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Friday, 20 November 2015

Slowly getting back to normal

Yes, our visitors have left to take up residence in their new home. And for all those who are waiting for news, you will have a full update once they have the internet connected next week.

No matter how much you love your family, when you have never really lived together, and certainly not for forty years, having someone in the house is hard on us and them. But we did it and would do it again and it was so worth it. But we live very different lives, as do the animals, and finding that middle ground takes time. The dogs and cats are now back to being total couch potatoes, and my sister's dog is loving his new space and getting back to being the only pet. So it was so worth it in the end, but we are glad to be back into our routine. More another time.
Chilling (it's not cold, the cats like a blanket)

Not sure that is the best place for a kip!
My sister mader her first smoked salmon and chard and goat's cheese ravioli. The machine broke so some pasta (tortolini) is a bit thick

The weather is continuing warm by day, chillier by night but altogether...not right! 20C day after day in November causes confusion in plants and animals. Our garlic and onions are still galloping away, with the onions having so much leaf they are bending over. I am glad we only put about fifty in after losing so many last year when all the autumn planted sets ran to seed We will be putting more in in spring along with some seed sown long ones and shallots. The garlic we bought in the UK is just poking through so hopefully they will be OK.
Onions, too far grown to cope with a harsh winter maybe

Garlic and lettuce

Dill or fennel? Sprouting up everywhere

The brassicas are doing well, the kale has recovered from it's caterpillar attack and the sprouting broccoli is showing shoots. The sprouts are good this year compared to last, but they are lying down and I am reluctant to stake them in case it affects the sprouts. I have taken off any resting on the ground and they will need some fleece under them before it rains but hopefully they will continue to grow. The cabbages we are continuing to eat, they are lovely, and I would like to make some sauerkraut next week. We have carrots and beets of a usable size but we will leave them in a bit longer yet. I have pulled and frozen the celery as it was suddenly looking a bit tired so it's all ready for soups and stews. We don't really eat it fresh, but I did try some and it was really nice, strong flavoured but sweet too.
Recovering kale

Broccoli sprouting

Love sprouts, these need some frost though
Sprout 'thinnings'
With cottage pie and braised fennel

Elsewhere in the garden the leaves have fallen and grass has stopped growing, but we have a flush of self seeded annuals come up and some perennials and roses are still flowering well. The rhubarb is also still growing. I picked some ripe figs yesterday and made a fig and almond tart....crazy! Also still using fresh herbs from the garden. The cornel tree by the gate is bursting bud. They form their blossom buds in the summer for the next spring, but there is a definite flush of yellow where confusion reigns. As for wildlife, well there are still hedgehogs about, and butterflies, plus other insects and flipping flies...will they never go this year? I have spent the past weeks assuring my sister that the flies are not usually this bad for so long. Not sure if she believes me!

Loads of scabious still coming out

Lush new annuals

The cornel thinks it's spring

Scabious plus bug


Fresh nicotiana




The woodpecker can be seen now there are no leaves

November figs

Fig and ginger jam, almond sponge and fresh figs. Yum

We did socialising last week. Only to the local bar so that our visitors know what to expect and to meet some of our friends. We had food out in town too while waiting for contracts to be signed, but had a look at a nearby menu and it looked really interesting for those veggies amongst us, plenty of variety. On a visit to my sister we passed a friend who had just had a load of lucerne delivered so stopped to help (or more accurately, I stopped, Dave helped) and were invited to a birthday the interesting restaurant i had been looking at. Looking forward to that! Report next time.
We found a special place to take photos while wandering around Veliko Tarnovo

The platform goes right over the river Yantra, goodness knows how they built those houses on the cliff

Amazing graffiti

Looking up from the cafe

We took the dogs down to the river early one morning. We didn't expect to see much there, but there were herons and great white egrets, cormorants and LBJs, and on the way home, a distant pair of hen harriers being buffetted by the wind.
Great white egret, so elegant and graceful


Crested lark

I really must get some lens cleaner!

The rubbish by the river, which was flattened in spring, has grown massively, an eyesore and bad for the river and wildlife

Hen harrier

Sheep and lambs in the village

Our village in autumn

The girls, and Dave, had a great time by the water. It was nice and shallow for Bonnie and she and Dave had some quality wet time together. Bella is not so sure although she is usually OK once wet. She would much rather collect plastic bottles.

One madman and his dog
Is it cold?

I want to join in! I don't

I'll stick to watching!

A happy pic...18 November!
But it was Bonnie's day and was perfect for her.

Millie came back into season this week so her previous mating was a failure. After clearing up the charges for taking them out every day with the shepherd (someone who shall remain nameless trying to charge again) they will now be going out, weather permitting, till Christmas. I hope the boy did a better job this time. The girls have a touch of separation anxiety, not wanting to leave Dave, running back so that he has to hide behind the gate. At home time there is no need for the shepherd to come to the gate, the girls come galloping on their own.
The brown one is Millie's suitor
Exhausted girls

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