Monday, 2 January 2017

Another year over and a new one just begun

Yes the clouds did part and the sun did shine for a short while
out on the land
Well after consultation with the ancient texts we were able to confirm that the glowing ball in the sky today was actually the sun. This resulted in so much joy and jubilation in our household that I turned the light off. In other words, it has been pretty dreich here. A great Scottish word to encompass the damp, dismal, drizzly, dark days that also has an effect on mood, especially sun loving Ian, who was not in the happiest frame of mind anyway, with the worry over Aggie, the mud to contend with and the rain that stops just about all outdoor activities and saps his energy to do much else. The joy lasted all morning, until it started snowing that is ....and then all wood chopping had to cease.
The view from the apartment in our village, where the sun
also shone

Aggie now has a mucky mark on her face from the cream that
the vet gave him to rub in
The vet came out to see Aggie earlier this week and she tried to drain the lump on her face, but there didn't seem to be anything to drain. Instead it is a hard lump. It is quite possible it is something to do with a new set of teeth coming through. We won't know that for certain though until we have another vet come out with a portable x-ray machine. Something we will try and arrange once the vet opens again tomorrow. I remember a friend of ours a few years ago speaking about farming and animals and she said "It's easy, no animals, no problems". Well she was right there!
Alpaca hoof prints

There won't be much skiing at the moment on the ski hill.
The snow has come and gone and come again
I have spent most of this week on and off, finishing off the details for our first felting course of the year in June. We are limiting the places so that people can have a good experience with more personal tuition and it also means we get to see how it all works. Consequently we are nearly full already. This is a great start for us.  (If you would like to see Heather's perspective of her time with us in Latvia planning the felting workshops that I mentioned last week then you can see her blog here. It is highly recommended as some of her photos were superb and I think she captures this country beautifully)
Still eating Christmas trees

It was a tad breezy some days
If you know anyone who would like to join us then do send them over to our website Griez─źtes Alpakas, you will find a programme and details there. It has been hard work trying to sort out the specifics, but we now have a programme that we are happy with that has a good balance between excursions to see the local area, a tour of Riga and workshops too of course. If we get more interest we will run at least another one of these sort later on in the year. We are also nearly sorted for some shorter workshops too, but we need to just work on the details for that some more.
But the plants are a little confused with the cold spells followed
by the warmer weather

A bit brighter today and at least the rain stopped
It has been a bit of a slog trying to work everything out because I also came down with a cold. Trying to plan a new venture with brain fog is not advisable. It is a good job I am not often ill or for very long. There was only really one day when I truly felt awful and I felt that I could have traced the whole of my lymphatics system by tracking the aches and pains, after that it was just a matter of waiting for it to clear up. I began to feel a bit overwhelmed again though with the work I needed to do and trying to adjust to my new computer. I don't like my MacBook Air at all. It is the first time I have felt that I am taking a truly retrograde step in computing, as it does not seem as near intuitive as I expect from a Mac nor does it have some of the functionality of previous operating systems. There has been much huffing and puffing.

A chance for a stroll in the sun

A little sunbathing for some alarmingly fat sheep. We just
feel they are waiting until the worst weather to give birth
At least now I feel I am beginning to get down the list of things to do, although most of the things I have accomplished seem to have been fairly short and quick things to do, which still leaves some major work to get done over the next few weeks. Hopefully I can start to whittle away at those before my time whittles away.
More sunshine

A reflective Brencis
I decided this year to actually stay awake and welcome in the New Year. I didn't last year and Ian didn't again this year, so it was just me. That was fine. I just felt I needed to be awake for what lies ahead this year. This year has been quite a struggle for us in many ways. The loss of two of our adult animals, a cria and some lambs. The hot dry start to our growing season and then the ongoing wet summer that meant our hay was still being cut in September. and a lot less of it than normal Trying to get work done for my course and so on. These seem to drown out the good points at times, such as the fact we had over 300 visitors to the farm and we actually made enough money to cover the feed of the alpacas. The fact that despite the lack of income over the years, we are still managing to get by here in Latvia and love this place and call it our home. What will next year be like? I'm not sure, but I do know I want to be awake to see what it will look like.

Finally the light is just right to be able to capture the curls
in Mr. P's fleece and the fact he does like to wear his food

The boys taking advantage that the rain has stopped
Now I have to mention something that I have so far neglected, my youngest son. It has taken a week of messages backwards and forwards until we managed to find a time when we were both online and free to chat at the same time as Ian was home too. Apparently the mention of only talking with two of my children in the blog last week was taken as a subtle hint to my youngest that he had been remiss in so far not chatting to me- good I am glad there was a tad bit of guilt in there and yes I have left this until last so you have to read down the whole blog to find mention of the fact we Skyped today, son. Only joking. It was good to chat with hm and his family today. We were a bit silly at times, we watched the cat attacking them over the top of the computer, which was resting on her scratching post anyway and we generally chatted about this and that. As the old phone advert used to say "It's good to talk". Now I just have to catch up with my Mum.

The ice has receded for now, but it won't be for long. The
forecast is for some sharp drops in temperatures soon/ 


  1. One of our goats has had a lump on the side of her face for years. It's never gone away but it's never gotten worse. She's now one of the oldest goats in the herd. I have no idea what caused it, but it doesn't seem to bother her. For what that's worth.

    We're preparing for our first winter storm of the year. It's supposed to arrive tonight and would probably be a typical day where you are. But it has the folks around here nervous.

    Happy New Year from Virginia!

    1. That is comforting to know. There are of course lots of scare stories on the internet too and a range of horrors it could be. One of our alpaca breeder friends have also had a llama with a tooth abscess that is turning out to be something quite nasty and infectious, but we don't think it is that, hopefully at least.

      It was -21.5C in the greenhouse this morning and -18C in the caravan, fortunately it warmed up to 10.5C by the end of the day. Another cold one tonight though


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