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Monday, 8 December 2014

Feeling washed out.....

The awful weather is continuing and we are all getting fed up in the Brunger household...apart from the ducks. They have settled in well, get muddy then wash themselves, chase the chickens off the food (we put out plenty of bowls) and are generally happy with their lot. Even cockerel Sevi is quick to give in to them. They follow the chooks into the barn with the sandy floor where they go to dustbathe, but they are not sure why. We bought special duck food pellets but they would rather have whatever everyone else is having. We are told to chop any leafy veg for them...but they prefer to nibble on the whole leaves we throw to the chickens.

We are having problems with our front garden wall which is rather worrying. Because there is no mains drainage, roof water is directed over the wall to the road. But the sheer volume of water, with no let up just lately, seems to have softened the ground and moved any pointing in the wall and it has a bow at the bottom. The wall is about seven foot high so it will take a bit of repair if it continues. I have noticed a few gaps in walls when being out and about. So while in genereal we have been less affected by the freaky wet weather this year, it seems we are quietly having problems. Still we are still not badly off, some villages have had no electricity for over a week as workers are unable to get to the problem areas, and there are still others being evacuated.

Venka and Jordan have had a positive come out of the rain though. After years of low water table meaning their well has been a bit hit and miss, the level is now high enough that they have taken the pipe from our well and are using their own. After all the hassle they had fixing the pump in our well last year!

We went off to visit friends last week   They live a good distance away, the weather was the same as always, damp and dismal which is a shame as we couldn't see any of the countryside. As we got closer to the village which was higher up, there were pockets of 'white stuff' everywhere and we assumed it was snow. On closer inspection it became apparent that all the trees and the ground were covered in so much ice it looked like snow. It seems it had been like that for five days, since the day we had freezing rain. Dismal.





It was nice to catch up, admire the nursery (they grow plants...we have to keep buying them and they keep parking near us at car boot sales...tempting us. We don't need more plants!!!!) and marvel at the amount of fowl about the place, from bantams and chickens, to ducks, geese, guinea fowl and peafowl. They also have many dogs and cats, a horse and what Dave really wanted to talk about and see, lots of goats! Mostly pets, only one is milked. Interesting. Dave is seriously looking into having a couple of goats, but we have a while to decide if we can cover the cost of keeping them.

The fug lifted a little on the way back (via the supermarkets) to show another positive to come out of the rain. The overwintering crops in the fields around here are brilliant emerald, getting a good start before being hit by winter. The sun actually came out very briefly, but savoured for that small moment.




Well, we are well into December and that is the cue for the small holders around about to have the pigs slaughtered. This veggie has not had to endure the screaming of pigs meeting their end as I have confined to barracks. But on Saturday there was a 'ding dong. ding dong' on the bell and Venka came over to see if we would like to go round for pig killing. Hmmmm. Errr...no. I don't want to be rude but..... Anyway, Dave went as he feels he should do as he does eat pork. Although initially a bit traumatic (I don't want to know the finer details thank you!) he got stuck in to his allocated jobs (he didn't have to work, he would rather) of keeping the log fire going and water boiling, passing the chaps (mostly family) hot and cold buckets of water and helping to cart the meat from the two pigs to the cold store (former hen house) and filling a barrel with fat and skin. And there's a thing, something he found interesting and confusing. The bristly hair is burned off the skin so vigerously that the skin turns black...which means no crackling, which in turn explains why pork here has no skin or fat on. The fat was also stripped off, they eat that thinly sliced. The slab we were given last year was cut up and frozen to slice and lay over any pork I bought which needed protection when roasting. Today (Monday) most of the joints have gone to the daughter's freezer and the rest is being minced for sausages etc. No idea what happens to the skin, but there is often a lump of something in the jars of meat Venka gives us.......

Of course Dave was royally fed while there...and I was invited again but not feeling well, declined the pleasure.....and he was given pickles, then soup, then a huge plate of peppers, potatoes and meat, then another plate of meat. He enjoyed liver for the first time since we arrived, and plenty of rakia, beer and wine. Poor chap, the things he endures.

Sunday I had bought some pork (!) when out shopping and he had a late lunch of roast pork as we had been out to another friend a way away, and was just settling for a rest and let his tummy settle when.....'ding dong, ding dong' Venka was at the gate and dragged Dave off for another feast of meat and offal and lots of other things. Poor Dave, so bloated, but he enjoyed the evening as Jordan's cousin was there who likes to learn English so he was learning Bulgarian whilst teaching English.Although he thinks he cannot speak Bulgarian well, Venka's grandson said on Saturday that he thought he was picking up the language very quickly. Unfortunately I was still crook so had to abstain, but was sent a plate of fried eggs, pickles, roast peppers and beans, and a huge chunk of watermelon!

Excuse the lack of photos, I'm sure anyone reading this far will understand!

But here is a last one. Not sure if this 'wind egg' is from someone coming back into lay or, more likely, getting old. Bless.

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