|Venka and Yordan coming for coffee|
|The fountain is quite new and changes all the time, lovely to watch on a hot day, sipping coffe|
So Venka took my arm and guided me around the tables. I have to say the one from our village looked lovely and the lady behind it stunning in her traditional clothes. There was no sign of Venka's bread so I am assuming someone had bought it.
|Our village table|
|This was an award (diploma) for the excellent table for 'Golden Autumn' Unfortunately translation is not really helpful, but the jist is there|
|I was given a dough mushroom|
|And from other villages|
|Hedgehogs seem quite popular|
|All from the garden|
The next day we were called around next door and there was a plate of various goodies from the table and other friends came round to sample. With the weather being so hot it was not surprising that cakes and doughnuts were past their best! Venka, great tester of cakes I make from whatever is in season, has asked if I will make something for next year...I have told her I will need a few days' notice but of course, what an honour!
As to the new faces...well, it's not very exciting. Some of our ex-batts are slowing down and laying fragile eggs so if we want to avoid an eggless winter like the one before last we needed a few more hens. I would have gone for back yard hens but there is no guarantee they will lay through the winter, none of our's have, or the Shumens. Commercial hens tend to keep laying even if there are not quite as many eggs, once they have been through a moult. And anyway, I love to give them a bit of a chicken life after they have been discarded, and they will be vaccinated against nasties too. So now with the four new girls we have 15 hens, 6 youngsters and apart from the new ones who we don't know about yet (though one has laid already, she came to the window in agitation asking where the box was! As soon as Dave showed her the hole in the wall she settled down and produced) only four are laying (we think) and of course. our most regular layer, Chubba, who is still laying fragile eggs which she breaks! But we are doing our bit by giving them a good retirement, payback for all those shop bought eggs we have consumed over the years.
|Bless them, they weren't as shy as some are when they get here|
|Some of the others coming for a look|
|Their first egg!|
Of course there will be a bit of squabbling as the pecking order is sorted out, but chief hen Cagney is not too nasty. She will have to try to keep things in order with Sevi gone, but the main pain will be the three amigos, now all confirmed as boys. The white one is mating with the hens, the rumpless has a bit of an identity crisis and has been courting the ducks who have given him an ear bashing and chased him off for his impudence, and the small one, who is crowing properly now, is biding his time. They are boistrous teenagers and there is a scuffling at night as, despite there being three long perches, they are trying to muscle in on the hens' patch. The three up and coming chicks are on a big perch with Cagney but tend to get knocked off occasionally and picked on. We have no idea what sex they are yet, they are all very different but are feathering up now even though they have no combs there should be some telltale hackles coming through if they are boys...but getting close enough to check is another matter.
|One of the 'babies'|
The three remaining ducks, when they are not shouting at Rumpless, are rarely heard now and it's much quieter generally. We have heard from the people who took Ducky and the two girls and he has settled in well so that's good.
The goats are doing well, Dave takes them for a good long browse in the mornings and Venka is leaving food on the wall for them. Unfortunately Milly has now sussed this out and starts shouting when she sees Venka, who is often there as that is where the fire for her cooking and preserving is.
We bought a football to see if Tilly would play with it as she loves a game of chase. But after a few days we gave up with that. Bonnie begged for it and although we knew what would happen, she popped it within ten minutes of play and shook it till it fell apart....all the time puffing like a train bless her
In the garden we are starting to see a difference since the all too brief spell of rain. We are seeing lots of new butternuts and courgettes, kale and even some beans. The romanesco we are eatin as sprouting broccoli as it has not formed a proper head, and very nice it is too. We are still using chard but the leeks are still in limbo. The roses are blooming well again and the cannas are at last flowering. The morning glory is still doing really well, a joy every morning, but the peas didn't show...maybe the beets and carrots will grow, but we need rain or they will just wither. The raspberries are coming off in bits but that doesn't really matter, we have plenty to keep us going till next year and the bits are going into the rough rakia we have been given with sugar to make a tasty liqueur for winter.
|The morning glory...still glorious on the dunny|
|The grape leaves are starting to turn lovely colours|
|Hopefully Yordan will be coming for the grapes before they all fall off as raisins!|
|New flush of flowers|
|This pink Veronica is not supposed to flower till next year|
|Sage gone mad, despite taking loads out|
|Canna, at last!|
|The second lemon grass plant, the first has been lifted, cuttings taken and stems frozen for future use|
|This canna is almost out|
|Teeny crab spider|
|Veronica in full bloom yet again|
|A door to keep the weather off the hay|
We managed to get some small onions on our monthly shop for meat and flouretc so Dave;s new love for pickled onions has been fed. We are continuing with cheese, but there are some times when it just plain goes wrong. One of these times was when I was making mozzarella and it just wouldn't come together. So I shaped and salted it and forgot it for a week. When I eventually remembered it I tasted it to see whether it was worth using...and it was delicious. Really smoothe and creamy in the middle wit a firmer crust around it. Lovely. So made some little cheesy puffs which were delicious with a drizzle of our honey. It is lovely to have such good food, even by default! I made a chicken pie, chard and cheese flan, borlotti beans with runners, onion, wood roasted pepper and mustard dressing, saute potatoes wit onion and raspberry trifle with good egg custard for afters when we were expecting a visitor. Unfortunately due to car trouble she didn't make it and we had to stuff ourselves! Such a hard life. Good job the weather had cooled!
|Gone wrong cheese? Yum|
|Mozzarella salad and garlic bread|
|I feel our friend missed out on a nearly home grown feast...|
|Trifle, a rare treat...and no jelly!|