Monday, 28 October 2019

Spit happens

I gather it was a week of sunshine and showers for Ian, but
maybe more showers.
Well as you may have gathered, the last couple of weeks have been a bit hectic. Trying to work in academia and do farm tasks can get a bit tricky trying to balance the various tasks involved for both. They get done though. It is no wonder there were times last week in the conference I attended where I had a gentle dig at comments made by academics when it came to issues affecting farmers. One comment in particular from one young academic was about the apparent need for farmers to diversify. That particular comment is like a red rag to a bull. Of course farmers would like to improve their income but the costs to body, mind and soul can be enormous. It's like telling a nurse that actually if she could take on a bed and breakfast establishment as well as work shifts then her income will be fine. Hello! I don't know many lazy farmers who get lots of time off. Yes arable farmers may be able to take off on holiday while the crop grows but really do they not deserve a holiday? For livestock farmers the issue is even harder. I'd better stop there!

I think all the alpacas have been having a party while I've
been away. Aggie looks like she's been on the razzle
It's hard to believe but two weeks ago, I had just returned from a trip to Finland, this time it is from Hannover in Germany. So just like two weeks ago there was a bit of email catching up to do and sorting out for work. Supposedly I'm on holiday but there is a deadline to make and besides I get a few days off next week, in between more travelling, so I have to be a bit flexible. At least that is one advantage of remote working and everyone seems happy enough with the work I do put in, so all is good.
I'm glad she picked up later. She looks much better now

Even Herk looks like he's had a drink too many
Before I set off to Germany there were a few things that needed sorting on the farm that Ian wouldn't be able to do on his own. We didn't get them all done but we did get the most important ones done. One of the main tasks is the bimonthly trimming of toe nails. We got 16 done in one day and three the next - or to be honest two and a half. Half an alpaca? Yes! Brencis! Our gentle giant is not that gentle when it comes to rear toe nail cutting. Not sure why but he does kick up a fuss but he's too big for me to deal with and hold still when he doesn't want to cooperate. I guess we will have to sort that out this week, one way or another.
Apparently there were still leaves on trees. The gusty weather
over the weekend meant there were none left by the time I
got back

Dear, sweet Chanel. Pity she is just a little excitable.
The alpaca owner's refrain is "Spit happens!" and it sure did during toe nail cutting. Chanel always kicks up a fuss, but she wasn't too bad, we coped and avoided the spit. I wasn't quite so lucky when it came to cutting the toe nails of her baby. I got a face full. Fortunately not full on but I still had to go back and wash it off my face in case it burnt before carrying on. I do hope little Ilvija isn't as bad as her mum when she gets older, I don't think she will be. The only issue will be how long will Chanel be possessive if Ilvija stays with her? I guess we will find out.
Little Ilvija glows like her Mum. She was out for a stroll
this evening though

See! I said they''ve all been having a
We had hoped to move the chicken arks and caravan into the greenhouse but decided against it as the ground was still soft and we were running out of time. Ian is regretting that decision as over the weekend it rained, and rained and rained and so the ground is saturated. At least the well is filling up very rapidly despite being pumped out several times to help flush it through, so that's an improvement on last year. We soldl one of the cockerels and then culled the rest to free up an ark so that repairs can be made later. I spent a while explaining to one lady, who I think was vegetarian why it is necessary to cull the excess cockerels. They were beginning to fight and if there are too many cockerels to hens then the hens get harassed. One of our hens has only just got her feathers back after being harassed by one cockerel in particular. It is just mean to keep them for too long unless they have a role of mating for fertile eggs to keep the flock going. Even if we let them go, they would fight or be eaten by foxes so not much of life either way.
I'm not sure Amanda was joining in the party though. Maybe
she is pregnant then. I guess we will find out soon.

