I've just noticed that there is a TV programme called The Mentalist. I wonder if this is about Guido's favourite, the Prime Mentalist?
But I digress.
Today was all about my goats.
You may recall that I had thought the flock was not growing as it should, and in fact last year our six nannies produced 6 billys, with the result that we just had to sell the billys.
What I hadn't really appreciated was that the goat man, Dani, had then used the cash to buy 8 nannies = 14 Kinglear goats.
What I also hadn't appreciated was that the rent for land we let out was due on 1st May. For some reason I thought it was paid at the end of October.
Anyway, we got another 27 goats and 17 sheep. I've given up trying to keep track of the sheep because the teethy wolves need feeding and the City Hall does as well...
You may think this means I have 41 goats.
And you would be completely wrong because the original 14 have all had nannies this time, so the flock is now 56 strong.
You will have noticed this is wrong somewhere by 1. No, I don't understand it either..
The problem is that this winter we will have to provide food for this flock ( for about 5 months in total) and we have let all the land we own. You will rapidly realise I know nothing about farming, but it appears that noone around Mosna does either.There is, of course, also the EU subvention payments but that is a horse of a different colour as they say in the Wizard of Oz.
So roughly speaking we need 20 hectares more of land which will have to have the grass cut and stockpiled.
Elena, the lady who owns the pension in Nemsa said we were not to worry about this, as it would be easy to obtain pasture land - much cheaper than agricultural land - and truth to tell we picked up about 2.5 has. today for the equivalent of GBP 150 per acre. She immediately put the word out, and confidently expected that by tomorrow evening we would be roughly covered. Certainly one very drunk Nemsa resident offered us a tenth of an acre for two bottles of beer, but we declined and told him to see us tomorrow. Who knows? He might sell for only one bottle tomorrow...
We checked the areas we had been offered on foot, and concluded the deals.
In Ceaucesu's time May 1st was Labour Day and an official holiday. It is no longer one, but everyone takes it anyway, so everything is shut. Unofficially, it is the start of the barbeque season and curls of smoke are dotted all over the landscape.
The Mayor has put the visiting Government Accountants to stay in Elena's pension. Elena is quite pleased with this as the main accountant and she had hit it off famously when last they had been here, and she appeared today hair done, new clothes and looking rather like an oversize Russian doll. I asked Alin how on earth the accountant could possibly fancy her and he confided in me that when I saw the accountant I would understand the mutual attraction.
The day ended with another lady coming to sell her land ( about 1.5 acres) as she needed the money to square her old age pension. I simply don't understand how this works, but I suspect she had one final payment to make before she was 60 on Thursday next week.
We offered her the going rate ( in this case about Eur 225) - and were told she needed Eur 400.
Impasse! We can't pay more because then everyone will want more - and those that have already sold will want more too. Unfair on us I know, but pretty much what the banks are doing to their customers at the moment ( You have an agreement at 1.5% over base? We need more,you will have to pay 3% over base. Why? Because if you don't we will pull the loan...)
Elena came up with the solution.
"Well, " she said," We need to get the grass cut on the new lands. If you agree to do this one time, Mr. King will give you the extra money."
This may sound a bit unkind to a 60 year old, but in fact hay cutting is RON60 per ha. i.e. about Eur 15 , and she has two sons with wives, two daughters with husbands, and two tractors between them.
Quick as a flash, the lady asked if she could have the contract for subsequent cuts.
So now my 58 goats will have food this winter.
And no, I still don't know how there's one more either.
Er, actually two....