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Monday, 22 September 2014

They come and they go....

.....from the poultry houses.

The first to go was the largest goose. Sadly he had never been the most agile (they are all really clumsy but he was worse) and was inclined to tip over at times. But lately he had put on a lot of weight and was huge so his legs were not coping too well. Amazing as they don't really eat that much. So it was decided he had to go before he started to look too unhappy. Poor Dave did masses of research, not helped by me of course, but in the end he says it was a lot less traumatic for the goose than it was for Dave. I haven't gone into detail with him, I don't want to know.

But the real trauma came while trying to prepare the carcase. We had agreed that it would go into the freezer for him and the animals over Christmas. But in the event he was so horrified at the amount of fat the poor creature was carrying around that that idea went straight out of the window. He had taken sheets of information printed from the internet on how to prepare for the table, but in his own words, by the time he had finished it looked like a plucked (easy bit) roadkill! He persevered in respect for the bird and he would also learn a lot from the experience, but in the end decided that it was a waste of freezer space and was going to be a real struggle to fit it in. So instead he chopped it up and boiled it for the animals, keeping half a breast for later. Another shock...there was only two sandwich bags of meat on the whole bird, the rest being fat and bones. I remember my mother getting a goose for a change many years ago and being very disappointed at the amount of meat on it, glad that she always did at least two meats on Christmas day.

So now Dave had a dilemma. After a lot of soul searching he has decided that his butchery skills are not up to presenting an oven ready goose for a special meal on Christmas day and has had to let the three people who had asked for one that he will not be doing them after all. Lucky he found out now rather than later. It would have been no problem in the UK, my brother is a master butcher, but it is a long way to come for a small job. So now the rest of the geese are for sale....alive!
And then there were four

Which brings us to the chickens. Someone I know has moved into our village, and with unfortunate timing she sold just before she was due to visit the UK then go on holiday, being away for about six weeks. As sales go through so fast there really was no way of avoiding the clash. Her ex partner drove over from the UK to pick her and her three dogs up and drive them back, so he helped with the move. But the problem was who was going to look after her eight ex-batt chickens. As we have mixed all our's we had the Shumen pen available which is separate from our lot. They seem quite happy in there though had to be shown how to get back in to bed. But this morning I was greeted with a chook on it's back, very dead! Oh dear. These things happen and no-one knows how old the commercial hens are when we pick the poor, skinny baldies up from the market. It looks as if the move was just a bit traumatic for her. She was one of the older ones. On a positive not the others are getting on with laying.

The visitors
Our lot have sort of settled down. Sevi is....er.....enjoying having my girls to play with, though some ignore him, presumably these are the ones who don't lay. It's hard to tell who is and who isn't when you have seven the same colour. We have been able to let a friend have eggs again as our's seem to have picked up the laying, and am continuing to freeze them for winter.
Sevi is very pleased with himself, as is his favourite girl, lame and ugly Chubba (left) His tail feathers are coming through well now after his moult


On a more cheerful note the garden has taken on a new lease of life since the nights are cooler and we have had the odd spot of rain, though daytime temperatures are still holding up, with 28 in the shade today.. The self-sown beans are romping away, making Dave twitchy and wanting to get the hoe out. Some of the nasturtiums have struggled to survive the heat of the summer but now we have a load of new plants coming up. Shame nothing likes to eat them. The larger plants are picking up and flowering again. Some of the morning glory which has been spectacular has worn itself out, but other plants have germinated and are doing their best to cover the ground. The cosmos which have beeen so disappointing, most of them having a very short life, have started to give more colour to the border. Our cabbages may look small and tatty compared to the neighbours' huge and bug free heads, but they are big enough for us as we do not freeze them, or bottle them. Though we will try making a small amount of sauerkraut later. The leeks are lovely and the psb keeps on producing. We have sown carrots, beets and salad and will see how they go. We have had quite a lot of figs and l have introduced Dave to fig and gorgonzola salad. l wasn't sure he would go for it but has asked for more, so all good. The walnuts are slowly dropping, but are small and mostly empty. We have a fight to get to them before the wildlife.
The moved chard is looking good in the border.....

......and round by the pool area

Baby nasturtiums

And nicotiana

Cosmos and new morning glory come to life

Strawberry bed sorted

Beans






Venka is still sending us bottled veg/fruit and I have managed to nick some tiny tomatoes which she grows to decorate the bottles. The seeds are drying ready to be stored for next year. No idea what I will do with them, though the yellow pear shaped ones are quite tasty the red a bland.
This is a huge jar with a real mix of tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, okra and water and yellow melons


Almost currant sized

On the down side, the caulies have not done anything. I didn't realise they were so hard to grow and have decided they are not worth the space when they are so cheap to buy. The sprouts, I have decided, I put in far too early. I have recently found a planting table for our area and I was indeed a couple of months too early. There are some small sprouts on and some blown ones. We will leave them in and eat the tops later. Must pay more attention to local lore next year.
Tiny sprouts.....

