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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Spring has sprung!

All around us there are signs that spring is well and truly on the way. We are still having frosts and no doubt there will be some horrible weather to come, but at the moment the sun is shining and temperatures are up, gaining the dizzy heights of 24 degrees air temperature today.

The other day Dave couldn't resist a walk in the hills and got some lovely shots of the sunrise and great footage of the roe deer playing. I wish I could get up there, but at least I can see what he does in pictures.

A couple of days ago we made a return visit to our local waterfalls at Hotnitsa, cameras in hand, to see what changes we would see. The last time we went, in summer, there was a very pretty waterfall falling into a pool of milky blue water, overgrown foliage along the stream and masses of biting insects. This time, thanks to rain and snow melt, we heard the water falling from a way off. The water was churned by the force and the stream was gushing. It was deafening and really quite exhillarating. On wandering along he stream there were many wildflowers coming through and the birds were giving it all they had. We saw our first robin since coming out to Bulgaria. There were a good few trees adorned with martinitsas, put on a blossoming tree once the wearer has seen the first stork of the season. We had yet to see one. We drove around the back of the falls where there is a deep ravine /gorge where the stream comes. Unfortunately we didn't get chance to stop for photos, but did get a few of birds. On the way home we went through a village with snow on the ground, while we were sweating in the car!

Dave wandering off



Mini bracket fungus

Martinitsas in the trees

                                           Grey wagtail singing his heart out
                                                 Pied wagtail

                                              Our first robin

We had unexpected visitors as well the other day. A ring on the door bell revealed our Russian friend with a couple from UK on a house viewing trip. They had a good look round and the chap was quite impressed with what we had and what we were doing. It turned out that they were not a couple, he had picked the lady up as a hitch hiker and she had stayed for the drive over to Bulgaria. It is amazing how many locals have houses to show to prospective buyers and were there to try to get them interested. They were taken off by a builder who had a few houses to show and are still in the village so maybe they have found something interesting.

We had a bit of a scare yesterday when the electricity went off at 7.45 am for over an hour. We had lit a fire as it was icy outside, and the incubator came downstairs wrapped in towels to try to keep it warm, and put near the fire. The chicks had to come in to the kitchen which pleased nanny Bella, she is fascinated with chicks. If these eggs ever hatch it will be a miracle! Dave tried going to the village hall to find out if it was going to be a long cut, but there was no-one there.

Yesterday we also took the dogs for their rabies boosters. The vet and her team seemed quite impressed with the girls' behaviour...until Bella disgraced herself by helping herself to an open bag of dog food! Bless her, tha lab in her is always up for extra food. On the way back home we made a detour to the river and the girls tried hunting for suslik while we took a few photos of a heron. We saw our first stork on a nest too, at last we could remove the rather grubby martinitsas and leave them on the cornel tree which is bursting with flower. We couldn't let the girls go into the river, it was deep and fast from recent rain.
                                            Our martinitsas in the cornel tree
                                           The actual flowers are tiny

Last night we went round to our English neighbours' house for drinks and chats which was lovely, but it was a late night, coupled with Dave jumping out of bed at regular intervals to check the incubators which are giving slight reasons for concern. A bit worrying with forty odd eggs in there! It is a waiting game to see if any of the eggs will hatch. First are due in three days. Fingers crossed. Meanwhile the three maran chicks are doing well, proper little chunks. We showed them to Venka and she is fascinated with their hairy legs!

This morning it was an early start to get into Veliko Tarnovo for a bird fair. We were told it was quite a big affair with lots of chickens, but parking would be a problem. Actually we managed to park right outside but the event was not quite what I was expecting. It seems that fancy pigeons are big in BG, they were there in their hundreds, all shapes with the most amazing hair dos. Sad that some had so much feather on their feet that they couldn't walk properly and seemingly couldn't fly either as they were in open boxes and crates. There were also some seriously huge hens and cockerels, a few bantams, ducks and geese, peafowl, partridge, giant rabbits stuffed into too small cages, and a box of puppies. Hardly any hens though, and certainly few pure breds. I was quite glad to leave.

On the way home we stopped at the DIY store for a nosey, and found they had rose bushes and fruit bushes for less than a quid each so came home with two climbing roses, a highly scented tea rose, two black currants, a blackberry and two geraniums. Compensation for the disappointment of the bird fair.

Spring is also happening in the garden. The vinca is flowering it's cheerful blue flowers, daffs are opening, there are rows of peas up and all the buds are growing daily. We also have signs of life from the twigs which are our raspberries.

Dave has started to dig flower borders, no easy task and it looks as if there will be a battle going on with the particularly coarse grass roots. I have put in two different types of parsnips, carrots and beetroots. I am trying to keep check on varieties to see what does best. I have also pricked out most of the tomatoes, giving us about sixty, over thirty being for preserving. Any plants we don't need will be passed on.
                                              The root patch
                                                      The new border, Dave really sweated over this.

I have replenished the greetings cards ready for the people who wanted some. We are going round there for lunch tomorrow. So much to do...and sunbathe too given the chance!


  1. We stopped at the bird fair too and then went to the DIY store. I wonder if we passed each other!

    1. Possible. I didn't hear any British voices but did see some people who didn't 'look' Bulgarian, but looked a bit horrified at some of the 'exhibits'. Some things are a bit tough to see.