Mari looks like she's been dancing all night
With those jobs out of the way, it was time to catch the bus to Riga in time for the overnight bus to Berlin. I would like to catch a train as there is more room to move around, but it is not that convenient from the Baltic States yet. The bus though is convenient, as I can get the international bus from the same station that my village bus goes to. I wouldn't say the seat was that comfy but at least there is enough room to recline without the seat going into the face of the person behind. It also reclines more than an airplane seat and I found I could sleep. I think it is the practice I've had of travelling. The neck pillow I took though was helpful.
I think Jakobs looks like he was dancing like his Mum
The pond is very full now
One of the nice things about travelling to conferences is that I get to meet lots of people from all over the place, as well as make friends with people who they know. It was a friend of a friend who I organised to meet up with in Berlin. I'm not particularly fond of cities and so no burning ambition to go sightseeing, but if I can stop for a chat with someone then I'm happy. There wasn't much around the bus station apart from mainly fast food eating places. There was a restaurant with a view over Berlin but my new friend was not particularly fond of heights and this restaurant was 55m up a tower.  I wasn't keen of the staircase and wasn't sure if there was a lift so I wasn't keen either, not with my suitcase in tow (if you fancy a visit, here's the link). We decided that the American diner worked the best for us and it didn't turn out too bad if you ignored the rather rude or laidback service, depending on your point of view.
With the leaves gone off the trees it's
easier to see across the road to the
other section of our land. I love the
misty look in this photo

At least Freddie looks like he would
never be out partying
So after a lovely lunch with good company it was off to Hannover. I did have one heart stopping moment as the bus pulls away - where was my handbag? It had slid behind under the seat, but fortunately for me the kind lady behind found it. I arrived in Hannover mid-evening and found where I was staying easily enough, but then realised that I hadn't got the details to get in. I think it was my fault but with a quick hunt through my emails on my phone and a text to the owner I was let into a lovely apartment with a nice clean room and comfy bed. It was a nice place to stay and the lady even bought me some black tea because there weren't many black tea teabags left. She taped one teabag onto the handle of the door for when I got back after my first day at the conference, so I would know they were in the drawer where the teabags are kept, which was very sweet of her.

Leibniz University where the
first day of conference was held.
We moved to the Hannover
Conference after that.
The conference week had some long days and early starts so that comfy bed was very welcome. I think that is probably why I don't feel so worn out. I also didn't have to do any cooking all week, which made a nice change. I hadn't been to one of these kinds of meetings before and they had been going for 10 years, so I was surprised to meet quite a few of the people from my summer school in Peyresq, France from about 5 years ago. One of the keynote speakers was also a fellow student on that course and we had gelled as two older ladies. I was surprised she remembered me as she is a busy kind of lady. I managed to embarrass myself when a young lady walked past who I recognised and she recognised me, but I couldn't remember where from. It wouldn't be so bad but it was only the week before in Helsinki. I guess I had the excuse I had been on an overnight bus the day before. It must have addled my brain more than I thought. She was very gracious though and I found out she would be joining us for an evening dinner.

Mr. Cool. I don't think being at a party would ruffle George
One aspect of the conference made me realise what a rich life we lead. The conference dinner was rather pricey. It was great that I got to chat with a lady who does work with communicating research to people on the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland who would be affected by climate change.Many traditional activities would be affected with the knock on effects on tourism and a whole way of life if, as they expect, sea ice does not build up in winter. No cross country skiing across the ice, no ice fishing, no driving on the iced up areas and so on. Life would be very different!

But don't be beguiled by his sweet looks. He's the naughty
one who eats through fences, just like his Mum
Anyway the meal itself was nice, but felt rather ordinary. It was all locally produced and ecological. Errr! Yes! It tasted nice. I had guinea fowl with green beans, broad beans, pine nuts, salad and pesto sauce. It just did not feel very special when we kind of eat like that anyway. Okay not the pine nuts and much pesto sauce, but we quite often have wild mushroom sauce instead - it's no big deal when you have a forest. All our vegetables are locally sourced, either from our own garden or gifts from others. I haven't had guinea fowl in a while but grass-fed lamb, grass-fed chicken, elk, wild boar, beaver sausage once, organic goat and so on. All locally sourced. We eat like kings.

