Monday, 26 February 2018

Whirling, dancing diamonds

Ice crystal tree in the morning sun
It sounds so pretty to say it: the scene outside our window this morning was a whirling, dancing shower of diamonds, sparkling in the early morning sun and it looked amazing too, but - and there had to be a but didn't there - it meant it was chilly and windy, with the wind sending the fine, dry powdery snow careering off the rooftops. The low evening sun now gives a warm glow to the snow but the temperature is dropping rapidly with the sinking sun, already it is -12C out on our balcony and the sun has not even set yet. Meanwhile in England, apparently in some places the shops are empty of teacakes, here life goes on, although the workmen might not be working outside if it drops too low and the children might get to stay home from school.
Snow blind

Cabinet regulations stipulate that children up to the age of 12 years should not attend an educational establishment if the temperature is lower than -20C degrees and children from the age of 13 when the air temperature is lower than -25C degrees. (LSM: Big freeze ahead for Latvia)
Pine trees in the snow
Pathways cut for the girls to get out and about in
I went out to the land with Ian once this week, but he brought me back straight after I had helped him sort out the girls. I had made up some dry shampoo to dust on their fleeces where they had got oily from previous treatments. They needed their fleeces as fluffy as possible to prepare for the drop in temperatures. I put just a bit of cream on Chanel, but didn't want to use too much, otherwise she might end up worse in this cold weather. At least the cold might kill any mites off, or at least put them into hibernation for a bit.
But do they go outside? Ian made this new feeder to entice
them out, but someone worked out, they don't need to go out

Mari's fleece from last year, that Ian is busy preparing to spin
It was a bit too cold to sit in the caravan and work, it's not so bad if you are more active, but I needed to write, which is why Ian brought me back. Instead I went to our other apartment, which I have done a couple of times this week, to light the fire. This is partly out of necessity and partly because our neighbour below is doing some renovations. I half wonder if he knows we are going and is getting some renovations done to get back at us for those early years when we did a lot of renovations. It mustn't have been much fun for him at times. Having said that, I don't think he is really the revengeful sort of person and is probably just getting on with his own much needed work.

Freddie hiding
I got the last of my papers written to a point where it now needs input from my supervisor and I got the brochure finished for the Latvian Alpaca Adventure (you can see that here). I even got a couple of outlines for abstracts for a conference done. So all in all not a bad week from the writing point of view. I am now at the frustrating point where I am waiting for replies. I can of course get on with writing my thesis, but it feels a bit pointless until I know for sure the direction I can take it, as the thesis is entirely based on my published works and to do that they need publishing, or at least to a point where they are accepted by the academic journals.
I love the different layers in this photo, with the most frosted
at the back
Untouched snow - until you look closely that is and see the
trail of footprints
With a bit of time on my hands, I got another cupboard sorted out. I even emptied out a few clothes from my wardrobe to make room for a hanging shelf to organise the space better for when we have less room. Now of course all the extra stuff is sitting in the hallway waiting for a new home. The more I sort, the more cluttered the place seems to get. I did find a nice pair of boots though, I think the reason they were put to the back of the cupboard is that they let in water, so I will take them with me to the UK to get them fixed. I know it seems a bit of a trek and there are places here in Latvia, but not in the same village, so not so easy as popping them in my suitcase - I might need them after all.
Natural lacework
This will be the last winter we see this scene, as this is from
the apartment we have sold
Time on my hands also means more time to do some thinking, it feels like a long time since I have had time to let my mind wander. Mind you at the moment it seems to be wandering onto the practical aspects of moving into an even smaller place and trying to figure out such things as how to fit our things in and what do we really need. The kitchen is narrower in the other apartment and has less workspace, so we could do with something to take the place of our table, that will not fit in. We will need it eventually, so don't want to get rid of it - so that is another problem in itself. The solution in the kitchen is probably a mobile kitchen island with a drop leaf on it, but that will need constructing from something and I don't think we have anything suitable to construct it out of - or have we?
This will be the view from my office window

A view of the skiers too on the cross country ski trail
My faith took a hammering last year. It was nothing I can put my finger on, but only to be expected at some time. I remember reading a few times about the dark night of the soul, when God seems so far away and was considered part of the Christian journey. I felt at times like I was barely hanging on by my fingertips and that is not a comfortable feeling. I wouldn't say that everything is right yet, but I have the feeling of walking out on a day when you know the winter is on its way out, the signs are rising, the sun returning, but life is still buried in its winter sleep. Something is stirring. So I hold on and keep plodding on, trying to figure out my place in the world.

Winter is so beautiful when the sun is out, that there are just so many photo opportunities
A view from our smaller apartment

Love the atmosphere of this photo, but shows
one of the issues we may have of parking

Frozen in time

I think they may have some help keeping this
driveway clear

Eating, eating, eating! You can see Chanel all covered
in frost

Brencis meditating on life

Mr. Herkules is looking particularly sprightly these days

Sunbathing as you do

Mr. P does photograph much easier in the winter. Look
at the red highlights he has

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