Monday, 31 October 2016

Broken!

A wet soggy Turbjørn. Our alpacas seem to have their heads
down most of the time eating while they can still get to the
grass
Just recently we seem to have a catalogue of things breaking or going kaput. Some of them are silly little things but many are things we have been relying on and will need fixing or replacing and it is getting rather annoying. Maybe it is being out in the cold that is doing it and sudden changes in temperature. I suppose that won't help, but not the case for all of them. So here is the catalogue of broken things

Even formation eating. 
The newer greenhouse - some of the poles have got bent or snapped. It doesn't seem to be lasting as long as the other one we bought a few years ago, but then again we anchored that one down into the ground and this new one is not in a permanent place yet.

Sometimes our animals stay inside when it is wet
Halogen oven, aka Robbie - that went a while ago and Ian thought it was probably the bulb and so ordered two when we went to England, but now it looks like it might actually be the thermostat and we still need to locate a replacement for that.

Slow cooker - I cracked the bowl. I think this might have been a temperature thing and so annoying.

Lady V sporting the newest curly look
Transformers - we have had a variety of small transformers and this week one of the bigger ones went kaput on us and that brings the total to four that have gone this year. Ian really needs one of these for the tooth cutting machine and I need one for my sewing machine that are both from the US. Fortunately for the sewing machine we have a large transformer but it is not exactly portable and so no good for Ian. We are now trying to source a new one of those.

Cleaning a bucket in the pond
Pipe for soot collector - this went today whilst trying to clean out the wood-fired oven before the winter heating season. Nothing major just annoying and made worse by the fact we don't seem to be able to get any decent duct tape to repair it with.

It has rained a lot this week and so the ponds have filled to
overflowing. The ground water has also leaked into the well.
It added 330 litres of water in one day where had been filling
up by about 20 litres a day just before as it had slowed down
from the 40 litres a day we were getting.This is no big deal
from a contamination point of view, there is nothing nearby to
contaminate it except sediment, so the water is now cloudy.
The problem is that the ground around the well has still not
settled yet and Ian had to pack it down a bit more. It slowed to
70 litres the day after and 30 litres today (yes Ian does like
to keep records)
Coffee press - that was this week too during washing up. Fortunately we have a spare that our friends bought for their use whilst they were here in Latvia. So we at least have one we can borrow.

Kettles - the one at our apartment went kaput but fortunately our friends who were there at the time bought us a new one. The one out on the land also started to leak but fortunately Ian fixed that with some super glue.

One foaming cat. Of all our cats, Sofie is the best at not taking
tablets. She has perfected the technique of foaming the tablet
rather than swallowing it. Here I am making sure she doesn't
work the tablet out of her mouth. It still had to be put back in
about three times. I wouldn't mind, but normally I don't have
a problem, she is the only cat to have ever beaten me.This was
the worming tablet, fortunately her antibiotic tablets she will
just eat with her food- well most of the time anyway.  
Even the cat, Sofie, is broken. We have no idea what happened but she disappeared for a day - nothing unusual in that, she often disappears for a little while although these little trips have been getting fewer - but when she turned up she was not putting one of her rear legs on the floor. Somehow she had dislocated her hip joint and so that entailed a trip to the big town to get an x-ray and then an operation to put a pin in. At least a specialist was in town that day for his weekly visit. She is now quarantined to the caravan for three weeks to stop her jumping around so much. She still climbs but nothing major and after nearly five days I think she is beginning to accept or enjoy being confined. At least she is in the warm caravan during the day.

Oh yes! Winter struck
The timing of Sofie's accident was not great as winter decided to have a bit of a blast this last week. We had about 5cm of wet slushy snow and so the roads were rather nasty on the way to the big town. We haven't got the winter tyres on yet, instead we have all weather tyres which are legal even in winter, but they are past their best. We got new winter tyres last year, but in the spring we put the old tyres back on to save wear and tear and we haven't swapped back over yet. The wintery weather lasted for about three days before disappearing, but the forecast for the week ahead is not looking too great.

A light blanket of snow as described by the English version
of the Latvian news
We had to take two trips to the big town as we had a meeting with a rural business consultant. She is helping us with getting the rural support for our land and looking out for project money that might help us with the farm and our alpaca tourism. We hadn't gone down the route of EU money before because, to be honest, we weren't sure what we were going to do and had only vague plans, which are not helpful when trying to access project money or the rural support money. We now have a clearer idea of which areas we are willing to manage according to the rules to get the money and which parts we are not for the time being. This year has helped us to crystallise out some of our plans for the future and helped us to work out what we need help with, although this is still a work in progress of course.

Agnese has been trying to show she is boss to me this week.
I have ignored her stand offs and yesterday she ran off instead,
so I think that is progress. She was being standoffish with Ian
but is now back to being more friendly, so hopefully she has
got over the early pregnancy and feeling more like her old self
The snow this last week of course concentrates our mind on what needs to be sorted before winter proper starts. Some of our plants need protection and we notice people have started wrapping up their trees with fleece or plastic, so that will be on the list of to-dos. Whilst Ian was sweeping out the oven earlier on today I got out and picked the last of the beets. I was surprised though that the rows of beans were still okay.

We did see some sunshine and it always makes Chanel's coat
glow
I was annoyed I haven't had the chance to pick them earlier and fully expected them all to have rotted away by now, but they weren't. The pods were soft but not rotten and there were lots of them. I decided to save them and managed to pick the lot before some sleety rain came down. It was fairly easy to separate the beans from the mushy pods and they were rinsed and put on the electric dryer and we had to finish the job by the light from the caravan, but at least it was done. There are still parsnips, jerusalem artichokes and carrots to dig up before they get frozen into the ground and then that really will be the end of the season.

A damp and shaggy looking Mr. P.
We are still out in the caravan, because despite the snow, it hasn't actually been that cold. It was colder overnight earlier on this month. We have though started the process of moving back to our apartment and plan to do that when I get back after a trip up to Estonia. It is easier for Ian to stay in the caravan when he is on his own. I have taken my clothes back and anything else that is not needed over the next week or so.

Lady V in the sunshine too. She is looking really good and
so having some time off from pregnancies has helped her a
lot, although occasionally we do wonder if she did get
pregnant after all in the five minutes she was left alone.
Also despite the weather we have still had visitors, but not the ones that booked earlier on. We were meant to have a group of fifteen but they decided the weather was too bad and let us know they weren't coming. We are pleased that they let us know anyway and to be fair it was pretty miserable over the weekend, so can't say I really blame them. We had two sets of visitors on the Saturday and both hit lucky with the weather as we were in the greenhouse giving the talk about what we do and how we came to be in Latvia when it rained and they managed to see the alpacas when it was dry. The first set were very generous, they bought a ball of hand spun wool, paid for the trip and gave us a donation too. We felt very appreciated. They also told us that neighbours around here are very pleased with what we are doing and the fact we haven't sold the land to some large Swedish company, as many do, which is good to know.

Herkules also looking a little damp
Our second group were two ladies helping at the camp nearby. One of them has her own small farm with a llama amongst other things. She also tries to grow her own food and so was interested in what we were doing. We decided on a cup of tea before going to see the alpacas since it was tipping it down with rain and just chatted about farms, spinning and handicrafts.

2 comments:

Edith Chenault said...

Excited to hear about the future plans and the meeting with the business consultant. Looking forward to seeing you again in Estonia!

Joanna said...

Thank you Edith and looking forward to seeing you soon