Monday, 7 December 2015

I just don't know

Oh so huggable! Well maybe. Alpacas might look cute,
but not many of them enjoy a cuddle.
I am not a sit around the circle, touchy-feely hippie sort, even if we do grow our own vegetables and raise alpacas. That isn't to say I don't like touchy-feely hippie sorts of people, I do! I have come across a number in my journey through life. I have immense respect for their counter-cultural ideas and their willingness to experiment with new ideas and new ways of living. Okay some of those things apply to me, but I still wouldn't describe myself as a hippie. Neither am I sold on capitalism though. Markets have their place in society, but rampant capitalism does not make happy communities, as far as I can see. All these things swirl around my head. Testing, sifting ideas. It all ends up a cacophony of noise at times, especially this week. The problem is that fear brings out the worst in us and I have seen the outcome in some of the responses to the atrocities in Paris.
Big bird is still going and is looking more healthy now,
than she has done in a while. She is also travelling further
and making herself a nuisance too.

Storm Desmond visited us too. Ian only commented
yesterday that the feeder was in need of some repair. I
think that is now an understatement. Fortunately the
main components are okay, it is just the side supports
I make no apologies for not going along with bombing in Syria. Does that make me a terrorist sympathiser as David Cameron seemed to suggest. I don't think so! I just don't think that is helpful to bomb Syrian sites when the majority of the terrorists are in the country where the atrocity occurs and not from Syria. There is a systemic problem here. Locking our doors and staying inside doesn't make us any safer. Knowing our neighbours and looking out for them, taking care of them, showing an interest all helps - and I am talking to myself as much as anyone else as we go into lock down over winter here in Latvia. It is too easy as winter hibernation mode sets in. I know there are no easy answers. Terrorism is not new, but it does thrive in fear. We have to make choices and choosing not to give into fear or take knee jerk reactions are just two of them.
Our nearly dry pond is now full to nearly overflowing 

A good chat with the neighbours is always a good idea
Likewise nations are no safer if they lock their borders. There are hurting, needy people out there, fleeing some awful situations, fleeing the situations we don't want on our doorstep. Stopping them coming and bombing their homes doesn't make the situation go away. Showing compassion and helping them settle to a new way of life for as long as they wish to stay is one way forward. Developing strong nations with people who care for one another is also a way forward. Will this all help? I just don't know, but what I do know is that the alternatives are far worse. We can't give into fear!
Looking very aristocratic

No! No! Don't roll in the mud please! 
So what has our non-hippie alternative living style week been like? I will tell you a bit about our ordinary week, well ordinary for us. Ian finally went to the doctor about his prostate (hope that doesn't embarrass anyone, but these things need to be discussed openly). It has been slowly bothering him more and more over rather a long time, and so he finally gave in and went through the rigamarole of enlisting a friend's help to translate. He went to see a "surgeon" at our local doctor's office. I have surgeon in inverted commas, because we are not quite sure what that title means here. He certainly does minor surgery from what we understand, but what else, we are none the wiser. Anyway he told Ian he needs an ultrasound scan and then he will be referred to a urologist and we will see where we go from there. He also got some antibiotics for a minor bladder infection and a prescription for a herbal tea. Herbal remedies are quite popular here, so it will be interesting to see how that works out. I have probably mentioned somewhere that I am quite into herbal remedies and looking at growing some more medicinal herbs.
At least Chanel is not rolling in the mud, just gathering bits
of grass instead.

Another of our more aristocratic alpacas
The hunters came eventually too. They just buried the wild boar that Ian found last week- what was left of it, after the crows had been at it. It was a bit frustrating as it would have been nice to know beforehand if that was the best thing to do. We were just not sure if it should have gone for testing or not. Maybe it should have, no idea., One of the hunters offered to buy our Lada though - the one that had the mouse living in it that had managed to store half a sack of sheep grain in the roof space (presumably by taking it piece by piece, unless it acted like a hamster and stuffed more than one piece in its mouth at a time of course). If the hunter doesn't buy it then I think it will be best to scrap it or sell it for parts. The only problem is of course, then we have to find storage for the spare bags of grain. Oh well. They also said that we will get some meat too. Well maybe that will happen, we shall see.
Who are you calling aristocratic? Just call me handsome.

