There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, 30 July 2015

We seem to have had a spending spree.....

But only on things we really need, honestly. Well, nearly.
Well OK, we didn't really need this nice big brolly....but it was a bargain in the sales

What we are really pleased with is the honey extractor. It looks as if there will be plenty of honey this year and it makes sense to get maximum extraction from the frames we will be harvesting. I'm not quite sure what we are going to do with it all, but I think Dave will have to develop a taste for it, I already like it.

It does three frames at a time

We have also bought two armchairs as the springs on my sofa have given out. These are faux leather, so although maybe not the best material for a heat wave, easy to clean after the animals have clambered over them.

The same couple who delivered the chairs also delivered a pal for Splash. We have ummed and aaahed about what best to do about him, he desperately tries to play with any cat which comes along and has got into trouble on occasion when a cat was less than friendly. But he needs to use his energy and Bella can't cope with the claws. She doesn't mind a run-around but soon starts worrying after being ambushed a few times. Then we had to decide whether a kitten or a grown cat. Being as Splash has no manners (being mostly hand reared) we thought a kitten might find him a bit much, which is a shame as friends have kittens that need a home. We did have our eyes on Colin, but someone else really wanted him and took his sister as well so fair's fair. So when we saw a little grey cat needing a home, vaccinated and castrated with a passport, same age as our boy though never been a pet as such, we arranged to take him in. (The chairs just happened to be waiting for a buyer too) and he was duly delivered. He is a little smaller that the boy and very petty, very playful. But won't give poor Bella a moment's peace! And won't stay still for a photo shoot.
One of Splash's night time 'friends'

I'm sure Bella will get some relief from cats eventually, but for now she is putting up with this much gentler boy

My best boy trying to keep cool

Of course the spoilt brat is not amused. But no growling or spitting is going to spoil the new boy's manners, he has been raised with other cats and knows how to behave, will not be drawn into an argument, but on the other hand will not run away either. Luckily Splash is not inclined to attack, he is feeling a bit insecure and would much rather attach himself to my foot! I'm sure they'll be fine. I just hope that the chickens put the new boy in his place as we can't have anything chasing loose chicks. I'm sure he'll learn.
I wouldn't bother with Bonnie, she won't play

I have also acquired a couple of new kitchen gadgets. One is a heavyweight bottle capper which needs a bit of TLC but will save a struggle in the long run. The other is a simple plastic tomato pulper which will spit ot the skins and save me making a sauna of the kitchen. Cheap as chips but I hope it works.
The double handed thingumy you have to use brute force with

And the new old one which hs a long handle for the job

Be interesting to see if this works, it only cost less than a fiver

And finally we decided to buy a new fridge for dairy as the old one was getting jumbled. So off we went into town...but bought a new fridge freezer for the kitchen instead and the old one, which came with the house, can go to being a dairy fridge. We were going to bring a small one home in the car but instead have gone bigger with cold water tap and it will be delivered on Sunday for the princely sum of 5 leva....about one pound and eighty pence! So we have a new fridge freezer with the large fridge at the top and three drawers in the freezer, and the old one will be going upstairs for cheese and milk etc Could even fit some sauerkraut in. Yum.

Dave has finished cladding some shelving to make a new larder, but of course it isn't big enough so he is doing another one

My contribution, an olivewood spoon for a latch!
Who left the camera strap dangling?

The heat and dry weather is continuing. I don't use the pool a great deal as it warms up too fast. It was totally emptied the other day and filled with cold well water, so cold it was a quick dip, squeal and out again, I suppose feeling colder as we are so hot. But three days later it is too warm and Dave is thinking longing thoughts of the public pool at Polski Trambesh, early morning as it gets packed'

The garden and trees round about are suffering even though we are watering. Dave dug a hole and three feet down there is still no moisture. The butternuts, cucumbers, melons, maize, peppers and brassicas are all crisp and dead looking, the sweet potatoes which love heat, also need proper water and look sick (I gave some slips to a friend who is growing his in a polytunnel and the humid heat has done wonders...I told him I might need some of the potatoes back...) The flower beds are a bit of a mess, we have done some tidying but it's just too hot, even for Dave. The insects are enjoying the wildness of the garden but I have not the energy to chase after hummingbird hawk moths or the lovely butterflies. There seems to be no let up for another two or three weeks.
My poor scabious, all brown and crisp

