Monday, 15 April 2019

Ooh my head!

Mari is cute
I have been on Skype most of the day today, so forgive me if I am a bit dull. It was a one hour meeting this morning with my Estonian colleagues and just over three hours in the afternoon with the colleagues from around the Baltics. All of it was to do with the project I'm working on with the university. We are all trying to find a route forward, bringing in our different skills. It is one of those projects where not much has been done in this way before and so it is a bit like trying to join the pieces of a rather complicated jigsaw, not just moving on from a well worn path. We are getting there though, just it is a bit slow at the moment. Once the route is clear the rest should slot in fairly easily - she says! Ask me that in a few months time and see if I say the same thing.
Tellus looking suave again

It's going to be another cold night!
It has been pretty cold during the nights in the caravan, but mainly glorious days - well if we discount the rather bitter north-easterly wind. Not always so pleasant. It also snowed one night, but only a small dusting and that was the only moisture we've had all week, so everywhere is still looking fairly parched. At least we did find that by sitting on the sunny side of the boys alpaca house we could soak up the sunshine on the warmer days and watch the boys hunting down the tiny blades of grass in their paddock. Not a bad way to drink a cup of coffee in the morning. They are still itching to be out in the field but we can't until that grass grows, no matter how much they moan at the gate.
A George close up
George doing his Elvis impression

The three muskateers... sunbathing! Herkules, Tellus and
Brencis
A couple came one evening to see the alpacas, I had some work I had to prepare for the following day and so said hello and then excused myself. About an hour later I finished up my work and I realised Ian was still chatting in the greenhouse with the couple and they hadn't even been to see the alpacas yet. They did see Vanessa's group (the newer acquisitions) pronking around their paddock from a distance, even Vanessa was doing it even though she is 10 years old. And yes I do mean "pronking," as it is a technical term for the running they do where they look like they are on springs not legs (you can see our youngsters pronking in a post on our facebook site here).
Who me? Pronking? You would never catch me doing a thing
like that.

The parched grass means dry moss .... all over the fleece

Mr. P trying to disguise himself with the moss

Antonia showing off her good side
Ian finally wrapped up his talk and we all went to see the alpacas. It wasn't the warmest of evenings and the temperature was rapidly dropping, but there was still a lot to talk about and the alpacas were being cute, so all was well. At the end we all had a cup of tea to warm up. we needed it. As they toddled off home we put the display away and hurriedly got the alpacas and chickens tucked up for the night. We were glad of the heaters that evening and always glad of them in the morning. Ian is close enough to switch it on first thing and we don't get up until the heater is warm enough to warm our clothes on it. We might be tough, but not that tough.
Herkules looking cute and cuddly. Some days he looks kind of
old, but today not so much. He must be enjoying the sunshine

Digging Jerusalem Artichokes
One advantage of the cool weather is that spring is sluggish to get get going and so spring jobs in the garden are getting done and I don't feel like the weeds are getting ahead of me yet! Ian has been dumping the manure from the alpaca houses just over the fence over the winter to save time but of course now the snow is gone it needed shifting. Last week I mulched the raspberries with some of it and this week it was the turn of the blackcurrant bushes and half of one of the Jerusalem artichoke plots. I am gradually digging up the Jerusalem artichokes and mainly feeding them to the chickens. We can't eat so many but they are good for chickens, so that works and they are so easy to look after. I also managed to weed two of the strawberry beds too. I just need them to grow a bit more to mulch them with some old hay.
Partying too hard the night before?
We can see Brencis' fighting teeth have
grown though and he will definitely be
having those cut during shearing time.

Mr. Turbjørn, have you been spitting by any chance?

That's better Mr. Turbjørn
Ian has been busy too of course. He put the back hoe onto the tractor and went around to one of our neighbours to dig foundations for a cabin for him. He is going to use an old cabin and rebuild it, but first he needed an old fashioned style foundation where a trench is dug and filled with sand and then large stone placed on top of the sand. These are then levelled off to rest the cabin on. It will be interesting to see what that looks like when it's finished. While the back hoe was on he went to dig out a load of barbed wire that was stuck in the ground where we cut hay. Ian always had to remember where it was and go around it, as it was just a single wire stuck up out of the ground, but firmly attached to something.
And now for the funny poses! Josefs in
the poo position

Chanel mid-roll. Look at that belly! Take care Chanel, we
don't want any accidents in your condition.

Slowly greening but still needs more moisture
Water is already an issue and as I mentioned, we've hardly had any precipitation since the snow went. Just the odd dusting. Our well is going down, which is to be expected as the weather dries and the force from underneath decreases. We just hope it doesn't go down as far as last year. We couldn't actually draw from the well from July onwards. In preparation for sowing the seeds we decided to fill up a water container from our pond that stayed fairly full last year, despite the drought. The water is brown from the peat, but it will be fine for the plants. So that was another job for Ian as it required the generator to work the pump. I hope we don't have to fill that up too much though. We still do not have much rain forecast for the next week either. The last time Latvia had a dry April was in 2009 apparently and was followed by a dry May and a cool rainy summer. Err Yippee! That would be challenging for sure. We'll see though, after all the weather does what it does and there is not much we can do about it, except pray for rain at the right time.
The yellowhammers are back

Mari already eating through the fence.
It's not as if there is any grass on the
outside either.

Aggie is still feeding Josefs, despite he being nearly as big
as Aggie. Mari has stopped feeding little Josefs though.

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