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Friday, 16 January 2015


It's that time of the year when things are changing and growing, warming up and cooling down, causing you to look forward then reminding you that winter is still very much here with more to come.
Bella checking out a new fall of snow, luckily wet stuff which helped to thaw the rest

Then back in for a warm

The best news is that the boarding chickens have departed to their new home at last! There was a delay because of the weather but we can now move on. The ducks have now been given their own sleeping quarters, where the visiting chickens were, much to the relief of our lot. We had let the ducks sleep with the hens as that is where they seemed to want to be, but since they arrived they have slimmed down a bit and become fitter and more confident. This has caused problems in the morning as they got frustrated waiting to go out aand ended up chasing the chooks around the room, causing a kerfuffle and upsetting the less confident. It's difficult to explain to a duck that they can't go out till light because of the pine marten.
Slimmer ducks

So the hens only have Sevi to avoid in the mornings now. He's feeling a bit frisky of a morning now so as soon as the door opens, rather than being the last to get up in the morning, he stations himself outside by the door and jumps on the hens as they come through the door. I have to feel a little sorry for the girls, you can see them gearing up to try to shoot past him.
Sevi and one of his Shumen wives

And with favourite Chubba

Egg production has gone up, Chubba is back laying like a good 'un, but even after a break over winter her eggs are still too fragile to resist her clumsy feet. We have had a few fragile eggs, so we are back to roasting shells to feed back to them and greens (which we have to buy!) to help with absorbing the calcium, and a vitamin supplement just in case. Someone is laying a very pale egg but we are not sure if it's Cagney or one of the Shumens. We are still not sure if the ducks are girls, but we have had no eggs yet, they are still shedding feathers.

The weather has been lovely, but cool, the last few days. We are still getting a sharp frost every night, enough to give a good sheet of ice on the pond, but the days are all blue sky and sunshine. It seems shepherds around about are predicting heavy snow next week, but till then we are enjoying the bright weather.
Ermmmm is someone going to get rid of the ice?

Only a couple of cms now

Things are happening in the garden. The brassicas are more or less dead after the very low temperatures, but now the snow has gone we are finding little signs that spring is not too far away. We have tiny snowdrops appearing and daffs poking through. There are California poppy seedlings which seem to have survived. Unfortunately the pot of mini iris (and whatever else might be on there) have a touch of frost burn, but hopefully that won't affect the flowers.
Californian poppy

Tiny snowdrop

Frostbitten bulbs


And in my little plastic boxes things are happening. The lettuce are well and truly up, land cress is just poking through and the onions are starting to germinate. Dave went and bought the plastic for the new cold frame yesterday. You never know what will happen when you buy things in the village shops. Some things are sold by weight (screws), some by each (nails). A sealed pack of dog 100 chews must be opened and counted. The polythene was measured and then weighed.....5 metres for less than two quid. Can't complain at that! I can feel some nice big closhes coming on.....

Land cress....honest!

And Dave has done another commission, this time a Buff Orpington cockerel ca;led Goliath. A very good looking lad and Dave did a great job of his portrait. His owners are thrilled and the painting has pride of place on the wall. Because of this I have told Dave there is no excuse for him not to do a new one of Sevi, so that is his next job when the weather changes. At the moment he is outside knocking in posts and re-arranging fences and whatever else he can do outside. It makes him happy!
The lovely Goliath

Back in the t-shirt
Splash is being a stroppy teenager! He has managed to work out how to get onto the kitchen units and because he knows it's out of bounds he wants it all the more. If you try to shoo him off he just stares at you defiantly. If you insist his ears go back. So out with the syringe of water and a quick squirt does the trick. He is learning to be sneaky and going behind the cooker where he can't be seen, and jumping very quietly (so hard for him, he sounds like a herd of horses!) I feel if he was ignored and there was no food on top he would get bored, but I DO NOT WANT A CAT ON THE UNITS! I don't do cats, everyone knows that!
Teenager....he needs a hoodie!

Enjoying the sun, a real outdoor boy


  1. I have just spent a very enjoyable evening reading through your blog and seeing the similarities to our own move to rural Spain. We too are trying the self sufficiency thing away from the beaten track, although we chose Spain... Bulgaria certainly sounds very adventurous! If you would like to see what we are up to we are at I have put a link to you on my blog and will check back regularly.

    1. Thank you and welcome. I will certainly have a look later, I love to see how people do things in other countries and the challenges they face with the weather and soil conditions, even pests.

  2. I don't know how really, but somehow we've managed to train our cats not to jump onto the kitchen work surfaces by both yelling OFF and clicking fingers. Now only have to look at them if they dare (rare) and they jump off cos they know they've done wrong.
    That's a fantastic painting of Dave's, he's very talented. And my bulbs are about the same as yours, and you've had much colder weather!

    1. He definitely knows, he will jump up there and lok defiantly at you then jump off as soon as you go to get up. The kitchen is open to where I sit so the only place I can't see is the cooker. Hopefully by the time I want to start making chutney he will have quietened down, will be castrated and will want to sit in the sun out of the way!

      Dave says thanks.

  3. We gave up the fight & just spray the worksurfaces with anti-bac before cooking. They get yelled at if they jump up while I'm cooking though!!

    1. Cats are a new thing for me, but he will stay off, he must! Can't risk any cat hair or worse up there He will be an outside cat I think, or after castration too lazy to bother.

  4. Your black chickens are very handsome and the portrait is excellent. Next up, a portrait of Sevi.

    1. I love the Shumens, they are, as you say, handsome birds and lay lovely white eggs, are independent too, not in your face like the ex-bats. It's a shame we haven't been able to interest anyone else in them.