Monday, 20 February 2017

It's a process

No the alpaca house is not on fire, it is the sun. We did
actually get to see it on a couple of days this week. Unlike
today which was dreich. So dreich there are no photos of
the lambs because they are inside in the dark.
The news on the lambs is that they are all doing well but they and their mums are getting fed up of being cooped up in their respective pens. Can't say as I blame them as the lambs are getting bigger by the day. The problem though is the ram outside. He was getting more pushy with Ian and he would be a danger to the lambs, especially in the slippery conditions and so the ram went for an appointment with the freezer. In preparation I had to sort through our freezer at home to free up space, so I have made a batch of chutney and a batch of blackcurrant and apple jam. The problem is I have just about run out of jars again. At least after a bit of reorganising I had half an upright freezer free and defrosted ready for the next influx of meat, which we started processing tonight

So instead of sunshine today we had rain. It is a process
and its not pleasant when the snow starts to go, but one
we are sort of happy to go through. Ian has been on the
annual clear the ditches duty today as water was backing
up to the greenhouse
Mind you, even with the ram gone, the lambs won't get their freedom for another couple of days. The weather is awful at the moment, as it is raining. The last thing we want is cold, wet, soggy lambs getting sick. At least it means the snow is disappearing and the slow melt means our groundwater will start to rise again and fill our well up in a few days time. The well has been great over the winter, as it has meant that Ian hasn't had to carry water down the three flights of stairs from our apartment to the car every morning this year, but when the ground is frozen there is not as much water flowing. We don't know how much of a flow the well really has yet, we just know that it rises a lot a few days after rain or after snow starts melting. The other advantage with the well is the fact the water is mainly below the frost line and so only on one or two days did we have issues with the well freezing slightly. In contrast the ponds have at least a 20cm layer of ice on them.
I find this photo amusing, as it looks like Brencis is kissing
the wood, but actually he was chewing on it.

Water has been flowing onto the ice on the ponds and they
are even overflowing
We have been trying to think of ways of saving the water when it is flowing fast into the well, or how to harvest it off buildings, so that we will have enough even in the droughts that we get regularly. There is usually a dry patch sometime during the early part of the summer that nearly always affects sowing time or just when the new seedlings are starting to emerge. We mulch the plants and that helps to some degree, but at the end of the day they still need water. We haven't come to a conclusion on that one yet.
Veronica is doing very well. Her condition is about the best
we have seen in all the years she has been with us. Not
bad for one who will be 14 years old in May

Aggie continues to cause Ian some worry as she was a bit off
the last couple of days, but then again so were the others.
Today she seemed a bit brighter in herself again
On the planning front we have managed to agree on the areas that will be included and excluded on our first submission for EU subsidies. In fact that was surprisingly painless. We don't argue much but we don't always agree either. It can take ages for us to come to some sort of compromise agreement if we both feel strongly about something. At least with this we were able to decide what we were going to allow to grass over and what we were going to continue to work on for planting up. At least we did get round to deciding where the other buildings are going to go that we want to build. No we can't afford to build our house yet, but we are hoping to put in grant applications for a workshop and barn and at the same time maybe build a small cabin. We have decided not to put in a third plot to our garden as the three areas we have fenced off already will be plenty for the time being and the workshop and cabin will fit in there nicely.
Puddles everywhere

I love this photo of all the girls together and Aggie making
sure she is getting in on the act
Ian has been taking the alpacas out for walks this week. It is something he makes an effort to do in the winter time, especially when he can't get on with other jobs. It is too wet for the winter job of cutting down trees even when it is not raining. The snow and wet ground also means no building work either yet. He hopes to build alpaca house 4/storage area this spring/year/sometime. We have the wood for that all cut up and it needs using as it is still stored outside.
Mari looking very soggy, she seems to like sitting out in the
rain sometimes.

The boys all look like they are on a mission. 
I have been plodding along with the academic paper I have been writing. There was a point when I realised I needed some extra comments to complete the story of a village in development. Fortunately the people in the NGO that is helping the village develop are very helpful and so I was able to send of a short questionnaire and get the results back two days later. It wasn't a huge amount of data, but just some personal anecdotes from villagers about life in the village. It was lovely to read what people had to say and confirms much of what I have been observing anyway, so it all fits together nicely. I got the paper back from my supervisor tonight and fortunately he likes it on the whole, but there are a few things to go through again -that's tomorrow sorted then!
The boys poo pile has been taking on epic proportions
because Ian hasn't been able to get it cleared up as it was
frozen solid. He'll need to go up with a wheelbarrow soon,
as the weather is set to freeze again next week. Winter isn't
finished yet.

A soggy looking paddock
At least I did get a little bit of time over the weekend to start a sewing project. It was nice to be able to get the designs together and just play about with fabric. I have left our other apartment in a mess though, because there is no point putting away until it is finished, as I need to get on with them and have them finished in about two weeks time. I will be flitting off to the UK to visit grandchildren, which I'm really looking forward to. I also have one or two meetings lined up, well I do have to take the opportunity while I can.


  1. Love the alpaca pictures - a bit choked for the poor ram (Steve says I'm a townie!)

    1. Glad you like the pictures. As I often say, Ian takes most of the credit for those. As for the poor ram, he actually got longer than we first planned as he calmed the ewes down, but more recently he was starting to get more aggressive, not badly, but just makes things more awkward to manage, so he had to go somewhere. At least his last journey was not a prolonged trip to the abattoir and we know he didn't have a bad life and we feel happier knowing where our meat comes from. Townie! Perhaps :) I think part of the problem is not being able to observe the interactions between the animals. It is just not possible to have too many males, as they create issues in the herds for the females. It is often just less brutal to cull and you don't see that unless you spend a lot of time with the animals and working with them.


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