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Friday, 13 September 2013

Coming in to Autumn

Well, I made grape and pear jelly with the windfalls picked up the other day. And very nice it is too. It'll go well with meat or nut roast. The texture is a bit wrong, it is definitely jelly, but slightly gluey as if maybe boiled too long. If I do any more I will probably add pectin and boil for a lot less time. All learning.
While rummaging in the undergrowth I realised that there were a lot of fruits I had not noticed before. The leaves are falling and undergrowth is thinning (though it's still extremely hot!) so things are coming to light. There are four quince trees dripping with fruit at the border between us and the house behind. There is no doubt that as they ripen several will fall into our garden. So I will be experimenting with them later. They are huge, weighing a good 8oz (250g) each.
Also in the garden we have managed to sow a late lot of seeds for salad, chard, carrots and beetroot. I have commandeered the border Dave has cleared for flowers next year. It seems a shame to let weed free ground just sit doing nothing. I have worked round the herbs, rhubarb, roses and vines, and even left a bit for spring bulbs. We have no doubt that the dreaded weeds, which we now know are hops since the ones left rampant over the lane are now producing their fruit. Dave has put the last of the vine posts in so has stopped trampling the ground. If the seeds don't grow, so be it, but if we never did anything because it might not work we wouldn't be in Bulgaria! It's been too hot during summer to grow things like lettuce out of sight behind the chickens, especially if I forget to water!
The bird life is changing in the garden. We rarely hear an oriole any more, the swallows and martins have been collecting on wires and there are flocks of bee-eaters and other birds flying over. We thought the swallows were lessening but possibly with it being so dry they have been feeding nearer the water where there are more flies. We do have a spotted fly catcher in the garden. It has possibly been here a while but now the leaves are changing colour and falling we can see more. We had a short shower the other night which brought out the small flies in clouds, followed by swallows, then this lovely little bird. Sitting on the wire, there were so many flies around it that it didn't seem to know where to go.

The chicks are going out in a little run of their own for a while each day, and have found the delights of free range grasshoppers! I think it is not good for them to be inside when we have all this free sunshine available. It is funny watching such tiny scraps scratching around like grown ups. There are definitely two blues here.

Also in the chickens, we are missing Bunty. Because she was white she really stood out and brightened the flock. Now we have all black and brown it looks odd and a bit dull. Silly really as all have lovely tones in their feathers, even the all black ones have a green sheen.

We have, at last, cleared one of the bed rooms of boxes and clothes. It's a big room, and is now set up ready for visitors if anyone wants to come, but also, as there is a large dining table and two windows it is ideal for our arty crafty stuff which we hope to be using in the winter days when we are confined to the house. The small stove which we thought we would put in the corridor is now going into this room. I believe it will still heat the rest of the upstairs from there, but if winter is a bad one we can always sleep in there if necessary.

We went to a local car boot sale over the weekend to see what people sell there. It seems it is free to sell. There are a mixture of British selling odds and ends and Bulgarians selling more interesting odds and ends as well as old bits of ironmongery which look like instruments of torture, and a few selling the local honey.
Surprisingly only one stall had any produce and a few cakes, so there may be an opening there for us to make a few pence. With cakes, English style produce and crafts we might be able to make enough to at least pay the bills next year. We had visitors yesterday who go regularly and they reckon that cakes would go down really well. I am surprised there weren't any besides the few we saw on that one stall. Time will tell.

The weather continues to be hot, but the last few days have been very humid as well, with clouds. We had one small shower, just enough to lay the dust for a few hours, but desperately need more to clear the air. It had been quite cool over night but is now hot and sticky again. Must be careful what we wish for however. I have just heard on the news that there may be snow in Scotland this weekend......


  1. The little chicks are growing fast and are so cute.
    I envy you table in the just finished bedroom, just perfect for craft work, I have to bring all my stuff down on the dining room table but we don't have that brilliant light outside as we have a grape vine growing over the Pergola.
    I am just tossing up whether to make some wine from the grapes this year.

  2. 14 Shumen eggs due to hatch in about 8 days time so soon will be more chicks to go ah over.