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Monday, 25 May 2015

New babies

I mentioned on a post a couple back that we have new babies, and we now have four adorable chicks, two dark with chestnut heads and two yellow with spots. They are so much bigger than the little bumble bees that are pure Shumen chicks.They are being raised without heat and seem to be doing OK in their own pen in the chook house.. They have a small box with shredded dishcloths hanging that they can snuggle into, or if it takes their fancy, three mop heads hanging just above ground. No idea on sex yet, but we do have the facility to keep another boy if Sevi won't get on with one.
First day
A week old and out with the big girls....but in their own pen....

....with mops....

....and dishcloth box. They are big, strong chicks

Little duck is having a job sorting out it's identity, though until we find out otherwise I think it's a girl due to the colour coming through. Cagney is only worried about her if he is in trouble and ducky is spending a lot of time meandering about on her own, a true forager/fly catcher like her real parents. She is swimming with the bigger ducks as long as there aren't too many at a time and is starting to grow feathers at last. But in the excitement of being let out in the mornings she can't decide whether she is a duck or a chicken, though at that time she tries to follow the ducks. I'm sure it will all sort itself out soon.
Ducky with the chickens, some of the ex-batts are moulting a bit

Showing coloured feathers

Resting with Mum. It's been very hot and humid

In the garden we have harvested the first sowings of peas and broad beans and pulled the plants out to make way for more peas before the next bout of stormy weather due this week. Some people have already had damage done by hailstones and I hope we can avoid them. We are eating lots of our own veg now, buying only potatoes. Peas, broad beans, baby beets, carrot thinnings, chard, spinach, courgettes, garlic, onions and salad leaves, as well as a few strawberries and rhubarb. We have swapped jam and chutney for cherries as we have none, which have gone into the freezer temporarily while I get things together to make jam. I will also be drying some in the dehydrator.
Looking up....

.....and down. Filling up

Not a huge haul

But there are more to come

Trying to use eggs up, chard, onion and garlic tart, delicious, with home made mayp and garden veggies (apart from the tomato!)

Today's bag, peas, courgettes, garlic, onion, multi coloured carrots and a little brocccoli,

We don't always have potatoes with pie, but these were our's...see below

Peas please...need more peas....poor starving Bella

Some of the cherries, unfortunately too small to use the stoner, but tasty all the same

One thing which is not so good is we have been struck by the Colorado beetle. There are revolting, fat, shiny grubs everywhere. The most affected are the earlies and we pulled up one badly affected plant to stop the little blighters transferring to the neighbours. It wasn't altogether successful and I had to spray with a home made spray I am trying with water, washing up liquid and neem oil. No idea if it will work but it's worth a try. Other than that, it's a patrol round all the potatoes every morning with a bucket then handing them to Dave to deal with.
Most of the potatoes are flowering

Horrible, red, shiny Colorado babies

Even though it's too early to pull up this potato (ravaged) it still should have had more than seven potatoes.

See paragraph above

The flowers are really bursting forth now. Most annuals and perennials have buds and many are breaking. We have scent from sweet peas, stock, lavender, nicotiana, roses....and broad beans! 24 hour perfume. Lovely. The peonies are done now, but we have our first rudbeckia, hydrangea, loads of roses, much better than last year despite the aphids, there are ever more buds on the hollyhocks and they are now tall enough so the flea beetle damage is left behind. We have buds on zinnia, echinacea, echinops, cosmos, dahlia and plants we have forgotten what they are. It will soon be a riot of jungly colour and scent.

Stock getting ready to release their scent

We know we should cut the pink out, but we rather like it


Philadelphus (mock orange) perfuming the roadsides. lovely

Yesterday we went into the city (again) this time to our neighbours' daughter's flat . It was up several flights of stairs....phew, in a building constructed by Grandad Jordan thirty years ago, in the hilly, cobbled streets of old town Veliko Tarnovo. The views are truly spectacular, taking in the old fortress Tsarevets where there is a spectacular sound and light show. Talk about a grandstand view! We were not sure what to expect only that it was the family occasion this time for the grandson who it seems has been sent into adulthood with a ceremony involving water, flowers (many) and bits of paper stuffed into pockets. It is very hard to know how to behave and react on these occasions as we have no idea before hand what we were involved with. But it was a very sad and proud time it seems and we are more than privileged to be included in this very intimate gathering. The man of the day was driven off by his parents in a car decorated with balloons and flowers and we and the grandparents had to make our way home to shut the fowl in before the pine martens came out for a free meal. We and another friend who was there earlier took pictures and videos for the family and will print them off for them soon.

Packing up the car with goodies prepared (and grown) by our neighbours. The bread was the best yet, seriously moreish

It was a hazy, humid and stormy day, but I have included a lot of pictures taken from the balcony.

Looking over the residential area and shops towards the fortress

Looking up to the mountains

The sun came out late afternoon!

Add caption

Saying goodbye

Dave has started on a new painting, this is a real departure for him and is a commission from a friend who wants a huge clourful picture in three parts. Watch this space!
I think he'll need a bigger paint brush than that!
And finally I will end with some bugs. I have tried looking on Google to find out what they are, but I seem to be a useless researcher, so it will have to be a basic description!
Cute little cricket

There was a nest of tiny wasps on the cucumber plant

Really tiny!

Ermmm....a bug

And a colourful spider, but very quick and I didn't get a good picture