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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The heat goes on

The summer heat is something you expect in Bulgaria if you have done your research before moving out. You fit your days around it if, like me, it's not your thing. Being British means it is always the main topic of conversation, we can't help it. But there are so many compensations to the weather over here. When it is behaving properly we have long summers and short sharp winters. Great, better than eleven months of damp and cool temperatures. Of course since we have been here were have had one very hot, dry summer, a mild dry winter with a couple of cold spells and a wet and humid spring and summer,  not really 'normal'. But back in the UK there has been two proper summers, something unusual these days, and we missed them.

So although it has been wet, it is sticky and very hot and nights have been a bit of a trial. I cannot remember when I had a good night of sleep, temperatures in the high twenties in the bedroom even with window and door open and fan on, drying out the mouth and eyes. There are times when one of us has come down with the dogs just so that the other can get some sleep. The dogs, though the door is open, choose to suffer the heat upstairs rather than lie on the cooler tiles a few feet away, and they pant, and wriggle, and tap feet on wooden floor when they can't get comfortable. But they are happy if one of us is downstairs. You can actually see from Dave's sofa all the way into the bedroom, but although they don't go near the bed, they just want to be there! It is thundering as I write, whether it will come to anything remains to be seen, but by half way through the afternoon Bonnie is starting to get anxious as that is when the thunder usually starts, and if it hasn't, it might. So just in case, at the slightest whiff of wind or rumble of lorry or plane, she will start worrying.

However the rain is good for the garden so can't complain. Dave has not had to water too often this year as yet, though it is still only a week into August so time for a dry spell. And the paddling pool is always there to cool us off when it is too hot, a top up from the well will cool it down quickly. Even the dogs have had baths to get rid of as much hair as possible. Though Bonnie looks a bit reluctant she really enjoys the scrub and hose down afterwards and is quite willing to have another go. Bella, on the other hand, plays wimp and needs to be carriesd to the 'bath', the concrete trough which some might remember as Dave's first cooloing off place last year before we splashed out on the pool. I'm sure they must feel much better though, and a good groom a couple of times a week with the furminator keeps the loose hair to a minimum.

Don't worry about the face, she loves it really.....

....unlike Bella, such a wimp. This is the same dog you can't keep out of the dirty, fast flowing river!

I'll have another go....


Still being daft

Bonnie managed to get hold of a creme brulee ramekin and got caramel all over her nose......

....but Bella helped tidy her up. Such good natured girls

We have at last started to clear out some of the excess courgette plants and even pepper plants. The courgettes have loved the rain and the plants grew to a ridiculous size with huge fruits as we couldn't keep up with them, so three have made it to the compost heap. The peppers are different, some of them are very dirty with rain splash and it seems to have stunted their growth and some are turning yellow, so time to yank them out. We have far too many anyway.

Enormous courgette plant, pulled out three of these. The okra to the right is allowed to stay for the flowers, they are huge fruits
It seems melons have been doing well too, which is no surprise as they are related to courgettes and cucumbers. Some of the three we were given last week made it into the dehydrator. We have given up trying to use the sun this year as the weather is too unpredictable, so electricity it is. We  filled the trays with the two types of watermelon and some of the floury melon (which I think are just over ripe) and the resulting chewy and crisp morsels were a bit of a revelation, sweet and tasty and moreish. The chickens and geese had a good share too as there was no way we could fit it all in, but as we have been given another four huge melons there will definitely be more made...after the tomatoes are done. I might even do some pears as Venka has sent some more over. Of course all this means more heat.
So juicy, there was no way I was doing these in the kitchen

Surprisingly yummy

And four more!

A bag of apples from the dairy lady. Dave will take her a jar of raspberry and apple jam we made with them

We have had a little help from the wild birds this week. Attracted by the sunflower heads we have had goldfinches dropping down to clean up the bugs from the brassicas. I hope they keep it up, we don't use chemicals to help as we don't want to harm beneficial insects like ladybirds and hoverflies, never mind the bees. I have to say though, although they are stunning birds, I am not happy that some bee-eaters are hanging about, I never see them but can hear them most of the day. I hope our bees are left alone. Another reason for not spraying is we have so many butterflies, and although the cabbage whites are not welcome except their caterpillars feed the goldfinch young, other butterflies are a delight, even the ones which alight, joined together mating, on Dave's shorts. We even found a chrysalis attached to the side of the pool. I have found a picture on the computer but unfortunately it doesn't say what it is. More research needed.
Goldfinch on the kale

Mating butterflies, an unfortunate place to land for a photo!

One flew off and left the other alone

Chrysalis on the pool

The chickens are busy cleaning up the dead cherry tomato plants on the wall. It gives them something interesting to do and their noises of contentment show their happiness. Strangely they don't come over on to our side off the wall, but will go under the fence any time given the opportunity. I just wish they wouldn't go into the goose pen, it causes a heck of a commotion and the gander has been known to grab a chook. Horrible creature.

This is the really skinny, nasty bully ex-batt that I was thinking might have to go as she wouldn't let others feed, but she has feathered up and filled out and is quite charming now bless her

Dave has finished his painting of the clouded leopard. There has been a change of plan as to it's future. On Googling it seems someone else has done a painting of the photo before. Dave did ask permission to use it from the photographer but will not be able to enter the exhibition with it. So, as there has been so much interest, he has decided to try a silent auction linked to his website  but if it doesn't reach it's reserve it will go on our wall. It is a beautiful picture. I want it.


  1. Dave's cloud leopard is so beautiful. I can see why you hope to have it on your wall.
    I've never tried dehydrating watermelon, but on your recommendation I am going to try it! I hope the evenings begin to cool down a bit so you and the pups can get some sleep.

    1. Thanks Cynthia.
      I am finding the watermelon hard to resist once I start on it, but will make sure to take all the seeds out next time. It must be better for us than sweets! You may be able to get the seedless one.

      As for the weather, they are giving heat warnings for next week when they predict 36, (97) but we have been getting that in the shade anyway. I hope it is no hotter than that.