I love the balustrade on this house. This
was on my walk to the conference. I always
try to make sure I get to walk from where
I stay to the conference centre. 
Of course it was interesting getting to know some of the research going on, but it was more interesting meeting new people and reconnecting with others. I did manage to recognise one name, a fellow PhD student who used to take me in his car from Latvia to Tartu for some of the courses we did together in the same year. I hadn't seen him for a few years, but it was good to hear what was going on in forestry in Latvia, whilst on the field trip to the lovely Lüneburg Heath. There were other people who I did not know but were at the same university that I work for, but they knew me. The head of department had been telling them about me and the fact I had alpacas. One of the guys and I had quite a long conversation on alpaca care to see how they might work for conservation purposes on some of the sensitive heathlands. Not sure if it would work but it might be something worth investigating and I was able to point him in the direction of the Estonian Alpaca Association, which he hadn't realised existed and also to say that he would be better talking to my husband too. So maybe we could organise a university field trip to alpaca farms - now that would be intriguing.

It's hard to believe that much of Hannover is actually
reconstructed as it was decimated during the second world
The week flew by and my waistline may have suffered again, although I was fairly good and didn't snack often. I wasn't happy though on my last night in Hannover to be woken at 3:00am by a text from the company I had booked a train to Berlin with to say they had booked me onto the later train. It would be a bit tight to get from the train station to the bus station. I looked to see if there were any other trains but to re-book on those would have cost a fortune. I had to leave it till the morning. I woke early and looked at the train times again and then the bus times. It was possible to book on the bus an hour earlier than the train time and I still had time to make it to but had to rush to make it. I had told the hosts I would be getting the 10am train and so had to leave a note to say I had to leave earlier and hope all was okay. I gather it was as I got a nice review on the AirBnB site, as a quiet hardworking guest.

Slept in?
Fortunately I made the bus and it didn't cost me much more - although I shall complain about that, it shouldn't have cost me extra at all. It would have been helpful to have had more of a choice in timing.  At least I didn't have to work out how to cross Berlin, it just meant an extra hour sitting on a bus. I went back to the diner for lunch where the service had improved since the last time I was there, which was a good job as I didn't have as much time for them to mess around to eventually serve me. In fact the older lady was very pleasant. I had more space on the bus to Warsaw as the adjacent seat was empty and I had the chance to spread out. Unfortunately that wasn't the case for the nighttime but I still slept. With plenty of coffee, tea and lunch in Riga before my bus home to the village, I was fine, but it was still nice to see Ian turning up in the wind and the rain that greeted me on arrival in Latvia.

Munching away. There isn't much grass so they've been
eating more hay. It's probably good for them as it is easy for
them to get too fat.
I was back to work this morning and learning to work in the coolish caravan. It can be warmed up quickly enough, so not too bad at night, but during the day we try to be economical. It was a bit of a chilly afternoon though as our local vet came around. She wants to learn how to make blood slides so she can check the blood of the animals she cares for. Ian was showing her what to look for. A step back in time for him as it would be over 30 years since he learnt the techniques. It was amusing for him to think about the guy who taught him, as I guess he wouldn't have thought how useful that skill is on an alpaca farm in the middle of rural Latvia.

Monday, 21 October 2019

See you next week

Conference season is upon me! In other words a bit too busy for blogging and not enough pictures :D

Monday, 14 October 2019

An international flavour

Nice to see someone on the right side of the fence this week
And so it begins, the month or so of travelling, well travelling further than Estonia, which I visit regularly. Last week was a trip to Finland, a country I have never visited before. I went to the airport and got chatting with a guy I met. Over lunch we talked about our week, of village life and alpacas and then we went our separate ways. Oh wait a minute! That was my husband. You may remember that last week was our 35th Wedding Anniversary and he was in the UK visiting grandkids and doing an alpaca course. We met for an hour and a half before he had to go to put the alpacas away and I had to go through security to catch a plane to Helsinki. I was a little late arriving at the airport because I was trying to do some last minute jobs but at least we did get to spend some time together.
I gather it has been wet while I've been away

