|The tulips are coming into their own, the first coming out amongst the fig|
|Not generally a fan of vinca, but this small one is stunning|
|The far hedgerow in the middle of nowhere is just as prolific as the roadsides|
|Forsythia amongst the blossom|
On the way home we came across three storks hunting in a field on the outskirts of the village. There have been sightings of huge flocks of storks accompanied by birds of prey returning from Africa. They make our sighting of around a dozen seem insignificant, and that was breathtaking enough.
The 21st was the official first day of spring, and as Bulgaria has a celebration for everything, on 22nd there was the annual light show around the old castle in the old part of Veliko Tarnovo. Venka and Jordan went to VT during the day at the start of celebrations and Venka brought me back a spring gift of a pair of knitted slippers, a bar of soap (?) a tiny roll on perfume (Kylie Minogue) and a bunch of scented spring flowers from the garden. Maybe I should shower more!!!!
|My presents from my lovely neighbour|
As well as the natural beauty of our surroundings, things continue to progress in the garden. The border Dave dug has now been planted with tiny seedlings of antirrhinum, nicotiana and poppies and seed has been broadcast on the dry ground where herbs are planted by the 'pool' area. The main bean frame is now ready and sweet peas are sown at the base of their tripods. As well as potatoes and roots there are now cauli and purple sprouting broccoli plants in, and seeds for more cauli and broccoli, sprouts, swede, Tuscan kale and romanesco broccoli. The tomatoes, peppers and cucumber are growing well in the greenhouse.
|The bean structure and the apricot tree|
We went to a nursery the other day where we were tempted by a vast array of summer bedding plants. We did buy a few million bells petunias and some very dark purple ones, plus some geraniums as they love the heat so much here. Today we bought some cosmos seed and gladdies which were going cheap, so there is no excuse for us not having a colourful cottage style garden amongst the veg and fruit, better than the jungle of weeds last year!
All five of the chicks seem to be thriving. The tiny Shumens decided that they wanted to join their three week old cousins next door and found a tiny gap to squeeze through. They soon set about putting their huge new friends in their place, and being docile the marans accepted the tinies and they have all become firm friends. (Unfortunately the cute little Poland didn't make it) This leaves a pen free for any that might hatch this week. We are not holding out much hope for the araucanas but there should be some shumen chicks. The chap we got the araucana eggs from has kindly said he will send us some more to replace the infertile ones, so they will be going in after this hatch, with another batch of marans from another producer. We are planning on keeping marans and hatching our own eggs next year as there seems to be a demand for them and at least that way we are not wasting money buying infertile eggs.
The other chickens are doing well, the ex-batts are continuing to improve and one of my little pullets, Pearl or Darcy, has laid her first egg. I have a feeling it is Darcy with the twisted feet, she has been running around making a lot of noise for the last few days. Yesterday Dave rotovated the bit of temporary run which will be my salad bed, sheltered from the hot sun by borlotti beans, and dug up (and slightly damaged) a mole cricket. These are large creatures, about two and a half inches long, which burrow under the ground destroying plants from below, just what we don't want in the garden. This one, though still very much alive, was damaged so it was thrown into the chooks and quietly picked up by Millie who sneaked off for a protein hit on her own. Sneaky. Usually the others make a fuss if they find something tasty and a chase is usually the result. But Millie managed to keep hold of this revolting creature despite Molly noticing the final morsel going down.
|Ugh, I like bugs generally, but this is UGLY!|