Wednesday, 1 February 2017

It's good to talk

There was only one lamb after all. Last year this ewe had
two, but didn't look after them very well. She is doing a
better job this time around.
I planned on writing the blog yesterday while I was travelling, since I didn't get the chance on Monday night, but I spent the time doing some work for my course which was urgently needed to be done instead. I thought I would get the chance today after tea (dinner) but Ian called as I was heading to the shops, saying "I can't come back just yet, one of the sheep is giving birth." The ewe managed to giver birth on her own with no problems and Ian managed to get the lamb and mother into the chicken house and then came to fetch me. Well we waited and waited for lamb number two and then Ian called our friend, who has infinitely more experience than we do to see what's next. So while they are taking a look, I'm spending a few minutes typing up last week's blog.

The swelling around Aggie's eye has gone down at least
Once we started Aggie on antibiotics, both our days were tied up. I had to help Ian with holding Aggie while he gave the injections. She definitely fell out with me. I am not her best friend to say the least. After the third day, the swelling around her eye started to recede, she also started to pick up. The day before she looked unwell and didn't seem to be eating properly, we were concerned at this, but since then, she has seemed much brighter in herself.

And she is eating at least
We had some visitors again this weekend. This time one of them could speak excellent English and they phoned beforehand to let us know they were coming. We gave them the spiel and they took lots of pictures. The lady could understand okay, but she had trouble speaking English, so a little translation was needed every now and again, but she definitely fell in love with the alpacas. They found our place through the website and so it seems like the combination of website, Facebook and local municipality advertising seems to be helping to send visitors our way, even at this time of the year, which is rather surprising.

Any food? 
This weekend I had to travel up to Tartu for my annual evaluation. Strictly speaking I should have finished my PhD but many people struggle to finish within the timeframe due to the criteria of having to have three papers published in academic journals, of which, two have to be in papers of a sufficient quality and the third to at least acceptance stage. I only have one so far. I have a four or five short articles published but they don't count. No one was particularly worried, I had at least got them well on in the draft stage, so if I get to the review stage I should at least have a chance of finishing this year sometime. At least the evaluation went okay.

The girls are not so keen to go out these days
I was a tad annoyed to find out that one of the buses I was relying on to get me to Tartu didn't run on a Sunday. I am not sure if this is a recent thing or not, it has been a while since I travelled on that day. I thought I had checked. Obviously not. What was even more irritating was finding out that my supervisor had actually been in the area close by on that day and was even passing through the town where I got delayed at the time I had hoped to catch the bus. If I had known I could perhaps had saved myself such an early start to the day. Oh well! The reason he was in the area was to do some skiing. We still have plenty of snow around us, but as I headed to the west and then north the snow gradually disappeared and there was some strange green stuff instead, I think they call it grass. At least the paths were not icy either.

Instead they stay in and eat from the feeders
It was not just a long day travelling up, it was a long day the following day. It started with my evaluation just after 9am, then I spent about an hour chatting with another PhD student about some of my ideas and he was so encouraging and suggested that he thought the ideas would even be useful in somewhere like India, where he comes from and had I ever thought about going. Errr! Well no! Not before. Not sure how that could come about, but you never know.  We'll see.

The boys go out more, especially Brencis, but then he has
got a very good dense coat on him
After seeing my supervisor and outlining some urgent tasks that needed to be finished by the end of the week I went onto have lunch with a friend of mine. I normally stay with her but this time took advantage of another friend being away and being allowed to stay in her flat. It made a nice change of scenery, not that I got to spend very long there, because once I had finished having lunch with my friend we both walked up towards the university, where we parted company and I went off to the veterinary school. No I haven't changed courses and no I am not finally becoming a vet - something I had wanted to do as a kid and had even applied to but didn't get in. Good job! Otherwise I would never have met Ian.

What is it about Mr. P and his food?
Anyway, this time I was having a chat about Aggie. I chatted with the one of the few vets at the university who has treated alpacas but mainly for skin problems and it was good to be able to share knowledge. Of course she has the more general animal health knowledge and I had the knowledge from mainly chatting with Ian rather than the hands on day to day knowledge he has. It was funny that when we had finished she said it was nice to chat with someone so enthusiastic, but then she hasn't met Ian yet! I also made sure that she knew that the university was welcome to visit and work with us and our friends up in Estonia to improve their knowledge on alpacas and alpaca handling. They might need that knowledge in the future if herds increase. She did suggest a change in Aggie's medication, it was fine for a week but not for longer since she was pregnant, something Ian and I had already discussed - some advantages to our previous degrees means at least we can discuss this type of thing and work somethings out for ourselves, but it is nice to find we were thinking in the right direction.
Looking rather portly

Mr. Tellus has been eating the snow again
Next stop was the university to download some papers before rounding off the day with another visit to my Indian friend and his lovely wife and daughter for yet more chatting and something to eat. I don't think I stopped chatting from around 9am to 8pm, apart from the twenty minute walk down to my friend's house and that is why the blog was late initially. The range of topics I covered over the course of the day was fairly wide, from my course, alpacas, family, the situation regarding the ban on Muslims in America - and as my Indian friend pointed out earlier on in the day actually meant one of our colleagues who also had her evaluation at the same time, a lovely lady from Iran, would not be allowed in and he wonders if he would be discriminated against due to the colour of his skin. Not a pleasant thought. We chatted about the EU and how the problems affected us both and on and on and on. As for the other two days since, well that is a subject for next week's blog.


Bill said...

Your newborn lamb reminds me that we have another round of kidding set to begin in about a month. Isn't it great to have new life on the farm? :)

Joanna said...

My friend is well into her goat kidding and may have nearly finished. Goat kids are cute and less wrinkly than lambs. It's great to have new life indeed, unfortunately we are having a few issues, we'll see how it goes