There are appeals for aid but this is a poor country and a lot of people struggle. Many have no insurance, it is so sad. The sun is now out and it is very hot, but crops in the fields have mildew and are flattened so it is a bit late.
So although we are swamped with weeds and just can't seem to get on top of them with the rain, we also have planty of produce and if we knew anyone who could benefit from some of it we would gladly give our excess away. We have had to pull up the rest of the brown onions and put them to dry. Some of the stems are full of water and I have no idea how long they will last, but I have plaited the first lot and hung them in the barn to dry a bit more. Will keep an eye and freeze some if needed, and the very small ones have either been pickled or frozen for use in roast veges in the winter. The red ones are a better size and are still in the ground until we have space for them, or if it threatens rain.
|The onion patch before.....|
|Trying to dry some of the onion, they may be a lost cause and might end up dried or frozen|
|Pickled for Dave|
|Onions in the barn|
|Garlic in the cellar|
The beans are going great guns and I have given quite a lot away, as well as other things, to people who were late getting thir gardens in order. The French beans, especially, seem to grow at a manic pace and we have lots in the freezer already. The runners are well on the way to being a glut and the borlotti seeds are swelling well. The ones I expected to do best are not doing too well at the moment, we are getting plenty off the yellow beans but as a local variety they are maybe not enjoying the wet weather as much as the others.
|Runner, yellow and French, daily amount at the moment|
|Lunch for one, beans with skordalia, odd but yummy|
|The borlotti are swelling|
|Fancy squash, not sure if they are for eating but they look pretty|
We have nearly finished the potatoes and will be putting more in later, but the ones Venka planted in our British neighbours' garden are totally stripped of leaf by Colorado beetle, Dave was quite horrified when he saw them and realises that picking the little blighters off was worth the effort. The cherry tomatoes in the tubs continue to give plenty of fruit and we have found that there are a lot more cherry tomato plants in the garden as it seems they have got muddled up with the 'normal' tomatoes. No problem, I will bottle some in tomato juice to use as a veg in winter. All the plants have plenty of fruit and the peppers, aubergines, okra and chillies have all recovered a bit now. The butternut squash are setting more and more fruits, we will be inundated it seems. The courgettes continue to glut and melons are forming small fruit. I have a fresh lot of beetroot growing, the ones we still have from the first batch we are using for pickling and fresh eating. I actually had to buy some beetroot to make chutney as it has taken off and I have used all my large beets. Where the potatoes were we have done a long line of leeks, they were getting so big I was thinking we will be eating them before we have chance to plant them out. The potatoes will go either in the pea/broad bean bed or onion bed.
|Sweetcorn, never grown it before|
In the fruit line, the strawberries have thrown out lots of runners so we will be extending the bed for next year. They were a bit of a dead loss this year, plenty of fruit but mushy with too much rain. We will have to be more prepared next year and find some straw to put under the fruit. We have had our first raspberry...just the one...but the other plants are looking good with planty of flowers coming. The apricots are ripening and there seems to be plenty of usable fruit despite us thinking we wouldn't get any because of disease. The cherry plum tree has lots of fruit, but Venka can have them for rakia, we don't eat a lot and still have some in the freezer, bottled and jammed from last year. A large branch fell off the tree last week for no apparent reason, just weight of fruit and rain maybe. The black plum is shedding fruit but there is still plenty on. The small early pear has masses of fruit which are a good size for bottling, so will do a few small bottles later. The walnut is looking good. Our little Bramley apple tree is doing OK, but both cherry saplings have died. For what they cost we can buy enough cherries for years so not really bothered.
And the flower garden is still looking good. I have taken most of the poppy plants out today as they are turning yellow which is giving more room for the cosmos to follow through. The antirrhinums are continuing to give a great display with really lovely colours, the nicotianas are still flambuoyant and the sweet peas are giving just enough to keep the scent going in the house, despite being targetted by the geese. The roses are growing vigourously despite the rain spoiling the flowers. Perennials such as echinacea, gladioli, crocosmia and cannas are looking strong, but the hollyhocks have put on lots of leaf but no flowers.
|This is dark red and velvety, but looks totally different with the sun shining through.|
|We have had to remove the self sown pumpkin, those laterals are one day's growth, far too much for the path.|
Five of the oldest chicks have gone to their new home. We unfortunately have a lot more males than we thought, not sure what Dave will do about them. Today the Shumen broody is hatching her chicks (4 at time of writing) but we will not be doing any more in the incubator. If a hen goes broody we will let her have some as Cagney did a great job with her four, despite losing three to the weather and one disappearance. The ex-batts are all looking well and feathered, though Mandy has never really become sound. Dave can't tell the difference between them now as the second lot have at last grown good feathers, another reason why we might be getting less eggs if they are using their energy to produce feathers. They are a cheeky lot, always in your way. One of them sizes up to the geese still and has taken another shaking, not the brightest bird. But generally they all get out of the way when the geese are driven through to their pen. The geese look really well and are trying to get bolshy with Sevi. But Sevi comes into his own and can see all five off easily. The goose pen will now be shut off as the chicks are too small for their big feet and anyway I wouldn't trust them to not hurt the little ones. They like to taste absolutely everything...including cameras!
|C'mon girls, these aren't bad|
|Chubba having her say|
|Success...an egg in the catcher (with the top open) from Milly|
We seem to have a lot more birds in the garden this year. At the moment there are loads of swallows as the first of the year's chicks have fledged. Which means another battle to keep the adults from building a new nest in the chick house. We are still seeing toads, they like to live under the courgette leaves wher it is cool and damp at the moment. There are martens around, neighbours both side have had them in their gardens and I have heard them during the night. We saw one cross our lane one morning and enter a garden to an empty house. Bella lets us know when they have been in the garden, frantically searching for them, up on her hind legs trying to see over the (8 ft) wall and refusing to come in. It is a worry but the chickens have a good life and I am not inclined to shut them up in hot weather during the day. The houses are secure at night. The dogs are out most of the time so hopefully that will keep them away till lock-up time.
|What a beauty|
|Chatter, chatter, chatter|
|Lots of lovely almonds|
|And the very tasty pesto frozen in dollops|
The neighbours are trying to feed us up. In the last few days we have had two lots of food from Venka, a share of a neighbour's birthday meal and a thank you of doughnuts and ice cream from Baba Danke for Dave helping to put her hay away. Poor Dave banged his head on her gate, then came in and smacked it on a protruding branch on the apricot tree and made a bit of a mess. It's a good job there was a small table there to catch him. I think I need to cut off some leg, he is always banging it on the outside sink and the door.
|Venka's famous pizza, hot from the oven. One with meat, one without|
|Scar-head, poor Dave|
|Cut that stump off!|