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Monday, 13 July 2015

What a week!

The start of the week was extremely hot with temps up well into the thirties, even registering 39 on the car thermometer, far too hot to walk on concrete with summer shoes on (the dogs must feel it!) and getting in and out of the pool had to be done carefully so you didn't have to put your feet on the hard ground in the sun. The pool is far too warm for my liking, the best time is just after some water has been syphoned off to clean the bottom and fresh well water has been added.
Chicks flaked out on the concrete. It amazes me that they can cope with the heat given the amount of rushing about they do

Someone's been fighting and has a sore leg. He's OK now though

So there was not much done outside. The goats feel the heat and hate the flies but although they are better off inside, they are far too nosey! They have to be shut in when they (especially Milly) would rather be looking out for Dave. They are slowly destroying the plants in the pen as expected, most of the sunflowers have been stripped of leaves and toppled, much to the annoyance of the ducks who loved the shade they gave. There is plenty of other shade available.
Going to work on the sunflowers

Happy Tilly

They seem to have settled in well. Milly tried to be cheeky and have her own way, and they both got under the fence where we had left it a few inches off the ground for the chickens and ducks to squeeze under to get to the dust bathroom. So the fence electricity goes on periodically to remind them of borders and that we would like them to respect them. Milking is getting easier and faster, I no longer need to hold Milly as she can now be clipped by her collar to the wall. Dave is a lot quicker so we rarely lose milk because of a restless foot going in the bowl. We have more than enough at over two litres a day. A new routines means that the milk will be quickly cooled and frozen till there is enough to do a large batch of cheese.
New hay rack for the goats

I've moved on from ricotta to halloumi, one of my favourite cheeses, just a half batch as that is how much non-goaty milk I had and anyway I didn't want to waste too much if it didn't work. It sort of did, but on the final cook I put it into a fresh pan with the whey and it was a tall and narrow one, so the delicate blocks of hot cheese broke as I struggled to get them out...lesson learned. I'm sure it will be just fine. There is a lot of hanging about stirring though (I thought it would be something to do while I made bread) so my 'day off' did not really happen. But that was today.

Tuesday we went to cash and carry to try to get a preserving pan as the one I have is narrow(see above) and things catch if I fill it too full. They didn't have one but I got something that will do, and loads more jars (thinking of all those currants)

Wednesday was a busy one, Dave took the neighbours to the market, then we went off to do some shopping and to get some wax and frames for the bee hive, had a salad lunch. It was too hot to do much. So I made some pastry ready to make salmon quiche next day and did some more chutney.
The second super is filling up fast so another has been added to make sure there is enough room for lots of honey.We might have rather more than we need

On thursday I did the quiche and some creme caramel, cooked a chicken and dug beets and potatoes ready for our holidaying friends who were keen to see something of the area. It was too hot to be stuck in the car so we chatted...and chatted in the kitchen with two fans going. Lunch was mostly home grown/made as we showed off what we can do with eggs, (quiche. puds, mayo) and home made simple cheese (garlic and herb) After touring the garden in the eat we decided to have a trip around to see if we could show them what to look for in villages, as shops are not always easy to spot. We had a detour to photograph some wildlife (not me, I forgot my camera, talking too much!) and when we got back. all hot and sweaty, nine cubic metres of wood was deliverd. Our visitors did offer to help us to move it but it could wait, it was far too hot and anyway, we didn't want them to be put off Bulgaria all together. Moving that amount of would might just do that!

Big job

On Friday we were up early again to go fruit picking. This time gooseberries, and it is such a bumper year we were done in no time, getting on for 18 kg of the things. There was a lovely breeze being higher up. It was much drier picking this time too and I helped myslf (wit permission) to a couple of bulbs of fennel which seems to grow well here and a few more redcurrannts for summer pudding. The rest of the day we made cards and topped and tailed gooseberries.

Combined harvesters in the fields...followed by flocks of storks

Our friends' geese coming home

Lucky to have a stream close to the gate

Lovely fennel

Redcurrants came with 'extras', caterpillars and snails

Saturday we got out early hoping to move at least some of the wood before it got too hot...and before the neighbours realised what we were doing. But although we made sure the wheelbarrows didn't squeak they were not fooled and I had only stacked a couple of rows before I had the company of  Jordan helping me, while Venka filled three barrows and Dave charged up and down the garden with them. We were finished in no time and they even managed to get on with the dogs being out, Venka says Bella is her friend (with reservations) The afternoon and evening was spent making cakes and finishing cards and putting up orders for the car boot sale on Sunday. Meanwhile Dave went next door for beer and came back saying that they were amazed at how I can chuck that wood about and stack properly. I can do that...I just can't walk! It was hot and the pool was well used, cooled with fresh water. And we did more gooseberries....


