasty carrots and I sliced them up in the food processor but it was so hot the animals really could not be bothered, so we had egg and carrot salad with our evening meal and the alpaca girls got them as a treat. I also organised making felt balls which a few of them seem to really enjoy doing but not all of them wanted to take them home. Now I have a few for demonstration purposes too.
I found this picture on my camera of Eyre after having her op.
Enjoying being able to lounge around on the furniture for a

Make the most of Aggie looking cute, she will be sheared
It was funny how all those years of helping my mother and father with a jewellery stall at various agricultural shows came in very useful. I felt it was a nice enough display using a mix of our caravan table and cardboard or plastic boxes, covered with an array of tablecloths. Fortunately it didn't take me long to set up, as there wasn't much time to get ready.
Ian is wondering how he will shear Mari to keep her cute looks

It appears we now have resident ducks on our pond
Ian and I have been busy with lots of preparation now the hot weather is here. We moved the sheep to the other side of the hill where the grass is much better, before we move them back to be closer when they lamb next month. The only problem is that we haven't had much rain in the last week at all, the couple of showers we have had were not really enough to wet the ground and so the grass is growing rather slowly. The trees though are very quickly turning to leaf now and there is an explosion of green. Today the bird cherry started flowering - so that might mean we get a bit of cool weather.
Tellus enjoying the cool grass

Brencis looking very skinny
Ian also rotavated the field ready for the barley and oats - a bit late but it has been too dry anyway. I have been pre-soaking other seeds and then watering them in well and I hope they will be fine for the rain at the weekend. I also mulched them a bit with hay, to stop any hard rain from making the soil too hard for the seeds to come through. We had to connect another hose totalling three hoses to get water all the way to our orchard plot. I thought that the garlic might have been suffering due to a lack of water, but now I am beginning to think that actually a vole has taken them over the winter. We hardly have any which have sprouted and there were about 70 planted.
Estelle feeling the heat with baby and lots of fleece. We got
quite excited this week as we actually felt a baby move when
we prodded Estelle to try and find out if she was definitely
pregnant or not. We don't think she has taken to pregnancy very
well, She seemed weary right from the start - no blooming for

Ian can tell you the time of the day by the airplanes that
fly over or the buses that go past! He can even tell you which
plane it is, where it is flying to and where it has flown from,
courtesy of some flight checker on the net! 
The joys of abundant wild life. If it isn't the pigs digging up crops, it is the voles or moles eating them from their underground tunnels. Talking of abundant wildlife, this year the biting insect in abundance are midges. They have been vicious, almost like being in Scotland and I am now covered in lots of very itchy bites. I have resorted to just about every herbal remedy known and whilst they work for a while, they have not been as effective in the long run as previously. Either I am over sensitive to the little blighters or it is just the number of bites that has got to me. So far I have tried plantain, home-made fruit vinegar and lavender essential oil. They help anyway. The good thing about vinegar and lavender oil is it keeps the insects away too.
The boys doing their impersonations of antelopes

Another photo I found on my camera. It
is hard to believe that this was just 13
days ago and now it is hot and dry. 
The twice yearly job of clearing out the alpaca houses have now been completed. I helped Ian for a bit but I have also had a lot of academic work to do, so couldn't help with it all. It has been interesting juggling everything. I had an online role play of a roundtable discussion of experts to do and so I wrote a transcript for my part and sent it off to the others in my group. I had requested to do my part early but then found out that we had a lecture first. I was expecting someone to come at 5pm and the seminar started at 4:30pm, so it was bit tight. Actually I wasn't expecting our guests to arrive at 5pm because in the 8 years we have lived here in Latvia, no one has turned up on time and so I thought even with the lecture there would be a chance to do my part before having to leave the seminar - wrong! Not only did our guests turn up on time, they turned up early. Fortunately because I had sent in a script our tutor read it out and that was classed as acceptable.


  1. Heya!
    Campher worked well on my mozzie bites last year.
    Love, Liz F's daughter Ruth

    1. Thanks for the information. It is great that so many things can work and I guess it is a matter of adding another to the arsenal :) eventually something should work


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