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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Mating goats and house hunting

Another hectic week. A frantic few days looking at many houses has resulted in a possible match, but more of that another time. Suffice to say it is not in our village....and if it comes off, it's a very exciting house. Meanwhile Venka and Yordan asked us all round for their version of fish and chips after they had all been to the market and a hilarious time was had by all.
Venka, Yordan, Dave and Helen off to market

Supper with the neighbours, starting with pickles and rakia, then cold baked carp and chips and rakia (you get the picture) chunks of ham, then the still warm chocolate brownies I made which always go down a storm, 

Yordan showing off his Liverpool scarf and hat brought back from the UK

We have been continuing to enjoy sunny days, warm enough for those from the UK to want to sit outside for meals, and cold nights, close to freezing. But the fire is practically cooking us! Autumn is definitely here, with the colours of the trees deepening and the garden plants which are not happy in cold keeling over. We will enjoy the days for as long as we can with our visitors not able to get enough of our lovely Bulgarian sun.
Home produced frittata, salad, bread and pickles in the sun

We have cleared the main garden apart from the few over wintering veggies. The onions and garlic are growing strongly, cabbages hearting up well, sprouts ....well...maybe we will get some. One of the two kale plants has been decimated by cabbage white caterpillars but hopefully there is time for it to come back before it gets too cold, and the broccoli is looking strong. What we get from these plants will depend on how low, and how long, the temperatures go down. We have moved the chard which did not bolt, and the English celery (it was in the way) and the leeks are up and either processed or standing in water. The latter Bulgarian giants have suffered in the plot, they came up with little root and many had bites out of them. The English ones in the shade fared a bit better, but were not huge. The peppers and beans have gone to the goats. We have dug up the sweet potatoes and were pleasantly surprised at the yields, some were huge. But unfortunately the crickets have had a field day and left them with many healed pock marks, though the potatoes themselves are OK inside. We will definitely give them another go, and as for critters....I am hoping that nature will sort the problem out without interference from us or chemicals, but that might take a couple of years.
All enjoying the garden clearout
These were some leeks Venka gave us, which I added to

And some celeriac

Leek chunks, slices and dice for the freezer

Digging up the sweet potatoes

Huge but pock marked

Huuuuge walnut from next door

And next to our decent sized ones. Our's are definitely superior quality
The celery is out with the carrots, beets, cabbage and chard

Yeuch! But we haven't had too many

So the ground has now been ploughed and the chickens and ducks will be going out there to hoover up any insects and grubs, then dig in the compost and fertilise for us. It will be left to the weather to do it's stuff before Dave attacks it with the rotovator in spring.
Angel ploughing with Dave and Venka in attendance

Raising the electric cable for the tractor

Bracken, Helen and Tilly look on

OI! That's not for you!

Millie came into season this week, just to add to the mayhem. Dave went off to see a local Billy owner, who's boy is unfortunately under the weather, so off to another who was a bit small and was hopping about, very keen but rather ineffective. Eventually Dave left Millie with the goat herder who also had a Billy, but a large one, and she spent a happy couple of days in their company. The second day we let Tilly go too as she had been a nightmare on her own at home and we were worried she would injure herself. The peace at home was lovely, so quiet, and we thought that maybe it would be good for us and the goats for them to go out regularly. The charges were a bit more than we thought they would be but we paid a month in advance to see how it would go. Unfortunately the Goat herder decided he would see what he could get out of us and tried to charge again, so it was a short but hopefully fruitful couple of days in company for Millie and the goat herder has cut off his nose to spite his face and will not be getting a regular income from us. She was certainly mated, but by which buck remains to be seen. If we need to try again we will hopefully find our local man's buck in better health.

