Monday, 19 June 2017

Home again!

This might not look the most exciting picture of the
year, but it is to us. It shows we have more grass than
last year and so potentially much more hay. We will
just need some dry weather after this next week and
we will be happy.
A varied week to be sure, this week. It started off with rainy day planning for our next Latvian Alpaca Adventure, then onto a conference and finished off with some weeding in the garden. Well that is the very abbreviated summary of the week. It was good to be able to have a few days to reflect on what we had done and what could be done better and what could stay the same. Overall we were quite happy with the way it had gone, especially since this was our first organised adventure. We feel confident enough to be able to offer something similar for next year about the same time of year. too Although there were things we felt could be run over two days instead of one, we decided to leave it as it is because we are so busy with other farm chores at that time of the year. The weeds took over during the week and some seeds I planted either did not come or got swamped by the weeds, all I do know is I couldn't find some of them. Mercifully that was not the case for all of them and some seemed to have made a bold attempt at holding off against the onslaught. If we had a worker or two, that wouldn't have been an issue, but we are not at that stage.
Still no babies and Aggie looking very tired
Alpaca lined nest that Ian found on the floor
There was a bit of adventure on the way to the airport to drop off Heather our felting tutor. They have been doing bridge repairs for a while now on the route we take and quite often at night the bridge has been closed. Unfortunately it was closed during the day this time. It was very confusing as there was also a detour on the road down to the crossing. Maybe I missed the notice of the closure somewhere, but I wasn't the only one. I realised that it was closed when the guy in front turned his car around to go back, not sure how the truck that was in front of him managed though. Maybe it is still there! Who knows! It did mean I had to take a new way back and I was quite surprised at the route. I went over another hydroelectric dam further south of the one we normally take and it was quite a stunning view in the sun. I'm glad I wasn't going the other way though, as they were doing roadworks on this one too and the queue going the other way was pretty bad. 
Buckwheat, beans and sunflowers growing in this plot

A model of the old castle in Kandava
The day after dropping Heather off at the airport, I had to go back into Riga on the bus, so an early start to take a trip to Kandava in West Latvia for the Third Latvian Rural Parliament. At the bus station in Riga I had a bizarre conversation with an old lady. Eventually through a bit of miming I realised she wanted me to look after her bags while she nipped to the loo. Strangely enough she was travelling to the village where I live and where I had set out from in the morning. She chatted along to me and patted me on the knee, not what I expect in Latvia, but she was just a very warm kind of lady and I don’t think it was too much alcohol either. Goodness only knows why she trusted me, maybe the grey hair 
Kandava had many decorated buildings

We had a field trip to a couple of farms.
This one is famous for being used for
filming shows about rural life. The buildings
were completely covered in old implements
that the lady's father had rescued from a
recycling place

I want one of these outdoor kitchens

I loved the face on the little chap in the middle at the front
I had anticipated some problems at the Rural Parliament due to the fact there was no translation this time. The last one was during the period when Latvia took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU and so there was an international flavour to the event. I needn't have worried though, there were about six ladies who stepped up when they realised I didn't understand everything. It was brilliant. I didn't really have to ask either, they just did it. I was a little disappointed though that despite one of the ladies from our local district council, there was no advertisement about our region, except a hurriedly put together poster and leaflets from me. Others had food and leaflets handy. I really enjoyed getting to know some of the other delegates and loved the concert that the local village were hosting at the end. I love the Latvian costumes and their dancing.
Some older children dancing

I love these costumes. So elegant!

Different costumes again

A slower more graceful dance this time

Roof all done
Ian and I had a fairly relaxed afternoon when I got back. We sat and chatted but not about anything in particular. I think we just needed a bit of a breather. In the evening we started putting the roof on the newest alpaca house. We can't sit around all day when there are things to do. Well we could but I had been sat on a bus for several hours and the evening was pleasant, so we took advantage to get something done. Next week's forecast is for showers, so the sooner this got done the better. 

So pretty and just growing in our woodland
Wood stacked. More needed though
Today though we made up for it for our afternoon off. In the morning I went to pick up a young lad who has helped us before. What he lacks in dexterity due to cerebral palsy he makes up for in sheer determination and hard work. While I helped Ian finish off the roof, he got on and weeded my potato beds. It didn't start off well, as I am not sure if he has ever done it before and pulled up a few potatoes. However he got the hang of it and it was made easier by the fact that our beds have wide paths and are designed not to be walked on. As it was dry, it was easier for him to kneel next to the beds and pull the weeds out that way. In Latvia, they tend to use very neat rows, often done by ridging with ploughs on tractors. Not easy if you are not steady on your feet and not enough room to kneel down. In the afternoon he went and helped Ian collect wood and pile it up. He travelled in the trailer to help and he beamed every time he went past as I was doing some more complicated weeding - like trying to find the onion sets. 
Potatoes weeded! I was so pleased to see these just about
finished by the time I had finished helping Ian.

Welcomed back with the first strawberries of the year from
our greenhouse
Well I shall finish with the news that we heard our seventh grandchild will be another grandson, so we look forward to seeing him later on in the year. 

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