After a mild autumn, apart from the blip a couple of months ago, we are at last getting a taste of a Bulgarian winter. We are better off than some, having only had about 15 inches or so, a bit difficult to say as there was a bit of a thaw one day. The snow plough goes around regularly, even all the side roads are done, and it pays to keep an eye on you gate entrance as there can be a build up of moved snow in big heaps at the side of roads and can block your way out in an emergency.
The dogs are loving it, Bella will charge and dig, lying down in the snow to chew on something unmentionable. Bonnie also loves to run and play and is always hopeful that she may be allowed to go out with Dave every time he puts his....er my....wellies on. He bought some new wellies from the market when his wore out, and they lasted just a couple of weeks before going the same way. He has not been able to get any better ones, so I suggested he try my posh wellies I bought last year, thinking they will do me years. They are rubber and waterproof, padded fabric with go fasta stripes, fully adjustable, and large fitting to accommodate the removeable thermal linings. Without these linings they fit him snugly, and now he has got over the idea that they were bought for me (female!) he has taken to them well. With those and a full length waterproof riding coat and woolly hat, he's the business! Just as well because if he was forced to stay out of the weather we would all be climbing the walls.
Dave has been climbing up the hill in breaks in the falling snow trying to find animals which should be visible in the snow. But though he has seen plenty of tracks, seeing actual animals is proving difficult, maybe they have the sense to hole up snug..... But he did catch sight of a moving dot in the distance. He took a photo for ID, and this is one below. Can you see where it is? Answer at the end of the post.
The birds have been eating seed, walnuts and home made fat balls like there is no tomorrow. Mostly large flocks of great tits and tree sparrows, but the black redstart has visited (briefly, no photo) the little yellow serin which Dave got some lovely shots of....then promptly wiped them from his camera!!!! We also have a resident pair of chaffinch, our woodpeckers and the occasional visit from the jay, who looks enormous puffed up against the cold. He is still very shy though and doesn't hang around for a photo call. The only other birds are the odd flock of starlings who are not as brash as those in the UK and don't hang around the house, and a couple of magpies from across the way.
Poor photo of our male chaffinch...poor light and snow hampering visability.
The village is totally whited out. It makes such a difference having no traffic to make dirty slush. There are icicles hanging from the fountain and the skeletons of plants are lovely with a smattering of snow.
The chickens are a bit bewildered. Only the two Shumen hens will have seen snow apart from the little we had earlier. They are huddled together and complain bitterly at you when you go out. They are all getting a warm mash every day and the fences have been arranged so that each of the two groups has a couple of shed options and a space for scratching about in dry ground, the older birds in the wood shed and the chicks in the building next to our living room. They should think themselves lucky, a lot of chickens don't get the option to get out of their sheds! The water, which is indoors, needs the ice breaking a few times during the day, and in the morning they are almost solid with thick ice. It is bitterly cold.
And us humans? Well, Dave is using his surplus energy to clear the paths regularly. I go out in it as much as I need to, which means when the chickens need seeing to or the bird feeders need filling. I have been making cards, and an ex-pat from the other side of the village asked me to make one for his brother, so Dave has gone over to see them with a few for them to select from. Dave has done another quick painting. Quick because if he wants to sell in BG he will have to reduce his prices which means not spending a lot of time refining the pictures, not easy for him. He has another commission from the UK, the money will be put away in the heating pot.
Where I sit in the living room is opposite a badly fitting door, and round the corner from the stove. Along with the position the tiled floor is cold as we only have a rug in the middle of the room because of the muck which makes it's way in. We tried moving a sofa into the kitchen on a temporary basis, but it didn't feel right and was too big for the room, never mind upsetting the dogs. Plan B came into play, sofa moved back and a brand new and unused electric blanket. It is a very temporary measure (we hope) but has already proved popular with Bonnie! (And me) Next year the draughts will be addressed as the winter might not be so kind.