Monday, 3 April 2017

Oh so quiet!

Our sign went back up today with a new roof to hopefully
stop it from discolouring as much this year. You can see the
alpacas out on the grass behind.
I feel slightly disorientated today. I have now been at home two days and out on the land for both of them. It has been ever so quiet, except when our very loud and demanding sheep get going. The weather has been lovely and so I have got some gardening done on the first day, but the second day I had to get some accounts prepared for the accountants, as well as get some marking done. It was nice to get outside and in the sun though and even though I had to do the accounts, I could take a walk every now and again and see what Ian was up to.
How on earth caught me in this pose, I have no idea. It looks
like I'm dancing when I am actually trying to break off the
old Jerusalem Artichoke stems

At least here I look like I'm gardening

It had been a hard day!
Anyway back to the previous week. I have enjoyed helping my daughter and her family while they adjust to the newborn. It has been busy and, as you may have guessed, loud. My little nearly two year old grandson is a lovely, huggy little chap, but he has only one volume and only just occasionally is he getting the point that actually he could turn it down a bit. It was funny though to hear him shout Ma-mar at the top of his voice and sometimes he would also run up to me and throw his arms around me and give me the most wonderful hugs. My granddaughter being a daddy's girl was not always so huggy, in fact the morning I had to get her breakfast because her daddy was away was the day she told me that she didn't want me. Oh boy! A good start to the day, but she came round and we had a nice quiet time before everyone was up later.
The older dynamo

The smaller but louder dynamo

A thoughtful little chap and usually quite peaceful once the
ordeal of the nappy change is over
I had lots of cuddles with the little one too, but generally because he is a baby who needed cuddling and was a bit colicky at times. Poor little soul also got a cold, which fortunately didn't last long. He loves his baths but hates the process of being undressed and dressed, so during the bath time he is so content that he falls asleep, but before and after he is screaming the place down. He reminds me of my youngest who also hated the process of nappy changing for the first six weeks of his life. Oh well! Two down, four more to go and then he will probably be fine. He is already better than he was. Still I couldn't complain at having plenty of excuses for cuddles.
Full of cheek and here is his special photogenic

The view from my daughter's house

I did do a bit of gardening too. At least got rid of the dead
stuff out of the beds. After the building work though, it is
going to need some hardwork
The last week seemed to fly by in a whirl of preparing young ones for trips out to take the oldest to pre-school and swimming or all of them for mother and toddler groups. I did manage to fit in some time to sew some more waistcoats but had to bring back two to finish off. I also got to see a friend who I haven't seen in quite a few years now and we had a great catch up. She even bought some lovely flowers for my daughter and a little toy for the youngest. We also talked about assignments since we are both studying even though we are mature students.
On the way to the airport I had lunch with the family at a
place where we used to take the children on a fairly regular
basis. Not McDonalds for us but Caudwell Mill, where they
serve some rather nice cakes.

An eerie day with some weird cloud formations
I also had a meeting with an academic from Nottingham University who is researching the effects of ageing in the farming community, she was in the town where I was staying to connect with those who go to the agricultural centre. It is quite a sensitive topic and it is difficult for families in isolated areas to cope, especially as support networks have decreased over time. It was interesting to hear of the various overlaps of our research and interesting to find some of the areas where it diverges. After talking with little children for quite a large proportion of the week, it was nice to have a more academic chat too.
Errr! I thought it was spring! A dumping of 8cm of snow on
31st March

Not much grass in the paddock
So back to the land, we are hoping the lambs have inherited their father's more demure tones and not their mother's demanding ones. I have been around sheep for a large part of my life, either visiting my Godmother up on her hill farm in the Lake district or going for daily walks through the sheep fields around where I used to live in Derbyshire, but never in all those years have I known such noisy sheep as these. It is not just the volume or the length of time they make a racquet but the tone, which almost sounds aggressive. They want to be out on the grass of course and whereas we have started letting the alpacas out, the sheep are far harder on what little grass there is since they eat twice as much as the alpacas, which means they would do irreparable damage. So for the time being they have to continue to eat hay but what they really want besides the grass is the sheep grain, which they get each evening. So until the grass gets going we have to put up with it, or rather Ian does. Methinks there are some heading for the freezer later in the year.
A rush to get out on the little bit of grass

Mari looking very fluffy
There have been a few visitors again this week, some before I got back and some after. The first couple of visitors booked for a walk with Brencis and he performed admirably. Ian tried to take Mr. P as well but he was more reluctant. This is the first time we have had a request for a walk and been able to let them. The first couple who asked, we had to refuse as the conditions were too slippery. Hopefully they plan to come back again. The other couple happened to see the alpacas and stopped to have a look at the strange animals.
The boys, especially Turbjørn, knew what Ian was doing and
were queuing up at the gate in anticipation

In a rush they are through
Ian's week has been an eclectic one from chipping small branches from trees he cut over winter (which will be used on the road way) to fixing our halogen oven with a thermostat I brought back from the UK. He also managed to chain harrow the grass, which is like giving the grass a good combing after the winter to take off some of the dead thatch. It isn't necessary every year and last year he didn't manage as it was too wet and then the grass grew too long. In between dumpings of snow, there has been enough dry days this year for the ground to firm up, so he can get the tractor out to do those kinds of jobs.

Hopefully Chanel's fleece is as good this year. I wonder
what colour her baby will be though. She should be due at
the end of May or beginning of June
Whilst I have been away he has also been processing Chanel's fleece, which seems to be another super warm type similar to Veronica's, so it will be interesting to know how it knits up. There is less time to process fleece in the evenings now though because he is spending more and more time out on the land as the days get longer. Soon it will be time to transition to living in the caravan again and our days will be spent trying to prepare the land for planting and all the other spring and then summer tasks. And so the cycle starts again!
The lizard's are appearing and we have seen fish and
frogspawn in the ponds

The birds of prey are also coming back and we have heard
the cranes starting their very loud mating calls. The storks
too have returned

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