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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Getting back to work

I can't begin to explain how good it was to see Dave's sister and her OH. They were only here for a few days but we packed as much as we could into the time. They have seen enough to know that they want to come back for a longer, and maybe more leisurely, stay. Although they wanted a taste of the coast as well as rural Bulgaria, the coast has now come second. They took a taxi so that they could really enjoy the journey across country, and the driver, recommended by a friend here in VT, was informative, friendly and English speaking, nothing was too much trouble for him and his partner. Our neighbours, Venka and Jordan were thrilled to meet them, Venka giving her usual bear hugs and kisses as if she had known them for years. Unfortunately they didn't have time to visit all the neighbours, though we did have a short stop at the bar where our English neighbours had gathered.

We had a trip to the waterfalls at Hotnitsa on Sunday. It was an eye opener for me, we usually go mid week and first thing in the morning and don't usually see anyone. This time there were people camping and a refreshment van parked right by the water. There were streams of people arriving to spend the day. The other three went for a walk on the eco trail while I sat and watched someone shooting a gun while others moved around him taking no notice. It was probably a pellet gun or similar but even so, I was glad when they packed up and left.
View from the top

A smaller fall above the main one

Refreshments anyone?

A nice Bulgarian lady took a photo

Dave picked me some flowers, they were properly dried by the time we got home

We then went on to Veliko Tarnovo and had lunch at our favourite restaurant and a short wander round the cobbled streets before heading for the river where the lads had a swim. The water was shallow but very fast, but they seemed to enjoy themselves, though us girls were not happy with the stink of cows and the hundreds of flies trying to hitch a ride in the car!
We sat in the stunning courtyard for lunch

But I ate my meal before remembering to photograph it

The placemats explain the history of the restaurant and museum

Tsaravets....they might get there next time

Two in the river

Make that three

Smaller, but cleaner. And lovely in this hot weather
Determined to sit outside, a mosquito net over the table

Next day they went off again to do some more sight seeing , a monastery and back into VT where they kindly bought me some pressies. I didn't go this time, my old legs were complaining and I had hundreds (it seemed) of cucumbers to pickle, especially as they were such a big hit with the rellies. It was very hot. The lads came home stinking after having a mud fight in the river!
So pretty, a bowl, lidded pot and lidded jug, lucky me.

While having breakfast the next morning we were summoned over to the neighbours for pizza, but luckily no rakia as the taxi was picking up at ten. Venka had her best top on in their honour and it was great that they had time to experience the warmth of these lovely people, who then sat in the lane waiting for them to leave....after giving them a large bag of tomatoes to take with them! And more hugs and kisses. Sad to see them go, but they will be back.
Pizza and Venka's special frothy coffee

Hugs all round

So it is back to normal now, making stuff for the car boot at the weekend. We delivered a tiger painting commission yesterday, it's always nice when they go, I worry that they will get damaged.

I have done some more tomato bottling though my outside gas ring has collapsed so I had to boil the jars indoors...and the weather is scorching! I am hopeful that there will be plenty though a lot have rotted on the plants due to disease brought on by the weather. I will be spraying like my neighbours next year now that I have found out what they use and that it is organic. Their tomatoes both sides are well over six feet with good trusses all the way. If I can grow them like that I will only need half a dozen!
Cherry toms, plum toms and pears in vanilla syrup

Elsewhere in the garden The leeks and cabbage are in and trying to cope with soaring temperatures. We have had the first of the summer purple sprouting broccoli, not as nice as the winter varieties but a change from beans and courgettes. We also accidentally had our first ever corn cob. Unfortunately I pulled on a weedy plant thinking to throw it to the geese and there was an immature little cob on it. I can't believe how fast they grow, and it looks as if we will have enough for us and a few for the chickens. The cucumbers are going mad, as it seems other's are too, our neighbours behind have given us 12 in a week. I have picked as many from our few plants. And the courgettes keep going!

The apricots are about done now. I made some puree from the windfalls and used some in a fool and some in yoghurt, very nice. Also made some curd which is good, more mellow than the lemon. The rest is in the freezer. With the next lot of windfalls Dave has started another batch of wine. Now the black plums are ripening so will have to think what to do with them.

The bees are going from strength to strength and Dave is on the lookout for a second hand hive and a honey spinner. There is lots of honey being made but we don't know yet if we will be able to harvest any this year. He has made some more frames ready in case he needs them. He has been stung twice now, both times when he was trying to tidy the weeds around the hive and they objected.

Man at work

Very nice

Happy beekeeper

One frame showing honey, nectar and brood cells
The geese are really showing character now, the big white one is presumably a boy and the one that came with him has curly feathers like her father, must be a she, it's pretty. I must stay away from them, I'll be giving them names next....the grey one is Matilda......

And for those of you who like bugs, we have seen a couple of whoppers lately.
Big juicy cricket

Red admiral

Rhinocerous beetle, a whopper

A locust cadged a lift in the car


  1. How nice to see family and show them your part of the world! And to have a little break from your gardening and preserving food, I imagine. The scenery in your photos is so pretty. It's exciting that your bees are doing well. I hope there will be some honey for you to enjoy after the bees have their portion.

    1. It was Cynthia. And we are looking for new accommodation for the honey, whether a new hive or just extra space for this one. Frustrating thing is that there are a lot of hives in this village but we can't communicate with the owners to find out if there are any hives available. We do have a contact in the next village though. Got a lot of toms waiting for attention now so onward and upward...