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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The kitchen is coming along

The snow is on it's way out now, the sun is surprisingly warm when it comes out and even when there has been a sharp frost it soon starts melting. Unfortunately the resulting mud is very sticky and the dogs race in with big clumps on their feet! Thank goodness we are tiled all through downstairs. The chickens are all doing silly walks as the mud clumping on their feet makes them heavy. They have access to all the outbuildings and path but still paddle in the mud occasionally. Then wipe their feet on the window ledge!!!!
 Silver and Venus checking up on us
 When you see the Shumen hen next to Silver you realise just how big she is!
We seem to be rather busy at the moment. We were looking forward to a bit of 'us' time while the builders were gone, but since Dave had picked up the timber for the kitchen project it seemed a better idea to get it out of the damp garage and start making units. We have started the tiling and have done the stretch behind the sink, tiling over the brown splashback (which is actually a worktop) with cheap and cheerful tiles. We are being very careful with money so are buying the cheapest we can, though strangely the timber we bought because we couldn't afford units is putting the original units to shame. Dave is doing an amazing job for someone who can't do woodwork. As previously mentioned we had the work top made. It is 3.5 metres long so plenty of space to get baking. Unfortunately we have been unable to get linseed oil locally so are using Danish oil, which we brought with us.It means that there is no colour in it but it is bringing out the knots and grain nicely. I am looking forward to getting the kitchen sorted once and for all, and we will be very careful to cover up when the builders arrive back. It seems the plaster can not be applied smooth, it has to be sanded smooth, so mega mess yet to come!

We have filled the bird feeders under the apricot tree and have had our first birds. The great tits were first, then woodpecker came for a look-see but was a bit confused. Then the jay, he didn't stay long, and now the tree sparrows have descended. That will keep Mrs "shoo" happy, they might leave her chicken feed alone. We have used a mix of cage bird feed and pigeon feed as wild bird seed is very expensive. The nuts are walnuts from our own tree.

The other day when we went out we saw huge flocks of small birds all along the roads. We slowed down to try to work out what they were, and it seems they are mixed flocks of finches. We identified the usual subjects, sparrows, chaffinch, gold finch, but there were also bramblings (new to me) and what look rather like siskins. A real mixed bunch who kept just out of range for a decent photo, but we managed to blow some up for ID.

I have to admit that birds are not a subject I know a lot about.

The dogs are enjoying having a fire in most of the time. They are well and truly over worrying about spitting logs, but I do worry that Bonnie may be getting a bit too close! When they are not basking by the fire they insist on cramming onto the small sofa with me. Not really enough room for two big dogs and me!

In the kitchen I have tried a new recipe, this time for lemon polenta fingers. Strange texture but very lemony. I am planning on taking half of it and half a banana traybake, as well as a quiche, to the English neighbours' house in a couple of days, where they are having a get-together.

Also did a batch of spiced walnuts which I found really moreish and Dave didn't. I think he would rather have chocky. We have now started opening the Advent calendars sent from Dave's old work colleagues and the pleasure he gets from those tiny bits of Cadbury's chocolate has to be seen to be believed!

And finally, the chicks at bed time. They are looking very grown up and the first four are nearly as big as the mother hens. Seems one has no mates though!


  1. Note to oneself - clean the cobwebs out of the chicken shed.

  2. Hi Dave and Sara.....I am getting really addicted to reading your blog. I am in absolute awe of all you achieved in such a short time. You have adapted so quickly to a brand new lifestyle and culture. I look forward to tales of a Bulgarian Christmas. Lots of good wishes from us, Julia , Peter, Bold Barney and Bouncy( Bossy) Bessy.........woofs to Bella and Bonnie.

    1. Thanks Julia, it's lovely that you have stuck with it, we really appreciate your comments. It seems Christmas is at last coming to Bulgaria with our first party in two days. I don't usually do parties but will be nice for Dave, and it will be good to chat rather than using sign language and the odd phrase!

      Return woofs to Bold Barney and Bessy, and I hope you and Peter have a lovely Christmas..

  3. Danish oil or Teak oil is fine for bare wood. Needs to be applied in thin coats allowed to dry, buffed up with fine wire wool then another layer applied and repeatwiththe wire wool. Build up layers slowly until you get the require depth. I know this because I treat my rifle stocks in the same way ;)

  4. I'm loving the units - they look fab. When me and the better half finally go there is one thing I, like you, won't be leaving at home - my Kenwood chef!!

  5. Too right! I let my Mum get rid of her's when she gave up cooking, but bought this on offer before coming out here (Not trendy enough for most!) Specifically for bread, but I use it a lot for all sorts.

    Dave will be chuffed to get a nice comment about the units. I would love to have the ones we already have replaced. Who knows what will happen. I suppose it will depend how happy he is when they are finished.

  6. It's a good winter project while you're (Dave's) stuck inside. The OH loves the units - she's very much a rustic girl at heart. As for our chef - I reckon it's been used at least once a day for the past three years. Like you mostly for bread (the dough hook is superb) but also for salads and sauces.
    Good to see pictures from inside the house too. Have fun :)

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