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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Went to market.....

......and paid the month's water bill (about a fiver) then we drove past the animal market where Dave was going to stop for a mooch, but after seeing all the horses, goats and poultry decided he couldn't trust himself so we went home, stopping off at the river/lakes for a spot of wildlife watching.

The stork nest we had been watching now has three full grown chicks which were on the nest, posing, when we went out, then had moved to a nearby building when we returned, so it seems they have fledged and we were lucky to be around to see them taking some of their their first steps.
Much as I love to see them, I am glad they are not at our house. The noise from the sparrows nesting in the stork's home is deafening

The kids have left home...the sparrows have not!

The wild flowers are beautiful at the moment, all suddenly coming out with the drier weather. There were masses of butterflies, damsel flies and dragonflies (not easy to photograph), frogs still singing, grebes still courting, grown up ducklings and susliks everywhere. It was a bit hot for hanging around too long, but we stopped to catch sight of the bee eaters, never can resist.
Grebes getting friendly


The lake looks very serene

Pretty pink flower......

..........and thousands more

Nice looking frog

There was a large bed of fresh water mussels

Lots of damsel flies

A very unusual yellow thistle

Borage, there were many herbs around giving off their aromas and attracting insects

Not sure exactly what this is, but it's pretty

This butterfly tried to hitch a lift

Strange looking wildlife...he just couldn't resist. Far too murky for me after all the rain

Reed bunting, sounds like a frog

I can see you! Amazing camouflage

Push me pull me


And again

And again

Once more

Ducklings all grown up

The garden is also changing with the hotter weather. With the winds we have lost a lot of fruit from the trees, but to be fair most of the pears, plums and apricots are about ripe anyway. Pears have gone into making wine and I have plans to bottle a few in syrup. The plums are going next door for rakia making and the apricots, so far, have been used for making a puree ready to make apricot curd, but with some pinched to make apricot fool. Absolutely yummy made with creme patissier with added cream and the sharp, unsweetened puree folded through. It was so nice we have no photo! Oh dear.
But here is one of the pear wine on the go

The flowers are enjoying the sun with the 'herbaceous' (loosely) border really getting going. The echinacea, cannas, gladdies and hibiscus are all doing well, as are the tatty, wilted cuttings of chrysanths Baba Danke gave us when she decided we had too many gaps in the border. The poppies in the 'cottage' border are about finished but the ones behind the house really came into their own later which is good. When they are finished there will be nasturtiums, marigolds, herbs and antirrhinums. It is not an area we use with not having a pool any more, but I'm sure the insects are happy. The sweet peas are not exactly flambuoyant and I'm not sure how much longer they will keep flowering, but they have been a joy as always. The sunflowers are well on the way and you don't really notice that there are any missing, blown down in the storm. And the roses are happier.
Cannas growing strong

We didn't plant this poppy, not usually my cup of tea, I like poppies to be singles or nearly

My mum would have loved the colour of this gladdy

Tiny white spider on the centre cone of an echinacea

And one without the spider

Hibiscus 'Bluebird' another of Mum's favourites

The chrysanths given by Baba Danke

In the veg garden the beans keep going, with the French beans being most prolific. The purple sprouting broccoli is starting to sprout which will be a nice change from carrots, courgettes and beans. I have podded some borlotti beans to freeze for those times when I forget to soak them from dried, and if I need a handful for soup. The rest are being left to grow and dry. The tomatoes are starting to ripen on the plot, cherry and beefsteak first. Unfortunately the beefsteak are rather small, but we have plenty of plants. There have been quite a few rotten ones where they have been constantly splashed with mud, hopefully not more sinister than that. We have resorted to giving courgettes to Venka for the animals. The chooks and geese don't mind them occasionally, but only a little. The butternut squash have gone mad with enough fruits on to feed the village and we have plenty of small canteloupe melons coming on. The sweetcorn are flowering as are the okra. So everything is doing OK with some things doing well.
Beef tomatoes, only half the size they should be

Oh dear, but most look very healthy

Strung up onions, they will go into the cellar once cured. The red did better than the brown.

Borlotti beans, so pretty, with a couple of small cues and fennel seed heads

A washing up bowl of parsley, now chopped and frozen for winter

Purple sprouting broccoli
Home grown lunch, though I didn't make the oil or lemon for the mayo, or the oil and wheat for the garlic bread.

In the kitchen I am going to be slowing down a bit on the chutneys. They have been going well at car boot sales and we have a good few repeat customers and Sunday was a good day. But I have heard rumours of a large scale company coming in to sell chutney and I have no wish to try to compete with them, I am doing this as a hobby and not a business. So I might find something else I can make, just because I like to make things. However, I have bought some cherries today as a Bulgarian lady who buys my jams asked for some and I didn't have any. So next time we do that car boot sale I will save some for her.
The car boot sale we went to last weekend is held on a Campsite in a stunning setting. Goodness knows what the campers think of us descending on them in the early hours

Mother Shumen is doing well with her chicks. They are out enjoying the sunshine and playing in the weeds, with anxious and still puffed up Mum ever close by, clucking softly. They are cheeky little things, happy to grab any titbit from Mum's mouth.
Poor Mum trying to have a bath but she keeps being interrupted!
And the geese are the geese, noisy mucky rabble...but rather cute.

1 comment:

  1. I love your photos this week. So many good ones. How neat to see the baby storks and I had no idea sparrows nested in a stork nest. Smart little birds. The little black chicks are so cute. If I were camping in the campground, I would be excited if I woke up to all those lovely foods brought right to me!