Monday, February 16, 2009

Walk to Rivendell - Week 7 Report

Week 7 Report – Island Husbandry

I’m posting this after only three days of walking as I have enough miles and I want to try and get back into the ‘post on Sunday’ schedule. I also don’t have a whole lot to say. This gray end of winter has fogged over my brain.

However, this time of year, even with the snow still hanging on, Islanders are turning their thoughts to preparing for spring and the intense, short summer season that will follow soon after. One part of these preparations is clearing brush from roadsides. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to eliminate the juniper, (genus juniperus ) kadakas in Estonian.

One of the 1st development projects I was involved in here, was about encouraging local farmers to return to raising lamb for meat. The enforced switch to dairy farming during the occupation had allowed juniper and other invasive tree species to colonise the roadsides. Sheep in the past had eaten the younger shoots of these plants providing a cost effective means of control. Now the buggers were out of control.

Raising lamb for meat is now well re-entrenched here on Saaremaa although I think this had more to do with the spread of anti-beef feeling at that time (1998) because of mad cow disease. It makes me happy, as roast whole lamb is one of my favourite things in the whole foody world. This is from a lamb roast in the back garden of the Kuressaare Organic Restaurant ‘Mahe Köök’, where I have been known to occasionally work.

Last week I mentioned the new paved, lighted bicycle and walking path that connects my area with the new clutch of supermarkets. Here too, the cleaners are in full swing.

Finally warm sunshine on winter trees makes me believe in spring.


3 days walked

Miles = 13.2

Kms. = 21.3

Totals walked 88.6 / 142.6

Still to go 369 / 594

Company leaves the path and tries to turn north.


spacedlaw said...

You'd need giant sheep (or better still: goats) to get rid of adult juniper bushes. Mind you it must make the meat extra tasty.

martha said...

The local lamb is very tasty. It's developing a good reputation around the region. The local authorities have enlisted diggers an bulldozers in the fight against rampaging juniper. At the moment - it's a stalemate.

stephanie said...

Those are gorgeous photos. I had no idea about the snows...!

martha said...

Thank you. There isn't so much snow left any more - just cold.

sonia said...

amazing what a massive difference to landscape it makes nolonger having sheep. sunshine on trees looks gorgeous

martha said...

There's been a lot of improvement since I arrived her 12 years ago. Today's sunshine was even more spectacular. I was out photographing abandoned trucks and stuff for next week's report.