Monday, 4 July 2016

Finished! Well not quite

This was taken at 9:23pm and it is still quite light for a while
after that.  
It has been one of those weeks when a lot of things got finished off, thank goodness. Firstly the potatoes have finally been strawed up out on the land, a job I have been going to do for over a week and more difficult now they are racing away. We put old hay around the potatoes to increase the potato yield without hoeing them up, which is even harder work when raising potatoes in beds rather than rows. At least the potato plants look healthy enough now and I suppose that has a lot to do with the amount of rain we've had just lately. Some good soaking rain, which is what we needed and so we have gone from just a few potatoes poking through to a well covered bed.
The clouds have been quite amazing this week. One day the
darkest of clouds rolled in and it was as dark as late evening here
even though it was in the middle of the day. It then poured down
so hard it squashed some of our barley. Heh ho!

Our friends collecting some of the hay off the field. This
section will be kept mowed to keep it looking neat and tidy
for our workshop days
We are pleased we got our hay cut last week too and the ski hill where we cut our hay is already greening up nicely so maybe we will get a second cut if we need to - providing the weather cooperates of course. We are also pleased we managed with help from our friends to get all the hay into the old alpaca house, it was tight and two of the bales that we were not so sure about, as they still felt too wet, went outside under the adjoining, very dilapidated shelter. No good putting them inside as they would be a fire risk or spread mould, both not what we want.
A pied wagtail enjoying the view from the top of the girls'
alpaca house

The swallows have also made progress on their new nest and
obviously used some of our leftover hay. Sometimes you
can only see the long grass bobbing through the air, a
very weird sight.
We were going to wait to put some of the hay away as the forecast was for fine weather the next day, but I wasn't so sure when I was looking at the clouds. I suggested we put them away while the weather held instead of getting on with other tasks and I am glad we did. We would have been racing to put away about another 20 bales on our own otherwise. Even better when we were starting the job, we had a phone call inviting us for an evening meal, so that saved us even having to think about preparing that after we had shifted the bales. It was rather nice too, fresh roasted goat with salad and roast potatoes, followed by a selection of goats cheese.
We hope the swallows will deal with these nasty beasts.
At least the girls fleece has grown back enough to make the
horseflies struggle to bite

Although we've had rain, we also have rainbows
It has rained a lot this week, which has meant that I finally also got to put all the squash plants in. Some have gone on our wood/soil/hay pile or to give it its posh name hugekultur, the ultimate raised bed. It is one way of using up rotting wood that has been lying around too long and also doing something about raising the soil level - not that the soil level is particularly shallow here in most places, but the more soil there is the more carbon is stored in the ground. It offsets the carbon we released by digging a pond I guess. The newest pond is filling up nicely with all the rain we have had, which is great. We just have to hope that it keeps its level even when it doesn't rain so much, then we can water the field area when necessary and not have to go down into mosquitoville to collect water from a field drain outlet.
We have also had sunshine and so we have been able to convert
this old greenhouse into a solar dryer using a black plastic cover.
It has now been anchored down with some stones as it blew off
in the storm we had the other day, but at least the dryer works in
the sun and the herbs are already pretty dry. It is so hot in there at
times we half wondered about using it to heat up water, but then
again the water in the pond has been warm enough for watering
can showers. I used an old tin bath for a bathe the other day, it

Chanel enjoying the sunshine
We have had quite a few different groups of visitors again this week. Some have come back for a second visit but brought others along with them, whether that is grandchildren or friends. Some folks were just passing by when they saw the sign and decided to stop. Another one was a lady who was originally from the village where we live and regularly returns from Riga, but we only "met" for the first time on Facebook. We had quite a discussion on what our hopes were for the future and the possibilities, even in rural areas. Something we hope to explore more on her return visits. Its nice to feel we are on the tourist trail and people are quite prepared to give us a small donation for showing them around, some are even quite generous and it all helps towards keeping us here on this land raising our wonderful alpacas.
Mr. P has been up to see the girls. We decided to mate him with
the white alpacas to generate more colours, but Lady V had other
ideas and spit him off. We hope she gives in soon and doesn't
intimidate the poor guy entirely. At least he managed to mate
with Agnese, so that's a start

Ian giving him some grain as a consolation for being the
focus of Lady V's wrath
This week I have finished another course that I was doing this year on Social Entrepreneurship. Our working group nearly missed the deadline as none of us realised that files needed to be uploaded by 9am CET and I found out at 8:45am. I hurriedly sent messages to the other members of the group and I think most of us got it posted just in time. All of us should have read our email better of course, as we should have noticed the deadline time, but all of us have been busy with other things too, some were writing their thesis. It does help to get these kinds of things done and it means I can concentrate on preparing for our felting course we will be holding on the land soon and getting some tidying up and weeding done - in between showers by the look of it though.
Lady V, the old battle axe. We hope to get one more baby off
her before retiring her, so we are hoping for a better outcome

Mr. B has been trying to move up the pecking order in the boys
alpaca house. He is really trying it on with the older ones
With all that we have been doing this week it has been hard to keep up with the political farce in the UK. I couldn't believe it when Farage announced his resignation stating "I want my life back." Well Mr. Farage, I would like my life back too. I would like to go to bed tonight and know that we are safe here in Latvia, that there won't be any moves to make us "go home," and that Mr. Putin is not going to take advantage of the chaos in Europe to send in little green men. Mr. Farage, you have made that dream a little harder to pursue these days due to your misleading campaign - and I'm being generous there.
Nibbling toes, alpaca style

Oh to have the flexibility of an alpaca. I think I would look
pretty stupid or do myself an injury trying to scratch behind my
ear using my feet.
We live in Latvia because the EU allows us to do so as EU nationals, that will be taken away from us. We may be allowed to stay because we have been here so long now, but nothing is certain in this world. I also study at an Estonian university and I don't have to sort out student visas or anything like that because I am an EU national, hopefully that should not change as I should finish next year, but then what? Part of my studies has looked at some of the issues that have arisen within the EU and how it operates, the intentions of the initiatives are good but it doesn't always get the result needed - I never felt this was reason enough to get rid of the EU but enough to need some changes, but what institution doesn't need to change or evolve over time?
I love clouds, especially with such interesting patterns

No it is not the shock of the UK political
scene at the moment but alpacas taking
a sunbathe
A lot of the work that goes on in universities is based on collaboration and that will be affected by the changes if the UK definitely leaves, so even if I had to go back to the UK, would there be funding to work in a university? And the list goes on. So thank you Mr. Farage, thank you very much for your lack of care and consideration for me and lots of people like me, who now spend the next few months or years wondering what the outcome of all this is and God help us if you ever get to be involved in the negotiations - will you bother to turn up?


  1. Yep, the same here. Future is quite worrying,but I still hope that the UK won't leave. Still hope, otherwise life will be really complicated.

    1. Complicated indeed and so very sad. I do hope all goes well for you too


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