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Monday, 11 May 2015

Storms and things

When we were researching Bulgaria three years ago, to see if it would offer us the lifestyle we were hankering after, in the surroundings we would enjoy, at a price we could afford we went into as many aspects as we could, using the internet, asking questions on forums, about life here and the weather. The usual things.

I have to say we did quite well, have had few surprises except for one or two things.I don't go on some of those forums any more so haven't checked, but I don't remember anyone mentioning the storm season. (Though I remember reading a blog about one really bad year)

I love a good storm and we have some stunners here, both wet and dry. They start around now and go through June and we know this now, but for our old lab, Bonnie, who absolutely hates them, they were a horrible introduction to her new life when we arrived two years ago, at the end of May. Day after day, they keep coming, usually in the afternoon. Even now, if we go out to do a bit of gardening in the evening she believes this brings on the storm and will stick close to your leg, looking worried and panting. Bella, on the other hand, will sit out with you watching and only the biggest of bangs makes her a little worried. she will, however, use a storm as an excuse to climb on the bed! Bonnie is now going very deaf and unless she sees lightening will ignore rumbles and can only hear the loud noises.

So if you are a little late sowing your seed in the garden or tying up your new growth on plants, even planting plants, it can be a while before you can get on the land as it will be slippery, slimy and impossible, sticking to your boots and tools in great clods.

Another complication of storms is the electricity supply. It gets switched off it seems if the storm is too close, to minimise damage. Not really a problem, but if the incubator is running it can cause problems especially if it goes off at night or when you are out. We have lost a lot of clutches in the past when this has been a major problem and the temperature was fluctuating , sometimes going off a few times a day. We did consider getting an emergency generator but the cost would have never been recovered in the few small hatches we were doing. Now, if we are going to set eggs it will be earlier in the year.

So yes, If we had known it was an annual happening, we would still have come out when we did, but would have been much better prepared and would not have spent a lot of money on hatching eggs which were never going to hatch!

So today's storm was a bit of a warm up. We needed the rain, everything is looking better already (a hose is never the same) Bonnie soon got over her belated worries and now the cat is able to go out to play it is peaceful indoors. He really doesn't like being in for long. The ducks love it, the chickens hide, only coming out of the sand barn when they want a drink or to lay. And the nightingale carries on singing!
The ducks are happy enough

Soggy Mandy

Little duck with mum Cagney and auntie Chubba....not sure whether he wants to be wet or dry


A couple of days ago I took a few pics of some early summer flowers, only a few. Picked some peas, salad leaves, radish and spinach. The peas are looking mostly OK, though Dave was worried that the later batch of peas and broad beans were gappy....until I explained that I had to re-sow a lot as Splash had been playing so much in the trenches that the small plants had been crushed.


Our one surviving delphinium, what it lack in stature it makes up for in colour

The peonies are out

Lots of tommies on the pot plants

The couple of bits of plant Dave 'found' and left out all winter has grown!


....and sage now in full flower

I have sown the strawberry popcorn into pots and they have germinated really quickly I have also potted up some sweet potato slips which have go going at last. Not sure where they're going.....

Eight slips, from one to eight inches. It will be interesting to see if we get any sweet potstoes

And Dave has checked out the bee hive and found it very full of bees and looking good (it seems). He has taken advice from our friends and added another section and twelve frames, hoping to cash in on the acacia bonanza, the flowers are amazing this year and they have several trees by the hive, less distance will hopefully mean more trips and lots of pale and delicious honey.
Amongst the acacia

That cat really doesn't know when to keep his nose out!
I have had a bad week health wise with a long bout of upset tummy. It came after getting over two colds one after the other and I suppose I was at a low ebb. It was not nice and caused me to miss a friend's 35th wedding anniversary bash. After a few immodium and some sheep's yoghurt and cheese send round from the neighbours especially to help my gut, things are at last getting back to normal. The sheep yoghurt can be a bit 'sheepy' and this was a little, but very smoothe and creamy, one lot went down with home made lemon curd and then another lot was made into garlicky tzatziki to have with halloumi, salad and some of our own beetroot chutney, sprinkled with fresh peas. A tasty way to get back into eating a meal again.