....and blown ones

Other than all that there is just a kitten update to do. Suffice to say he is thriving and growing, getting into scrapes, has found out where we go at night and is not about to be left downstairs on his own! We leave the door open in case Bonnie needs to go downstairs to hide from thunder or rain especially as the windows are still open, and the door will be left open in winter to let the heat go up the stairs. So it was inevitable that he would make his way up. But he is such a strong willed little chap and though I detest animals on the bed, this little scrap knows how to get on undetected and with his engine turned off. But now he has to realise that when I get up to go to the loo it does not mean play time! Thank goodness we have put the summer duvet on so we can hide from those teeth and claws. If he doesn't settle we might have to crate him, and he has a loud voice.

He is very boistrous now. Even Dave gets fed up with the scratches and bites. I don't think he's nasty at all, but is missing rough play with siblings. The rest of the time he is so amazingly cute, still only just old enough to leave Mum, but independent, scooting through the dogs' legs to get out of the door first, getting into the chooks whenever possible. But he has a respect for the geese and finds the apricot tree a good place to sit and hiss at them as they go by. Bella, and occasionally Bonnie, are starting to play properly. they have us in stitches sometimes when charging around the box and fig on the 'lawn', little Splash hiding inside and coming out to incite more play before dashing back in. Bella is being more rough, if that's the word, bowling Splash over and nudging his tummy while Splash batters her nose. It's still not a dog, but will have to do.

You might have to concentrate on the following, it was rather dark




I'm fine....I wanted to go up the tree anyway
video

video
Finally, Dave has finished a couple more paintings. After starting a large elephant painting and abandoning it when he found a flaw in the canvas, he has finished the debrazza monkey and  done a rhino too.

I love this

http://dcbartworks.webs.com/

7 comments:

  1. Re your goose Sara
    I have happy memories of having goose for Christmas in my childhood in London so a couple of years ago bought one (ready prepared) for us.
    We were very disappointed at the lack of meat so back to Turkeys now x

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    1. I think it must be down to breed Bren, He was a huge bird. I feel sad that he had a wasted life. Though he was a clown when he was younger and gave the villagers a giggle when they all went for walks on the lane with Papa Dave and Mama Bella.

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  2. Hello! I've just had a quick look through some of your posts. It does seem very exotic compared to Brittany! Dead jealous with all these mentions of bee-eaters and rollers. You certainly seem to have settled in very well and I am in awe of doing that in a country where you need to learn Cyrillic script as well as a language I am sure you never learned a word of at school! Love your kitten and I shall be following what you are up to and will have a look back at some of your other posts when I get a moment. Take care!

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    1. Haha, I've heard Bulgaria called a lot of things but never exotic! We are living a very rustic life. But there are stunning parts of the country and it is relatively unpoulated with a huge amount of poverty, though many don't realise it. But the wildlife is spectacular if you can get out to see it. We are on a very tight budget so after the first year going out and about we have had to reign in the travelling and stick within a few miles apart from the very occasional jaunt. But just a couple of miles away we have the bee-eaters,rollers, several woodpeckers, eagles,a huge amount of butterflies from early in the year (you would love them, I can rarely get a decent shot) Lots of migrant birds, lovely wildflowers, mammals. In the garden we have the golden orioles, nightingales singing all day and night, hoopoe, Syrian, lesser and greater spotted woodpeckers, redstart, shrike, owls. Masses of things and bugs galore. I constantly have my camera on me but do get frustrated that I can't see much on the screen because of the sun. Dave's camera has a proper viewfinder but it is bulky and awkward.

      We are struggling with the language, it is very complicated and not just because of the cyrillic alphabet. Shame they don't speak French, even the smattering I learned at school a million years ago would help. But we have wonderful neighbours and get by with a few words and lots of sign language.

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    2. Well it's certainly exotic as far as the bird life is concerned! I know there are golden orioles in Brittany and the UK but I've never seen one. I saw one Hoopoe in my neighbour's garden but although they are supposed to be all over Brittany I don't really believe that as I've only otherwise seen them a few times around the Med. There are no nightingales in this part of France but I'm actually grateful as they are noisy buggers! But it must be great seeing all this lot, and your butterflies will be different too so that all adds up to exotic in my book.
      You'll learn more of the lingo as time goes by but it sounds like you are managing pretty well already. :-)

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  3. Here in Australia we don't have a dawn chorus, it's a dawn screaming match between the kookaburras , parrots and cockatoos. I love reading about life in Bulgaria.

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    1. I have to admit, having had an ex boyfriend who worked with parrots and had them at home, I do understand! The loudest sound in summer comes from the golden orioles, a very clear song. But the nightingales sing all day and night for a couple of months and you get used to it as a background noise, same as the crickets. The dawn chorus is certainly different from the UK, but sometimes I crave the sound of a blackbird or robin. The excitement if we see one is just silly.

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