Veronica looking sprightly
I arrived in Helsinki with the instructions to get the train to the main train station and then my friend and her daughter would meet me there. I had made some attempt to find out what to do but in the busyness didn't really sort it out properly in my head. Normally that would be a recipe for disaster but I figured that by now I would be able to work the system out, I've travelled about enough in European countries. There was a lady by one of those "Welcome to Helsinki" signs and I stopped to ask her how to get a ticket for the train. She directed me to where I needed to go and told me the machines would be on the platform with guards in bright vests to help. She finished with a very cheery, "Welcome to Finland." Sure enough, the guard was down there and helped me to purchase the correct ticket and directed me onto the train, that just happened to be pulling into the station. Sorted! I was on the train on the way to Helsinki centre and for the first time in a week, I felt relatively relaxed.
I posted this picture last week of the pond filling up. It has
been so low over summer and finally the water was up to
the cattail rushes

Now let's play spot the rushes. The pond is now oeverflowing.
In fact all three ponds are overflowing, including the middle
one that doesn't hold water that much at all

Who are you looking at?
My friend, who is Indian, sent me some vague details about waiting inside the train station for her, which puzzled me until I got there and I found that it wasn't a huge place, even for a capital city. It was interesting doing some people watching while I waited. Helsinki has an integrated transport system that reminded me of our time in Copenhagen and so it was fairly easy to understand. Even easier was the fact that the signs were also in Swedish, which I can just about read, as well as Finnish obviously, which I can't read more than a few words of and only if they resembled the very few Estonian words I know. So after a short trip on the Metro we arrived at her apartment and my place to stay for the night. It was only a short stay but I was well looked after and my friend made sure I caught the right bus in the morning to the institute where I would be doing a presentation.
I wonder if it is going to be hard to tell these two apart?

A golden leaf shower
I was a bit worried about the presentation because of the lack of time I had. I had hoped to have my talk more worked out, but it went okay. It also worked well with the Dutch team who were from a project working on a similar theme to ours and so we had decided to collaborate with them on the workshop. I was very pleased with the response that our project leader had to to my presentation though. She told me that she was happy because she knew what a steep learning curve it had been for me, especially after joining the project late and she felt I had really "got it." I can't do much better than that, so I was happy enough.
A golden view

It has been windy today and so many of the leaves are now
on the floor
After lunch in the canteen, it was time to catch the bus up north. Again it was easy to book... twice! I somehow managed to click on the wrong time but fortunately the costs weren't astronomical even for a nearly three hour bus journey booked on the day. That's the way it should be! So my next stop was Mikkeli, the regional capital for Eastern Finland. Most of what I saw of Finland was from the bus and my impression was of a lot of forest, which was glorious golden colours interspersed with the deep green of spruce and pine. The towns were mainly modernist steel and glass buildings but wooden buildings in the countryside.
Did I say it had been wet?

Our well has filled up very rapidly and is a bit murky. The
moles have been digging tunnels nearby and so instead of
filtering through the soil, the water has been running
through the mole drainage system
I was meant to be meeting up with the Senior Education Officer on the Thursday morning but he had go to a seminar in the very north of the country and so changed the time of the meeting to the evening. We met in the city centre, which was only a five minute walk away from the bus station and we chatted over a cup of tea... and chatted.... and chatted. We both worry about the closure of rural schools. I from the community impact and he from the impact on children who have to spend such a long time on the bus to get to school. We decided there is definitely a need for more research on the topic. I think there is a problem when there is an EU policy that is working towards encouraging more young farmers and then a national policy of closing down schools before the young farmers get established. They need resources for their families too for them to thrive.
Looking through the shed

