Monday, 20 November 2017

The old routine

Whatcha looking at?
We have settled back into our winter routine now. Ian goes out to the land every day and I more often than not stay at home. I have at least managed to get the second draft of the paper finished for my co-authors to comment on and we will see where we take it from there. We still have to decide which academic journal to send it to and then I can tailor the work more closely to what they would expect. At least that is one thing out of the way for the moment and it means I can now concentrate on other things.
Soggy feet. Good job they are not sheep and prone to footrot

Best buddies
One of the other things is to get our apartment sorted for selling it early on next year. There is a lot of stuff to sort out and some build up over time. We have been here nearly 10 years now and there is always some sort of creeping accumulation, especially for us two hoarders. I still have nightmares that we will one day end up like those people you see on the television programmes who can't move for stuff. We are not that bad really but then we are spread out over various properties, two small apartments, one barn, one large greenhouse and one caravan. In our defence the incoming stuff is not as fast as for many folks, we don't buy a lot, it is just we do not readily chuck things out either and our rate of repurposing is not fast enough. I have lots of ideas but either not enough time or my stuff is all in the wrong place at the wrong time. Excuses, excuses I know.
It would appear that George is one of those alpacas that
attracts the hay. We have to get that out of his fleece next

Eating, eating on a murky day
We have been quite social for us. Not always easy at this time of the year, even though we have time. It gets dark so quickly that the thought of going out again seems to be an effort. Once out, however, it is never that bad. One lady I have been chatting to on Facebook moved back to our village fairly recently. She broke her ankle in one of those, I can't believe "I go around the world doing crazy things and break my ankle outside my own door" type of accidents and so was stuck indoors. Anyway I said it would be nice to chat in person instead of just via Facebook and so we finally got to meet up and Ian tagged along. We have met before, but quite a few years ago now and much has happened in the meantime. We had a lot to talk about as we are both trying to work towards our PhDs, although her's is more focussed on business development rather than community development like mine. There are plenty of overlaps in our approach though. which is interesting. We also got through two pots of tea and some cakes, so definitely plenty of jawing going on.
The boys doing the same

I took this at our friend's house last week. The cockerel
is huge but apparently a gentle giant. One of our young
cockerels started crowing this week. It is a bit odd as it
is the smaller of the cockerels that we thought was less
well developed and so put it in with the smaller hens.
Our next outing was to the local culture house, where they were celebrating the country's 99th birthday. Our small town/village has a population of about 2,500 but that's enough for a good dance troupe, a choir and lots of people for the play and in addition to all that the place was still packed out. We got there just in time to get a seat. Not much of a view, but enough. I love to watch the Latvians dance, they are good at it and even for a small place like ours the standard is high. I also love to see the different costumes for each dance, very elegant. Sorry I didn't get any pictures, I was just enjoying the scene and trying to make sense of what was going on. After the dance, they sang the national anthem and then the play began.
Yes it's been wet and yes Mari has been out in the rain and
the snow. Apparently George was reluctant to join Mari
today, he would rather stay in but if Mum's out then he follows
Agnese in contemplative mood
It was an overview of the history told through the story of a cafe. Fortunately I know much of the history of Latvia and so could follow along. The eeriest part was seeing a great big Soviet Union flag clearly dominating the set and this was followed by some danciers. To one side was a lady who represented Latvia, who was also dancing, she then began to just turn around and around. At this point the other dancers left the stage and the guy in a Soviet Union uniform began to bind the Latvian dancer up with a thick black strap, slowly, slowly, higher and higher until her mouth was covered and they then both walked off the stage. It was a sad, sad point and you could feel the pain of the moment. Time moved on and the next part was the gradual loosening of the hold of the Soviet Union. There was a video clip of the demonstration, the Baltic Way - where people held hands in opposition to the Soviet Union from Tallinn, through Riga to Vilnius, 600km of human defiance. Eventually the people were free to fly the flag of freedom and they unravelled a huge flag. The people in the place were moved and stood and watched as the flag was unfurled. We didn't understand much of what was said, but we did understand that freedom means a lot to those who knew occupation.
I was collecting seed and this is the remains of one of the
seed heads of Scorzonera a root vegetable. I love the metallic
colours in this one against the straw floor

This one was taken against the background of a sheet and
so has more muted colours

Trying to get our boys going in the same direction
The next day on our farm we had visitors who had booked to walk an alpaca. Since there were three of them we decided to test the boys and see how they worked together. We only charged them for one, as it was an experiment. We found that it is necessary with three to keep moving, not as much time to stop and chat, otherwise they all start going off in different directions. The boys were good though and the folks were an interesting bunch, who liked to chat too. I'm hoping that the one who is into logistics gets back to me at some stage to talk about minibus hire. Useful to have a contact.
More visitors to the farm. Glad it is these guys and not the
wolves that visited another farm nearby and killed 10 sheep

The lookout on the mound

Beating a retreat

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