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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A family do

We had a lovely afternoon with the neighbours' families. They had a party for their grandson, who is starting college next year, so I suppose he has finished school and is now looking forward to adult life. As they live in the city, a gathering was arranged for friends and family in the Grandparents' village and was held in the local bakery bar. Once again we are honoured to be included.The youngsters were at one end of the long bar room, the smokers at the other and the rest of us (and those who can manage without a smoke) along the middle. As usual the rakia came out, a bottle for each table, along with a collection of mixers and water for the boring amongst us. There was also instruction that if anything else was wanted it could be had free of charge. So generous for people who can't really afford an open bar and most had what was provided. They provided the food themselves, the usual meat feast of lamb (Dave had seen the unfortunate beasts being led off in the week) sausage and meat patty, with mushroom rice. Starter was the Bulgarian version of tzatziki  extremely creamy and delicious, with white and yellow cheese and salamis, then there was a coleslaw style salad with no mayo, bread and the main course. I had a special meal of a huge piece of carp, three peppers and mushroom rice, which I couldn't eat all of. I always get so much and if I finish it I will get more next time. Three peppers....heck. Then bowls of peanuts came out before huge pieces of cake.
The brandy bottle is rakia, all this for four people and it all went. I had just enough for a toast.

Jordan on the right, no rakia for him today

Venka made one of her special celebration breads

And more bread from the bakery

The youngsters soon disappeared, man of the day wearing a rather rude t-shirt someone had given him, luckily the words were in English and most would not understand. I am so glad these gatherings are in the afternoons, we go to bed early and there is no way we would get much sleep with all that food in us. We left with the promise that we would call round for coffee next day.
The man of the hour with strategically placed flowers. He was given a lot of flowers and money and chocolate as well as the t-shirt, which means I can't share a lot of the photos!

And it was just coffee, a nice surprise haha. Another neighbour was there and Dave had a chat about the hay he had ordered from her brother. We had taken roses for Venka and sweet peas for Violetta, which she hadn't seen before. We chatted about the garden, some of their onions are also going to seed....they must have 200 pepper plants. I hope they're not all for me! But much of their stuff is a little behind our's, mainly, I think, because they have certain dates to plant/sow and stick to them religiously (ground permitting for potatoes, which was too wet this year) So after coffee we all trooped next door for a tour of our plot. They can see a bit from the gap in the wall, but mainly tomatoes. There were lots of 'dobre' and 'bravo' uttered over the peas and broad beans, the potatoes in flower (mauve flowers causing interest) commiserations over the peach and figs, (their's have suffered too) ignoring the strawberries which are pathetic, more excitement over the grape flowers and general health of the grape vines so far (if they do well they will be going next door anyway) Then we scooted past the gone to seed onions to the carrots which I sow in wide drills where they do a narrow, traditional drill. We tried to explain the different types of tomatoes, they are impressed that we already have many cherry tomatoes and that our pink beef plants are growing well. We showed them the cucumbers and courgettes with fruits ready to pick....more 'bravo's, past the brassicas of all types, they don't really grow summer cabbage. To melons and sweet potatoes newly planted out, sweetcorn. Came to a stumbling block with artichokes which they don't grow even though we have seen them in the supermarket (which they don't use) We had to find a picture in the end.
We took Venka a selection of roses

The climbing red rose has sprouted some very pretty pink ones, I suppose from the root stock, too pretty to cut off

Some of the red sweet peas are also coming through pink
Mauve flowers on the tatties

We will be inundated with courgettes, despite only having three plants

Green sprouting broccoli

Love the colour and dewdrops on the red cabbage

The sweet potato slips potted up last week

Really grown well in such a short time. We have put eight in but I think I know who will take the rest is they come to anything

There are a few gaps in the sweetcorn but over all they are OK. The butternuts will scramble amongst them and help keep the weeds down

So after looking at the flowers, the mini sweet peas went down well, they are so fragrant, off they went. A short time later Dave saw Venka fussing by the electric fence, trying to see if it was switched on. Out he went to find one of her recent delivery of seventy chicks had escaped. He doesn't know how he did it, but he managed to catch it as it dashed past. So more 'bravo' and an invitation to rakia. Maybe later!
Mini sweet peas

The granium cuttings I took when Dave brought some decent plants home have all done well

It's a hot one today and I am in the house with the animals, Dave is off helping someone with their garden (I wish he wouldn't in this heat) the fowl are all sitting panting out of the sun. We have swallows nesting and there has been commotion on and off as a magpie has been coming in to the garden. Upstairs two of the eggs have hatched and another is on the way. We are going to try to keep rearing costs down by giving them a box brooder which works by using their own body heat to keep warm. More on that next time. With the outside temperatures so high it should work.
I'm sure ducky would rather keep cool in the water but the big chaps are hogging it. This barn is very useful in heat and snow, I'm glad we didn't make it into a utility room

Chubba showing an interest in the eggs one of the ducks has laid. Not sure if her broodiness has left her

You eat that??? Yeuch.

Other that it's early morning weeding, scratching mozzie bites, afternoon harvesting (one day something will be allowed to reach maturity!)
Peas, mini broad beans and carrot thinnings

Chard and spinach

Along with our own courgette, onion, garlic and eggs, a healthy frittata (cheese by Lidl)
I will do another tour of maturing veg for next time. Meanwhile a couple of blurry bug pics
A six legged spider

This one was too shy to come out...till I blinked and it flew off!

Multi-coloured fly

Yellow and black mini spider......

....and another


  1. Lovely pictures of the party and of all your lovely flowers and veggies. And the chicks, ducks and kitty are looking good. It looks like you are enjoying your retirement, but with all the work you two do, you aren't retired from life. Have a wonderful week.

    1. Thank you Tana. Yes, hard work, but we do what we choose to do.

  2. good to catch up with you again. Love the sweet peas, should plant some in a sure are busy.

  3. Thank you Gill. And yes, always busy. It's a relief when the rain sends me in, as now.

  4. You are making me very jealous with all your early harvesting. Although your wonderful pictures make up for that

    1. Thank you. There is nothing so special as those first crops

  5. Those breads Venka makes are amazing! Lovely that they invited you to this celebration, you have really become part of the community. Your roses are beautiful and I enjoy seeing how well your veggies are coming along. :-)

    1. They certainly are, and she surpassed herself at another family do today, i couldn't stop eating it!We are not entirely sure of the meaning of the rituals they went through, but hope a little research will make things clear.

      Bulgaria is the world biggest producer of rose oil so |I guess they are suited to the climate. Most of our's flower all summer