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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Yet more new creatures

We had arranged to buy some breeding emerald Cayuga ducks, but one way and another circumstaces prevented it. So Dave came home with his Christmas present...two white ducks, meat birds really, but he will not be having duck for Christmas dinner. They came looking rather bedraggled and dirty, in a sack, and have gone into the smallest pen until the visiting chickens go home, now looking like the new year which is a pain. But these two un-named and un-sexed creatures will be able to go out into the veg plot and forage about for slugs and such amongst the sprouts. No idea how the chickens will take that, my ex-batts can be a bit intolerent. They are friendly and cheerful, I like ducks and though they have a reputation for being messy hopefully they have enough space for it not to be noticed too much. Dave will be putting a pond in the pen once the visitors have gone, meanwhile they have the roof box pond the geese had, but don't seem to know what to do with it, they are having the equivelent of strip washes, grabbing mouthfulls of water and preening.

The chooks dashing over to have a look

I think there is one of each

Splash getting ready to run away....

While we were out messing about, Bella folowed us and unfortunately found out the electric fence was on! She did yell, and Venka came out shouting, thinking it was one of the stray dogs. Poor Bella, she will not be going over there again in a hurry!

We have found out why the dumped dogs are a bit aggressive, and why they take the chance of going in and stealing Molly's food. They have a litter of well grown puppies in an old shed in the back of the empty house at the end of the lane, so the bitch must have been pregnant when they arrived, maybe that's why they were dumped. Unfortunately the dogs have taken to pooing outside our gate, I hope the pups, as they grow and are hungry in the middle of winter, don't cause a problem when trying to get the girls out for their morning walk.

It's been a bit cold here, we had our first frost last night, quite a sharp one if the ice still covering buckets is anything to go by. I didn't really notice when I let the chickens out, too bleary eayed after being kept awake half the night by small ginger monster playing...must have been the cold, either that or Kaufland's cat food has too many e-numbers!

The other day, after the rain, the path was criss-cossed with what looked like twigs, but on closer inspection they were huge worms, a couple of feet long. If they wriggle they are in danger of being brought in by Splash, but apart from that danger, the chooks don't seem to like them, just too big I suppose.

To show the scale

We had a lovely parcel today. A work colleague from the Tesco I worked at in my previous life sent us a parcel of treats for Christmas. His neighbour is Bulgarian and agreed to bring the parcel with him and courier it over to us. Things like this make me very emotional and I do miss the chance of chat and natter occasionally. But we really thank Nige for being so very thoughtful and generous. We have lots of old favourites, like Cadbury's chocolate, chocolate coins and smarties, as well as Advent calendars, a Chistmas pud (I haven't made one yet) and three pots of proper glace cherries. I am going to make a cherry cake for me (I might let Dave have some) at Christmas, much prefer that to fruit cake. So I have had to hide the goodies, someone who sits over there has a very sweet tooth! Not long now before he can have his Advent calendar.

I have been very busy making Christmas cards, many of them special personalised ones for friends' family back in the UK, and Dave has found a technique which he enjoys so he has made some the last couple of days, he likes quick results, and has sent off cards for both families today. It may seem early and most letters get back to the UK within a few days, but you never know, things do go astray. We have recently recieved the second lot of card making stationary after the first didn't arrive, free of charge. My thanks to Craft Creations in the UK for fantastic service.

I have been practicing with the pasta machine, and actually got some photos before eating what was produced. This time I did ravioli with chard, garlic and sirene, in a light sauce of diced onion, tomato, peas and parsley. It was super scrummy. The pasta left was made into sheets and frozen for lasagne and canneloni.
The first time I have made ravioli

And none burst

Also in the kitchen, after ring chilli jelly on all sorts, I have decided after saving one for a friend who goes back to the UK for winter, I am going to keep it all for ourselves. It is great on cheese scones and sausages. Yum. And I don't even like chillis!
And Venka has started the soup run again. They really are tasty soups she makes, but a lot, like this one, have meat in them, in this case mutton. It comes hot in a pan, which is strange when they don't often eat hot food.

We are having the fire in most of the time now, which makes for very happy animals. Splash is often to be found lying on the warm tiles by the fire, but if not, there are plenty of bodies to snuggle up with! I just wish he would sleep there at night! He and Bella can often be found looking out of the window as Dave has kindly moved my sofa for them! Haha


  1. Splash has such big ears! I love the last photo, a contented lot.

  2. No the sofa was moved so you would get more heat from the fire darling.

  3. I worry those stray dogs are going to get worse. I don't think I would like them all hanging around.Do they have Shire Councils / rangers over there who could maybe do something about them? Your ravioli looks divine.

    1. Dogs are a problem all over Eastern Europe, here in BG it seems it depends on how tolerant the village/mayor are towards them and there is not a big problem in our village. But at this time of year new territories are being set up in the quest for a safe place in winter which inevitably means dogs will be moving in from the countryside and crowded villages. We still believe these were dumped, but it is unlikely anything will be done while they have puppies. I really don't know how it will pan out, unless they cause a major problem and they are reported to the Mayor. At the moment we are the only people who walk the dogs along the lane, but Dave is going the other way. If they do start to come after our girls then we might have to do something. I just don't want to think about that too much. We certainly can't take them in, we have too many animals and our own two dogs and cat to think of, and the cost would be prohibitive as we have no great income.

  4. Hard to tell when the ducks are new and scruffy but one has an upturned curly feather near tail end which from my limited knowledge usually signifies a male. Hope you will get lots of nice eggs from the female! When I had this kind of white duck they laid like crazy and all through the winter too - not that you need any more eggs. I could do with some more eggs as I have hardly any to sell to my neighbour any more with only one hen still laying.

    Impressed by your pasta skills and as for those worms....... yup, they are enormous! :-)

    Love the kitty/dog pics too. :-)

  5. P.S. Any way to change back to the spam buster which just gives numbers rather than letters, because I cannot read the ridiculous letters all scrunched up that are showing. I had to try 3 times because I could not get the correct letters. I don't bother with the spam buster because Blogger automatically puts all spam posts into the spam bin so 99% don't actually get through to being published on your blog, so this thing is actually not necessary and can put people off commenting on blogs! OK, let's try again now......