Monday, 19 August 2019

It is finished! - Well maybe not.

Ian stacking bales with under
supervision. Can you spot Sofie?
I was going to write about all the jobs that are finished this week, but they're not. We thought we had finished haymaking but with a change in the weather forecast and grass past our knees, Ian took a chance and cut the grass for hay. He would have had to cut it anyway as it is too long for the alpacas to eat, so thought we would see what hay would be like made with young grass rather than the stringy stuff. We don't make silage and so it won't do for that. There's no point as it is not good for alpacas. Neither is there enough to make it worthwhile for our neighbours to be able to bale, who do use silage. They would barely be able to turn around their tractors in this particular field and our bales are too tiny for them.
Over a hundred bales under cover ready for winter.
Field cut for the second time this year

We have seen plenty of clouds rolling in, but once again
not much has reached the ground. That's okay for the time
being as some of our neighbours and friends still need to
get in hay.
We have finished haymaking at one of our neighbours though. We got just over a hundred bales from his land altogether and so that means we are well stocked, as long - as Ian likes to remind me - as the bales store okay. We also got the hay cut and baled at the place we call the lake, the field where it floods in spring. While we were collecting hay there and I was rolling the bales onto the trailer for Ian to stack, he romantically said, "At haymaking time I'm so pleased I married you and not some wimpy woman." I can see his point. Being able to hoist a 30kg bale of hay or at least lever it up to past waist height and scramble over a hay stack or trailer to put on tarps is an advantage.
My waterlily is thriving. There are now four flowers on it.
Pity that I only had my phone camera that doesn't show it
so well.

Some of our other chickens eyeing up my veg through the
We sold our one and only hen that hatched this year and two young cockerels to a friend this week. It was going to be a challenge to add a single hen to our flock in the arks without adding a young cockerel, so when my friend asked for two cockerel I asked if she would take the hen too. It was funny when she came to collect them as the three of them went into the ark together, making separating from the other five large chicks easy. It was annoying that out of 8 chicks that hatched and survived, only one was a hen and the rest were cockerels. I now feel like Mrs. McCready from chicken run as the cockerels are getting extra rations to encourage them to fatten up. They will not be going into the greenhouse over winter, as there is no point.
One of our visitors spotted this
rather large caterpillar crawling up
the greenhouse. It is a rather unappealing
raw meat colour. Not sure what it is
and I haven't been able to find out
yet on the internet.  

Our rather tatty looking chicken arks. At least they still work
in keeping our chickens safe.
We want to be able to get new arks made or at least repair the ones we have. They are starting to show their age. The arks have proved their worth though, as two of our friends have been complaining that foxes and hawks have taken some of their chickens. That's why our friend came to get two of our cockerels. Even though the movable arks are on the field away from the main activity, we still have not lost a chicken to a fox or anything else. I just hope the badger that seems to be hanging around doesn't take a fancy to a chicken dinner. Not sure if it would be able to work out how to get into the boxes or not as they are at least off the ground.
The badger has uncovered two wasps nest in our orchard.
Not what we really want, neither the wasps because they are
eating our grapes or the badgers making great big holes in our

Little Ilvija came out to see me when
I was busy taking photos for the
blog. So yes, sorry if the quality is
not quite up to the usual standard as
they are my photos and not Ian's
I have been struggling to get on with my PhD thesis since I got the last paper published. I was trying to save time using the software to make a contents table and to add my references. It was just not working the way I wanted it too though. In the end I gave up and just started writing and now at least I feel I am getting in the flow of it. I should have the first of 7 chapters (of course one of the shorter ones) done fairly soon and then I can start to send work off for my supervisors to look at.
Aggie doing her usual, not talking to me

She did keep peeping out to see if I had
gone though. 

Are you safe? Little Ilvija is so inquisitive
I've also started getting into academic mode as colleagues return to work and I can finally get on with things. I am now booked onto a conference in Hannover in October and agreed to a presentation for a day workshop in Helsinki. Most of which at leasts gets some form of funding, well eventually anyway. My paper got funded for online access and so that was finished off on one day and published virtually the next one. Certainly a fast turn around. Not like my other papers that took absolutely ages and one of the reasons I am still trying to finish my PhD.
Cucumbers and tomatoes are now ripening, now that our felting
course is over. I was hoping they would be ready in time, but no!

I decided to tackle the monster wormwood.
It had started to take over the herb bed and
so it got a radical haircut.
So in between baling and stacking hay, washing (yes more washing), harvesting apples, potatoes, beetroot and turnips, weeding and writing, we also were able to welcome some guests. Two were our first Lebanese guests, so it meant continuing on with our international theme from last week. They were having a mini tour of Latvia on motorbikes and had meant to come and see us sometime, so we were pleased they made it out finally. It was also nice to shake hands with someone I had connected with via Facebook too.

The trailer might look old but it can still pass its technical.
We didn't bother unhitching it as we thought we were going
to collect our furniture from our old apartment, but the guys
who were going to help were busy with hay instead. Well we
will be ready when they are.
We have finished some things though. The trailer finally went for its technical and passed. The girls' toe nails finally got cut - they were embarrassingly long but it is only three months since they were done and not half a year or even year although they looked like it. We finally decided to call it a day with mating season too. It's too late now, so whoever is pregnant is pregnant, and who ever isn't pregnant will have to wait until next year. And last but not least is that Ian managed to book his trip to the UK.
So is she or isn't she? Will she have a
little one by this time next year. We'll
have to wait for the scan to find out later
on in the year.

The flash on the camera is the only reason
you can see these two stood in the
doorway. I could barely make them out.
I haven't booked my trip though. Not sure how I'm going to do it. I am unlikely to be able to make it soon due to work but the unpredictable political climate in the UK is making decision-making a real headache. I might not agree with Brexit and some of the decisions made my jaw drop, but now it is getting beyond that. Many people assure me that our place in Latvia is okay because the Latvian government has stated that they will allow Brits to carry on living in Latvia. The problem is that teh Latvian government add a caveat that they expect reciprocal arrangements in the UK for Latvians. I do not feel particularly secure when Priti Patel makes hostile statements regarding freedom of movement for members of the EU member countries on the day after Brexit regardless of how prepared they actually are. What on earth are they playing at? It is not a game. It is real people's lives they are fooling around with. It doesn't make them look particularly clever, in fact it makes them look hideously vindictive. I'm holding onto hope but sometimes veer into despair at times. Fortunately not the kind of despair that paralyses, but into the kind of despair that generates a rage. Not healthy really I guess, but what else can I do?
Tea anyone? 

Even the squashes have only just started appearing

The leaves on the birch are starting to
change. I do wonder if the disturbance
of its roots by the road maintenance crew
has anything to do with it though.

Josefs was not cooperating with having
his photo taken, He was either so close that
I couldn't take a photo or not posing for

The rowan berries look ripe.

So what do the skies tell us of the weather tomorrow? 

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