Monday, 21 November 2016

Is it spring?

This was the scene on Wednesday
It sure feels like spring after the two and a half weeks of snow we had. It has finally just about left us now. Just a few mucky piles of the stuff left over from the piles of cleared snow, mainly at the sides of the roads or in car parks. Of course that does not mean there won't be more, but at least Ian can get back on with some jobs that he could do with doing before the winter really does kick in. The only problem is that we now need the ground to dry up or freeze. Our well has been filling up at an incredible rate of over 250 litres a day with the melt. The recent influx though of water is mainly ground water and not the spring water so it is a bit murky with sediment. Part of the reason though is because the concrete rings were mucky from when they were put in, so hopefully this has cleaned the sides now. A friend of ours said it might take a year to settle down, so no worries yet!
Friday 

Saturday, just about all gone and the grass is still green, unlike
after the winter snows next spring.
A path cleared with the snow blower
At least now the snow has gone, it means Ian doesn't have to do so much snow blowing. We had begun to wonder if this was going to be a feature until March or April, so although the days are duller now without the snow, more can be done. I also dug up the dahlia tubers that I had forgotten about, which need to be stored over winter and not left in the ground. I have now also covered my herb bed with spruce branches to protect them from a hard freeze.
Nature's artwork

And this is the result in the well. Nearly full to overflowing.
Approximately 3m3 of water. Should keep us going for a
while. Although Ian is planning on cleaning the sides of the
well with a brush and then pumping some of it out and letting
it refill.
It has been a strange week as we settled into living back in our apartment. We haven't lived there since mid-April and so many of our things have been put away or we have just forgotten where they once lived. Ian finally found my big, fluffy, purple dressing gown - something you would think was rather difficult to hide in a small apartment. He found it had been pushed to the back of a shelf in our wardrobe under a bag of clothes destined for the second-hand store or recycling. I still haven't found the tie for it though so for now it is tied up with a rather vibrant scarf - it works. Ian also found his body pillow - a pillow recommended by a chiropractor that Ian used to visit in the US when he was having issues with a bad back. We are also still in the process of bringing stuff back from the land that we still need at home or will be damaged in the cold winter temperatures, but it is a slow process.
If you were wondering how Sofie has got on after her hip
dislocation. I think this picture speaks for itself. This is above
the door in the greenhouse

She's also eager to be off on her travels. This was the day
after she had the pin out. It is hard to keep her in now.
We are also gradually sorting through our list of things to do and trying to get them ticked off. Ian and I finished off an article for a magazine and I finished off a book chapter for an academic piece of work. We have sorted through bags of fleece to decide how to process it.
As the snow melted off the roof, the icicles were left at a
rather perculiar angle

This little lass has discovered how to get into the food
cupboard on the wall. No wonder she slept so well today
We even got our friend round to help us finally make a decision on our sheep and what needs to be done with them. He gave us a few options and gave us his opinion, which was helpful. We are still not fully decided but will be by the end of the week, as we have a deadline to work to, always useful. Our friend also offered us some silage, as they have more than they need. That will help us with feeding the sheep, as they are getting through rather too much, much more than the alpacas despite their smaller size.
One eerie morning

Makes me thinkg of some fantasy winter scene for a movie or
something like that
Another item ticked off the list was to get our land onto the rural support scheme, which basically means getting some money for endeavouring to farm the land. We have to put a map together of the parts that we are including in the support area, as we know some bits have too many trees on at the moment. Some bits will be included but we will cut down the trees that need thinning out and some we won't bother with for the time being. I say "we," what I mean is Ian. He has the bulk of that kind of work to do. I shall be busy doing other things. I try to make a point of going at the weekends though to take a break from the brain work, but I cannot be there all the time. At least we are grateful for one of our visitors over the summer who is helping us get this sorted.
The mid-week snow made some
interesting sculptures

We have done some sorting out in here, honest!
We've had the usual problems with plumbing again at our other apartment. We can't blame the plumber, we know he did an excellent job with the best fittings available. The problem is that some of the fittings available are rather sub-standard. It is one of the reasons that all water pipes run on the outside of the wall and we have stop taps at multiple points. This time it was the bath tap that started leaking. It is the first time the water has been heated in a long while and so the tap split and water started squirting out the back of the tap. It was the first bath we had planned since April - don't worry we have had showers in the meantime, but the bath was a luxury soak we had once a week along with watching a DVD, not while we are having a bath of course. In the end we did neither.
I guess Turbjørn has his woolly blanket on, so can sit around
in the snow

Why drink water when you can eat snow?
One of the good things about being at home is the chance to have a trip to a nice little bakery in the village with a friend. She had been teaching us Latvian but I hadn't really had the opportunity to have a proper catch up in a while, so made a point of doing just that this week. We put the world to right, as you do over a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. We were just about done on the topic of communities when her husband arrived and then the topic turned to hay, back home it was sociology. I can get through a few varied topics in a day.
I love the way that photos capture an agate quality of semi-frozen
ponds. In life it just looks a bit mucky.
The pond a few days later

The car gets left near the road, because the track up is too
muddy and it could get stuck. Rather than ruin the ground
even more we decide to walk to the caravan.
We also joined in with a local action group on Sunday. They are trying to make positive changes to the village, when the consensus it is a place where people come to die - not really true, as there are so many young families, but obviously they can find it difficult out in rural Latvia. We want to support the young folks, so even though we don't understand much, we can participate and encourage. Being younger, someone often does some translating and if nothing else it is a chance to hear Latvian being spoken.
Hopefully this will stop a lot of the snow getting in this time.
You can see the spruce covered herb bed to the right too

Glorious coloured dandelion leaves

Agnese in decidedly unfriendly mood to me. Head up, tail up
back arched and clucking. She is trying to say she thinks she
is higher up the pecking order than I am. I have news for her!

Agnese in friendlier mood

I still find it hard to believe at times that we own this forest.

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