So embarassing! No peace when you are trying to use
the toilet
I have a friend who lives about 40km away from Mikkeli but he knew people in the town, so he organised for me to stay at the home of a young couple. I did get chance to see my Belgium/Italian friend briefly and he and his Finnish wife took me to buy socks in the centre as all mine were getting holes in them - not good in cultures where you take your shoes off at the door. Anyway my hosts didn't have a car and it was getting late after the meeting, so the guy who I was chatting with ordered me a taxi. That 8 minute drive cost me more than the three hour bus ride. Oh well! Such is life! At least it got me there and that was the main point. I was immediately made very welcome by my Russian host and found much to chat about. You may find a theme here! It seems that much of my week was spent chatting.
Mr. P. delicately nibbling on his leg

A restful place to be
With my meeting already over, it meant a relatively free day. Both of my hosts were working although the Finnish wife worked more in the evening and so she cooked me lunch. It was a bit of a damp day and so it didn't seem to be too bad to just be able to get on and work. In fact it was nice to be able to just concentrate on the work itself and not wonder what other chores I should be doing. It was nice not to have to cook for myself either and I was well fed the whole week by all my hosts. It was a delight to be able to stay in the home of a young couple who are working out their faith and thinking hard about what that means. We finished our conversation with the conclusion that the most important part was love and wisdom, and most important of course is love. Not a bad way to finish really.
You can see where the boys have been eating. It would be
good to get them onto the green grass, but they are already
fat, or at least some of them are.

The leafy lanes of Mikkeli suburbs
The next morning I booked to go back to Helsinki on the bus. I decided I wouldn't take the taxi but walk. My hosts had gone to work and I sauntered around the leafy lanes and by the lake. As I was taking pictures of the lake I got a message from my Belgium/Italian friend that my host was trying to get in touch with me, but Messenger wasn't working so well on my phone. He said he would come and pick me up from the house, but I told him I had already left, so he and his friend came and picked me up from the side of the lake instead. It turned out well, firstly because it was beginning to drizzle a bit and secondly the leafy walk was at an end and the rest of the walk would have been more boring. My host apologised and said he didn't know if his friend was able to help or not and that's why he hadn't mentioned it. As he left he told me the Finnish name for restaurant/coffee shop and indicated where they were and wished me well.
Leaves in the lake

Another view of the lake
I was met off the bus by a Finnish friend who had time for a cup of coffee and we talked about theology and environmentalism. It wasn't long as he didn't have much time, but then again, neither did I. I was heading towards the workplace of a Latvian friend of mine, who has stayed in our apartment a couple of times and now lives just outside of Helsinki. I got near the workplace a little early but found a rather nice bakery and so stopped for a cup of tea and a piece of cake. My friend turned up and we went to find her family and set off to the leafy outskirts of Helsinki.
Well something is of interest

A forest garden
My friend has been in Helsinki for a couple of years now but she and her husband have only just bought the house. It is a cosy little place that has a forest for a back garden. Such an amazing place for children to play. My friend and her husband still have their Latvian accents but her children, especially her little daughter, are fluent in English with an international accent and a just a twang of American.  The little girl read her school book to me, it was funny hearing stories of Kipper and the magic key again, as this was something my own children read at school.
That is an amazing ants' nest

The lake near my friend's house
We had a lazy Saturday, waking up late - well late for me anyway - a leisurely breakfast and of course lots of chatting, a walk around the lake - because there are lots of lakes in Finland, and a film night. I felt so relaxed it was a wonderful way to finish off my time in Finland. The next morning was an early start and I woke at 4:30 and decided it wasn't worth going back to sleep for 20 minutes. My Latvian friend drove me to the ferry terminal and hugged me goodbye. It was so much easier catching the ferry than going to the airport. In Riga I had to queue for 3/4 hour to get through security, at the ferry terminal it was just a matter of pulling up the email with the QR code, scanning it and up we went. No security and all my bags with me. Easy!
Not sure if this boat will be going far

