Monday, 8 April 2019

Feels like a lifetime

Our little fluff ball, Jakobs
It is funny how quickly we have settled back into our summer routine. There are still some hitches to sort out, such as things left at the apartment that we need. Things like scales to make sure our porridge is nice and thick and not runny. Cakes and bread I can make without scales, but the amount of porridge to add to the milk I kind of misjudged. Shall we say Ian was not amused. We make porridge in the evening and eat it cold over the following mornings. It might sound awful, but when it is made with the rich, creamy milk we get, it is delicious, at least when it is made properly. Probably only appreciated by the sort of people who like cold rice pudding though.
Now the snow melt has gone, the pond is receding. It hope
it is only disappearing so fast because it is the first year
after digging it out some more. Sometimes it takes a year or
two to settle back down.

Our morning coffee view
One aspect of moving out to the caravan is that I have enjoyed being able to sit outside to enjoy a morning cup of coffee with Ian. It is just about warm enough most mornings, even if it means huddling in a coat and lots of layers, but the benefits of being outside in the sunshine outweighs getting a bit cold - at least most of the time. There are days when the wind blows too strong or from the wrong direction to be able to do that though. One morning we witnessed the arrival of the wagtails, back from their winter holidays. They are cheery little birds that often torment the cats. Whilst they resident in places like the UK, here in Latvia they are definitely migratory and could have been down to the Mediterranean for their holidays. Ian had only said the day before, he wondered when they would be back.
One of the wagtails that returned this week

The view from our Oak tree hill
It has been an odd sort of week. I spent the first part of the week trying to put together some work that needed to be done for an online workshop that was happening for the project I'm working on. It should have been the whole team working together on it, but the other members of my team were away on conferences and so I had to try and figure out what we were supposed to be doing. I went to our apartment to make sure I had good internet connection for the Skype call and put the fire on to warm the apartment through a bit. I muddled through the workshop and at least have a clearer idea of what now needs to be done for the next stage. That's progress at least. I even got the report for my colleagues written before setting off back to our caravan.
Chanel is starting to look big. She did with Freddie too.
Either that or it is all the fleece she is carrying and not
just a big baby.

The new girls are also enjoying spending lots of time
outdoors and even getting quite a bit of sunbathing in.
My article for Dispatches Europe and its subsequent translation into Latvian is still causing a bit of a stir. One ex-neighbour rang Ian, since it is his details that are on our webpage, to ask if I would be interested in teaching English at a school about 30 minutes away. It is definitely not something I am able to take on at the moment, as I need the flexibility to work on the university project and not enough hours in the day to teach English, continue working on a paper for my PhD and start the garden off as well. That wasn't the only phone call Ian took from someone trying to contact me. He also got a call from Latvian National Radio asking for an interview with me about my views on the EU. Not because I am some world expert but because they were doing a series, which included various nationalities who are now living in Latvia.
Signs of spring. A miniature daffodil making an appearance

The cowslips are coming through

Mr. P
The presenter came to the farm on Saturday and we sat outside in the sunshine with storks flying over and the alpacas peacefully eating hay in their paddocks. The interview went well and she said she got more out of it than she anticipated. Not quite sure what she anticipated or what on earth will end up in the final cut. The interview I can handle, but I am a bit nervous as to what will come out in the broadcast itself. She was thrilled to see the alpacas and is talking about coming to see us again in the summer with her family, so looking forward to that.
The winter wrecked the tarpaulin. They really are not good
when they start to disintegrate and we are finding plastic bits
everywhere.

The peony is starting to poke through that I planted last year
She asked if she could interview one of our neighbours and so I contacted our nearest neighbour to see if she was willing. It turned out to be a good story, two neighbours who are neighbours in part due to the EU. We can't speak each others' language well but we communicate and get along, helping each other out as best we can. In a country where mistrust can sour relations, it was a positive story for the broadcast. I think my neighbour came out with the best quote of the day though. She was asked for the first thing that came to mind when she thought about the EU and she said, "Family." I think that is a brilliant analogy. As in all families we don't always get along, but we try to find the best way forward. At least I think that is what we should be trying to do.
The elder tree is starting to bud

The swamp at least still has water in it. This is Ian's makeshift
bridge he put in last year to make a section of our land more
accessible
He found our cranberry patch is still under snow though

Brencis and Herkules enjoying time outside in the paddock.
Mind you they are itching to get out on the grass but it
hasn't grown enough yet.
She wasn't the only visitor this week. We've had a couple who came to take the alpacas for a walk and they have uploaded a video to page that discusses different places to go in Latvia. It will be interesting to see if we get more visitors through that. We also had a visit from another neighbour who owns land but doesn't actually live on site and he wants Ian's help to dig foundations for a cabin he is planning on building this year. So that's a job for Ian this coming week. He won't be bored.
The weeds are doing well despite the lack of rain. Here you
can see the docks and ground elder coming through

Sigh! And this is cow parsley that we don't want either
The pig damage harrowed. You can see how dry the ground
is though
This week Ian has been busy harrowing the land to deal with the mole hills, the pig damage and to scarify the moss a bit. It is looking better now than it did but not as good as we would like as we've hardly had any rain. It is hard to believe that we are worrying already about a lack of rain, when the snow has only just gone and we are not even half way through April. We also both went to the camp/sheep farm where Ian will be working part time. We were putting plans together for a new vegetable garden and to sort out the plans to rework the old vegetable garden so that it doesn't wash soil down the hill. Because Ian has a two wheel tractor he can work across the garden, whereas a large tractor can only work up and down making ridges - which is why the soil was washing down the hill. By mulching and slight terracing he should be able to make sure that doesn't happen. We will also make sure there is a good herb garden and start on organising raised beds with the sheep manure.
More greenery

These were last years potato beds. We planted the potatoes
into the manure and then after we pulled up the potatoes
heavily mulched the plots for over winter. I pulled off the
hay that hadn't rotted down and raked it. The only digging
I did was to straighten the edges. The right hand side has
got parsnip seeds in and the left-hand side has another type
of parsnip, hamburg parsnip and a salad mix.
I've been working on other little projects. Another article for a webpage but it needs mulling over and a project for my grandson that is taking far more time than I would like. It has been one of those projects that sounded like a good idea at the time and involved a bit of filming. I then tried to download the iMovie but my software was out of date, so I had to upgrade my software to Mojave. Well that went okay and I'm getting used to the dark side. It is easier on the eye to have more black and less white on my screen but of course it takes time to sort things out. I also found out that my computer could not read the format of my sound recording, although my old computer never had a problem with it and so that was another piece of software to download to make that work. Pah! I'm getting there now. I just need to synchronise visual and sound. Hmmm!
I cut back the autumn raspberries and mulched this with the
hay from out of the alpaca houses that Ian has stacked over
winter. It has alpaca poo in too, but it doesn't need to compost
to be added to the garden, so this should make a good mulch
for them.

Another view of our rather parched looking land

Something has been busy doing a bit of
woodwork. Possibly a deer or an elk. Wish
they would stick to trees like this rather
than our orchard.

The boys looking for the tiniest bit of grass. We are not sure if
they are eating the moss too. Don't worry, they still have plenty
of hay to eat.

Ian has been busy chopping and stacking the wood for next
winter

Errr! The cats busy sleeping

1 comment:

Gina said...

Now we are likely to move to a rented house for the next 6-12 months i’m Feeling a little overwhelmed at decided what we will need and what can go into storage. Scales are a must for me for cakes, but I use measuring cups for porridge. Not sure I like the sound of cold porridge but I am fond of cold rice pudding so maybe I would like it.