Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Sign of the times

Translation: Griezites Farm
We have new signs, one is just a give way sign onto our rather muddy road. At least the snow clearers should know in winter to keep it clear - well we can hope. The other is the sign for our farm and translated is Griezītes Farm. There have been a couple of times now that I have been coming back to the caravan in the dark and it is quite eerie to see the sign stand out so bright in the headlights. At least now we can't miss the turn.

Autumn raspberries still going strong
It seems like this week has been really busy but I don't feel I have achieved much. We are continuing to pick raspberries, which always takes time and is not as much fun as it is in the sunnier times earlier on in the year with the summer raspberries. Mind you, it is worth it, as they are quite tasty and we have been enjoying raspberry and apple crumble. Today I packed jars with more raspberries and apple slices and then cooked them in the jars, ready for more crumbles in the winter.

This is where they should be, behind the fence
Part of the week has been spent trying to find our young chickens, as the little darlings (said through firmly clenched teeth) keep escaping. Chicken Run! comes to mind, theyŗe up to something. We have found them in the squash patch a few times and one rather large squash was well pecked. The problem seems to be that despite their clipped wings, they can semi-fly and scrabble up the fence or can fly high enough to land on the gate and then hop over. I sorted out the gate problem, by putting sticks in the gate to prevent them landing on it, but unless we get taller fencing we cannot sort that out. The larger chickens don't manage to get over as they are too heavy to scramble up the wire and cannot fly high enough to get over the gate, or don't bother, so eventually the problem should cease.

The gate with added sticks to stop the
chickens escaping. Failed!

Ian fishing for frogs in the well with a home-made fishing net
One day the chickens in Ark 4 as we call it, will be put in one of the covered arks for the winter, as that will be easier for us to manage them in the greenhouse where we always put them, but first of all one of the other arks has to be vacated (in other words hens culled) and then fixed. The arks have served us well, but they are requiring some maintenance now. We are definitely keeping the oldest hens as they are the most reliable layers. One of them at least is still laying every three days or so, whereas all the others have given up for autumn. We had to do some calculations to see who would be the ones heading for the pot, which kind of does remind me of Chicken Run! and that makes me Mrs Tweedy.
Releasing them into the pond

The well has been pumped out three times and so theoretically
it should be time to test it to see if it is good water.

It seems to be filling at a consistent 1.31litres per hour according
to Ian who loves keeping records like this.

Not sure what sort of birds these are, possibly starlings I
suppose, but flocking nonetheless.
There are many signs of autumn, from trees turning yellow or bright red, the blustery weather and flocking birds. Not so welcome a sight was the sight of geese flying south. Ian heard some flying at night too. They usually say that geese head south about two weeks before the first snows come, so it reminds us to get cracking with winter preparations. Fortunately the first snow does not last anyway, but does leave a sludgy mess. There will be road markers to install, markers to let us know where the ponds are so we don't walk into them or Ian drive the tractor over them inadvertently. We will need to make sure there is enough feed and tyres changed on the car. We will also need to get the greenhouse prepped so that the chickens can move in and then the caravan. We also need to gather in the apples and the amaranth as the last things to harvest before winter. We have a few plants outside but they will stand some cold and be even better after frosts anyway, such as parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes.
The blustery weather has caused quite a few willows to
snap this year. I was working in the garden one day and heard
one fall and looked up just in time to see it coming down.
Fortunately I was well out of harms way, otherwise I would
have taken more notice of the cracking.

Marie eating through the fence again! There is plenty of grass
and hay, but she makes a habit of eating through anyway.
The reason the blog was late though, was that we had help with toe nail cutting for our alpacas and as a thank you, we went back to our apartment and had a meal together. A young couple, who I have mentioned before, moved into the village for a short while and were willing to help us out from time to time. Since the young chap was a rugby player, unusual for a Latvian but there are clubs here, it seemed ideal to ask him to help out with the trimming. This time of year, the animals are not quite so well behaved, we think they sense the winter and tend to be a bit antsy, so it was nice to have someone who could hold the alpacas firmly. I had to get changed though at the end, as Chanel managed to dribble spit all down my leg and get a spray across the back. The alpacas were definitely not on their best behaviour, still at least the toe nails got done and it did not put the young couple off alpacas for life. As the young chap said, it was nice to get the chance to cuddle an alpaca.

Putting rather a lot of strain on that wire to reach those tasty shoots

Amazing that she can get her head in and out of those holes
in the wire.

No comments: