Tiring Work, This Growing Up   6 comments

I love my friend.

Lass is well on her way in the growth department.

"Am I grown up, yet?"

When we brought Lass home she weighed 3.83 kilos. That was the 26th of January. On the 25th of February at the vets she weighed 6.5 kilos. In the picture above Ian was weighing her to know how much worm medicine she should have. She is growing so quickly but still all puppy. She continues to grapple with the potty training but she is making great strides. Her intelligence is a marvel to observe. She is the observant one. She goes with Ian out to the farm yard and when he lets the sheep out, he keeps her on the outside. She doesn’t bark but goes around the perimeter fence watching the sheep, especially the lambs. Just a bit ago, she and Ian were in the farmyard. Ian was forking hay and moving it from one place to another. She was ‘helping’ by grabbing a mouth full and starting her own pile. She was joyfully racing around inside the yard, exploring every corner and just loving to be with the shepherd. She gives us such joy and the medicine is working.

"I only want to play."

The relationship between the two ‘girls’ is also progressing. Though if you ask Saulite, she probably would tilt her little pert nose and say ‘harrumph.’ They play inside and outside, “I dare you.” Saulite trots down the hallway and looks back at Lass, “Are you coming?” Lass takes off at a dead run for it and skids to a stop in front of Saulite then the cat bats at the dog and the dog runs away and the cat follows. Another version happened this morning. Saulite sashayed past Lass went only half way down the hall and looked back. Lass looked at her and plopped down by my feet, as if to say, “Not now, thank you.” Saulite waited patiently but Lass never moved. The cat sashayed back toward the living room, same result. One confused cat; one smug dog.

Lass has primary control of the house now except for our bedroom, this is Saulite’s territory. She sleeps with us and gets extra cuddling before the lights go out.  Lass has her bed, toys and dishes in the kitchen with the help of homemade  baby gates. Her original cardboard box bed is on its way out. She has grown so much.

Speaking of growing our sheep flock is up to 14.

We had three sets of twins and two singles. Sadly, we lost one of the twins you see here. He was laid on during the night. We tried to save him, I nursed him with a bottle by the wood stove but as I held him I asked the Good Shepherd that His will be done. A few hours later the lamb slipped quietly away. We are very thankful for our crop of lambs this year. We think we are done now; unless there is a late birth by a yearling. No nesting signs from our turkeys yet but it is still very early.

The weather. We have some.

February on Kalnozoli

This is a frosted scene. It is now starting to thaw and melt. We are seeing day time temperatures above freezing and even night time barely below freezing. We are not doing Spring dances yet for snow is still possible in April. We have had thaw and snow days one after the other for variety.

On a personal note this has been a mild winter with the weather but a hard winter on both of us. We are both acknowledging our aging processes and we don’t like it! If someone has a horse ranch on a lake in Arizona, Ian would like a job, ha ha. Yes, he is talented with horses as well as sheep, cows and pigs. The lake is for me, I dream of living in view of water. No mud puddles, please.

Of course we only go where God leads and for now this is the place, maybe for always. I am writing again and waiting to hear how He directs with that. Maybe soon we can be back inside the chapel. We have been attending church in Madona more frequently and helped welcome a Dutch team a few weeks ago. For several years a church in Holland has provided aid and help to give out that aid from the Madona Church. On the Monday they came we helped fill bags with needed food stuffs. Several hundred homes were contacted and love gifts gratefully received. Many visitors came to church the following Sunday. We are encouraged. There will be additional follow-up throughout the year.

Where God leads.

Not the three kings of Orient Are.

Saying “good bye” to our goat family. With the increase in the sheep flock we needed the space in their shed so we gave our goat family (including 2 pregnant females) to our friends, Santa and Kalle. Santa milks her goats and makes wonderful cheese. We hope she get two sets of twins out of these goats and that our billy gives her many, many more.

67 but who is counting?

This was the surprise I received on the 25th, one day BEFORE my birthday. Ian took Lass to the vets and came home with this apologizing that he couldn’t keep it until the next day for my actual birthday. I was so thrilled and other than put the flowers in water, touched nothing until the next day. One of the things that brings me great joy on this earth is cut flowers, especially roses.

The day following my birthday I received an orchid plant and then there was the special phone call from other dear friends. They had their Sunday Club sing “Happy Birthday” over the phone on the day. So many sent greetings via the Internet.

As a dear friend of mine says, “I am loved and I am well loved.”


Posted 02/03/2012 by ergliangel45 in Uncategorized

Introducing: LASS   30 comments

January 26, 2012, Gotcha Day

You see two happy people with an answer to prayer, a Border Collie pup we named Lass. She is just a few days shy of eight weeks. She was born on December 1, 2011.

We found her through an advert in SS.LV, after a long search and the belief that  there were no Border Collies in Latvia. She was born on a  sheep farm near Cesis. Her dad came from Estonia and her mom from Denmark. Her father’s Great grandmother is a top champion. When the owner, Artis, chose the parent animals he wanted to be certain they came from farms so they would be easier to train for working with sheep. He has 400 in his flock and a very well laid out enterprise.

Lass was the only pup with tricolor markings and won Ian over as she laid on his lap. His first Border Collie, Shep, was a tricolor dog.

We were impressed with the parents dogs and the way they were treated by Artis. The pups were very well cared for and eager to make friends. Our little Lass was the second heaviest of the liter of 5 and if she grows into her paws will be on sturdy girl. She seems to be settling in but still misses her playmates. Saulite is not impressed but hopefully in time will decide that Lass is okay. Lass, for her part would really like to play with Saulite and cries when Saulite moves past her to go somewhere high that Lass can’t go. Last night Lass only cried once from her place in the living room and after I got up to comfort her she went right back to sleep. So far she is a good ‘baby.’ Potty training is the next hurdle but she seems quite intelligent and trainable. As Ian says, ‘she knows where to put it so it isn’t tread on.’

With that thought I will leave you with pictures Artis sent us to chronicle Lass’s early development.

Lass born 12/01/2011

Lass at one week

Lass at one month

Lass, on the go outdoorsLass, being loved

Lass in concentration, good quality

We will continue to show her progress as time moves along. We praise and thank God for her, she is bringing joy to our lives as we watch her explore and discover life.

Posted 27/01/2012 by ergliangel45 in Uncategorized

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It Is Well   15 comments

First lamb 2012

The title of this blog comes from the hymn of the same name. Written by Horatio G. Spafford in 1873.

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.

    • Refrain:
      It is well, with my soul,
      It is well, it is well, with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

I affirm these words even though I have been in darkness for a while, now. I am reminded of Job when he said, ‘Though He slay me, yet will I put my hope in Him. . . ‘ (Job 13:15) There have been some troubles but nothing major. Our car had to be taken to Madona as it failed to start at the petrol station after Ian filled it with diesel. As I write he is on his way to Madona to pick it up with a bill of under 100 Lats. We have been in this vulnerable situation for almost five days. The isolation pressed in with all its darkness upon two aging foreigners looking at the grocery list that was to be filled, the day after the car was taken away. Did we starve, of course not! Did any of our animals go without food, never. Let me paint the picture from my broken perspective.

I am a person who gains energy from people interaction. Most of you know, we live very rurally without the local language. I was not trained to be a farmer’s wife but willingly choose to be where I am at this time. So why moan? Because it is my reality and the place Jesus meets me every day even when I do not embrace Him. This morning in our time of devotions Ian prayed from his heart acknowledging the need for ‘dreaded’ patience in the face of waning strength and faith. He reaffirmed that God is sovereign and good. He was walking by faith, not by sight. He encouraged me with his words and helped me realign my heart.

After this, while Ian was out on the tractor plowing the drive for the non present car, the phone rang and the garage said the car was ready. God heard our prayers and blessed our honesty. Praise the Lord of hosts. Am I all better now, no! Honestly, I am still struggling with the winter doldrums, disappointed in myself for not living what I really do believe, but remaining hopeful that at some point in my life on earth I can learn to live in faith not circumstances. Thankful for what I have, not focused on what I don’t have., it is a discipline I have yet to fully embrace. Okay, thanks for listening to the dark patch of my reality now onto farm news.

The twins.


First born lamb outside in the snow with Mum and others, getting a breath of fresh air

Four lambs and counting. Two males and 2 females. The twins weighed in at 11 kilograms total weight and caused their Mum a bit of a do, but it all came right in the end. The shepherd had to intervene a bit and it was worrisome that first night if they and she would survive but the Great Shepherd said is is well and they did survive and are thriving.

The weather, you may ask? It is now winter in Latvia complete with real snow, not the dust and go variety but the real thing. Layer upon layer. It is snowing as I type on this Monday afternoon. Today it is a gentle snow but we have seen a few days of heavy snow, erasing all footprints, tire tracks and cleared drives.

Her majesty, Queen Saulite continues to venture out for short forays into the cold, white stuff.

"I will never get used to this blasted white stuff!"

She demands to be let out and when she has had enough she heads for the door.

"Thank you for leaving the door open for me, for once."

If the door is shut the clever girl jumps up and pulls the handle down, opening the door onto the porch room. Following that trick she bangs on the inside door until I open it, when she rushes to her food bowls to comfort herself before a lay down to warm up.

"I hope I will get some of this, it smells so good."

Here, Saulite keeps an eye on a Shepherd’s pie that Ian made for our supper. She really doesn’t fancy ‘human’ food but she did lick up the gravy from the EMPTY dish, we were out of wash up liquid, ha ha.

A very lovely lady, Janina, celebrating her 75 th birthday. ‘Nina’ is our neighbor, the Aunt of Inga, whose farm we bought. We have grown to love her and feel like we are family, too. It was such a privilege  being  invited to her birthday party.

Inga and me. Seperated only by language.

It is always so special to spend time with Inga. She works so hard at her job in the pensioners home and rarely gets time off. She was with Nina just overnight for the birthday celebration. Her mother and Nina’s husband were brother and sister, living across the road from each other with their families all through the Soviet times. Thankfully we had Kaspars, Inga’s oldest son, to translate for us. He also has been working so hard with no time off until this month. He came down, we went and got him from Lubana to help Nina as her son, Uldis has fractured his ankle complete with surgery, plates and pins. The boys, (Uldis is in his 40’s) including Artis, the younger son of Inga, would not pose for the picture. Ian remained the token male. Doesn’t look like he minded, does it?

Front row: Nina, me, 'Auntie' Back row: Inga, Valda,

Let me tell you about ‘Auntie’ and Valda. Auntie, is 80 and lives up the road from Nina and us. She has never married and is fluent in German. She used to sing for special occasions like weddings, funerals, birthdays and other party events. She mostly sings in German and we enjoyed several of her renditions on this day. She even led the group to serenade us as we left the party.

Valda is another of our neighbors and she with her son first met us when Ian was burning some field rubbish after we bought the farm. They came racing over thinking the forest behind our property was on fire. She and I are going to try to get together for English and Latvian lessons. She has a man friend, a Latvian, in Ireland whom she will visit this spring. She helped us go to the council and get set up with a bin for rubbish removal. Her son, Andris is at university in Riga studying to be an EMT. He has helped us with translation issues many times. We are blessed with many good neighbors.

Hay delievery from near neighbors

Through our neighbors Nina and Uldis we met new (t0 us) neighbors who had extra hay to sell and deliver. These are the same neighbors who gave Ian a ride to Madona today to get the car. He is now home safe and sound with the car and some groceries. Names have not been communicated so I can’t pass them along to you but we will get to that soon. This man also pulled our tractor out of our front ditch where Ian ended up in an icy slide through the snow. The lovely girl in the pink hat is the neighbor’s daughter who speaks English. God is good.

Holding the first born lamb of 2012 after his ears have been tagged.

Picture of the Year   8 comments

Jesus Lights The Way

A friend suggested that this might be a very significant picture for the coming year, 2012. Another friend suggested asking God for a particular picture for the year and the two suggestions seem to merge as we prayed. More and more people are putting up lights at Christmas here in Latvia, it is very encouraging. This year we put lights on the chapel keeping Christ as the center of our Christmas focus. We want Him to shine through us to our little community and we hoped the lighted chapel would speak toward that end.

What does the lighted chapel portend for our coming year?  We wait and listen to learn of its meaning. Will you wait and listen with us and share what you hear?

Last year our Christmas celebrations were very quiet, we had so much snow we could not even get down the field to cut a Christmas tree.

Find Ian

Do you think it will fit?

This year snow was not a problem. We have had very little and when it does fall it leaves the same day, usually. We had just enough for a semi-white Christmas and we haven’t seen it since. The prediction is for some to happen New Years Eve, when all things being equal we will be celebrating at midnight in a forest near Stelpe with Roger, Val and some Latvian friends. Hopefully pictures will follow in the first post of 2012.

The tree trimmed both in size and decoration

A special angel from a special friend

The original plan was a table top tree but I have too many ornaments for that to be practical. I have reduced my Christmas decorations several times but all during the year they multiply in their boxes, right? The candy canes are entering their 5th year and are stored in their original boxes with very few mishaps.

The lovely Latvian crocheted angel was given to me by a dear friend along with a matching one. Angels are part of my tree theme each year and of course I love adding to their number. In the picture on the left there is another angel addition this year, one that lights up. Many crystal angels are available here and I must exercise restraint when we go shopping each December. I think Ian will laugh when he reads that sentence.

We had a lovely Christmas Day with our friends, Valerie and Roger. We cooked the turkey, a Kalnozoli turkey and it turned out very well. Nice and moist cooked very slow, breast side down, slathered in butter with the cavity filled by apples and onions for taste and moisture. We added 2 salads, Waldorf (red seedless grapes and kiwi included) and a avocado/orange with honey yogurt dressing. Valerie and Roger did scrumptious veggies, from their garden and a lovely homemade fruit and Victoria sponge finger cake. Add to that wonderful homemade rolls. Are you drooling, yet? I am, just remembering. We had such fun and precious times remembering Jesus birthday.

I mentioned last year we were rather snowed in and if you remember our car was out of commission for almost 6 weeks. Ian eventually found the part, ordered it from England and worked very hard to get the girl back on the road.

Almost a 'new' car

Here is one happy car owner. The Land Rover has finally had her 100,000 mile service at the hands of the only Land Rover dealership in Latvia. We also re-shod her while there and had her detailed. This may not sound like much but it took us 3 years to get it accomplished. We had sent many emails and even made phone calls to try to get it done without success but finally someone paid attention and we had contact with a man who made sure it all happened, finally. They took very good care of us and our girl and we are very happy. We praise God for His provision and protection. We learned that the tie rods were at the point of disintegration and we were dicing with possible death as we drove with them in that condition. God always comes through at the right time regardless of how we view, what seems like a delay.

The same could be said for Ian’s tractor driving license. We made several trips to the separate licensing office to get it but in the end no test was needed even though we had made a new friend who was with Ian to translate the exam. He can drivee, not only a tractor, but a combine and even road repair equipment. The officials at the licensing office bent over backwards apologizing for the delays and the need for us to keep coming back. We are especially happy to have the new friendship of Gunars, our friend in Rezekne, a real gift from God. He is Latvian but spent many of his 72 years in  England, where he is known as ‘George.’

What of the action on the farm. Winter is a ‘quiet’ time usually controlled by the harsh winter but not this year, so far. Today is January 30 and it is 40 degrees F/5C.  Ian is out with his chain saw and new lumber mill attachment making timber planks for building an outdoor shelter in our farm yard for the animals.  It must be going well as I can see from the window he has made several. I am enjoying the walk to the pump/laundry house to do laundry, especially with my new clothes dryer.  The whole drying rack routine had become too much with one load of laundry taking two days to dry. We were using the porch room which is not heated and the little space heater was grabbing too much electricity. Our dryer has a condenser and seems quite efficient. It is helping to restore some of my sanity, so that is a very good advantage. After the new year we will be able to get an accurate reading on our electric when we unplug the chapel outdoor lighting. I have encouraged Ian to leave the lights on the chapel building because at almost 74 I don’t want him up ladders more than absolutely necessary. We may turn them on at Easter as well.

Our newest project is the attempt to get a rescue Border Collie. Ian had two when he was a contract shepherd and knows how lovely they are as companions and great working with sheep. We will talk with a rescue center tomorrow in England about a dog they have but so far only this one center is willing to talk with us because we are out of the country. We have found another center in Germany so we are believing God has just the right one for us. There are no Border Collies in Latvia though some puppies may soon be imported but they are very expensive and a bit like buying a ‘pig in a poke.’ Stay tuned for updates on this project. How does Saulite feel about this, she often plops her self on Ian’s laptop when he is looking at the collie pictures on line. We think she will help train the new member of the family and maintain her role as queen. News of the other animals, we have dispatched one of the turkeys and the male kid with only a male lamb remaining for dispatch. We are looking for a home for our Billy Goat as we really don’t want any more goats though 2 or more may be on the way with our two remaining girls. We will probably have some early lambs born in January. And that is the animal report at the end of 2011.

We send you our best wishes and abiding prayers for the New Year with these words from Philippians 4:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Taken from The Message version of the Bible.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!


Moving House   Leave a comment

Have tractor will move house

After two years and three winters we are finally getting our plans in place for ordering the areas around our out buildings. We decided that the greenhouse would be better placed on the south side of the pump house in line with the wood shed. It is closer to the electrics and water so we can start plants earlier in the Spring. It opened up a greater vista from our living room and also makes it easier to see what the animals are doing.

This is Ian’s most recent project. He has long wanted to make a proper barn yard. So we bit the bullet and bought some vinyl covered wire. Ian used the timbers we have from the old house and put up strong posts attaching the wire, making a decent sized yard. In this picture he is taking down the old fence. There is still much to clear up but since this picture he has done piles of clearing and burning. Always more to do, of course. He plans to erect a shelter, something called a Sussex hovel, a place for the animals to go if the weather turns bad and they are out in the field. They have their shed but that is kept closed during the day to protect the hay and fodder beet stored there for winter feeding. The goats, especially the kids, think it is fair game now. They haven’t learned to observe the industrious ant, lol.

Ian has put up a double gate between the pastures and the barnyard so it really is an enclosed area. Since these pictures he has also strengthened the fence placing horizontal poles at a height that the sheep like to rub against. The wire is not that strong, not like proper sheep netting. The goats were the first to explore the new area, they always are the leaders in that sense. Eventually all the timbers will be used to build the shelter and as poles for the turkey run. Though the weather has remained relatively mild it appears to be changing. A few days of rain, a few flakes of snow, colder temperatures and more snow predicted for next week.

The rain gave some friends, we hadn’t seen in a couple of years, an opportunity to come for some afternoon tea and a catch up time. It was a good time for a visit as I had been doing the big Christmas clean. I even managed to get the windows washed inside and out. That won’t happen again until Spring. Having done that really motivated me to get on even to rearranging the office with Ian’s help of course.

The new look office

Finally proper wall decor

Ian kindly brought in the bookcases that have been hunkered down in the barn. I did bring in a few books but there are crates of them still out there. It is wonderful to have my desk put together properly as designed by Ikea. We still have bookcases that are destined for the living room when we get the area under the windows completed.

I also placed another bookcase in the porch room to be Ian’s ‘set down’ area and also to hold the wild bird seed. He now has a place for his tools that need charging and they are at last out of the living room, hooray!

Christmas Countdown

Ian very kindly climbed up into the roof storage and brought down the Christmas decoration bins, last Friday. On Wednesday I started the process. Last Christmas, if you remember, we had a poor Christmas showing. It was not even worth taking pictures. We were without our car and snow prevented even getting down the field to cut a tree. We are doing much better this year. See what you think.

After much consternation we finally found the nativity scene. It was my fault for not seeing it in one of the bins labelled Christmas Decorations. Poor Ian had to sort through the roof storage area again, look above the work shop and we both went to the barn looking through every box. The blessing was, we found the tree stand. This set was one his parents bought in the Holy Land and it is very unique. We have a cow with a ‘new’ wooden leg to replace the old wooden leg that some how was broken. When the set was returned from having been borrowed a few years back the baby Jesus was missing so we use a Bosnian straw baby. Quite appropriate, we think.

The scene is arranged with a wooden cross that spells JESUS in the background. We remember that the baby whose birth we are celebrating was born to die giving the greatest gift, the way to God available for all who choose to come to Him.

Mary, Joseph and Jesus with the cross

This is in the are above the wood stove. I saw this statue in a shop in Halesowen my last Christmas there, before I married Ian. Etched at its base is ‘Silent Night, Holy Night.’ It is one of my favorite Christmas decorations.

Its beginning to look at lot like Christmas

This shows a few new things added this year. The pillows add a festive look to the old couch also the garland above the windows. I would prefer ‘real’ garland but that is not practical nor safe but the effect is still good, I think. We will get the fresh scent when we put the tree in place. That will be covered in the next blog, hopefully. The blue pots contain Spring bulbs that may bloom by Christmas.

A Chrsitmas Reflection

Another garland, one I’ve had for years. Since there appears to be no holly in Latvia at least we have this bit of jolly ol’ England. The little carolers are so sweet and dollar store purchases from America.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Finally, the stocking are in place. Wonder if they will be filled. I think we need to get Saulite a bigger stocking, I don’t think I can write her name on this little thing.

We have much more to do, the chapel will have Christmas lights including an angel. We just need to get some hanging gadgets, the non-technical term, so we can put them in place. They will remain in place as we are too old to take them down and put them up each year. We hope the display will bring joy to all who pass by, as well as our neighbors.

How is Christmas developing at your house?

Posted 03/12/2011 by ergliangel45 in Uncategorized

The Big Cover Up   8 comments

Our first dusting of snow for the 2011/12 autumn/winter season. It wasn’t forecast and it came early in the morning departing later that same morning. The beauty was in the light cover and the quick leaving. We are enjoying the ‘moderate’ weather and the wonderful lack of deluge rains that we have had the past two autumns. No Mississippi mud flats for us thus far. A joyous, thankfulness that after the initial frost in the early morning I can get about in my sport Crocs and maintain dry socks. These are the indicators of a good autumn in my ‘book.’

If you look closely at the chrysanthemum plant you can see a sprinkle of snow on their leaves. These flowers are another source of joy for me. Here we are deep into November and flowers are still blooming. When I lived in Oregon often I would still have roses blooming in December but to have them still available in November in this place of the long cold autumn/winter is for me a miracle. Such joy to pick and place in the chapel a little bouquet for the altar. We have a heater now in the chapel allowing us to continue our morning devotions there.

Not only do we have heat but also light.We picked up a pair of these lamps earlier this autumn for an amazing price they were actually two for one. The other one is in the porch room and with the greatly shortened daylight these lamps are beyond value. The chapel is so warm and cozy and we hope to keep having our morning devotions and prayer time throughout the winter.

Speaking of cozy, when we look out the chapel window toward our house we can see the smoke rising from the chimney in graceful swirls. We are learning the methods that keep the home fires burning during the night and when we are away. The secret is large chunks of dense wood like oak and keeping the stove dampers shut providing low oxygen and the chimney damper barely open. Also never, never buy paraffin fire starters, they smell, they smoke and are totally inefficient.

Now the news from the farm proper.

 Oh the indignities of being a sheep and needing your bum end tidied. Ian is a good shepherd and likes his animals looking nice and being well looked after. So hand blades to the ready he kept the sheep in over night and before I went to Madona for a haircut he gave the flock a bum trim. Just so the whole family is tidy, I gave Ian a haircut last evening. Now we are all ‘pretty.’

Ian has been watching the flock to see indications of forthcoming lambs and some of the girls are looking to be with ‘child.’


Here are the rest of the flock waiting their turn and not without trepidation as is normal for sheep. Can you spot the ram? Now where are the goats you may be wondering?









They are in their pen, next to the sheep. The kids, of course, climbing and wrecking their hay rack. Both the sheep and the goats are enjoying extra pasture that our neighbors, Nina and Uldis have offered us at the back of their land that runs parallel to ours. They offered it to us earlier in the year but with the longer moderate autumn we really needed it. Of course we always have the language barrier but God provided. Another neighbor, Andris came for a visit, home from University in Riga. He was most willingly to go with Ian and ask about using the pasture land that had been offered. Labi, labi, labi was the response, meaning good, good, good.  The exchange took place on Saturday, Sunday Ian completed fencing the area with a break to take Andris to the bus station in the next village. We are always glad to help by providing transport for our neighbors. In addition to helping us with the language Andris will set up refuse collection with the village council when he comes home in 2 weeks. He and his mom have this service and is glad to set it up for us. Now we can get rid of cans, bottles and rubbish easily when we get this in place. That is a big praise and one less irritation of Latvian life. We wish we had recycling locally but it does not exist, so this will be the next best thing to get it off our land.

This past Monday saw Ian walking the newly fenced pasture, checking the fence while I started down the field toward our evergreen trees to pick out our Christmas tree. He joined me at the edge of our big ditch and we walked along its edge assessing the trees as we went. I had my eye on one particular one that I could see from the house and it turned out to be the very one.

The picture is blurry but that little one on the right is now marked to be our Christmas tree. We have decided just where it will stand in all its glory. Hoping we can locate the tree stand sometime soon. Ian must go up into our roof storage and move the decoration boxes to the front along with locating an unused box of outdoor lights to put on the chapel.


Actually, a bit of decorating has already begun. These were a recent purchase and needed to be stored, so they are already on display instead of storing them away. Some other ones may find their way into the homes of friends for the Christmas season. Though we have a Celtic Christmas Cd in the car I am resisting putting Christmas music on the music center in the house. I will wait until November 24th, the American Thanksgiving to start the Christmas music. I am planning to make up the one remaining can of pumpkin into a pie to celebrate the day.



Now for the Big Cover Up.

This is for my son, Keith. He saw a picture on Facebook of the snow fall and our old red tractor without cover over it. He always lets us know that we should cover her properly for the cold weather. Ian has grouped the various farm equipment implements and the old red tractor together covering and securing them against wind/weather.


Ian recently harrowed all our pasture land against the encroachment of moss and enjoyed the job having a cab on the green tractor protecting him against the wind and rain showers.

We have been embracing a spirit of thankfulness and rejoicing over God’s protection as we continue to live out the gospel here on our little plot of land. The spiritual warfare continues but faith triumphs over fear because we worship the One True God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We see His presence in very real ways on a daily basis. We are not perfect but His perfect love radiates warmly over our lives.


Absence Makes . . . . .?   4 comments

Family together again for a moment

I had a lovely hiatus in the states seeing family and friends. Each meeting, however was tinged with sadness as Ian couldn’t be with us. This is the downside of having a farm and animals that need daily care.

Each gathering began with, “We wish Ian was here.” Thank God, truly,  for modern communication networks. Ian and I were able to talk often and post pictures to each other with our activities. Our reunion has been sweet and we continue to enjoy each other perhaps even more than before the absence. For us, the old maxim is true, our hearts are fonder.

This beauty was meant to be shared but perhaps another time we will enjoy it together.

room with a view

Even though I had this

room on my own with this

spectacular view I used the

time well, spending it with

my Heavenly Father. He is

teaching me much of His


Since I have returned home I have been enjoying the sights and experiences of  all the many projects Ian accomplished while I was away.

This tree is one of my favorites and Ian captured it so I wouldn’t miss its


Ian made the marrow/ginger jam pictured here, can’t wait to taste it. He is so talented.

The 'Gas House'

Ian built this cute and very practical housing for our propane bottles, giving them protection from the winter elements. Notice the fine craftsmanship as the siding of the ‘Gas House’ lines up with the siding on the end of the house. I will publish an updated picture, hopefully today of the completed housing showing the double doors in place.

This picture represents hours of hard work. A lovely pile of oak logs in the wood shed. Many  more hours of work are needed to finish filling the shed for winter, but Ian perseveres.

Tile backing for wood stove

Though this project is out of actual order, this is where the wood blesses us with warmth. The stove is not new but the wall and tile behind it are and comprise the most recent project. Ian removed the shelving unit from the wall and put up sheet rock for strength, protection and improvement. We had the dark blue tile left over from the kitchen walls and found the lighter blue tiles (with a dark blue line swirling pattern) at our local building supply. Oh my, were they inexpensive and then we were inspired to create the pattern you see, including the angled top corners. Today we hope to get some thick plain wallpaper to cover the rest of the wall and then more pictures will follow, of course.

Office entrance, 'Watch your step!'

For some time entering the office was done at peril to falling through the floor. Above you see why, the floor was dying. The same was true in the kitchen, the entry hallway and our bedroom. Only the bedroom awaits repair.

Our beautiful kitchen floor, Saulite approves

Dining area, hoping to recover seats soon

New hallway flooring

Entry hallway taken from repaired office floor





















So now we walk safely on our gorgeous new floors. We have enough flooring left to do the toilet room and the shower room. Eventually the office will be done with wood or lino. When we finish with the wall area in the living room we will move out of the bedroom so that the floor can be repaired and re-carpeted. Good projects for cold winter days.

In addition to all of this Ian fenced the whole of our grasslands allowing the sheep and goats access to all the pastures. He also plowed a troublesome area of the bottom pasture leveling it and preparing it for possible use as a large sweet corn patch next year. He was not totally alone during my absence. Saulite was his constant companion and ‘helper?’


Here she is craving attention by hogging the computer, ready to help with outside projects and finding comfort on ‘Daddy’s’ lap.


Finally, I would just like to say thank you to my Oregon hosts, Brian and Katy. They are family, fun and fabulous. A special mention goes to their precious pets, Gunther ( a dog with more energy, love and sense than most humans) and of course Miss Maggie, a cat who knows her rightful place; in charge of us all.

Brian and Katy Hosts Extrodinare