Really settling in well now.
I got my paper uploaded to the journal yet again. In fact I have done it twice this week. I uploaded it earlier on in the week and on Saturday evening I got a reply that had about six very minor points. These points were quickly rectified or explained and it went back in again this evening. I really do think that will be it this time. So that just leaves me with a paper to proofread from someone else and my other paper to write and ...... well you get the idea, more writing and more thinking to do.
When is grub up?

I want food and I want it now!
I went to the art course again this week. This time there was a lecture on "Fantastic Art" or fantasy art. I managed to follow along with some of the concepts because the lecturer often used words which were just Latvianised English words and sometimes the context was easy to see. It does help that I have done some of this type of work before and so could follow what she was trying to put across. All good practice though to sit and listen to Latvian again.
Someone mention food?

The fence finished and the girls happily eating
I helped Ian over the weekend to finish the fence for the alpaca girls (and the youngest boy) and then helped him to move them.  It was rather interesting, trying to encourage them to make the journey to a new area. Part of the problem is that the temporary wire fence that Ian made from the orange, electric fence wire is not very visible against the brown grass and they went straight through it and into the area where they have been for a few weeks now. We managed to encourage Agnese, followed by Snowdrop up to their new area first, through the fenced off corridor. We wanted to fasten them into the new house while we brought the others up, but they were not going in when there was new grass to eat, so we left them in the paddock.
Still eating

The boys enjoying their change of scenery too, with their
new quarters behind them.
That left five more to encourage up to their new home. It was a real test of nerves. Too fast and they would panic and bolt through the fence, too slow and they would try to wander back. Little by little with Ian leading and with me walking slowly, step by little step behind. There were one or two times we thought we were going to lose them, right near the end. They didn't like walking across the muddy road for sure. It was such a relief when they walked through the gate and into the paddock area. The boys were much easier, as they didn't have as far to go. They practically walked up on their own, with just a little persuasion. They all seemed to have settled in well too, which is also a relief. We didn't want any haring around the paddock trying to convince them to go in at night. It is a little chaotic once inside, but that is because they haven't really established an order yet, but that will happen soon enough.
The sheep fence will be the next job. Glad to see they are
making use of the hay as a bed!

Such a cutie
One of our neighbours who has helped us with the alpacas before, contacted us and told us she had been doing some thinking too. The alpacas have been very therapeutic for her, she loves to come and see them and has been a few times over the year and brought various visitors too. She would love to see if the alpacas would be good therapy animals for those with special needs, similar to the ones she works with. Unfortunately special needs education and therapy is not well developed here in Latvia. It is changing but there is still some way to go and financial restraints within the country makes provision for activities difficult. Still it is a start and we will investigate to see if we can make it happen, meanwhile she is going to start coming on a regular basis to get to know the animals better. At least that will be good therapy for all of us. It is nice to know that there will be someone who can step in and help us, who knows the animals and the animals know them. We were worried with the higher numbers that it would be more difficult.


  1. Yes, Mr Cameron and his arrogance, How dare he not apologise for saying that? It beggars belief.....
    Your life seems as full and busy as ever....please put your feet up for five minutes. I'm exhausted just reading!

    1. Arrogance indeed and certainly does beggar belief.

      Definitely not dull again this week. I have got my feet up at the minute :)

  2. I wonder how your sheep feel about the alpacas getting all the close-ups? :) But given how crazy cute alpacas are, it's understandable.

    I share your views on our messy world. Sometimes it helps me to take a deep breath and reflect on the fact that there is nothing new under the sun. This is just a replay of the same kind of things we've done in the past. Violence begats violence. When we attack one monster we often create a new one. But I'm hopeful that things are improving, however slowly. The world is violent, but less so than it's ever been. It seems a slow journey.

    1. I am sure the sheep will feature in the next blog Bill, they have just been moved to their winter quarters nearer the greenhouse.

      I also believe that the world is getting better slowly, but it is hard convincing others sometimes isn't it? I do struggle from time to time myself and this year has been hard, but I have to learn a new rhythm and of course take a deep breath and watch that sun come up and go down as it always has done.

  3. Hope Ian gets appropriate treatment soon. Last night's Countryfile' programme (BBC1) had a lengthy item on wild boar which might interest you

    1. I will update you on Ian's situation in tonight's blog. It is heading in the right direction anyway.

      Frustratingly we cannot see English tv here in Latvia. Even channel 4 doesn't seem to play, which is annoying as there is a programme about Guy Martin in Latvia tonight


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