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Thursday, 4 July 2013

More preserves and birds and soup and veg....

I am making chutney or jam or tomato sauce every day now. I have a couple more jars of courgette and ginger jam. I made half quantity of Mum's hot chutney as jars were short till we got to the market. So we have one jar of chutney and two and a bit of sauce, makes a really good dip for skins, wedges and the like. I had to alter the ingredients a bit, used fresh garlic and ginger as it's so cheap, and can't get raisins locally so used some of my home dried apricots. We haven't tasted yet, it needs to keep for a while.

Last week we bought a thingumy jig to clamp lids on to jars, Bulgarian style. They are only thin so one use, but all the supermarkets sell them, and screw top, to fit all jars. I had been warned thet they were difficult to get the hang of, but they are really easy. You just put weight on the handles and you can feel it clamping. Push down on the buttons to release then do it again after a quarter turn. Great for when you have to immerse bottles in water to cook or sterilise the contents.

After managing to use all my excess produce, lovely neighbour replenished it today, bless her, so bottled some tomato sauce ready for pasta etc in the winter, and as I had bought some carrots in the market, diced and froze the fresh ones, along with some of the courgettes.

We have had a little owl (or two) around in the mornings, but I don't know how Dave saw this little chap on the window ledge of a derelict building.
I also saw my first golden oriel today, a male. They are all over the place, calling from different trees around our plot, but incredibly difficult to see. I can't believe it has taken me six weeks to see one. I was hoeing under the walnut tree when he turned up, but of course I didn't have my camera.

And this is an interesting creature. It is only a small one, a couple of centimetres, and I have seen them much bigger, but they move really fast. This one was caught in my old pan.
Dave has managed to make contact with a Bulgarian chicken breeder who is letting him have a trio on Bulgarian Shumen chickens. They are a rare breed and this chap has been breeding them to increase the stock. They are originally black with large, very red combs, but there are also 'blue' ones now, due to them having to outcross to get the breed back. We are having a blue boy and two black girls. Dave was so disappointed at losing his eggs, hopefully this will re-awaken his interest and he will be able to start his own stud records. So now we need another run, or split the one we have. We may mix them with our's, depending on temperament.

I have had to start making yogurt regularly again. There is a huge range in the supermarkets, but I can't find one thick enough for tzatziki, which we are having every day at the moment, so will have to strain it myself. Shame really as it is so cheap (and convenient) to buy.

I have been in the pool today, and it was lovely. The best thing about getting hot is feeling breathless from the chill of cold water. Not the sea, but the best we can do. It had a puncture yesterday after catching a piece of debris while Dave was strimming. So it is now sporting a round bicycle patch.

We are having our first visitors tomorrow, a couple we met when we came to view houses and who very kindly showed what to look out for, and had us stay in a lovely comfy bed for a night, a luxurious change from the awful hotel we were staying in. It will be nice to see them again and to show them our patch.

Dave had another experience with the very generous Bulgarians today. He had gone to our usual shop for cold drinks and eggs, (he doesn't go often now I make my own bread), but they didn't have any eggs. So he brought his shopping home and went off to try another of the shops. To his amazement they wouldn't take any money. They had gone into the fridge at the back for fresh ones too, they were very nice. Even I had one. We have never used this shop, and now we have a bit of a quandary. Do we continue to use the shop we have used since moving here, use both equaly, or use the new shop for soft drinks and cured meat, which they seem to specialise in. The latter I think. How very kind people can be to a total stranger.

Venka has just been across with a pan of soup. They are delicious her soups, though I have to inspect them well to see if there is any meat in, as one delicious smelling one was chicken. This one looks all veggie though, so tomorrow's supper taken care of. She even brigs them in a pan, ready to use. And I just happen to have made some garlic and oregano bread......

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