Monday, 18 September 2017

Squelch!

A selfie in my new raincoat. Good job I got
it really
Is that the sound of a babbling brook I hear? Or the gentle running sound of a waterfall. Errrr! Yes! Not that there should be on our land. We have swamps and streams that dry up in summer but not exactly babbling brooks and there definitely shouldn't be a babbling brook near our greenhouse, but today there was. Actually there was a torrent of water running down into our ponds. We also have a stream running across our lower field and the drain from the road is under water - we didn't venture near to find out by how much though. In one or two places we had to back track from our investigations because the water seemed to be rather deep.
The top pond into the middle pond. We could
have had trout instead of carp in this pond. Mind
you at this rate we could end up with carp in the
middle pond if those carp have spawned.
The middle pond flowing into the bottom pond


Sweet little Frederiks
We haven't had as much of an issue with escaping animals this week, as our neighbour has now put up a more permanent fence with wooden posts and barbed wire. It seems to have done the trick anyway. Frederiks though, bless him did manage to end up on the wrong side of the fence. He seemed almost relieved to see Ian, as went up to him - they are usually quite shy still at his age. Winter seems to change that as they get used to being fed with grain. Ian wasn't able to actually get hold of Frederiks so I helped to corral him and he jumped back over the fence since it was down in places. The electric went back on to remind him what it is for.
George's fleece looks wonderfully soft, it will be interesting
to know what it will be like when he is sheared next year

Herkules has now remembered what the electric fence is for
since this photo was taken
Our usual suspects, Herkules, Mari and Veronica have all been eating through the fence to get to the greener grass and so the fences have been switched on at various times. They get through the green stuff at a much faster rate at this time of the year and fences need moving more often, especially when it has been as wet as it has been this week. We don't have them on permanently as we get through too many batteries otherwise and so use them judiciously. The sheep fence is always on though and gives a hefty kick, they wouldn't stay behind it otherwise.
Our babbling brook next to the greenhouse

Aggie's fleece interestingly showed the time she was sick
with the tooth abscess. The fleece diameter  declined quite
steeply at one point and so she must not have been not eating
properly for longer than we realised. Good job she made a
good recovery once we realised she was poorly and knew
what the issue was.
We found out an interesting fact this week as we got the fleece results back. We found out that our animals tend to get fat over winter making their fleeces not as good as they could be. The hay and probably lack of exercise does not help - just like humans really. Looks like we might have to run them around the paddock this winter to ensure they don't overeat. At least we don't have to worry about the quality of the hay, it is obviously more than adequate to keep them going and this year we do not have as much worry about not having enough like last year.

Down the side of the greenhouse. Ian had
to lift the extension cable out of the water

Ian had to move the water buckets that catch the water off the
roof so that the water could drain away

Frederiks with his mum, Chanel
Our friends from the Alpakafarm in Estonia visited us this week too, so there was plenty of alpaca talk. They were visiting Riga for shopping and called in on a bit of a detour. Mind you at least it saved us a trip as we needed some more alpaca feed, which they supply us with as they are distributors. They have stopped using the Estonian company for their own animals though and reverted to the more expensive Camelibra, produced in the UK. They weren't happy with the quality of the feed. We are also going to try the Camelibra and we shall see what effect it has on our animals as some of them are getting skin issues again and it could be linked.
We also discussed mating issues of alpacas with our friends.
We don't seem to have had a problem with Mr. P. though. Ian
checked one last time to see if the girls were pregnant and they
were definitely not letting Mr. P. anywhere near. He looks quite
calm here for a jilted lover

I love the purple colour of this mushroom
It hasn't been wet all week, just very wet when it has rained. On the dry days we try and get as much done as possible. I've picked more peas, taken up plants, cleared veg beds and sorted out areas for Ian to dump the alpaca poo over the winter to rot down into the nice rich soil we get from it. I have also been on caterpillar hunts as they have finally started appearing, which is a pain as the cabbagey type plants were doing quite nicely up to that point and really started to get going. This is also the time of year for collecting seeds from poppies, dill, mustard and hemp. I did leave some hemp though as I kept being told off by a Willow Tit (at least that is what I think it is) who was feeding off the hemp seeds. I thought it was just one, but it turns out there are two of them and they are bold little chaps.
The little fella is up there on the bean pole giving me a good
telling off as usual. That jungle passes for a vegetable garden

Our rather full and murky pond

A rainy day job, sorting out the ditches to
make sure the water runs away from the
buildings. A bit of a problem when our land
is so hilly
Since it seemed so wet for most of the week, Ian has been ticking off some jobs that needed doing. He fixed the boys feeder which got broken and one day he finally made me some shelves to fit the Ikea shelving units that I asked for earlier on in the year. He even came with me into our village to fit them. It was only when we got there though that we realised we hadn't got enough of the screw bolts. Doh! Seems like I will have to wait a bit longer to finish putting up the shelves and sorting out. He also spent a whole morning trying to scan receipts so that finances are in order before he heads off the UK. You can tell how wet it is when he spends time doing this before he needs to, he would rather be outside.
At least Aggie does not put her head through the fence like
Mari and Veronica, but she still likes to nibble the grass on
the other side

Such pretty mushrooms. Apparently they
can be eaten once parboiled first as the poison
is water soluble, however I'm not going to try
it. Too risky for my liking.
Still Ian has managed to get outside on those dry days and he has been doing a lot of strimming in the forest to make it easier for himself in the winter when he does the forest maintenance work. He also cleared a path through the forest along the edge of our border, so we know where the border is and it makes a nice walk too. We did try mushroom hunting again this week and we found a few, but not the huge numbers we expected due to the damp conditions. I am beginning to wonder if the nights have been too cool. If it warms up a tad then I think there will be more.
More of the pretty Fly Agaric mushrooms. Of
course I was telling someone I hadn't seen any
this year and then we go and see lots of them
No Veronica. you are not supposed to be eating the leaves off
the oak tree

Before the babbling brook got started in earnest


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