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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Feeling good in the sun

We have had a lovely day today. There are only a few remnants of snow left and after a stunning sunrise the sun came out and the warmth is just what we need. It wasn't long before Dave had his top off and then there was the whole reveal of legs as the shorts were dusted off. He has been desperate to get outside and do some jobs so today he has been buzzing around all over the place. The first job was to bang some nails in the new roof before staining the dry bits. Then it was off to start on a cold frame in the raised area by the big gates. He is using the windows which came out of the bedroom when it was blocked up to make way for the door and stairs. Then al fresco lunch (meatballs made from one of the sausages Venka gave us with pasta and our own roast veg sauce bottled in summer, walnut balls for me) It is hard to believe there was so much snow just a couple of days ago. Then it was slicing a bit off the new chicken door and adding a spring bolt. Then tidying the compost heap....he's had a lovely day.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that Mimi, the missing dog, has returned. I was sitting watching telly the other day when something caught my eye running along the chicken fence, and there was Mimi on the way home. No idea where she came from, she can't get in from the right and i am surprised the girls hadn't noticed she was in the garden. She found a hole in the fence and was through to baba Dochca, closely followed by Dave blocking yet another hole! Dochka didn't seem entirely sure of grabbing Mimi to tie her up, but we left her to it. If she's worried about grabbing her there is no way we want to.

We had a message on Dave's phone this morning from a courier company to say they were making a delivery later. It was all in Bulgarian....thank goodness for Google Translate! Wonderful, it was a dozen maran eggs which we didn't know if we had ordered or not, there had been a bit of confusion in translation with the chicken breeder, then he had tried to phone and put the phone down when he realised Dave didn't speak any Bulgarian. But all's well and they will be going into the incubator tomorrow with five of Cagney's as they are there.

Venka came round with more goodies today. They are walnut sweet things, not sure I am keen but Dave loves them and wants me to get the recipe....hmmm, difficult.

The bulbs which we knew were somewhere in the garden have been happily growing under the snow, and a good few snowdrops are now in flower. The sun has brought the bees out in force though there is not much for them, but they were buzzing around the snowdrops and there were loads on the chicken food. There must be something in it they like.

 A bee in the snowdrop

The dogs are also lapping up the sun. Bella is a real outdoor dog and loves to sit on the wall keeping an eye on everything, nose forever twitching. Bonnie likes the best of both worlds, a mat next to the fire which was still warm and the sun coming in the open door. That's after she has been in and out dozens of times, bringing mud in and keeping me busy.

Poor Sevi, he has suffered frostbite on his extremities. The tips of his comb and the end of his wattles have suffered. He may lose his spikes and the dead skin has already started to come off his wattles which we have had to spray with purple spray to stop the ladies pecking at him. They can't resist a bit of red! So he has not only lost his youthful virile looks but is now covered in girly purple. Not as much as we are though, that stuff gets everywhere! He is not really bothered and is still strutting his stuff and giving his ladies a lot of attention.

In the kitchen I have made another nectarine tart, this time with an almond topping. They were a real success the nectarines, though I seem to remember ripping my hair out when trying to stone the things and ending up with mush! In future I will only stone and halve the ones which want to be stoned and save my energy. These chunks are just fine. More than fine.
And finally for today, the pear tree is definitely looking as if it is getting ready for spring, the buds are swelling nicely, as are those on the cornus. Lovely.


  1. lovely to see signs of Spring at your place. We still have a lot of snow here in Canada.

    1. Hang on in there Gill, spring will arrive....along with mud...and the world will seem so much better.

  2. They make something similar here called 'walnut salami', I guess it's a regional thing. Here's the recipe: warm up 200ml milk, 100g butter, 100g sugar, 50g bitter chocolate (broken into chunks) until it melts together. leave to cool a bit and add a few drop of rum essence. In another bowl, mix 500g of smashed up biscuits, 3 tbs of cocoa, 100g of crushed walnut, and a few pieces of candied fruit (rahat/lokum), Mix this into the milk mixture. Then take lay out a sheet of foil, sprinkle generously with some finely crushed walnut, spread the mixture out on top, and roll up like a ballotine. Leave to cool and set and slice.

    1. That sounds as if it could be very similar, apart from the chocolate. And instead of candied fruit there was chopped up Turkish delight type stuff. Research needed I think. Thank you.

  3. I'm enjoying your blog. Your house and garden are really beautiful. The dogs and hens look happy and content. I'd love to hear more about your log fire and how you keep the house warm. Are you able to dry clothes outdoors already (Feb 2014) The weather is cold, wet and stormy here in Ireland and in the UK. I wish you both all the best and thank you so much for letting us share in your dream life!

    1. Thank you Noreen for your lovely comments. There is not a lot to say about the log fires really. We don't heat the water by fire as when we moved in there were new water heaters in both shower rooms so the disruption of changing the plumbing didn't seem worthwhile. The fire is only used for four months anyway. We have a 14kw in the kitchen with oven, the top is hot enough to cook on too. The heat from that goes up the stairs and is enough to heat our room then go through to keep the rest of upstairs frost free. The small burner upstairs is lit if we are crafting up there, or lit and let go out if the weather is very bitter. We use a builder's barrow of logs on a really cold day, and it keeps going all night. Although it is only mid feb we are not using it during the day. And yes, we can dry clothes outside all year round. When the sun comes out it is really warm, but we don't get a lot of wind. In weather when it would freeze in seconds, the fire is in so it dries indoors. I would love one of those old fashioned drying racks, but the ceiling is too low and the dust from the fire awful at times.

      We have three new hens, so update soon.......

  4. The photo of the house is really impressive, I love the steps and the windows. Your winter seems to have passed in a flash, shorts in February are but a dream in the UK.
    I half expected to see Dave waddling along carrying about 30 stone after all these sweet delicacies he has been munching on.
    I can't wait to get out to Bulgaria to gain some similar experiences, so keep writing as it is so inspiring.

    1. Yes, winters are short though I believe this one was thought to be longer as it was mild. After six month winters in the UK it seemed to go in a flash.We were lucky in a way as we had a couple of cold spells which has let us know what to expect and what to prepare for in case of harsh times next year.

      Dave is hyperactive and has to be doing things all the time so can cope with the calorie intake. I am lucky that I do not have a sweet tooth as I carry far too much weight and if I ate half of what he does I would be bed ridden. Due to arthritis I am limited in how much I can do, but even so I thought I would have lost more weight with not having the temptation of the supermarket where I worked and all the fresh veg I eat...and only a small percentage of the butter I used to scoff!