Monday, 15 August 2016

Is it raining with you?

This is the lower pond where Ian removed the drainage
channel and blocked the exit. We are not sure if that did the
trick or it is just all the rain we have had, but it sure is filling
up fast now. We were also excited to see the fish swimming
around in it today. We haven't seem them since they were
put in just before all the water receded and left them just a
small area - deep, but small. It seems like they have
survived well and grown quite a bit in the process.
It sure is raining here on a frequent basis. We've had some sunny spells but a lot of rain. The ponds are full, the road is a mess and plants are struggling with the damp conditions - so is Ian. Ian does not like the rain, I'm from the soggier side of Britain and used to frequent trips up to the even damper Lake District as a child and so I don't mind so much, but even I would like to see a spell of dry weather again, maybe not as long as the last time, but still is a week too much to ask for? Every time it rains I have one of two songs going through my head and for those who recognise the lyrics from the title, one of them is Annie Lennox's "Here comes the rain again" or alternatively Supertramps "It's raining again." I think I'm getting a little tired of those earworms.
The baby swallows have all grown up now and left their nest.
They are still roosting in the girls' alpaca house at the moment
though, but we are not sure for how much longer before they
take off to sunnier climes. It was amusing to see them all hovering
around inside this evening as we treated some itchy patches on
Agnese's nose. Five young swallows all making a noise
because we were in there.

Today's collection of mushrooms from our forest in the
bucket. Some advantages to the damp days anyway
Some of our potatoes are showing signs of blight due to the soggy weather and it is a dilemma as to whether to dig them up yet, but it might be still early when we need to store them over winter and besides, did I tell you? It's raining again! That of course makes it difficult to dig them up. Mind you, the ones we have dug and are free of blight have been lovely. We are finally getting an assortment of vegetables and we were even able to offer some vegetarians an evening meal just using the vegetables from the garden and not feel like apologising for the lack of variety. Since we only have a halogen oven, one hob and a slow cooker I settled on a vegetable stir fry and baked potatoes. So we had peas, cauliflower, carrots with some carrot leaves, lovage, marjoram, sage, nettles and hollyhock leaves. Today we had wild boar pie, carrots, peas, onions and mushrooms in a white sauce and baked potatoes. Rather tasty too, if I do say so myself.
We emptied the water out of the well to see if it would fill up
again - it did! We could see the water level rising immediately
after we emptied it, so that was encouraging. We are still waiting
to hear whether the guy is going to help us dig the well, as Ian
is still not quite sure how to go about it yet. Still if the
worse comes to the worse, he can have a go himself. At least
we know there is water there.

Mari drinking deep
This week I went to some church meetings. We haven't done that in a long time, as the nearest churches are quite far and we are quite comfortable not attending meetings. We haven't given up meeting with people of faith and wouldn't want to, but our rich heritage from our previous churches has more than sustained us over time. I went primarily to connect with some folks who we haven't had the chance to meet for a while and also to hear the main speaker who was Terry Virgo. I'm not a fan of big meetings and definitely wouldn't traipse half way across the country to listen to some big speaker, as I know that God is quite capable of speaking through people without special titles as much as those who are held up as leaders in the faith. However, it did amuse me that a famous speaker would come to a little camp down the road from us in the middle of rural Latvia, so couldn't resist going to listen.
At least we have onions. These are hanging in the barn to dry

Tellus (left) and Turbjørn (right) in the sun that lasted until
10am this morning. 
Ian came as well but he was a bit late as he had to wait for the vet to microchip our male alpaca. The last time she checked she was not able to find a signal and it did concern us as they were all microchipped before we got them, according to the breeder. Tellus was meant to be going to visit some females and so we felt he really ought to have a readable chip. In the event the vet did find a signal but it was much deeper in the shoulder than she would have thought - at least we are relieved he does have an original chip and the number does correlate with the one we were given.
Slicing pie, as you do in the barn. The fridge is in the barn
and not in our greenhouse kitchen for a reason - sometimes
it gets too hot in there. Admittedly it has not been that hot just

