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Friday, 18 September 2015

It's all very quiet.....

The shepherds on the lane outside the house...setting Millie off bleating!

There's not a lot going on at the moment. The weather has turned warm again, up into the thirties today. The air-con is back on at night and the is the end of September so really it should be, and is, winding down. The pool has been cleaned....and re-filled! After the recent rain the weeds are up and running again and veggies have started to move. All the ten or so ripening butternuts have now split and most are in the goats, but the embryo squash I mentioned last time are now very good sizes and if the weather stays favourable we will hopefully have enough for our needs...though I seem to remember saying that a couple of months ago!

Most of the caulis and broccoli have gone into the paddock now but I am still getting enough tomatoes and courgettes for our fresh needs. There is plenty of kale and chard, we found a few more carrots who's tops I had broken off when trying to pull them and we had a feed of runner beans the other day. I've even had a few figs...Dave is not bothered one way or another but I love them with a bit of goat cheese and walnuts, with a tiny drizzle of our honey (just because it's there!) The sprouts are starting to show, I just hope they hang on till the cooler weather before going too far and blowing. The winter broccoli is looking good, as is the late sown kale. The cabbages are trying and late sown carrots and beets. One thing which is happier with the shorter days, meaning more shade from the barn, is the celery which has started to grow new centres. They are staying damp so hopefully we will get enough for winter soups and stews. As for the leeks....they are still just sitting there!

Mmmm...fig, cheese and walnuts

But I have been looking forward to next year and have just placed an order for heritage seeds from Pennards Plants who will post them out here. I can't get everything but will get some from the market and some we will shop for when in the UK. We will have far too many but they should last a year or two.

Flowers are something we would rather get when we can see and read the packets. We don't need many...... At the moment things have come back to life in the garden and self sown marigolds and nasturtiums, as well as borlotti beans are coming up everywhere. We are not planning on sowing cosmos or nicotiana as so many came up in spring from last year's seeds that it doesn't seem worth the fact there are a good few well grown self sown plants which will hopefully be flowering into autumn, weather permitting. And the morning glory still gives a huge show every morning.

And still those four plants keep producing!


....verbascum (third flowering).....

....and veronica just keep going.

And the walnuts have started to fall. The ones with grubs or not quite sound are first, but more and more they are sound and we are hoping we can store them in shell this year. We visited a house in the week where there were hazelnuts hanging over the wall and dropping in huge piles to rot on the path. I still have a problem with that, and the peaches rotting on the ground. Our grapes on the first vine we stripped for juice (we missed some) are now intensely sweet and are going in our tummies! The others are still waiting for Yordan.....I hope they are not wasted.
Super sweet grapes

The new chickens are settling in well, the awful nastiness as the pecking order is sorted out has calmed down without too much damage being done. There is now more hassle from the three amigos who are all crowing well and being teenagers with hormone problems! But the ladies are coping for now. And we are getting plenty of eggs!

One problem I touch on now and then are dogs on the street. Our neighbour's dog managed to get a dose of mange and we have got hold of medicine and spray to clear it up, just her ears to sort out now. It has taken months. But a dog has turned up in the village who is a really sad little thing, no hair and scabby, terrified, you can't get near it, and it cries pitifully when scratching. Unfortunately this is likely to go through the few strays, as well as village dogs, we have in the village as it tries to integrate into the pack. But though we have the medicine, it is too frightened to get anywhere near at the moment. We also had the most lovely little golden spaniel type turn up, frightened at first then desperate for attention. He is just young, very pretty and not in bad condition. But we think he has a home as he has a heavy collar with a swivel attachment where a chain would go. No manners but desperate to please. I hope he as a good home somewhere, his lovely eyes haunt me.

We did a car boot sale last weekend. We have cut down to the one local one due to the heat, but it seemed to take ages to come round as it was a five week month. Apart from a special order I will have enough jams and chutneys for the next and last of the season. Last year it was snowed off which left us a bit deflated as it was a chance to see people for the last time till spring. We went to a friend's house in the village for lunch, one of their lovely soups and home made bread. Other people's cooking is always better than you own! We are going to be sociable again next week and attend the wedding of one of our ex-pat friends to a Bulgarian lady. It is going to be a traditionally Bulgarian wedding which involves everyone following the couple around the village so will report on that next time. And hopefully our visitor's car is now fixed and she will be over soon. Now...what shall I cook???

We had some of the strawberry mini popcorn the other day. That was really nice and will be a handy, pretty healthy snack for winter. We liked it salted but didn't try it with butter caramel so we'll see...
Salty and sweet...we prefer the salty

And we are still feeling very smug that so much of our food comes from the garden. Salads, soups, beans and cheese. We haven't many potatoes or onions but will have leeks and plenty of other veg. Happy with our healthier diet.

Garlic chive cheese, our own bread and beetroot chutney...yum

Didn't want to waste the chive flowers..... battered them to go with sweet and sour

And finally, most of the visiting summer birds have left now. There were masses of bee eaters circling overhead yesterday, but they seem to have gone now. We so look forward to their, and the oriole's return in spring. But if they stayed we wouldn't be so appreciative of their presence.

Bee eaters circling and making a din

And a couple of visitors


  1. I would find it SO hard with the stray dogs - I'd want to adopt them all! It's always interesting reading what you're up to.

    1. It is, very. Many British end up with dozens of animals. Unfortunately if they have to return to the UK in an emergency (or if they get ill) it becomes a problem when they can't take them with them, especially if they will have to go into rented accommodation or stay with relatives. We have tried (and failed) to not take any strays in, but we are pushing it with the two cats if we need to find somewhere to live in the UK.

  2. There is a UK Co called The Real Seed Company. They specialise in seeds that you can collect and use and come true.... no F1 varieties. They are very good. I am going to use them when we move to Bulgaria. I commented on one of your previous posts. We travelled out in July travelled up and down the Black Sea Coast into villages, and picked of them 5 near Burgas. We are going back this October to look at some property in these villages. Can't wait. Our part of Kent is getting even more congested. Glad to see the goats have settled, envy you with the milk. Keep up the good work. Look forward to your next blog. Rosemary

    1. Hope you have a successful property hunt. Dave is from Kent and understands what you mean.

  3. Your garden is supplying you with lots of goodness, and your chickens too. How sad to see neglected dogs. My favorite in this post is your figs with goat cheese and walnuts. Yum.

    1. We have rain so hopefully things will get moving again. The dogs are a real problem to us, we would love to take some in but it's totally impractical at this time...apart from always tripping over the ones we have.

      Slowed down on the cheese for now, we are only getting a little less than a litre a day with all the goodness gone out of the forage due to heat and dryness

  4. That morning glory of yours is amazing - I always thought they didn't like hot weather! Good idea what you have done with the chive flowers, bet they were yummy. Sad to hear about the stray dogs. :-( Our swallows have gone now so the skies seem very empty. And you have reminded me to go check out my walnuts!! :-)

    1. Yes it's eerily quiet. Our swallows go earlier than most though it's still very warm. We have grown the morning glory for years, but this as been the best year. Just four plants and they have been so healthy, Roots in the cool for a lot of the day might help. The variety is 'Heavenly Blue'

      The flowers did not have a huge amount of flavour cooked, but I tried some raw and they are amazing, crunchy with a delayed kick! Nice on soups and salads