Mine was half the size!


  1. So interesting as always to read a glimpse of Bulgarian life. Do you make your own haloumi, I've just started to and it's surprisingly easy. Wishing you good health x

    1. Funnily enough I have been looking at Youtube videos on making halloumi. But I want to get some veggie rennet in soon, I haven't seen it here though it must be available. The goat, when it comes, will be in full milk and I will need to get cracking on playing with cheese while the milk is still fresh. Not tried halloumi but do make feta style and ricotta with the whey

  2. We are having duck weather, too! Your flowers are adding some nice color to the gloomy days, and hooray for the bees. Your dinner looks delicious and I'm guessing the little pancakes are the halloumi.

    1. This rain will bring the flowers on well, some are suffering from dryness despite being watered. I coat the halloumi in maize flour and fry very quickly for added crunch....sometimes I use a dry pan and do it plain. Depends on my mood, but yes, they do look like pancakes!

  3. I agree what an interesting post. Glad you are feel a bit better, love the look of your supper.

  4. Hope you are feeling better. The flowers look lovely. We had quite a snow storm this morning but as it isn't too cold all the snow was gone by this afternoon.

    1. Better in myself thanks Janice, but tired as we suffered a broken night, as predicted, when stir-crazy cat played half the night.

  5. I wish we had storms about now, rain storms that is. The heat dial has turned up very fast here and we are looking at record highs for May. It was 34C yesterday in the shade of the veranda and today there is an alert for young and old to stay inside during the middle of the day. This means that I will need to water the veg patch (which is sadly overrun with ants and very little veg) almost on a daily basis now. I agree, the rain does a much better job than a hose and it really perks up the plants. We are unlikely to get rain now until autumn. Feeling quite envious.

    1. Don't be too envious Jane. We went out today and the damage to field and garden from shifting silt is extensive, mainly because plants and their roots are only just getting established. Seems to be all or nothing.

  6. You get some really serious rain there! I'm guessing your soil is clay? Even when we get occasional downpours like that the rain just soaks straight through our sandy soil. You are now far ahead in the garden, despite the fact it wasn't that long since you last had snow.

    And you have a hen called Mandy!! Wish we could get halloumi cheese here. Sorry to hear about the stomach upset (same time as me then) but looks like you are eating well. The only edible things from the garden here so far is asparagus and the first strawbs are ripening - if it wasn't raining today I'd probably go pick a few. I managed to get some straw spread around one of my three rows to keep the fruit clean, my one gardening task this last week, but felt good to get something done. :-) Oh and funnily enough I saw sweet potato slips in the garden centre the other day - that's a first for here. Might give them a go next year, as sweet pots are horribly expensive to buy from the supermarkets compared to the UK.

    1. Haha serious indeed, but it is also intensely green for most of the summer. And yes, fertile though it is clay can be a challenge, after the rain and sliding about, it sets! A mega crust which when broken up leaves layers of incredibly fie dust on everything, clogging hoovers and settling on every surface. Ah well, I'm not houseproud.

      Our first three ex-batts were called Milly, Molly and Mandy.Poor old Mandy was damaged when we got her and has an odd walk and slow gait which means Sevi favours her as she is slow to move away.

      The halloumi is Bulgarian made, but as we are next to Greece I suppose there are lots of crossovers. I am going to have a go at making it once we get the goat (and some veggie rennet) It seems easy enough going by You Tube.

      Starting picking for the freezer today, peas and spinach, but no strawberries yet. Our plants haven't done too well with a few dying for no reason....or maybe ants or mole crickets.

    2. I've met quite a few people (virtually) who have named their hens, and in one case, piglets, Molly, Molly and Mandy! :-)

    3. My old Mum used to plait my hair and call me it.No idea why and can't ask her now. The second lot were called Tulip, Tansy and Tilly. The third lot are the dark brown hens.....haha

    4. I got called MMM occasionally too, during the period I was reading the books. But it was for obvious reasons. If your real name is neither Milly, Molly nor Mandy it doesn't make much sense! :-)
      That was supposed to say Milly on my previous comment but predictive text keeps changing Milly to Molly!