Tuesday, 6 September 2016

So it begins, again!

A new academic year, new students online, a new online course too. I'm not just tutoring Sociology this year but Development Studies too. So did you know you could do an IGCSE in Development Studies? Well now you do!  I am also getting back into the groove of academia and I am in Innsbruck, Austria, for a conference leaving Ian home alone with the alpacas again. I would post some pictures of Innsbruck, but I forgot the cable to download the pictures to my computer and so you will have to wait until next week. I'm sure you will all cope.

The only problem with heading back into the academic world is the fact that the growing season hasn't quite finished yet. There are still potatoes to dig and they are not as bad as we feared, although some look like they are being eaten by something like a vole. There are still apples to pick, but they are not quite ripe yet and so will wait until I get back. The buckwheat the only grain crop that seems to have survived needs harvesting and the hemp needs chopping back and drying for the seed. I wasn't allowed anywhere near the hemp before travelling by plane in case it set off any sensors. Funnily enough I did set off the metal detector though in the airport and no idea why, shoes, belt, watch, phone etc. all went in the trays.

People watching in the airports is quite amusing for me. I loved watching the grandma with the little baby and I was maybe a tad jealous. I knew I was in Germany when I spotted an older guy with sleeveless cardi, shorts, socks and shoes. To cap it all though there was the couple in their Sound of Music outfits who hurried up to the gate to take the plane to, where else, but Salzburg. There was the the spot the academic moments! And there were quite a few of them. There was the deep intense discussion on the bus about confluences and determinations and not getting the algorithms to work - or something like that. They were obviously going to a conference and I was beginning to wonder if I had got the right one, but fortunately a guy on the plane behind me told his seat companion that he was going to a conference on landscapes, so at least I felt I was going to the right place. I was amused to hear the ladies reply and I am sure she was thinking landscape gardening type of landscapes and not in the wider sense of the word, like regional scale. Another thing that amuses me now is that more and more I am addressed in the language of the country I'm in. The Latvians were speaking to me in Latvian, the Germans in German and the Austrians also in German of course. I must have lost my British look! Maybe it's the weather beaten look about me.

This rest of this week's blog is a bit of a pictorial tale, partly because I have to finish off my presentation for tomorrow and that takes priority and because I sensibly uploaded the photographs before I flew out.

Ian felled a rather large aspen to give room for a small oak tree
that was growing behind it. He is getting very attached to the land
as he said sorry to the tree before felling it. 
He was making room for a new hay store that he is building.
The last one he made of a similar size, holds around 30 bales
and does a very good job of keeping them in a good state for
the animals. 
Awww! Doesn't she look sweet? As she sits on my NEW herb
bed. What is it about this cat that makes her do her best to
do all the things she shouldn't? Like climb on tables straight
after we've eaten. She learnt a hot lesson the other day when
she tried to jump on the kitchen counter in the greenhouse and
the hob was still hot - fortunately not that hot.
There have been lots of damselflies around. Great for eating
small unwelcome insects
Now this picture tells a tale. I have seen the fish in this pond
several times over the week, but Ian hasn't. I even got him to
come across once and they disappeared just as he arrived. He
was beginning to doubt my sanity and the jokes started flowing
about the shoal of blue finned tuna, or the killer whale, or the
jumping dolphins or the dinosaur at the far end of the land in
the forest! We even had our morning coffee by the pond to
see if we could see them. It wasn't until Saturday he finally
spotted one.
Yes we have a well finally! They were doing quite well until it
rained, but then they were getting muddy and wet anyway from
the wet muddy water they were digging out. Apparently there
were about five points where water was oozing out of the ground
which is very promising, so we are told.
There is even water in it! It has to fill up to the second ring and be
pumped out three times before thinking of using it. It should also help
to flush the system out and make it run better. 
As it is on a hill they have dug a trench around the well, so that
water does not run directly off the land into the well water. The well
water should have been filtered through a sand layer before it gets
to this point
Ian had to move our drying rack as the hay bales at the back of
the barn got in the way.  We have been having to leave the doors
of the barn wide open to try and dry the bales out. They are worrying
us as they seem to be wet on the outside in the mornings
And what is a blog without a few alpaca pictures, well this blog anyway


Karen Ruane said...

I always set those mmetal detectors off too, it must be a Lancashire thing :)

Joanna said...

I don't always set them off. I did have a spell of setting them off when I had a pair of lightweight shoes that I found out had metal strips in them. I would never have thought they were responsible for setting off an alarm and asked at security what the problem was (since it was quiet at the time) and they told me.

Biggran said...

Before flying,(particularly US) do not polish your shoes with liquid shoe polish. You Dad nearly had his shoes confiscated. I don't know what the chemical is that triggered the sensors.

Joanna said...

I shall have to remember that! If I ever go back to the States that is - not sure if I will get the chance or not.