|The road to Gorna, still pretty white|
Surprisingly the flowers are still..er..flowering, though they have all been flattened except the new generation of cosmos, and the roses which have soggy flowers but have otherwise survived the snow. Because we have had no frost the dahlias, nicotiana, cosmos and marigolds are still covered in flowers. The trees I mentioned as being bowed down under the weight have stood back up now, but the fig is a sorry sight. The raspberries still have flowers and fruit on them, though not many and they don't make it to the kitchen, Dave has developed a taste for them.
|Lettuce flourishing. This was one of three living lettuces from Lidl which we ate from then planted|
So we have had to move the fence to stop the dogs coming in with stilts made from sticky, slippery mud. This means that the chickens have been restricted to the 'goose' pen again.There is plenty of space for them all but of course they always want to be somewhere they can't be. There are some very funny haircuts amongst them, and poor Cagney was looking even worse. She has started to sleep in a nest box with Chubba to keep warm presumably, poor thing. She is a strange mixture of brand new, crisply marked feathers, pin feathers just coming through and bald patches. Never the most beautiful of hens. Sevi is sporting a distinguished grey look as pin feathers grow on his black head.
|What a mess|
We have changed their feed slightly. They get the same base layers mix, with a bit of added wheat (left from the geese) and fermented for a few days. They were not that excited at first, but once Sevi started to tuck in there was no stopping him. It is fairly common here, having supposedly several benefits over the dusty mix usually available. The natural fermentation is supposed to act as a probiotic, keeping the good bugs in the gut healthy and working efficiently. It is also supposedly more easily digested and fills the tummy faster so less feed is used. We just have to be careful not to let the fermentation go on too long and turn the liquid to alcohol, sounds like fun but poisonous to chooks! For treats they are getting the walnuts we don't fancy, in the shell but broken. Gives them something to do and they get a hit of protein, vitamins and omega 3 amongst other things. So hopefully we will be seeing some lovely, glossy new feathers though eggs will be a bonus.
It was my birthday today so I have made myself a cake...well a tart anyway. It's only fair isn't it? Also, as we went shopping this week and have proper cheese, I had cheese scones for my birthday tea, with butter, home made of course. Good job we had a healthy lunch! The cake/tart was cherry frangipane tart, with real, proper vanilla custard. I usually have cherry and almond cake for my birthday but I can't easily get glace cherries and have had none for a while now. I am not unhappy though, the tart was lovely. I based (as usual) it on a Paul Hollywood recipe, but used some of my spiced medlar jelly on the base instead of apricot, and frozen cherries instead of pears, plain pastry instead of sweet and almond extract instead of vanilla. Also, my loose bottomed tin is only seven inch so used two small ones as well. Did I mention it was loosely based on a recipe? Haha.
|Dave made me a beautiful birthday card|
|Birthday present, he finished tiling the kitchen wall, a job put off for a rainy day. I re-oiled the top for the winter|
I have also made some raspberry liquer with some undrinkable rakia we were given (luckily a small bottle) some sugar and some of our precious raspberries. Someone will have to try it to see if there is enough sugar, but it is a lovely colour.
I have frozen the chillis till I know what I am going to do with them, but some sort of chilli jam is favourite as I have just been given a load of apples and I am sure I will be able to find a recipe to adapt somewhere....better get some more jars! Maybe I will look for a chilli sauce recipe at the same time.
With the weather changeing we are seeing less of the neighbours. Their outside fire is less evident and they don't hang about after the animals are seen to. Dave still takes them eggs if we have plenty since they are not getting any from their chickens.
Splash is starting to be a little independent. Now that the door is shut a lot of the time he is going out and staying out for about...let me see....ten minutes or so, all on his own. He has a loud voice now so there is never any doubt when he wants to come in. I have to admit I can be a little over protective. I don't like him going out alone at night with owls and pine martens about, never mind territorial adult cats. He still seems so little.