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Friday, 10 October 2014

Closed chapter

The geese have gone to a new home, to be pet lawn (field) mowers with lots of room and a proper pond, so they are very lucky, especially as they had been earmarked for Christmas dinners around the village. I have to say, I thought I would be happy to see the back of them, but it seems awfully quiet around here. So that is another experiemnt that ended up costing us money. Ah well, it will go down as a learning experience and if anyone asks, we've been there and done it. NEXT!!!!

We seem to have been busy lately but I'm blowed if I know what I have done. I have had a lot of cards to make but they don't take long. I said I wasn't going to do any more chutney but did as the chap who had the geese had some so I haven't much left for this weekend. We had a few miserable days so the garden has had a good watering, but it is still mild so things are growing, the brassicas have turned into triffids and likely to carry on growing as the weather has settled into blue skies and warm days again! So we haven't been too busy in the garden, though Dave rotovated the bottom half where the geese have been and the chickens are out there looking for interesting titbits. In true chicken style, though, they rushed straight over to where a gap in the wall between us and Venka/Jordan is fenced off to see if there was anything better over there.

The petunias that gave up when the weather got hot have re-appeared

Cannas still flowering, I had no idea they had such a long season

So much space for the chickens, but they still want to know what is next door!
We have planted 200 garlic ready for next year.Onions are next so a trip to the market is a must next week. We need to decide if we want goosegogs and other soft fruit or more apples and put our order in. Hopefully our blackberry and blackcurrants will do better next year. Decisions decisions. No point planting what we might not want.

Meanwhile, autumn rolls on. The leaves are falling, making Dave itch to get the rake out. Walnuts are coming thick and fast and we are starting to use the quince. I have made a quince and ginger cake, which looks a bit odd but if it tastes OK I will pass on the recipe. I intend to make mint jelly, but only for us I think, nobody seems to want any despite it being the season for getting lamb into the freezer. Mint is in the freezer ready, sage, thyme and garlic are dried and ready for winter soups and stews.
We have masses of seed sown sage, enough for the whole village

Seed sown thyme

Drying garlic....just in case

Venka has stepped up the food contributions, with pizza, bread, pumpkin bake, figs, yet more peppers and melons. Baba Danke has sent over little sweet doughnut type things for me and rakia for Dave. She did go into a long explaination of the occasion, but no idea what she said.

We are getting  plenty of eggs still, three or four from the visitors and similar from our's. The Shumens are starting to lay sporadically and one of the ex-batts has got fed up of waiting for the box she wants (four identical boxes, only one of them suitable for laying it seems) and has started to lay in an alcove in the barn wall.
The visiting hens

Tilly has made her own laying arrangements
Dave has had another rummage in the shed and came out with a load of preserving jars. These are a German brand, very well known over Europe it seems. We would need to get some rubber seals and metal clips to use them, but I might just use them to store rice and pasta instead as they are nice to have about. Always assuming I can spare the space!

One thing we did do was be Sociable. Needs a capital letter as it is not normal for us. We were invited to a lunch buffet in VT to meet the British Ambassador. This caused a bit of consternation as we do not have any smart clothes any more. Most of the stuff we brought out has been 'accidentally' used about the place or has just wilted in the wardrobe. As it turned out it didn't really matter too much, we didn't feel out of place. We rarely go into Veliko Tarnovo, we don't like cities and if we do go it is usually to the big DIY store on the outskirts of town. We were hovering about looking for parking when we saw the friend who had invited us which made us feel better, and he pointed out that we find a place and an attendant finds us to pay the very small fee. So we found a place and waited....and waited. You can book a ticket by phone but for some reason not our phone, so we waited some more. Eventually the chap appeared and off we went. It was a very nice restaurant and we are told it does good food, and made our way to the reserved room where the buffet was laid out and a free bar was open. So we ordered coffee! We were feeling a bit lost when we saw someone we knew, and as people kept arriving there were more and more people we knew from car boot sales, though only a few we are friendly with. The ambassador turned up, a very nice man who has been here three years and really likes it, but is coming to the end of his term. I heard lots of nice things about him and he and the two staff he had with him took time to chat to people and find out how the ex-pat community were doing and how they might be able to help. People were coming and sitting down with plates piled high with pies and meats and cheese, so Dave went off to see what he could find. Unfortunately the early eaters had nabbed the lot and we were left with a couple of sticks of cucumber and a couple of bits of cheese rolled in parsley. More food was asked for and eventually some came out...sliced meat and chips but no plates. Hey ho, never mind. We had had a nice time anyway, and it's good to do something totally different, even if half the faces were familiar, and it was a privelege to be invited.

We are also Going into town tomorrow for a bird sale, just to see what is what. Then Socialising in the afternoon when we will be going into our local town to celebrate a new friend's birthday. I'll need time off at this rate!

Splash is getting much more independent now. Though still a small, long legged beastie he spends a lot of time playing outside in the sun, attacking plants or any passing body, is not phased by darkness at all, though I still worry about the owls which can be heard at dusk. The chickens have got used to him and although the ex-batts were inclined to put their hackles up and charge, they seem to realise he is not a threat and he spends time stalking sparrows on the dead sunflowers, or even attcking the stalks and rattling the seed heads. He will charge the length of the plot if he spies Dave at the other end and has been seen in next door's garden, though once their two cats introduce themselves he might think better of that. I try not to worry about him, but despite his feral roots he is still just a little mite. He is not the prettiest cat, being inclined to be lean, long legged and small headed with an arched back, but whatever he looks like he's our little monster.

He found his way up into the pear tree but it isn't as easy to get down as the apricot

Helping Dave beat the carpet

Playing with sunflower seed heads

Stalking sparrows. Unfortunately I have to take photos through the window as the chooks charge over to me if I go out
Sleeping with Bonnie

Sleeping with Bella, who sat for a good half hour like this so she didn't disturb him

I came down in the night as I couldn't sleep, followed by two large dogs and a cay who all piled onto my two seater sofa and left the three seater, five dog beds and the king size empty....apart from Dave!


  1. Nice to see that kitty is doing well. Such a sweetheart.

    1. Haha, looks can be decieving. When he's nice he's very very nice, when he's not......ouch! Hopefully he'll soon grow out of attacking us and the dogs, even if it is just learning play. My legs are in ribbons. So glad he found us though, the alternative doesn't bear thinking about.

  2. Your doggies are the sweetest! I am glad they have taken to the little kitty. Splash was lucky to find you and Dave.

    1. Thank you Tana. We feel blessed to have such lovely animals to share our life with. I am sort of getting used to the cat....

  3. You are keeping busy! Meeting the Ambassador sounds scary and very posh so I can imagine how you felt at first about smart clothes (what are they?!). Glad you had a good time but shame the food got nabbed.
    I think Splash is a cutie and very handsome and it's so nice seeing how kind your dogs are with him. You'll be eating well this winter with all the food you are preserving. Blimey! :-)

    1. Haha not really scary except I am not really one for socialising. At the birthday party I heard that they went to meet him in ther area and got a sit down meal of three courses and coffee! Apparently there were some gatecrashers at our's, they didn't know it was invitation only! haha

      The only time there has been a cross word from the dogs was when Splash decided he wanted to sample their dinner. He took the hint! He gets away with being really horrible to them, especially Bella who is now noticing the extra strength in his claws, but she still doesn't retalliate.