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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Phew...quick change

In just a few days we have gone from regular freezing nights to sun so hot it's burning your legs while you sit out in t-shirt and thin trousers. No matter how cold it's been the sun is always a surprise when it makes an appearance, so incredibly warm.

A few days ago the ground at the top of the garden had drained enough for Dave to start rotovating. Half the potential potato patch was done while Dave was followed by an appreciative thong of ducks and chooks, hopefully hoovering up the bad bugs as well as juicy fat worms which we would rather keep. Unfortunately we soon had to move the fence to keep the dogs off the next bit to be turned over as they were bringing far too much mud into the house with having the door open. So the poultry are banished to the half of the garden where the thugs will be grown (pumpkin, courgettes, that sort of thing) where the ducks waddle up and down, now also going into the centre, poking away at the mud to see what they can find, looking comical with mounds of mud on the ends of their bills. And it seems they are finding plenty, going by their dangling crops at the end of a busy day. They are not eating huge amounts of feed really considering there are seven large ducks and a dozen chooks. The chickens tend to stay off the muddiest bits, keeping to the edges more.

Happy man

Make sure those trenches are straight! hasn't been dug for you little man...remind me why I don't 'do' cais!

Unfortunately I put my back out just at the wrong time and Dave has had to get on with sowing a few peas and broad beans while the ground was workable. Bit of a telling off from the neighbours for being too early for peas, but we'll see, we may be lucky. We have a few peas in the cold frame to put out once the soil has warmed properly, we don't want to put them in and cloche them as we might need the cloches for the seeds if it turns cold again. It's hard being patient! We also managed to get some red onion sets at the market so a hundred or so of those have gone in. I think I have been here too long, I was shocked that at just over two pounds a kilo the red onions are so much more expensive than the white onion sets. We got half a kilo and used half of them, now feeling a bit mean!
The cold frame is greening up

The big after winter tidy up has begun, Dave has his pruners to hand and has attacked the grape vines, roses and perennials and weeded the borders. It has since rained and become soggy again so all that work was done just in time. The seedlings are all doing well and more perennials and veggies have been sown in their little mini greenhouses. It is time to get more tomatoes and cucumbers on the go so that we have nice, well grown plants for April, The corridor upstairs is proving a valuable space, with seedlings growing nice and straight due to all the light...admittedly not too fast as it has been cold up there, but we don't need to move seedlings away from the window at night any more.

The rspberries mulched and tidied with some spare stones

Supervisor Bonnie

The first batch of tomatoes and aubergines
Dave has also thrown some grass seed on the back of the chook pens under the walnut tree and around about. We can keep all the fowl off there until we need the space on the main veg plot and we are thinking of ways to protect the grass from being dug up within a day of allowing them back on. If we restrict access and lay some mesh panels (once used for the many chick pens we had) down so that they can get at the grass without being able to dig it all up. Not sure if that will work for webbed feet though, I suspect not. 

We don't have a great many resident winter birds here, but those that have twittered through the cold days are now singing loudly, trying to outdo each other. Regular visitors apart from the tree sparrows are great, coal and blue tits, black redstart, magpie, jay, collared doves, woodpeckers and the occasional goldfinch. There have also been hawfinch and sparrow hawk this year, but no sign of chaffinch or serin, but that might be because I have my back to the window!

There is also movement in the fields, new plants sprouting up everywhere. I love the changeability of this time of the year, every new bit of growth gives such pleasure and promise of things to come. Some of our perennials are also starting to move


The lettuces have perked up again
The bees are continuing to be very busy. We are looking foward to some honey this year, and in case of swarm or other emergency another hive is being got ready. It's lovely to hear the bees, a real summery sound.
Easter is not too far away and in Bulgaria Lent began last weekend with traditions of fasting. To celebrate this a tray of goodies arrived from the neighbours., this time a huge chunk of bread, spiced cake, halva, a couple of boiled eggs, cheese and a bowl of the most delicious, creamy rice pudding I have ever tasted.
And here are a few pictures of the animals enjoying the sun
Bonnie sunbathing...................

.....and the other two take over when she goes inside to cool down

Our boy Sevi strutting his stuff

Next door's cat. he's only young and seems to want to join in. but I'm not sure he would enjoy a game of chase with Bella!


  1. Oh My! I so envy you the rhubarb. We are too dry and hot for rhubarb and its one of my favourites. We have also had a lot of bee activity on the almond blossom... I agree its great to hear the sound of summer and we should be getting some planting done but our disappointment at last year's results have made us a bit despondent. Thanks for the inspiration... garden centre for plug plants tomorrow!

    1. Many people giv up growing here after a while. Local produce is incredibly cheap and unless you really enjoy growing there really is no point. I love it and being nearly veggie I also love variety. The Bulgarians grow exactly the same as they always have done and on exactly the same date. But our elderly neighbours see something we have and want to have a go. Rhubarb is hard to grow here too, i grew these from seed when we first arrived and swapped some for chickens. Last year was wet so they had chance to grow and establish. Not sure how it will do if we have a 'proper' BG summer....temps in the 40s and dry.

      If you can get hold of some rotted manure you can use it as a soil improver and mulch to help feed and retain water. But the best thing is to see what the locals do and treat any favourites from home as a novelty

  2. I am glad the sun has got out and warmed things up. WOuld you mind sending some warm weather our way, here in Canada. Still in the minus temperatures and still covered in snow.

    1. Aww I'm sorry Gill...I sent a lot of it to the UK, just kept a bit for us....

  3. I love to see how cats and dogs play together.

    1. Bella is so happy to have a pal to play with, Bonnie is willing but he joints can't cope now.

  4. Hiya - I'm catching up. So pleased to see your weather has changed and there are signs of life. Great that your seedlings are doing well, and that little tinker of a cat is growing fast! :-)