Monday, 2 December 2019

Home!

A choir of celebration, in training for advent
I've actually been at home a whole week now and I'm not going away again for a few more weeks. Gosh! Home is still the caravan surprisingly. The nights are long and it makes cooking an interesting experience. Sometimes in the cold greenhouse lit by the outdoor light or inside the caravan with our new acquisition, Robbie Mark 2. Robbie is a halogen oven, we nicknamed our first one Robbie for some reason. We missed the convenience of it so much we got another one. We kept Robbie Mark 1 going for as long as possible but eventually the plastic disintegrated. It didn't help that it's been in the greenhouse for much of its life and the plastic is obviously not UV resistant. We'll not make that mistake again. The halogen oven is good for Ian through the winter as it means it is easy to heat up a pie or bake some potatoes.
Tellus hitting those high notes and Freddie smiling benignly

There's nothing like a bit of snow and sunshine to show
how grubby our alpacas are. These are supposed to be white

At least Vanessa is close-ish to white that we get.
Baking in the caravan at least adds extra warmth, not that we are cold. A single oil-filled radiator on one bar is mostly sufficient with the occasional boost from a fan heater on the chillier days (the one bar is for safety reasons as we've had too many switches cook when switched to two). We are not particularly hardy and it is warmer than our old apartment used to be when the heating company blessed us with a rather cool but constant 16C. We'll be heading back to the apartment soon though but at least this apartment is warm as we heat it ourselves.
Cheek! I don't think Valeria cares what colour she is.

It has been a bit cold. This is the ice out of the water troughs.
Ian has been using the well water for the animals, which is
filling up again nicely. Along as it doesn't get too high and
freeze, we are okay.
We might be toasty here in our caravan but our older barn cat, Sofie  has decided to up sticks again and move up to our neighbour to live amongst her cows. Our other cat misses her company or maybe just the heat. They tolerate each other during the summer months, but in the winter they are best buddies. It is a dilemma, because, Sofie also hates the heat of the apartment and we are not the type to share our bedroom with animals, it disturbs me too much. I guess we might have to create a cat cave or I make one from our alpaca fleece - only that takes time and just at the moment I'm really busy with deadlines to meet. It will probably have to be a cardboard box and hay then.
Perched on top of the kettle after we had made our morning
coffee.

Aggie enjoying the sunshine

Ilvija growing up fast. She wasn't very sure about the snow
though. Not lke Josefs and Jakobs who used to love it.
Although I'm home I still have a lot of work to do. I have been writing, writing, writing and errrr... writing. I've now got the first draft done of my PhD thesis, so now my supervisors need to read it and give me some feedback. Once that was done and I had sorted out some admin type things with work I then started on another academic article. Technically the deadline was December 1st but my priority was to get my thesis finished and they did say that a short extension was allowable for the article. I hope to have that done in the next day or two. My supervisor is going to love me as there will be so much to read.
Show off! 

Such a look of innocence. Even when he's not cooperating
he kind of looks sweet. He just won't let us do what we need
to get done.
So apart from loads of writing there has also been the usual stuff, like laundry. Now when we live in our apartment that isn't a particularly onerous task, but when we are in the caravan it means a trip into the village to spend a day there. At this time of the year it means we can heat the apartment through, so we don't have burst pipes and I can also check the post, do some shopping and bring meat from the freezer. Well I can't waste time now. The alpacas also all got their Vitamin D injections this week, except Brencis who wouldn't cooperate as usual. We used to struggle with his uncle, Turbjørn, but even he is relatively well behaved these days. At least Turbjørn is smaller and I can hold him down, Brencis is just too tall for both of us. Ian cannot lean over him even, which helps to keep them under control.
And this is Brencis' uncle, Tubjørn

Here he is being his usual grumpy self.

That according to the ancient texts, is the sun!
Outside it is Christmas card white. We had a proper dumping of snow/a dusting/some snow - depending on your perspective and your expectations of weather at this time of the year. Since I have friends from Finland to Spain, perspective matters. It's not likely to last though and it is due to disappear by the weekend. It did look pretty for the first Sunday in advent and we even got to see the sun. I think it might have been October when Ian last saw it and I only saw some because of visiting friends in Spain - at least when I was on the east coast of Spain that is.
A dusting of snow

A day later! It was a bit more than we were expecting. 
I forgot to mention a bit of excitement last week. One of my Tartu friends asked if I was going up to the university before Christmas and I told her that I probably wasn't. She asked for my address, which I gave her and then mentioned I was actually passing through Tartu on the train. We agreed to meet there. I say meet, I mean in the few minutes the train was at the station. The train pulled in and there were two of my friends waving at me. That was a surprise. I nipped off the train, but only briefly as I didn't want it to go without me and all my bags were still on the train. I also didn't want to lose my seat as people were piling on. There was enough time though for my friends to hand over some presents and give me a quick hug. That was kind of special!
Another one enjoying the sun

And the snow

Magical frost on the snow

Lady V had her vitamin D injection before the rest. We were
waiting for an order for some more to give the rest there's

What's that stuff? We are not coming out!

Well maybe we will come out but we are not going down
there in that white stuff. We need to get them in the
greenhouse like the other ones, but only just got the other
ark out of the field. It's been too wet to get it and it needs
repairs before it's habitable.

Jakobs out for a stroll in the snow

Our Christmas tree has been decorated by nature

We went for a walk in our magical forest

Beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me that we actually own
a forest.

It never ceases to amaze me how much the wild boar can dig.
The ground is not frozen and so they can still turn it over. This
one has obviously not succumbed to the African Swine Fever.

The view on the way back from picking up my milk from my
neighbour this morning.


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