Brencis with a green patch at the top of his neck. He and Mr.P.
have been having some spats and lots of we hope play fighting.
Nothing seems to be particularly serious, but we will have to
keep an eye on it as they work out their place in the
hierarchy of the herd
The meeting was nothing startling, as I said, we have a rich heritage, but it was good to hear someone speak of Jesus being here and now and building his Kingdom rather than we are all just waiting around for him to come back again. It was also interesting to watch Terry Virgo as he does remind me of a friend of mine and the way he tells Bible stories, bringing out the little details that can be overlooked when purely reading the story compared to imagining yourself in the story. I also went to another meeting on the Friday morning and was encouraged by a young lady who came up to me and asked if she could pray with me. Her words were reassurance from the Father's heart to me and although she did not know me, she prayed for clarity of mind - which towards the end of doing a PhD is particularly poignant.
Asleep in the greenhouse

A new Olympic sport? Synchronised
eating courtesy of Tellus (front) and
Herkules (back)
As I mentioned Tellus was off on an adventure to see some ladies which entailed a road trip. He wasn't particularly happy about going into the horse box, but quickly settled down. The journey was not great, too many roadworks and the roads were dreadful after the rain, but we got there. We took Tellus into one of the sheds and showed him the girls, only he didn't seem that interested. We left them alone while Ian went to practice his dentistry skills on llamas. He has cut alpaca teeth before but not llamas. It was a little more interesting from the point of view that it took just a couple of minutes to sort the teeth out but it took them a good ten to fifteen minutes to get the llamas pinned down, one in particular was really difficult. The two alpacas, however, were done and dusted in just a few minutes. We don't think Tellus actually mated with the girls but we were anticipating him spending two weeks there so that he would have time to recover from the journey, instead we understood that he wasn't required - so not really sure what happened there apart from some form of miscommunication. Still it was nice to have Tellus back with us, it was a bit of a worry to send him out to someone else, even if we do have two other breeding males - well potentially, one is still a bit young yet.
Mari looking thoughtful - or just deciding whether to bother
going out in the rain or not again. 

Looks like Mr. P is having a laugh, but actually he has a
droopy mouth after spitting at Brencis
Chanel's coat really glows in the sun - when it shines
Alas dear Yorik, we knew him well! Or tomb for the unknown
farmer! Those are just two of the quips we came up with
for the new rockery. This is just across the road down
to the barn outside the greenhouse and is there to stop
little children running straight out of the greenhouse and
into the pond. It is also a place for our herbs for tea to grow.
Despite the rain we've had visitors again this week. One group came from the camp where we had joined in with a few of the meetings. The weather was lovely for once and we had afternoon tea outside in the sunshine. They brought some cakes from the bakery in the village and nearly all of them had black tea with milk - we had almost forgotten what it is like to have friends who drink black tea - or rather "normal" tea with milk. Our second lot of visitors also brought cake, a huge slab of home-made Latvian blueberry cake - absolutely delicious and I contributed a cake made from sour dough and roasted grapes, which worked fine. I am so pleased that it doesn't affect my blood sugar as much, in fact it is lower the day after - of course I know I still should take it easy on the sweet stuff but it is nice to find that as long as I watch the portions I can eat pretty much everything now, especially after having lost around 18llbs or around 9kg.

We were also pleased to welcome back the Northern English couple who had visited us previously and the reason the blog was late last week. They will be heading back home soon, the long way round via Finland and Sweden - quite an adventure and we wish them well. The weather wasn't quite so kind and so we were in and out of the greenhouse while we chatted for around five hours or so, which is why they stopped for tea. Being Northern I could say tea and not dinner or evening meal.

A golden coloured alpaca house at the end of the rainbow
It was lovely to hear of folks who had enjoyed Latvia so much that they are determined to be back again and hopefully they will visit us again, maybe to even help on the farm. Something to look forward to. It also really feels like we are building something worthwhile when people feel inspired to try something different after we have been chatting. I'm sure many folks could do a better job of what we are doing and if we can be an encouragement on that journey then that is fantastic.

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