I must pick the rhubarb before it dies

The promise of a bumper crop of raspberries...if we get rain

Some don't look good

The beans which had picked up are giving up

Some tomatoes are doing well

Others aren't

And some are creeping through to next door

Multi coloured cherry tomato sauce
Courgettes looking sick

With distorted fruit

Caulis opening and tiny

One sweet potato looks OK

Oh dear, melon

We won't have too many butternuts this year

Even artichokes are giving up

All except one

Chillis doing OK

Dave went to the market yesterday and came back with the ugliest chicks you have ever seen! They are naked neck chickens and a friend was saying how he wanted some. Dave bought them for him as he has been so kind to us it is just a little something to say thanks. So a mad rush to deliver, chat, put the world to rights and dash wack before milking. Phew. Thank goodness the air con works in the car...the car has just had it's MOT, and if anyone is interested, that with insurance and a mended tyre cost the princely sum of about a hundred quid. Bargain!
Naked neck chicks...they're supposed to look like that. only a mother could love 'em

Talking of tyres, Venka had asked Dave to take them up to their field where they grow melons and beans, they collected a car full of melons but on the way back there was a puncture. poor Venka was distraught...but it could happen any time. So then we had six huge melons, sweet ones and watermelons. e's going picking beans with them at the weekend...hopefully without the car!

The animals seem to be coping OK, but Bonnie is really feeling the heat and even Bella now she is being pestered by cat! The three amigos (I so hope they aren't all boys) are doing well, the chicks are growing like mad suddenly and one has developed a topknot. Mum Cagney has shed most of her feathers, choosing a good time to moult but looking like an old mop. The ducks sre fine as long as they have regular water changes. The drake is a bit quieter and has lost his colour, Ducky is getting his colour and is definitely squeaking like a boy
Cagney looking moth eaten

The goats are doing OK too, still getting two litres of milk which is still going into the freezer though I did get time to make some cheese and yoghurt with some. Little Tilly is enjoying games of chase with Dave who has built her a bit of a climbing frame. We have given them the dough trough for their hay to try to keep it from being spoiled, they don't eat it from the hay bags...but I bet they will when they are hungrier in winter. Unfortunately Tilly thinks the trough is to play in, little madam.
Naughty Tilly
And a couple of bugs


  1. Your new puss is very pretty and I love your old/new gadgets. I hope they help you. It is hard to imagine your heat when it is so chilly and damp here!

    1. He is indeed a pretty boy and very kittenish though wary of sudden moves. He was coming and going like an old hand within a couple of days, despite Splash swearing he still keeps coming back...and he makes Splash look large! I thought he was small.

      Had a couple of storms so it's overcast and just under 30C so a bit cooler...but still as dry

  2. Investments! You are for sure going to be able to stay on in Bulgaria then? I love your blog - it is almost as if I had a garden growing vegetables too, with a house filled with animals. Lovely larder doors!!

    1. Certainly for the next few years as far as we can see. We will be packing as much as we can into whatever time we have and anything boring or unproductive will be scrapped. We must stop collecting animals though, it's too easy to end up with more than is sensible!

  3. Love the new kitty and his colouring is gorgeous! Hope he gets on well with Splash eventually. Your new toys should come in handy and the cupboard is great - recognise a few things there! As for the poor garden.... oh dear, it's impossible to water enough and we don't even have it as hot as you, but it is sun, sun and more sun here with no rain, so my lawn is brown and my plants very unhappy. But the veg are OK as we don't have a lot so easy to water them!

    1. The boys are tentatively playing now. Splash is so much bigger that him. he's tiny and as you say very pretty. We had an upset with him yesterday which made me want to send him back, but he is on probation. Details to follow

  4. Just a quick question, does that tomato juicer take the pips out too? I make my own pasata by sieving cooked tomato to keep the flesh discarding pips and skin, but it is time consuming so a handy, and cheap, machine would be ideal

    1. Hi Rik. It does a good job of removing skin and MOST of the pips. It's certainly worth the money but for a little more you can get a much better one that sucks to a worktop. I thought this was cheap, till I realised the 12 leva included a tin of metal paint, so it would have been the equivelent of two quid.....bargain and it's forgiven for letting a few pips in! Available in all hardware stores in Bulgaria.

  5. Thanks for the info, I'll go hunting for one. Great blog by the way, lovely pictures too. We are having similar problems with runner beans and bitter cucumbers down here too, so not just you guys!

  6. It would seem that I can only comment once per posting, a bit new to this anyway I agree regarding ex-pats best given a wide berth, meanwhile I'm taking gifts to the village old peoples room when I return in September, 12 pairs of assorted reading glasses and a couple of jig saw puzzles so when the time comes I'll be welcome to volunteer and hopefully find people willing to teach/correct my fledgling language skills.

    1. Sounds like a good plan. Dave spends more time with the neighbours and it definitely helps with the language even if the sentences are rather short. But remember it's a difficult language to learn...a friend of our's who is young and started a business, employing Bulgarians who couldn't speak any English, still took five years before he was cofident he could speak the language well!