Monday, 25 March 2019

Has it finished yet?

"Has it finished yet?" says Brencis
Well the madness and the circus continues. I think the EU have got the right idea, get your house in order and do it quickly and by the way you have three weeks max to do it in. I guess that should concentrate minds this week. Just in case you are from a planet far away and wondering what on earth I am on about, yes I am referring to Brexit. There will be some who think the EU are being unduly bombastic, but those in the EU are as tired of the whole thing as the British public, they have an organisation to run that has been snarled up in negotiations they had no wish for for the last two years with no clear route out. I guess they are as prepared for the consequences of it as they can be and now is the time to say, "Enough! This can't carry on!"
It is nice to see the girls outside enjoying the sunshine. Josefs
and Lady V are eating up the last of the snow
The boys field is just about clear of snow now

Josefs wearing his food. He is going to be a nightmare to
shear as he likes to feed from underneath the feeder.
That means he has hay all down his neck.
Personally I have still been ploughing through academic literature for work this week and that has kind of absorbed my time. I had to attend a Skype conference call on my own again, as both my colleagues were tied up in other meetings. After two hours my head was throbbing and I had to then gather my thoughts together to update my colleagues. Fortunately for me, flexible hours meant that on a sunny Friday I could head to our land and take advantage of some fresh air. I had to keep an eye on my emails since it was still a work day for others, but other than that, I got the necessary space to clear my head. One of the issues to clarify was who was going to get my tax, the Latvian or the Estonian authorities. I think that is now nearly sorted thanks to my wonderful bookkeeper who filled in the relevant forms for me. I also found out that my Estonian ID allows me to electronically sign Latvian forms too - that saves some issues.
Josefs is still feeding from his mum, but very soon it will be
time to move them to their new alpaca house with the other
boys. Ian has been training them on the harness, which will
make the transfer easier.
Even the snow in the forest is clearing

Chanel is our only pregnant alpaca this
year. Her skin situation seems to be
stabilised and her coat generally is
looking good, so we hope she is over
the worst and will thrive once she is
out on the fresh grass. It just needs to
grow a bit first.
The snow has nearly all gone even though we had a smattering fall overnight about midweek. It has been muddy of course and the ponds were full. We also had our temporary lake back. All signs that spring is finally getting the upper hand and banishing winter for the time being. Although as Ian said in a parody of a northern British saying, "N'er cast a shovel till May is out!" I had suggested that three snow shovels in the greenhouse was a bit excessive and perhaps they could be put back in the barn to reside until next winter. The actual saying is, "N'er cast a clout till May is out!" Which basically means don't pack your winter clothes away until May is over as you never know when winter might make a surprise visit. With a touch of snow forecast that is still a possibility but I still don't think it is going to be that bad that we need the shovels in the greenhouse. Anyway, I put them away so that now guarantees it will snow.
Jakobs chewing some bark
It has been a bit breezy this week and it makes Jakobs very
fine fibres fly about.

The seeds in the black boxes soaking up the sunshine.
I decided to risk setting some seeds away both in the greenhouse and outside. I had a bit of a brainwave of putting the seed pots in a black box to absorb the heat during the day and protect them overnight. We'll see how that works. They are all hardy type plants anyway and nothing precious, so should be fine. Even if it doesn't work, I can try again in a few weeks time. The ones outside have gone under fleece. The soil outside is nice and dark, so it should also absorb the sun. The soil has really changed over time and it was nice to see it had some worms already starting to work. I also found some parsnips that I had missed when I dug them up late last year. That made a nice change to squash.
Someone else soaking up the sunshine in the greenhouse.
Behind Eyre are the chicken arks. They are coming into
production properly now and we are even getting blue
eggs from one of the chickens. One group are heading
for the pot though as they are definitely egg eaters. We
have to watch them carefully to see if they are laying
and then wait for them to finish and whisk it away quick
before they get to it. We put a cockerel in there with them
so we will get some eggs for hatching from them and then
cull them. 
Someone else soaking up the sunshine.

It is still cool in the shade. This is ice that has formed in the
barn
This particular plot where I sowed the seeds had sheep in it over two winters a few years back, some alpaca manure and plenty of hay mulch. The soil in that area tends to have a high clay content and therefore not usually workable so soon after the snow. The addition of the compostable material has made sure that it dries out quick enough to work, but not so much that nothing grows in it. We work on a bed system with permanent paths, so that is another reason why I can get to work on the ground so soon after the snow has gone. I do not damage the soil structure by walking on it that way.  The beds are all narrow enough for me to be able to reach to the centre to sow seeds or to weed them.
A crocus. Ian was surprised to find this as we thought the
wild boar had dug up and eaten all our crocuses and
daffodils around this spot.

A snowdrop plant that I transplanted last year and one small
leaf of a self seeded Good King Henry plant - a spinach
substitute that withstands the heat and is perrenial

George guarding the door and Mr. P and Brencis soaking up
the sunshine
It feels very weird at this time of the year. It is so close to winter, the reappearing ground showing the effects of months under snow cover and yet the longer days means Ian is coming home later and later. This means we are close to the time where we need to switch to our summer abode, aka the caravan. The caravan and the greenhouse need cleaning and sorting first though. We also have to prepare the kitchen equipment we need to take out there and the clothes that we will need. I'm ready for the change and I'm not ready for it. I like my morning read in bed with a cup of tea before I get up. This isn't possible in a caravan when we have to pack the bed away each day. I do like though the opportunity to just walk out the door and be there in the middle of a field. I'm not sure why it seems so much easier than in our apartment when there is plenty of space to walk just across the road, but it is.
George always looks like a smiley alpaca.
He was popular with the girls today when
Ian took him for a walk to see them.

Onions starting to sprout. I always have a bed of old onions
to sprout the next year. They usually come through, just as
my old store onions finish

A lizard catching the sun

Our apple trees got a hammering this year from the deer.
They had only just started to really get established too. So
frustrating

Self seeded pansies

Ian has had to pump out the root cellar.
We obviously need to sort out the
drainage. Mostly it is underneath the
cellar but one day it rose quite high and
flooded the actual cellar. Not good!

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