Monday, 11 July 2016


The roadsides are looking gorgeous this year with the mix of
meadowsweet and rosebay willowherb. I got permission to
cut some rosebay willowherb from a neighbours field away
from the road, as it makes a great tea. That has now been dried
in the solar dryer
Our youngest son surprised us recently, he rang out of the blue and asked us if we would like to go to the UK paid for by him. I was a bit flabbergasted really. He explained that the grandchildren were growing and they rarely saw us together and could we therefore spare a long weekend to come. He realised that longer would be more difficult to arrange since we have to get someone to look after the alpacas. We have been to the UK for longer periods of time, but not at the same time, as one of us - usually Ian - stays behind to look after the animals and the land. So it is all organised for later on in the year, the flights are booked and he has already arranged the Friday and Monday off, so that he can pick us up from the airport and take us back. He is even organising a get together with other members of the family. So I'm looking forward to being pampered for the weekend, I am assuming of course that we will be well looked after.
A rather sweet looking strawberry. The strawberries are coming
to the end but our red and yellow gooseberries, redcurrants
and raspberries are all maturing nicely now. 

It's play, spot Ian time
Besides all the regular jobs we have been prepping the place for our felting course that starts this week. We want the place to look as neat and tidy as possible and so Ian has been strimming round the garden and mowing the lawn. I say lawn, but really it is a rather large lawn and he still bears a grudge that I didn't let him buy the motor driven lawnmower. In my defence we only had a small lawn in the US when we bought it and a driven motor was not really necessary for that. I have to admit it would make his job easier now for those areas we want looking neat and tidy. It isn't necessary to use it all the time though, often he will use the flail mower but that doesn't give as neat a finish, but I can almost hear his regrets for not buying the more expensive lawnmower as he works hard pushing the mower up the hill.
One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow
That was a lot of work! And just in case you thought I was only
taking photos, I tied up our beans and weeded the garden, a mega
task in itself
Chanel having a roll in the dirt
Visitors are still turning up to the land to have a tour to see the alpacas and although they are not coming in droves, they are coming on a regular basis and quite willing to pay too. We even had our first contact through our website this week to book a visit. We have been talking about what we feel will be an acceptable level of visits, as we hear from friends of ours the huge numbers people they have visiting and we have nowhere near the same numbers. We don't have the infrastructure for large numbers of visitors and we are not sure we would want to totally go that route, we like the peace and quiet of the countryside and we think we would lose the joy of talking about our alpacas if we had group, after group, after group. We would want enough visitors to make it worthwhile and to run some workshops through the warmer months. We don't need much and so balancing our needs with what we can provide will be our goal.
He mowed beside the greenhouse so we can hold our course
outside on nice days

Test drilling for the well at 7am. We are pleased that he
decided to drive down where we take the tractor and
didn't mess up the area that Ian has spent all day mowing
We had a visit on Sunday evening from a guy who was recently recommended to us for digging wells. He came by and did the tour of the land with the hazel sticks and decided there was a spot close to where the last guy said. At least they agree! He also came early the next morning and brought a drill to do a test dig. It was encouraging because he had a great deal of difficulty getting the drill out at one point due to the suction from the wet ground. We do indeed seem to have a very wet layer, not exactly gushing at this point but promising anyway and only about 3 metres down, low enough to be below freezing level and not too deep that it will be difficult to dig. We presume he will be back before long to see what he thinks and then we can talk about actually getting the well dug.
The paths to the garden look neat and tidy too

Lady V the indomitable old lady
I mentioned last week that we have started the process of mating our alpaca girls. Our original idea was to put our black male, Mr. P. with our white females, Lady V and Aggie and our white male, Tellus with our coloured females, Chanel and Marie. We had to rapidly change our mind though about Lady V and Mr. P. because she will not let him anywhere near her and has completely intimidated him. She only has to look in his direction and he backs off. At least Tellus is not so easily intimidated, but Lady V. despite her age is giving him the run around. We hope she gives in soon, because we only plan to mate her this year, before retiring her. We think Chanel might be pregnant already though, as Tellus is suddenly not interested in her and she won't let him near now, although she was flirting heavily with him at first, so that is promising at least.
Yes it has rained a lot this week and so we have more rainbow
photos. Our ponds are also still continuing to fill
This fabulous looking spider was not cooperating in having
its photo taken. It crawled along the wire, upside down and
so this the best I could do. I shall try again another day
Last week a friend of ours set off on her travels and so she arranged for us to have the keys to her car. It was a good job she did as Ian suddenly discovered that we had forgotten to insure our car and it had run out the day before he found out, by which time it was too late to get it insured at the office in the village. We discovered later we could have rung and got it insured over the phone and paid today, so we will know if we ever have the same problem again. At least while I had the use of the other car, I could get on with the jobs I needed to do and Ian got the chance to change the brakes and fix the fog light on our car that was damaged by the deer we hit on our Estonian trip.


Joanna said...

Always a pleasure reading all about your adventures and day to day life! Your photos too - I can almost smell the greenery after a good rain filling my bedroom.

Did you also ducument your previous expat. lives in the US and such?

- Joanna F.

Joanna said...

Glad you are enjoying our journey. I can't take credit for most of the photos, Ian usually takes them, although most are mine this week.

I had never thought of doing a blog before until a friend of ours said we had to when moving away from America so they could follow our adventures. I must admit that our stay in America was pretty uneventful, although there were of course moments of hilarity when cultures clashed and few trips down to Brazil and one to Utah with the family. Most of my week involved having to drive right across town to get decent vegetables, going on walks while I prayed, helping out the barista's at our churches coffee bar and in the process answering the question where was I from at least five times in one morning, running the Sunday school and our weekly visit to the Chocolate Rose which made their own pies, quiches and cakes for Saturday lunch. Not sure how I filled my week other than that, but I had much more time for creative work though and I do miss that.