Lots of boats by the lake
I arrived in Tallinn about 9:30 and met up for coffee with an American friend. We talked about faith and life in general before she helped me to get on the right tram to take me to the bus station for my bus to Riga. So on a damp and dreary day I headed home. Getting plenty of work done and dozing along the way. The bus was about 20 minutes late and I was panicking just a little. I had just enough time to buy my ticket, go to the loo and get some water and an apple (the most humungous apple you ever saw) before catching my bus back to my village. It was dark when I got back and Ian was waiting for me near the bus station.
The lake bottom is solid rock

So here I am, back in my caravan, after a fairly laid back day. A bit of work, catching up on emails, podding some beans and starting to think of the next trip, which is only a few days away.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Autumn slipping away

A heavy frost this last week meant that the autumn leaves
that have only just started turning have been falling so
Autumn leaves are falling, the geese have have been flying over in droves today and winter is beginning to threaten. It can seem such a sad time of the year and yet the riotous colour of autumn should bring us hope I think. I read a meme that said the colours of autumn should remind us of the joy that can be had of letting go. Not sure those are the exact words but that is my interpretation of it. Maybe that is the way we should approach a change in our systems to adapt to a changing climate. We are going to have to let go of a lot of things. We have to adapt to how we live our lives, what we eat, what we buy, how we spend our leisure time, how we support others. So much change is needed that it can seem overwhelming, but we can find joy in doing it together. Working on solutions that are kinder to our planet and supporting those who may lose jobs in the process, hopefully creating better more rewarding jobs to recreate a livelihood in the future.
Hard to see I know but this is one of quite a few flocks which
flew over tonight

Aggie is still not entirely friends with me yet. She hasn't been
too bad though, just a bit grumpy.
We have so much to let go of. Cheap flying, cheap food, cheap clothing. None of it is sustainable. We have to let go of our energy guzzling lifestyles, Says she who is flying tomorrow and meeting her husband at the airport flying in from the UK. I tried, I really did. I looked at every way possible to get to Helsinki by Wednesday but couldn't make it work. I'm not flying back though. I shall be taking the ferry and buses to get back home. One of the options they say is to use offsets, in other words buying trees, but we nurture trees on our land. It doesn't offset the guilt but probably does offset my CO2 emissions.
Before the frosts

Frosty morning. It took till nearly lunchtime before the frost
Maybe these would have cheered up grumpy Aggie, but I
don't think so. We were given these happy flowers quite a
few years ago, but there isn't really space for them now, so
they have gone to a new home to cheer up children who are
in therapy at the local school
Anyway besides the guilt trip, it has been one of those weeks. I was a bit overwhelmed midweek with work and tasks to do on the land with the coming frosts, but by Friday I was beginning to feel like I was getting the better of the to-do-list..... then the weekend happened. I was plodding on, sorting through some apples a friend had picked for us. There were a few that would go bad quickly if they weren't dealt with and so I embarked on the task of cooking them in the slow cooker. Only that didn't work so well. In the end I used the steamer, which was much more efficient. The preparation was a bit slow but I got on with other things while they were cooking. A car pulled on and I thought I might have to show some visitors around, but no. I recognised the chap and he spoke in English, I think he is one of our regular visitors but Ian is the one who usually talks to him, so I'm not one hundred percent sure.
Before the frost

Frosty morning

A friend of ours has been in hospital and came out this week
so went to visit. This is the view on the way.
The conversation went like this:
"You have some alpacas down by the road"
"Oh! Okay thanks!" at this point I was thinking that maybe he had spotted the ones that are quite close to the road but behind an electric fence...."Err what colour are they?"
"Oh!"...... at this point the topic had become urgent. If it was our new girls then they would be difficult to recapture. I shoved some apples into the steamer and went to see what had happened. Sure enough there were five white alpacas far too close to the road. There was no time to go and sort out the fence to make it easier, they needed moving away from the road immediately. My hand hovered over the phone ready to call in our neighbours to help me if needed. I managed to get between them and the road and slowly, slowly encouraged them in the right direction. It's a good job I've done this before.
The pond has been filling. It is nice to actually be able to see
it again