....and after. Worst job done

The chooks took advantage of the open gate to fettle by the bee hive

But the goats had to sulk indoors after going straight under the fence

Large spider with very strong web

This hitched a ride on the logs, huge

Sunday it was up early to pack the car with car boot stuff before Milly was milked and we set off in the cool at about 6.45 We had our busiest day yet, many more varieties of chutney and jam....but still I got asked for two I didn't have which I had had before. Friends were appreciative of the cakes and it was another warm day. Home to finish the gooseberries and get them into the freezer for another day and water the garden And pick neglected veggies.We were exhausted...but could I sleep? No, of course not.
At the car boot...or is that cart boot?

First of the sweetcorn..not the best we have had

Not sure when this lot will get used

We agreed we would have an easier week this week. So all I've done today is make three batches of bread and the cheese, helped to bath the dogs who are itchy with heat and now I must get round to opening two parcels of summer clothes ordered from George at Asda. I ache.
Enough summer clothes for a lifetime

But of course, nothing is that simple and now we have a problem with a blocked pipe under the tiles so I will be having an enforced rest as can't use the sink so can't cook.

A few pics from the garden just because


  1. That stack of logs is really impressive. Weather here in Northern Ireland is cool and damp so it is hard too Imagine having your heat. Our veggies are only just just producing so we are a long way behind you and I'm not yet into jam making mode. It must be hot work for you. As always, I enjoyed reading your post.

    1. Thank you Lindsey. We have rain today which is very welcome...and will force Dave to slow down if only for a day.

  2. I really don't know how you manage to work so hard in that heat but I suppose needs must. Your goats are lovely and I can imagine we're going to hear a few tales of their antics lol. You do get some impressive bugs in Bulgaria don't you, I'm a bit squeamish about them in real life but find your photos of them fascinating.

    1. We are both different, Dave loves the heat, I do as much as I can outside early morning, sometimes in the evening but the biting bugs are awful then. You have to keep windows and curtains shut in the house to keep the heat out during the day. The sun can't get into the kitchen and I use fans. You just cope.

      The goats are sweet, Milly has taken time to settle down but that's to be expected as she had never been off the yard with all the others since birth. But she is giving us enough milk for our needs and Tilly is just fine, happy to be with her Mum.

      I love long as they keep their distance! Fascinating to look at, don't want to touch haha

  3. I'm glad your halloumi worked out. My trouble is , when I make it I could eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. You're a wiz in the kitchen, I hope you get a few more opportunities to take it easy while it's so hot.

    1. It tasted better than it looked, if a little goaty. I am now freezing the milk as soon as it has cooled to try to counterract that.

      I'm sticking to one major job a day at the moment as I ave no sink, I have to catch water in a bucket. But can't do nothing...the tomatoes have gone into overdrive! The weeds have slowed down a bit so there's only a bit of hoeing and harvesting to do outside. And watering. Always watering!

  4. Impressed by the Halloumi! I have no idea how you make cheese never mind turn it into different kinds of cheese. I feel hot just reading this post by the way! Thank goodness we have loads of wood so no need to order any this summer, although our neighbours don't come to help.....but if they did we would have to reciprocate so it's swings and roundabouts really. You like bright clothes, don't you? :-)

    My first cherry tomato is ripening up and I've picked 4 bigger ones so far. Bit of a joke compared to your harvest!

    1. YouTube is a wonderful thing Mandy, I've learned loads from there.

      It has been hot again, can't move in the afternoons, so we're glad the last f the big jobs are done. We try to catch the neighbours when they get stuff but their yard is out of sight so we generally miss their deliveries, but theit SIL is always about this time of the year. Dave helps them a lot with heavy work and we are glad they will now let him.

      Dave ordered the clothes, he likes to treat me but as long as they cover and are not black they'll do!

    2. Black clothes in the heat is a no-no! I always wonder when you see people in really hot countries dressed in black. Usually the poor women in the Arab countries, whilst the men are dressed in sensible white. :-(

    3. One of the things we have noticed here is that they don't do what neighbouring countries do. Yes black tracksuit (cheap) bottoms, but colours are the order of the day