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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

And still it snows.

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 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.

And the patterns on the inside of the frozen windows, fascinating.

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.
 That stove comes in handy!

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.

The stove being lit all the time means there is plenty of heat going begging for cooking. It is ideal, on low, for making rice pudding or layered potato bakes, and when hot, garlic bread, pizza, yummy cheese scones (well, I had to have something to go with the Lurpak!) roast veggies and potatoes. I am trying not to make cakes as we are trying to make do with the few eggs we are getting from the ladies, though Yorkshire puddings are a must at least once a week, in one form or another.

And finally, the dot in the distance which you acnnot see in the first picture. Fuzzy but recognisable.

 Dave said he was hunting for small creatures under the snow, but there was no hope of a video at this distance!

I just hope he doesn't decide to visit us....or our chooks! Stick to hunting rodents Mr Fox.


  1. The snow looks lovely, we have wet or miserable days at the minute over here, so not nice at all. We are fearing that it may be the same as last year and snow later. At least you have your hobbies to keep you occupied like you card making and Dave's painting to occupy yourselves. Roll on Spring and Summer I say!! Love to you both, Cindy XX

    1. We could really do with some of your rain Cindy, but we have nearly 18 inches of snow now so that will have to do. As you say it is a lot prettier than rain and the dogs are coming in clean!

  2. Super cold and miserable here in Wisconsin too. I love reading your blog and just recently found you. One suggestion I have for your drafty door, make a draft dodger. I just had to do that for my kitchen door and I also made one for the living room window to hold the curtains on the windowsill to keep the cold from rolling across the floors. I just sewed up a tube of some scrap material and stuffed it with tinier scraps and a bit of rice to give it some weight. It really keeps the cold out, even my husband who is oblivious to most things commented that the one in the window is helping. ;) Keep up the good posting, I love reading what people around the world are up to.

    1. Hi there. I am hoping the weather will not last too long, it is only a month till we can expect spring weather. The problem with the door is because when the people who had the house before us had renovations done they did such a bad job on the floor tiles they had to cut a (rough) notch out of the door to shut it! Other than re-laying the floor all we can do is block the gap with a draught excluder and something similar to what you describe. When in Rome......

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate the feedback. And I hope your bad weather doesn't last too much longer.

  3. Your snow looks lovely! I do find that the older I get the more I feel the cold weather. We wear jackets in the house most of the winter. My bald husband wears a knit cap too. Our winter has had some very, very cold weather for a week, but mostly just at freezing or above. Snow for only one day so we haven't been house bound. We can get our cold weather blowing down from Alaska and Canada and our warm winter rains come up from Hawaii, called The Pineapple Express. (I am in the western part of the state of Washington, near Seattle.) We are hoping not to see anymore snow this winter, but we can get it in February and the first part of March. Not usually after that. I loved seeing the dogs enjoying the weather and one lying on the electric blanket! Looks like the place to be. Oh, and good luck with the door. I am madly hanging clear shower curtain liners in my windows because they let in the light while keeping out the drafts, and rolled up blankets along the bottom of the doors. I think it is helping.
    Have a great day, Tana

    1. Hi Tana. I also feel the cold more these days, but am convinced that it is (besides age) because I have let go of my outside life and instead of tending horses and walking dogs I just care for the chickens, hardly enough to get the blood pumping. Yesterday we had both fires going and I wore a long sleeved t-shirt, thick jumper and heavy fleece, Dave was in a t-shirt. Next year will be a test as this year has been very mild for Bulgaria. Our temperatures at night are down to around -8, but if the sun comes out during the day it can feel quite warm. The old lab is not letting Bella get on the nice warm blanket, but I hope she doesn't get used to it, it is not staying!

  4. It seems to be cold everywhere these days, except for those who live down under. I am venturing out when I have to, shopping and short dog walks, but it is bitterly cold in the wind. No snow yet. I'm dreaming about summer holidays.

    1. I have noticed it is getting you down! Chin up, think of the coming spring....and your summer holidays. We are at that place where we don't need or want holidays yet, but hope to get out and about in spring, my favourite time of the year and first in Bulgaria.