There was an error in this gadget

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter in our house

I am not at all religious, and in the past Easter has meant a few days off work and/or extra money. But somehow it has taken on a new meaning here. Not in a religious way, just in a spring and friendly way.

Our first Easter happening is that Cagney's eggs hatched, four out of six.....she gave up on the other two even though they were not due to hatch until today. We have put them in the incubator but I think we were too late. Apart from that Cagney is a very attentive mother, though she has been chunnering away to herself as every time she settles down for a dust bath all the chicks pile in and one time got flung away as she bathed, accidentally of course. The chicks are very tiny being Shumens, Cagney is quite a large chicken. She is so funny though, so busy and attentive but expecting the little scraps to climb mountains (step) and telling us off if we try to help. All the neighbours have been in for a look and Venka has been handing out kisses to them, she adores baby animals. The other hens are, in the main, being respectful of the chicks, possibly due to Cagney being head hen. Darcy took a swipe but not in a nasty way.
Contented Mum

Wait for us Mum.....


Oh heck, how do you get up there?

Made it!

One of the older Shumen chicks having a look at babies

My chicken run is looking very full of chickens now. The ex-commercials have joined the others and the bullying has been sorted out amicably enough. Molly was first to put them in their place and Mandy has kept reminding them that they are the newbies and should show respect to the other residents. They take the telling off in good part and even bully is happier. Once we moved them over we realised how pathetic they were next to the Ms, who are a picture of health now. Apart from the feathers the Ts are very pale. It was good to see them tentatively dust bathing and trying to scratch, but not really sure why. But they are a bit bolder that the Ms were and only hid in the back of the shed for a short while. They came out under their own steam when the door was opened this morning, one had even perched on the high perch and was sitting next to Chubba, albeit looking a litte worried!

Sticking together

Mostly harmonic

Even the big chicks are out

Mandy has taken on the role of disciplinarian to the new girls

Milly hunting snails

The big chicks (and their smaller shumen chicks) have also been out exploring. Phew, what a busy pen. The two Shumen girls will be going to their new home in a couple of weeks so need to be hardening off, though they seem to be tougher than the huge maran chicks! They are getting brave and as there is so much going on everyone seems to be getting along. But they are not pretty and I will be sending their new owner a picture later as a sort of warning that they are looking a bit prehistoric!

I got a piece of Dave's precious beef out for a nice roast dinner which, with the ground being too wet to work, we decided to have at lunch time. It was a poor decision and it turned out to be a frantic morning, but in a good way. Easter is the most important religious time in BG, bigger than Christmas. There are traditions concerned with handing out dyed and painted eggs and bread. We were going to decorate some eggs but were not sure if it was appropriate with being incomers, so we decided, for this year, to see what happened and then we will know for next year.

The first ring on the doorbell was our neighbour from behind. They handed us a plate of three eggs, bread and sweeties. Baba Gimcha (sp) chattered away to us and we gathered we were invited for 'cafe' which could mean coffee but could mean a feast washed down with rakia. But as she talks so fast and took no notice when we said we couldn't understand her, we are not sure. She talks very differently to Venka, who uses more mime to get things accross.
Next it was our young Russian neighbours with some sweets, tulips and very modern eggs with pictures of the Simpsons drawn on. They had their little boy with them so we invited them in to see the chicks, he loves chickens it seems.

Next Baba Danka from accross the road came over with yet more eggs and sweet bread. She also had a tour of chicken city, she has not seen the Shumens before and was impressed with Sevi. She marvelled over the chicks and had a tour of the veggie patch.

Then Venka came over with even more eggs and bread! She came to see Cagney and gave one of her babies some kisses (she so loves the babies)

So although we had made Easter cards (sorry, Tanya, missed you out) and we had the anemones to give, we decided to make a carrot and walnut cake and decorate it UK style, so while I was trying to save dinner (Yorkies and beef were cold by now) I was also making a huge cake to cut into four. Dinner was cold and soggy, but hey, it was for a good cause.The cake turned out fine but it was quite thickand took ages to cool. Made butter icing...the butter was not the nicest but needs must...and Dave made some paste chicks and the cakes were decorated with these and sugar flowers.
Cagney and her first chick made a lovely subject for an Easter card

We tried Baba Danka first, but she wasn't in, what a let down. Tanya was delighted with hers, as was our rear neighbour, Angel. Came in for Vanka's bit and she was talking to Angel's wife, Baba Gimcha. Next moment Dave was told to get some shoes on as we were going round for 'cafe'.

 This was the first time I had been round there, though Dave was given a tour of the garden last year and had described it as absolutely immaculate, and it was There is not a weed anywhere, they have huge hostas with totally pristine, shiny leaves. A canopy of rose and one of vines, dicentras of several colours, very pretty. This tiny couple are easily the same age as Venka, very bent and they do all the plot with no machines, just get someone to plough in autumn. He shimmies up a ladder to see to his mass of vines and fruit trees himself. They really put us soft Brits to shame.

So lots of gossip, meats and bread, fruit juice and of course rakia. They still can't gather that we can't yet speak Bulgarian, they have no idea what a hard language it is to learn, especially when you spend so little time speaking to them, what you do learn tends to be forgotten by the time you get to use it again. But with Venka's help we managed

. We sat outside (neither Dave or I had socks on and didn't want to take shoes off) and it was lucky that the table was under a balcony as there was a huge clap of thunder or five and the heavens opened. We waited as long as we could then had to make a dash for it as the chooks needed locking up. We had already dicussed the people who had lost chickens to the belka (marten) last year, all around us. We went on our way with a large bottle of rakia! Bless them.

Easter continues for another couple of days yet. The sun is shining and I hope it continues as we need to get our tomatoes in, we are well behind every one else.

A couple of apologies. It seems some people see a blank screen where the nightingale should be on a previous post so we have a new one on YouTube here

And those who might have read this post when I inadvertantly posted it instead of saving it to continue today, I do apologise for poor spelling and gobbledegook. I can't see the keyboard very well at night due to poor lighting so usually spend a lot of time checking before posting.


  1. Glad the bullying has been sorted out.
    So love reading your blog and looking at your great photos. The wildlife looks fantastic.
    Be careful driving about won't you ....

    Your garden is looking fab!

    Hope you had a relaxing day. take care sweet.
    Rw x

    1. Apologies for the bad spelling. lack of photos and unfinished story! I started this post after rakia with the neighbours as there was nothing on the box but clicked the wrong button on going to bed, it was supposed to save it to finish today. Anyway, thanks for your lovely comments, very much I had better get to it!

  2. When I was living in Greece many years ago for Easter I was given a wicker basket with painted eggs, bread in the shape of a lamb, and two bottles of wine. My wife was away at the time so I ate the bread and drank the wine leaving the painted eggs in the basket. After a few days a jacket went over the basket, then a few shirts and other assorted clothing until the eggs were out of sight, and out of mind. A month later my wife returned and complained that there was a dreadful smell in the flat, and after a bit of searching found a couple of broken rancid eggs.

    Really enjoying your blog :)

    1. I felt a bit guilty throwing the eggs away but we had no idea how old they were. I think you get more and more fussy with freshness when you produce so much of your own food. The three week shelf life on bought eggs fills me with horror!

      And thank you once again for your kind comments.