Monday, 29 April 2019

Spring? How did that happen?

The silver birch trees were bare when I left and now they are
green
I went up to Tartu this last week and when I left the trees were bare, when I came back many trees had popped their leaves and there was a green haze in the forest. On the Tuesday morning when I went to catch the 6:55am bus, it was freezing. The temperature was -3C and I had to wear a light winter coat. After about half an hour on the bus my feet were numb with cold and I was pulling the coat tightly around me. Shortly afterwards the bus stopped to pick up a group of students of varying ages. They mainly looked dressed for warmer weather. One young chap looked like he had literally rolled out of bed, put some clothes on and headed out of the door. His hair was tousled and he had that glazed look on his face that said he had not engaged fully with the world yet. Just behind him were two young chaps dressed in shorts and t-shirts. I know the sun was shining but really, it was not that warm.
Someone else doesn't look like a morning person. Although to
be hones this was the evening. It is a good job Josefs is going
to be sheared soon. He needs that hair out of his eyes. Tonight
he and Josefs went to join the big boys. There was much
moaning from Josefs.
Jakobs didn't moan so much about the move. We'll see
how he gets on tomorrow. He is so little unlike Josefs, who
is nearly as big as Freddie and George, despite being a year
younger.

The Cesis opera house
I got into Cesis and headed for my cheap and quiet working place for the next three hours. It is cheap enough for me to keep me supplied with tea or coffee and a light meal before heading for the train and quiet enough to work without interruptions. I also don't have to pay for the loo either, unlike in the train station. A bonus with a supply of tea. Around midday it was time to set off to catch the train and as I sat in the blazing sun on the station platform, I began to realise that perhaps the young chaps weren't that daft as I was boiling. Shorts didn't seem quite such a silly idea afterall.
The new section of the opera house. A
grand place for such a little town, but
well used even so.
A ring side seat to listen to the opera singer
practicisng 

Cesis centre
The sun shone nearly all week, just for a change (said with heavy sarcasm since we have hardly had any rain whatsoever during the whole of April). We did have one downpour while I was in Tartu and I nearly felt like going outside and dancing in the rain. I refrained as I would have had to sit in presentations with damp clothes as I hadn't even brought a coat with me that day. There was no forecast of rain so it was a bit of a shock. Unfortunately for Ian there were only a few small spots of rain on the land and not enough to give the grass a good soaking. Where the vegetation is finding the water is anyone's guess because surprisingly even the ground is starting to green up. Of course with the good weather I was working in an office, but I did get to see an enormous gaggle of geese fly over at one point. I feel sorry for you folks who have to work in an office normally. I was back to my normal pattern of work today, taking computer breaks by checking on our chickens to see if they have laid eggs. Just what the doctor ordered.
A Cesis rooftop

I love the shape of this one. It looks like a hat

A street in Cesis

Part of the castle walls in Cesis

I don't think this gives an idea of the scale of this monster,
but the building behind is a two storey gym
The week at the university coincided with an agricultural exhibition. The university I work for, used to be the agricultural college before becoming a university, which is why we have a veterinary, forestry and various agricultural departments. I don't think that the large agricultural equipment is the way to go to feed the world, but they are certainly amazing to see and the ones I did see are not the biggest either. It is no wonder the agricultural soils get compacted.
Just a little cab

But from this angle you get more of an idea of scale

Hello! Who are you? The two groups of girls have fences
next to each other for the first time. We wouldn't be
doing this if they were of the opposite sex, there would be
trouble.
Out on our land we do not get out on a frequent basis to socialise as there is so much to do, but this week I managed to spend just about every evening at one social event or another. As an introvert it is quite nice to just chill this evening. The first event was a barbecue with my departmental colleagues. I don't actually get to see them that often, even if I am up in Tartu because I am working in another building, so it was nice to meet up with them again in an informal setting.
Mari is fascinated by the other girls

Veronica is more interested in just eating grass
The next night I took my friend out to dinner as a thank you for doing lots of editing for me. The following evening was a little more stressful as I needed to network at an Estonian Sociology conference. Estonians are just as introverted as I am and so it took me a little while before finding someone who looked outgoing enough to be able to chat to. A friend of mine turned up eventually too. He is someone I had met at other meetings and we have a lot of research interests in common, so we were using the opportunity to catch up. He normally works in the UK so was an ideal opportunity. I only found out about the conference from him anyway. Lastly there was another barbecue to celebrate a friend's 65th birthday. So much for quiet night ins with my friend having a natter.
Graffti in Tartu

A mural in Tartu. They have quite a few murals on
the sides of buildings

Dry and dusty already. We expect the road to be like this in
the middle of summer
There was a bit of a panic for Ian midweek. He even phoned me, he was that worried about Mr. P. He rang to let me know he had called the vet out as he seemed to be laboured in his breathing. We are thinking he might have hayfever. He seems to react to dusty hay more than the others and the trees are certainly starting to spread their pollen about. The vet gave him steroid and anti-histamine injections and tonight he just seems to have hiccups and not too bad with his breathing.
The caravan needs a wash, but it is out in its usual spot

At least these ones seem happy enough. They have got the
hang of feeding time.
We had chicks hatch this week too but disastrously one group got overheated and died. If they had been outside of the greenhouse they would have died of cold as there has been a chill wind, but unfortunately the greenhouse obviously got too warm for new chicks and Ian had been busy working at the camp. The older ones were fine. At least we have nine that seem to be quite healthy. We had the normal one with a gammy leg that eventually died, they rarely survive and one just died for seemingly no reason. Not a good result from this hatch really as 25 eggs were set. Maybe some of the eggs were too cold to start off with. We'll only set some more away if someone else wants a batch as we probably have enough for now. We have enough to replace any hens that we might need to.
Poor Chanel is already attracting the flies

If you look carefully on this photo, you will
see tracks up the middle. Someone has
been driving across our land. Not good

Freddie looking rather grown up these days

George still looks a bit of a scamp though

The green haze

The untidy post-winter Greenhouse. I think I have quite a bit
of tidying to do.

Now I can grow my own alpacas!
A surprise present from a friend
that I got for my birthday but only
arrived whilst in Tartu
At first I thought this was my
present from my daughter
but inside was a pebble picture
All these cards arrived while I was away. The disadvantage
of having a birthday over the long Easter weekend

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