Monday, 26 August 2019

It's finished! - No really! It is this time.

Thirteen hay bales. Not all are usable but at least we can
move them off the field and decide what to do with them
Haymaking is finished. We nearly lost the grass that Ian cut last week. We had a day of rain and the grass was fairly green and leafy, so it looked like it might rot away before we got the chance to do anything with it. A few days of reasonably hot and dry weather, however, meant that Ian managed to rescue it and bale it. Not sure how worth it was doing it, as it needed turning and then spreading out and turning again before it could be baled. Not something Ian would do normally if it wasn't needed. At least it's all experience. Experience of what not to do next time.
Back to finding the shade. People often ask how they do in
the winter and we tell them fine, as long as they have enough
fleece on them. This year the fleece is growing well and so the
recent spell of good weather is hard on them. They enjoyed
the shower they got the other day when it rained most of the

Skype call from the office to colleagues. I didn't have my
video on, I think they would have been jealous. Actually
it's because the signal strength is not good enough for
Skype with a group.
I've been busy with my thesis this last week, trying to get all the work I've done pulled together into one piece of coherent work. As I mentioned last week I started with the easier chapters to get the writing flowing and it seems to have worked, as I actually feel like I'm progressing. I have had other work to do though, so maybe not quite as fast as I had hoped. Another day of washing helped.
How is that comfortable? Joesfs a bit
soggy and muddy and that was before
the rain. We have been having some
heavy dews in the morning.

A hard life!

Vanessa's crew up on the oak tree hill. When we had the
biodiversity team come to look at our land in June they
suggested that it would be good to graze the land to increase
the biodiversity. It should be cleared to ensure it does not
get taken over by aggressive grasses. The problem is that
also driving a tractor over this patch would likely end up
damaging it and so the soft pads of the alpacas is ideal. They
munch away, taking some of the nutrients away and deposit
it somewhere else. Perfect! Job done! I hope!
Where does all this washing come from at the moment? Well that has to do with another milestone passed this last week. After the rain we organised with the young chaps to come and help us out and remove some furniture that was on loan to the people who bought an apartment from us. We hadn't got the room to move all the furniture from two apartments into one very small one and the people who bought the apartment needed some extra, so it worked for the time being. Not long ago though I got a message that they were going to sell it and then another one to say they had found a buyer who  wanted a quick sale, which meant we had to move the furniture asap. Fortunately we had already discussed with a friend that we could store it in an unused cabin and so not a problem to shift it - once the horse box passed its technical though, which it did the week before.
Tut! Tut! Amanda. You are not supposed to be eating oak

They have a good view of the land from up there.

This is actually a quilt cover that
was used as a curtain in the
apartment. It was decorated in
August 1992 with the help of my
two oldest children. They were the
same age that their oldest two
children are now. 
And the washing? Well we had also left curtains,  they were a tad dusty and needed washing before they get stored away. Once the apartment was cleared the post key was left on a windowsill and we dropped the key to the apartment into the postbox. And that was it! We had finally vacated the first apartment we had had in Latvia. Time to move on from that chapter in our lives. We have no idea who the new owners will be, but understand they have connections with the people in the block.

Chanel and Ilvija. It is getting hard to tell them apart sometimes
Ilvija is definitely darker though

But not as dark as her father.

Alpaca fleece drying in the greenhouse.
Ian has also been doing some washing with our little portable washing machine that we bought last year and rarely used because we ran out of well water and there was no rain to collect rain water. He has been washing some of the not so good fleece, the stuff on the legs and neck, to give to a lady who visited just over a week ago. She makes duvets with sheep wool filling and so we are going to work with her to see if we can make alpaca duvets. We are starting off with small sample pieces to see how they work and what happens when you use them and see if it will work with Latvian linen. If it works we will get the wool processed in a factory into batts - it takes too long to process it all by hand for a full size duvet. If it doesn't work with linen then we may go for a good quality cotton manufactured in Latvia. We'll see!
Lady V not looking amused. Not surprising as she has a sore
on her leg that developed quite suddenly. 

Not sure if she has been nibbling it, as I would think it is a bit
difficult to reach. The flies were plaguing her though and so I
mixed some of my magic cream with clay. I sterilise the clay
from our land and it makes a good cover for the red sore patch.

Having a little chat with friends.
I will get my own chance to do some chinwagging later this year. I was accepted to take part in the European Rural Parliament, which sadly is in Spain. I know! It's tough isn't it! Spain in November too. I am also going to take the opportunity to connect with a few friends who live there. Although they do not live close by to the venue, it is still a lot closer than I normally am.
Busy eating

A wink from Jakobs
And the final piece of news this week. I got a pay rise or rather I am being paid a full week's work, rather than the four days a week I am currently paid for. The department has money for wages but not trips and so it was easier to employ me for extra days than pay for my trips. I'm not complaining, at least the trips get paid for eventually, one way or another. So this autumn I plan to go to Hannover in Germany, via Berlin; Helsinki and Mikkeli in Finland and  Madrid, Cand├ís and Oliva in Spain. Just a few miles then and I promise there is only one return flight in that lot, the rest is by bus, train or ferry.
Let me whisper in your ear. These flies are bothering me!

Awww having snuggles! Not! They are actually play fighting.

The three muskateers

My garden

Knapweed seeds outside the greenhouse.

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