Sunday, 18 December 2016

Company's coming!

Beautiful winter sunrise
I can't remember where that phrase is from but we had been busy preparing for company this last week. I was so busy that I forgot to post my blog last week and apparently I did something similar last year, according to a Facebook trip down memory lane. So to save you an over long blog, I will post the blog I meant to post last week and post the next instalment tomorrow hopefully, but bear with me if I don't as I am still kind of busy.

Cold but the snow nearly all disappeared
I was ticking off the jobs to do; in reality they are jobs that have been on the list for ages but this last week there was an added impetus to get them done. I have been trying to put those things away that have been hanging around waiting for a home after our move back to the apartment. Some of those things, like dried herbs which are currently in plastic bread bags need jars to be stored in and I am fast running out of old jars of a reasonable size, so that is still a work in progress. As fast as jars are being emptied they are getting filled again.
Ian has to now bring up the water from the well, since they can't
eat the snow and the water freezes over night

Another batch of snow, just about gone
In the middle of that I have been trying to think of one hundred and one things to do with squash, since a few of them seem to be starting to go rotten at the same time. I don't think they cured well enough in the damp autumn and the lack of sunshine. So far this week they have been added to potatoes - which helps my lower carb diet, the puree has been baked with eggs, dried tomatoes, mushrooms, frozen peppers and frozen beans, they have been pureed to put in bottles, they have been made into lemon squash cream based on marrow cream recipe)- which tastes a bit like lemon curd, they have been made into a type of Christmas pudding, a small amount has been frozen, some made into soup and the rest dried. If there was a way of squeezing it into a recipe, it was squeezed in there.
The ice can take a while to go and is treacherous in places

Herk looks better this year after being on the proper alpaca
feed with added zinc. Still not perfect but better
We have also been processing the lambs this last week. I mentioned before we weren't able to keep them, so we asked a neighbour of ours to help us dispatch them. He got them into a small enough size for us to deal with and we finished off jointing them and preparing the meat for the freezer (and hence not much room for the squash). We have only had chickens raised on our land that we have culled for the table before, so it was bit sad to be dispatching something bigger, but needs must. If the female lamb had looked like she was thriving, we would have kept her, but she wasn't. We did get the old chicken hut sorted out so that if the next round of lambs are born soon, we have somewhere to put them, where they can be kept safe and out of the weather. The hut had been used as storage for windows and doors since we had given up free ranging the chickens after loosing too many to foxes and birds of prey. We will also get the horse box sorted out as an emergency shelter if need be too.

Lady V having a scratch
We have also started on the routine husbandry of the alpacas, aka cutting toe nails and checking for signs of mite infections. Aggie as usual seems to be struggling a bit with the mites and so she was given an injection. Since being pregnant she has got a bit more spitty, so we tackled her with some trepidation, but she wasn't too bad. I handled her in the same way as I used to do with her mother so I didn't get covered and she didn't jump around as much as she did when she first got pregnant.
Aggie and Lady V

Chanel looking all sweet and innocent
I still needed to wash my coat because Chanel was a bit excitable and being smaller it is harder to hold her head out of the way, still could be worse if Ian wasn't so calm with them. Lady V is much better these days, but Ian wasn't sure if she was showing signs of mites too or if she had just scratched herself. Since she responds better to the spray we used that as a precautionary measure. Funny how each animal seems to respond differently to the different treatments available for the same issue. It will be the boys turn when I get back home from my trip (but that will be in tomorrow's post).
Trimmed toe nails, didn't get around to the nail varnish though

Mr. P is easier to photograph in this weather, he is also turning
more brown as his fleece gets longer
We were pleased to hear that Ian's lab results were positive, well we were when we realised that it meant they were negative for anything that shouldn't be there like signs of infection, in other words the results were good. Confused? So were we at first. We had a bit of a laugh over that, obviously something was lost in translations somewhere along the way. At least it means he won't need an operation, thank goodness, at least this year. He will have to have regular check ups though to monitor the situation.

The boys tucking into a new bale of hay
And the reason for not posting? Well that was because we had a visit from a felter from Edinburgh, Heather Potten,  and her husband. I went into Riga to meet them and take them to a lady who also does felting in Latvia, but a different style called Ieva Prane and then guide them to our home. Well we got chatting and chatting.........

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