Thursday, 25 April 2019

Started off well

Mari looks like she has been styling her eyebrows
It was a sorting out kind of week. I had a Skype conversation with my supervisors one evening where I got some solid advice and promise of help that will hopefully push me forward to finishing off a paper and a big step forward to finishing off the PhD. I will be so happy when I get that sorted out.

A rolling alpaca having a dust bath. Vanessa's group are
enjoying the bank that Ian created. Not sure we are ever going
to get grass to grow on the bank.
Trying to regain some composure after the inelegant roll
I was using google docs for working on the paper and it wasn't working so well for me. I needed to amend the references in it and it isn't so easy, so I decided to download it to my computer to work on it using Word, as I have an automatic reference app for that. The plan was then to upload it to the cloud for my colleagues to comment on. Only the plug in for the type of reference I had to use wasn't working and so I had to deal with that first. It seems that nothing is straightforward at the minute. You want to do that? Then download this app then you need this plug in! Now you need to do this, then learn how to use the thing. Then overcome this little glitch and it feels like yet another week has gone and it still isn't finished. Not really this time, but that's what it feels like sometimes. Probably just showing my age.
Kind of strange, the grass looks like the middle of summer
but the leaves have not come through yet.

Contemplating something or recuperating from gardening
I was sorting out the gardens over the Easter weekend. The potatoes are now in, well most of them. We appear to have eaten too many white potatoes and so need some more to finish off the last row. I also potted on cabbages, cauliflowers, lettuces, Chinese cabbage and chard. Unfortunately they seem to be growing rather slower than I hoped, because the nights have been so cool. At least they are still alive though. It was my birthday on the Monday and so it was nice to be doing the potting on and potato planting rather than computer work. I know how to enjoy myself.
The moon shines down too

Is it fleece or is Chanel beginning to show a bit of belly there.
Still a few months yet before she is due, but Ian has increased
her rations because the alpaca cria (baby) puts on most of
its growth in the last few months.
My daughter tried to send me a WhatsApp message for my birthday but unfortunately WhatsApp stopped working on my phone two days before my birthday and won't update. Sigh! The phone is working reasonably well and so it is annoying to need to change it for something like that. Still at least there are more options than WhatsApp to communicate with. Messenger fortunately was still working, so she resent the message that way and I also got a message from my youngest and a video from three of my grandchildren wishing me a happy birthday.
Sunbathing on the mound

A spring visitor. This one was hopping away from the pond,
so Ian caught it and put it in the pond as there are not many
frogs around at the moment. 
Spring is definitely in the air, despite the cool nights. As we are out in the caravan now, I am using the outside loo and so as I wander on down there, admiring the backdrop of the forest, the birds singing in the early morning, all is well with the world. The problem is that just as I am enjoying the atmosphere the stupid chickens started creating a fuss over nothing. We have two cockerels who freak out at a hen announcing she has laid an egg, or a passing butterfly or whatever it is that seems to freak them out on a frequent basis. The noise drowns out the more melodious warbles and trills of the woodland birds. The cockerels crowing in the background from time to time did amuse my work colleagues though one Skype meeting. Not your regular business meeting background noise. We moved the caravan out of the greenhouse this week and so we don't get woken up so easily with the sound of the cockerels crowing right outside the caravan window deenow either. Bliss!
A nice large nesting box and they have to practically sit on
each other to lay an egg

Probably the same deer we saw, although we are seeing a lot
of them this year. Normally in March we see them as they are
hunting for food under snow, but by now the grass is usually
appearing and they disappear deeper into the forest.
It is amazing to see the forest coming to life with the wood anemones bursting into bloom once again but we were even more amazed one lunchtime as we were sitting outside eating our sandwiches and enjoying the sunshine when Ian spotted a deer in the forest. We sat and watched her for a good 15 minutes or so as she searched for food. She seemed completely unaware that we were there. She also looked rather thin. This time of the year is hard on the wildlife as the vegetation recovers from the winter, but it is even harder this year due to the lack of rain. We have not had more than the merest hint of drizzle in the last week and it is getting critical.

Josefs looking very fluffy around the face
I've seen quite a few cranes this week. No not the big industrial ones but rather the large birds, I even spotted a group of them from a train window. It was more stunning to see two of them flying slowly over our land, they were so low. We also saw two swans flying over several times and I'm guessing they may have been whooper swans, definitely not mute swans as they were making a right racket. Some must have flown over on an early morning flight as we were in the caravan when we heard them loud and clear.

At 16 years old and she can still do yoga poses. Do be
careful Veronica!
We had English visitors to the farm this week. A couple and their daughter. Apparently it was their first trip out so far from the capital and the husband was a little unsure and wondered if they were lost. It is a lot of countryside with not many people around if you are not used to it. Fortunately they found us okay and we spent a good couple of hours chatting about life in Latvia and of course alpacas. We just had time to grab some lunch when we had a phone call from a Latvian couple who wanted to visit. I let Ian get on with it this time, as I had the garden to deal with and I had heard it all before already that day.

Out enjoying the sunshine and the breeze
I went to get my haircut this week. My hairdresser had just got back from Georgia and she gave me a gift of Georgian Svanetian salt. It was rather nice on some potatoes. Apparently it is produced up in the mountains and has eight hand ground ingredients in it, including marigold, which gives it a lovely golden colour. Very different anyway and a lovely gift.

Just trying to get that itch!
Ian often does a search for our farm on the internet to see if anything has been published recently and was rather bemused to see my article from Dispatches Europe translated into Russian. Unfortunately it was on a rather dubious news site, which I know has a rather loose connection to truthful reporting. So while it is nice to get free advertising, I would rather that be on a more reputable news outlet, but as I was told, that's the way the internet works.

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