The other animals are generally getting on OK. Charlie is so full on friendly that Bracken has no idea what to make of him. But he still chases the cat if he turns his back. Spud is keeping out of the way but if Bracken gets too close he gets sworn at. Poor Bracken, he has no idea how to take the two such different cats! Our two dogs have accepted the huge black lab as part of the furniture.
Saying hello to Millie

Checking out a new walk

I had a birthday this week and we went into VT to have lunch, show my sister and brother in law where the DIY and electrical shops are. Helen has spent thousands in her head....but I have been here long enough to be rather shocked at her extravagance....after all the appliances in the house will only be about ten years old.....

However, not to be out done and being a bit of a birthday girl hypocrite, we bought ourselves a new TV as the one we brought out with us keeps switching itself off. The idea of not being able to watch telly on cold winter nights doesn't bear thinking of. We got the next size up, still smaller than most at 40 inches but it makes viewing with tired eyes much easier.

Another pressie, a throw for my chair

And carpet to help Bonnie and I on the stairs
Lunch in the courtyard at the Hadje Nikoli

I had my usual trout with almonds 

Such a pretty old street

My friend made me one of her lovely cross stitch cards


  1. My brother in law came to visit and showed us a lot of photos of their house in the UK, of which he is very very proud... lots of new furniture and up to date decor and all very very different from what we have here... and I can't bear to think of how much money they spent... money wasted from our point of view here in our recycled, upcycled comfy mismatched home. I don't think your tv is a hypocritical purchase as its all a matter of priorities and what you consider necessary for your continuing quality of life. We bought a swimming pool this year but haven't bothered to get the dent taken out of the tailgate of the car.. car still works... Autumn looks fruitful there in Bulgaria.

    1. I think we are on the same wavelength Jane...but if she wants to spend money I am happy to help her to do that! All the pleasure without the pain! haha

  2. What an interesting post. Happy Birthday ! :-) How exciting for you to possibly be having your sister live in the same country. I hope they get the house.

    1. Thank you. I hope they do I can see it blossom and advise her to spend money without me having to foot the bill!

  3. Happy Birthday!! Hope your sister won't be too far away from you when they move to Bulgaria. Sounds like you've had a nice visit.

    1. Thank you Janice. Not too far, near enough and I think we both agree. We have very different priorities but it will be lovely to have her here to share things with Really looking forward to it

  4. I do hope your goats have been caught we are just starting with goats, it all sounds exciting having family coming to live near you :-)

    1. We hope so too, Millie has been a lot quieter since her liaison.

      And yes, nice to have family near. They were two hours from us in the UK

  5. Happy Belated Birthday! As rural allotmenteers and recyclers we know how you feel about spending on new items. I always feel much happier with a charity shop bargain or recycled freebie. But a good tv is great in a cold winter when you need to snuggle up. Best wishes Michele from Somerset

    1. Thanks Michele. Loving the larger size

  6. Happy Birthday. So wise having a sister a couple of villages away, the only reason I have such a good relationship with my three sisters is because the live far enough away not to be on my doorstep everyday but near enough for celebrations.

    1. You're right Kath, it will be lovely to have them near, but we have different ways so need to be properly independent

      And thank you

  7. robin & darleen3 November 2015 at 10:43

    Hello, we enjoy your blog since a few months and we enjoy your pictures, stories and cooking every time. In 2 years, we hope to live the same dream. As you can see in my text, english is not my mother tongue, but we manage to understand your blog. We hope to meet you one day. When we are in BG, we stay in a small village named Devino, 35km east of VT. Robin&Darleen

    1. Hi Robin and Darleen. Sorry, your message went straight to spam for some reason.
      Thank you for your lovely comments and I am sorry you did not get an answer.
      Good luck with finding a new life over here, it is well worth it I think.

  8. Caught and cooked a carp in Germany, it was the bony and unpalatable and since then everyone I caught went back in the lake. Hope you had a good birthday.

    1. Have to say they are huge (farmed) in the market and cut into steaks. As long as it's overcooked it's OK, and even H and G ate all the cold fish and colder chips

      Had a great birthday thanks Bro, strange to spend it with family, it's been many years.