I love these wispy clouds

The edge of our forest next to our
small hay stores
As we got close to their fence, I saw how they had got out and fastened the wires down in the hope they would go through, but no..... at least by now they were between the forest and their fence and well away from the road. Now I could take a bit of time to sort out the fence. I fastened another section down and two of them went through. I made sure they went through into their permanent paddock. Still three to deal with.
The rosebud opened just before the frosts

Frosty rue

Frosted yarrow amongst the grass

Two in, three to go!
I found some baler twine and fastened it to the hay store and the fence as a barrier to stop them going too far down the path. I spent the next quarter of an hour - or was it more? - trying to encourage them to go through the gap I had made in the fence. Eventually one, then two and finally the third one went through, coaxed by me with two electric fence poles to guide them. I sorted out the fence and then guided them back into the paddock. Confined to barracks until Ian gets back!
Phew! All back in where they should be

Ilvija and Chanel where they should be
Back to the apples! Back to bits of work in between. The afternoon drew on and I needed to ensure the other girls were back in their paddock area ready for putting away time. As I went up, Chanel suddenly started looking around. "Where's my baby?" she was muttering in alpaca speak. Where indeed Chanel? Behind the alpaca house on the wrong side of the fence. Oh great! First of all I tried opening the gate and encouraging her to come in, but the threshold was a scary place and she wouldn't come in. I tried the fastening down the fence trick... no! Then she went to see the other alpacas and they were very intrigued by her and she by them. Intrigued enough for me to catch her. I had to sort of manhandle her to the gate to shover her through it. She sure is growing fast. Her mum did not approve and she started spitting. I was not impressed and my jacket now smells of alpaca spit.

At the boys fence at putting away time from different angles

A misty frosty morning before the sun climbed above the
Muttering I went back to the apples. In the process I had forgotten to shut the paddock gate, so at putting away time they were back out in the field. Sigh! They were also a bit jumpy after the earlier performance, but eventually they were put away. Normally I gather the trays up from these girls but Aggie threatened to spit at me in her agitated state and so I decided I would look for that one in the morning. Added to which the boys were all over the place and had to be encouraged to all go inside. Are they missing Ian? Probably!
It looks like a painting

Frosted echinacea 
The following day little Ilvija was out again. At least she was easier to coax through the gate and I didn't get spat at. I managed to sort out electric batteries for their fence and so tonight at putting away time, all were where they should be, partly because the other girls are still confined to barracks. Ian will have to sort their fence out when he gets back, but they have hay and so should be fine. Tonight it was the boys turn to misbehave and Tellus took exception to being jumped on by Josefs and so Tellus decided to take it out on Turbjørn. Nearly all of them were charging around like crazy at one point. I went and got a stick and distracted Tellus from his charging about and eventually they all calmed down. Normally it is just a couple of them, but the younger ones do like to join in the "fun" and it doesn't help. There were a few uneaten trays of food tonight, as they can't eat after spitting due to sour mouth, when their lips go all droopy.
The pink of these michaelmas daises really popped in the
frosty morning sunshine

A door latch in need of repair too. It's just
hanging on in there.
To add to the catalogue of things going wrong this weekend, I've also bust the toaster and burnt the steamer pan when I forgot to top up the water. Fortunately it is only the juice that smells burnt, the apples themselves do not. However I think it's going to take a while to clean the steamer base out. Another Sigh! At least Ian managed to make me smile. It was our 35th Wedding Anniversary yesterday and he sent me an email wishing me a Happy Anniversary with a link of Slim Whitman singing "Happy Anniversary" with the words "Don't forget to clean the sick up, and have a good day." He knows me so well.
You want us to go in, well just hang on a minute or two while
we ignore you and continue to eat grass.

You mean you really want us to move?

Well hello

I'm more interested in your camera than
going in.