Monday, 14 May 2018

Is the water off?

5am this morning
"Oh yes!" I said. "I turned the mains off after I had used the water every time." Well I did, except for the last time before leaving the apartment. It was the apartment that we have been moving stuff into and nearly finished doing with the help of some young guys from the nearby sheep farm. All the big stuff is in there now and it is just bits and pieces left to move. We got an urgent phone call one day and texts to say we had a waterfall at the apartment and the people upstairs who manage the place had turned off the water to the whole apartment block. Oh dear! Not again. We rushed back and sure enough water had been spraying out from what had been a minor drip up until then. The new valve that had replaced the one that had cracked had now itself failed.

Turbjørn enjoying the sun now that he no longer has so much
Fortunately we have a wet and dry vacuum cleaner and we started the mopping up process. Ian had to go back out to the land to get the dehumidifier and that is now on underneath the sink to try and dry that out. We were also fortunate that the dripping down into the basement area missed the electrics but it did leave a pool of water underneath the freezers. One of the freezers had only just been put in recently but thankfully it was empty and so could be moved easily, making vacuuming up the pools easier. We will have to move the dehumidifier down there soon as it also dripped onto our neighbour's wood pile too. Sigh!

Looking like ET
I'm glad that the rest of the week was not as exciting as that. Gradually the garden is getting sorted, but we are now at the stage of needing some rain, as plants are starting to struggle and seeds not germinating. If we weren't trying to farm or garden then the weather would have been described as glorious. We are now both suntanned again and it isn't rust like last year. Not so great is that the early good weather has also brought out the biting insects. Gardening in the evening at this time of the year is usually quite pleasant, but this time the mosquitoes and midges are already out.

A bit of brotherly advice after the shearing last week. It's
okay, you will get over it
El stupido the sheep was stupid again and again and again. About the only thing she has learnt to do is to stand still while she is being released from the fence. She still hasn't got into her head that she is not a lamb any more and she has a whole load of fleece that wraps itself around the fence wire, making it very difficult to get her head out again. We went away shearing for a day and we suspect she had been stuck in the fence a while by the time we got back because there was a lot of trampled poo on the floor and she now has a mucky backside. One day she managed to get her head stuck three times. She is definitely destined for a rendezvous with the freezer.  Ian has moved their electric fence, which seems to have stopped her for a little while. It is not that she didn't have grass to eat, just not quite to her liking, obviously.

George's haircut looks much better now that Ian gave him an
additional trim. At least he can see better now.
We started on the shearing at other places now. We were near Riga for one group and Estonia today. Ian got to shear his first lama. He was asked if he would so it and he said he would give it a go. We wouldn't have done it if it had just been the two of us, as lamas are much bigger and stronger than alpacas. The two guys who were helping us were quick learners and despite the language barrier worked well with us. That shearing session was also a first for being watched in the process by a peacock and some emus. The emus didn't seem that bothered but the peacock watched for most of the time. I'm glad he wasn't very vocal though, as they are definitely noisy creatures.

George looks quite the elegant young man now
One lady came to visit from another mini-zoo and asked if he would do her alpacas and lamas too. We said we would do the lama at this zoo first before making a decision on that. We now have some criteria to work with and the first is that for alpacas we need one extra person to help, if they want us to do it alone then we would charge extra as it takes more time to clear the fleece away. For lamas there needs to be two extra people to pin the lama down or a very compliant lama and we are not taking any chances on people saying it is compliant. They get the lama to lie down, or we don't do it! Simple!

This photo was taken just over a month ago and so no grass.
Quite a difference now where the grass is growing well.
Eyre or Flossie as she often gets called was the one that
woke us up this morning. Earlier on this week I saw her
stalking something by the pond. Next I heard a splash and
one wet pussy cat scrambling out. Ian had just strimmed the
edge and she obviously found out the hard way where it was. 
We had to set off early to be up in Estonia today. I managed to set the alarm but forgot to change the time on the device to match Latvian summer time, it was still on GMT (Oh yes! I'm doing well this week). Our alarm instead was one of the cats having an altercation with something. She was still on edge when we left this morning and kept looking into the forest, it was probably just another cat though. The deer were also up and about this morning and seemed quite suicidal. One deer couldn't make up its mind which way to go and in the end headed towards a neighbours fence and then seemed to get tangled up in it (not just sheep then!). We reversed back up to see what had happened to it and to my amazement it untangled itself and made its way through the wire in the fence. I know the deer are pretty skinny but it was quite amazing to see what size of gap it could actually get through.

Out in the field enjoying the grass and these two younger
ones have been doing nothing but eat. We think they are
growing fast too. 
Alpaca shearing this year has been fairly uneventful. We didn't get lost (okay minor detours due to some issues with Google, but nothing serious) and the shears worked well, especially some new combs that Ian has started using. We had two groups to get through and in both groups there was a spitty animal, but once down they were fine. The weather was also nice and all in all it is just a pleasant day out for us that Ian gets paid for, so win-win situation. We even get fed too and get to talk about one of our favourite topics (well actually it is Ian's all time favourite topic) - alpacas! One of these days we might get some photos of the action.

Brencis complet with go faster stripes
We don't get much traffic past our place, but one day I looked up and a rather sporty car was travelling ver slowly along the road. It also had numbers stuck to it like in a car race. Ian was strimming (yes the grass cutting season has also begun) so I had to get his attention by which time the car had driven past, but next a whole group went by, Ferraris and Porchés. All were travelling very slowly, trying to prevent their very costly cars hitting the bumps and pot holes along our dirt road. I mean, who brings a low slung, sporty car like that along our way and not just one but lots of them.

Mr. P does like a roll in the dustiest places.
I still continue to work on my research paper and I'm now also trying to write a research proposal for a three month contract in Finland. It fits in nicely with my overall work and is paid, so that is always a bonus. Whether they think it would fit in with what they are doing remains to be seen. Hopefully I have enough experience to bridge the gap between the arts and sociological research. I'm also working on the felting workshops we are holding and working out what to do with those and sort out advertising. Not much on my plate then!

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