Monday, 17 June 2019

Summertime

Grey skies and a flower rich meadow
The strawberries are turning, peas are podding and it rained. Yes it's summertime! We have a trough behind our barn to collect some of the run off from our barn roof. I think we've had three troughs full of water now since the beginning of April. Normally in summer the trough fills often enough to use the water for boiling for tea or washing up. Not this year. We have already been bringing water from our apartment since early spring, as the well wasn't filling either. Even today the rain was not exactly the Latvian deluge type, more like a very heavy, drenching drizzle, which reminds me of Scottish rain. Enough to keep the plants going, but not enough to really soak the ground though.
I was gardening for the camp this
week and spotted this rather
elegant chap
The door on and part of the fencing done.
Ian has been busy on the alpaca love nest this week. He has put a door on the smaller side of the building we were using for storing hay and split it from the rest of the building. It is enough for the two females that we are expecting to come, if the people are still interested that is. We were in the process of putting up the fencing wire when we had the first of our Sunday visitors. There had been a group staying at the local hotel and one of the families decided to visit us afterwards, then another, and another and another. The first group had been and gone before the next group arrived, but then the next three groups arrived within a short space of time. I just sent them up to Ian as I was trying to get on with some project work. Needless to say the wire still needs fixing onto the posts. Tomorrow's job I guess.
Chanel was moaning a bit today and her baby was definitely
having a party. We won't have long to wait now I guess. Maybe

It's nice to see the butterflies are
back. There didn't seem to be
many at all last year, just
cabbage whites. This year there
haven't been lots of them, but
definitely more varieties. 
The plan this week was to do more hay cutting but the forecast was for rain, which never came until today. There would have been enough time, but we didn't want to risk it. Not yet anyway. They say the best hay is cut before Jani, which is the midsummer festival held on the 23rd June. After that the grass is usually woody, but then the other plants grow and so the grass maybe woody but it is then a herb rich mixture. Ian and I have been discussing the merits of this and wondering if the early cuts are more like a high carbohydrate meal to an alpaca and the later cut a nutrient dense version. We do know that sometimes the hay can result in tooth abscesses if it is too woody, as we found out the hard way one year. Poor Aggie did suffer for a while before we realised what the problem was and could deal with it. So we still don't know what is the optimum for our alpacas, but better to have hay in than none at all. So far we have four bales that Ian cut at the end of last week.
It's good to see the new girls using the shade or shelter under
the tree. It's beginning to look like a park where the trees are
all eaten below a certain height.


Yes it rained! At least they got a good shower and I hope
it washed some of the dust out of Mari's fleece.
While we've hardly had any rain at all, other parts of Latvia were flooded out. It's hard to believe the difference when we are only about 175km away. Just like last year we have been sitting watching the rain clouds to the north, south, east and west of us, without even seeing a drop fall on our land. We've even been into our village about 6km away and seen the roads awash after the rain. Whilst we need a good dry spell to make sure we get the hay in, we don't want to be in the situation like last year, where the grass really struggles to recover after cutting or seeing my garden dying for lack of rain.
A sprightly looking Mr. P.

Nom, nom, nom. Enjoying the respite from the sun and
flies.
I took Ian to my department do at the weekend. I nearly forgot about it but my supervisor rang me up to remind me, or actually check to see if I was going. The advantage of this particular do, was it was only about half an hour away at my supervisor's summer house and not 3 1/2 hours away in Tartu. We only went for a couple of hours as we have so much to do on the farm, all the summer chores that keep us busy and then we had to put the animals away at night too. We arrived in time for dessert of strawberries which went perfectly with the Swiss roll I had bought from our local bakery. We had the kebabs from the bbq afterwards, once the fire had got going enough to cook with. Once again we were having a meal under the apple trees. It will be a while before ours are big enough to eat underneath their shade. It will be even longer if the deer keep nibbling on them over winter. We must get some deer protection for next winter - if we remember.
Hello folks, Freddie here. 

Poor Herk. He really does not enjoy fly time. 
Talking of forgetting things, I nearly forgot about an online project meeting, as it wasn't on my calendar, fortunately my boss emailed to ask if I was going to be there. I hadn't planned anything else and so was able to attend thank goodness. I have another one this next week, at least that one is in my calendar. It makes me sound quite lackadaisical but I've actually been working above and beyond expectations apparently. Phew! Pleased about that, I must be getting something right.
We think we can see a water lily flower below the surface. Yay!
So pleased that I managed to save it last year from the deer.

As I said last week, George is looking so grown up these days

The cranberries are doing well. It is
probably a good job they are on a well
rotted wood bed with a high water
table below.

Josefs looking very cute after the rain.

A view from the other end of the land of the boys.


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