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Sunday, 3 August 2014

40000 page views

On Friday 1st August my blog reached 40000 page views. A huge thank you to those who read regularly, and big welcome to the new followers. It is so good to know people are still enjoying my amateurish attempts at writing even though I do sometimes repeat myself. Especially appreciated are the lovely comments and even suggestions and advice I get. So a warm thank you to you all.

So, onward to my next milestone, 50000. We are still being inundated with food and I can't see it changing any time soon. This week we have had lovely, sweet juicy pears, beautifully presented, from Venka. Yet more tomatoes and cucumbers from behind as well as, at 6.30am yesterday morning, Angel's smiling face appeared over the wall and he was clutching a watermelon for us. Baba Danke had another loose lucerne delivery and Dave went over to move it into the barn for her and recieved more melon and a bottle of melon drink. They may not see me when Dave does things for them, but all the neighbours send something for me as well, so I got a plate of melon and a drink from Baba Danke and some sweets from Angel when Dave cut their grass.
Such juicy pears, dripped all down a clean t-shirt.

The first melon present

And my bottle of home produced juice from Baba Danke

So though I wasn't going to make any more chutney, another batch of spiced tomato was set on the burner and the oven was filled with large tomatoes, roasted, skins removed, more jars for the cellar and small portions of sauce for the freezer for pizza. Also another batch of bottled plum tomatoes from our own which, thank goodness, are nearly finished. Also made some summer fruit jam as we have only plum for the sales. This had a few plums, apples, cherries, a little rhubarb and I splashed out on a kilo of raspberries (£2) Also bought some peaches at the market, they are a bit big and delicate probably due to the rain, and bruised easily, but lovely mixed with the melon and our hoem grown raspberries, too nice for jam. The largest peach was over 13 ounces.

Dave, with a little help from me, has at last got the weeds under control. It has been a battle, I try to keep food plants free of weeds but the bigger areas have been cleared by Dave who works all though the hottest part of the days. A bit worrying, but he would rather do that than get the blood sucked out of him in the evenings, which are not much cooler anyway. The weeds and insects slow down as everywhere dries up in the heat, which is mid thirties every day, but as soon as we have a storm they are back big time. But he has got as far as the squash and peppers now, which is brilliant. The squash are still growing like crazy but they keep the weeds down a bit. The courgettes are branching out too, they will be cut back or removed any day, just keeping one which we can keep under control, for baby courgettes, and one which can grow bigger fruits for Venka's animals.

Dave has found the strawberry patch! A few gaps but we will fill them with runners.

Nice and tidy, cabbage, leeks and broccoli, with sprouts, kale and cauli at the far end

Most of the plum tomato plants are out now.

Triffis courgettes...they are travelling!
The melons planted late have half a dozen little orange fleshed fruits. I have to admit I am not a fan of the long yellow melons popular here, I find them rather unpleasantly floury and would much rather have a small, firm but jucy cantaloup. With a little drizzle of our own lovely honey for extra flavour...because we can! The peppers are turning red but with all the peppers being sent round they are drying on the plants as there seems no point in bringing them in to chuck on the compost heap. The squat peppers for pickling are dropping fruit, but I think that is because there are just so many on the plants. The chillis (what are we going to do with them?) are also growing many fruits. I am going to have to put a facebook plea out for people to take them off our hands as the car boot sales will be finishing by the time they are ready to pick unless they get a move on.
Our lovely little melon

I'm sure we weeded the peppers last week....

Squat peppers falling.....

.......but there are plenty still on the plants

Dave's odd shaped chillis, they are supposed to be hot.

The mixed squash plants we put in for ground cover around the septic tank are migrating and we are seeing several different shapes and colours. I keep meaning to do some Googling to find out if they are edible, the packet of seeds was in Bulgarian. Not sure what I will do with them if they are. If they are strictly ornamental we will decorate the wall with them until they go over. The runner beans are growing seed as are the French beans, but the French are also still producing lots of beans. For some reason we have not had many visitors to take them away lately. Can't think why haha.

The beans keep coming

The evenings are still very fragarant with nicotiana. I can't believe they are still going strong, what amazing  value they are. The cosmos have come up to join them and take over from the echinacea which are slowing down, The crocosmia are flowering well and will no doubt spread every year, I had forgotten Dave had bought yellow and red. And both lots of cannas are flowering well, the yellow ones we got from Morgan's Plants are on their third spikes and the red ones Venka gave us have caught up. We have ordered a yellow one for Venka as she likes our's so much. We have been very lucky that all our 'mixed' plants have been just that and not all the same colour. I love penstemons and we are lucky to have three colours, three shades of pink.
The cannas Venka gave us

Flowers straight lines here

Yellow canna, on their third spikes

Crocosmia...and I have just seen a huge weed I missed

The dark sunflowers have done very well. The bees have loved all the sunflowers
The mid pink penstemon
This rose has done well this year

Oh dear, one of Dave's precious peaches

I don't like okra, but being part of the hibiscus family they are worth growing for the flowers
The countryside in general is still looking incredibly green given the temperatures, with plenty of wildflowers and masses of fruit on the trees bordering the roads. There are still the small wild plums in different colours, apples and pears are swelling, cornus and sloe are huge this year. The road through the village is lush with flowers and grape vines (hardly any grapes this year) and also peach trees.
Verbascum, lovely in the countryside


The little true blue daisies of wild chicory

The main road to the village

This mare is looking rather thin and wormy now. Her foal still trots along side, no doubt wrecking it's legs with all the trotting on the roads. Yet another horse destined to be lame all it's working life

We have had a nice Sunday day off today, no car boot this week. Strange that even though we don't go out to work, Sunday is still Sunday. I am still not sleeping well so was up late this morning (nearly 7am...shocking!) and had plenty of time to make Sunday lunch for a change. There is no meat left in the freezer, but we do have some trout which we got on offer a couple of months ago, so I filleted a couple and topped with breadcrumbs, almonds and lemon zest and baked them. I have had a similar thing at the restaurant in VT, and in memory of that we had sauteed potatoes and onions, salad and home made herb and lemon mayo. Yum. Followed by creme caramel. I would like to thank my generous (sometimes) hens for the donation of plenty of eggs this week.

And talking of hens, they are doing a good job of tidying up the cherry tomato plants on the wall, kindly picking the red tomatoes as they ripen. The plants are done really, the roots squashed into the troughs so there is no room for compost, and I was going to chuck them on the compost heap. But if it keeps the ladies happy they can have them a bit longer.
Top hen Cagney searching for ripr tomatoes

That necklace of pale feathers belongs to Tilly....

....and here she is. A friendly soul
The six young cockerels seem to have settled into their new home and are showing the big boys how to find bed at night. It is a shame they live so far away as we still have a boy who has started crowing and a younger one we thought was a girl, but is now growing tail feathers and comb. They could have gone with the others. Knowing our luck the very wild chicks, with their Shumen mother, will be mostly boys. It has been that sort of year. I don't know how they have survived so long, they are always in other people's gardens or in with the geese. Looking forward to the day they can't get through chain link fencing.

So, I have promised myself I will get down to replenishing the cards so I had better get down to it, only another week to the next car boot sale.


  1. I enjoyed seeing the road to your village and the very picturesque horse cart. Sad the colt will be lame from traveling the roads, though. Your chickens are pretty girls.

    1. There are still many of these carts in use in Bulgaria. But animal welfare is the biggest problem I have with living here, it is appalling and heartbreaking. Most of the horses are lame (they shoe them themselves with awful, crude shoes) and many are thin and wormy. Grazing is free and abundant even though they need to be tethered or hobbled, but these wretched beasts have to work in very high temperatures which must take it's toll, and baby has to come too as the mare cannot languish in a field raising it, there are no fields and the mare has to work. The foal is now tied to the mare so is constantly trotting the roads at an angle.

      The chooks are gorgeous now, totally unrecognisable from the sad creatures we bought from the market who brought Dave to tears. We will be sticking to them now, whether they lay or not...and very often it's not!