There was an error in this gadget

Monday, 28 March 2016

A constant juggling process of priorities....

This week has basically seen lots of running around and not seeming to get anything done although realistically much has been done, but not exciting stuff. On Tuesday I needed to go to our nearest city, the old capital of Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo. Of all the days I went was the day of major parades The official date on which we celebrate the day of Veliko Tarnovo is March, 22nd. The date is related to the victory of Tsar Ivan Asen II over the ruler of the Despotate of Epirus, Theodore Komnenos Doukas, in the battle of Klokotnitsa (near the nowadays town of Haskovo).  The battle in which the Bulgarian tsar defeated and captured Theodore Komnenos took place on the 22 March 1230. Having driven round and round the city as my normal routes were all blocked off by police for the oncoming parades I eventually found somewhere to park and went about my business. Every time I go to VT, a city like many other cities where beggars frequent the streets I now always buy a hot snack from a vendor and give it to one of the beggars sitting on the pavement who with paper cup in hand are asking for money. I stoop down and try in my broken Bulgarian to say here is some food as I will not give money and try to converse with them a little to let them realise that they are not alone. I shake their hand and wish them well and then go on my way. For the sake of effectively a very small amount of money I feel that I have given someone who I do not know who sits on cold wet pavements like a discarded item of litter some hope to go on and face another day and see that there may be some compassion in some people out there. I refuse to give money as I totally understand there are some beggars who beg to fuel drug or drink addiction, but maybe by this small gesture I make each time I visit the city it does give one at least a hot meal. Having too much to do I sadly did not stay to see the parades and other celebrations that took place during the day and on until the night.

On the Tuesday as promised I also did more rotavating for my neighbour Venka and Jordan in preparation for planting potatoes. In return they fed me in the evening which saved me making something and as expected a couple of rakias were consumed helping me to sleep, which at the moment I do soundly until around 3am, but then I am going to be at 9am as I am totally exhaused.

The early morning starts before it is light gives me opportunities to do some cooking of writing of the blog, as once it is light it is all systems go sorting out the animals. This week I managed to get to make some raspberry and apple jam ready for sale at the car boot sale. After making it I have realised Sara was definitely underselling her produce for if I sell them at the price she asked it would not even cover the cost of making them so I am considering selling them at 4 lev (1.66), but speaking to my Bulgarian neighbour she says sell them at 5lev.
Raspberry and Apple Jam

I have also made more tealight holders, but not entirely happy with them when they are lit as the paint is transluscent and allow some light to shine through them. Still they are only prototypes and many people have shown an interest in them.
Prototype tealight holders

At last the migrating storks have returned to Bulgarian and after seeing one standing on the nest in the next village, now means the martinitsas, now somewhat grubby around my wrist can be removed and hung from a tree. I had placed Sara's martintsas on the cross on her grave and now after seeing the stork they have been removed and along with mine placed in the tree behind her grave. As I hung them up I tied one of hers and one of mine beside each other a the branch and then tied the two martinitsas together. 

On the garden front due to the continued wet weather it has limited what work I can do out there. I have managed to sow carrot and beetroot seed. I tend to leave the lines in so I know where I have planted until they come up, but also to try and keep the dogs off the rows too much. I have also improvised the jam jars to protect the plastic spoons used as name tags from the attention of Bella who would suddenly appear with them in her mouth, which she used to do with the stick used as markers last year.   
 Carrots and Beetroot planted

 Plant label protection from Bella

 At last the strawberries seem to have got established

 More spring flowers

 Primulas (like little primroses) that I bought from the market and planted for Sara

The only hyacinth in the garden in flower, Mind you we do now have grape hyacinths donated by Violetta (a Bulgarian neighbour along with blackberries)

My niece and her partner are arrived on Sunday staying with me for a while whilst they take in what Bulgaria has to offer. It is good that they are here as they will be able to help set the garden up ready by digging trenches that assist with watering the plants once they have been planted and putting the potatoes in as there has been a delay in getting the garden set up.

At the moment I am coping with being alone, but the grieving process of not having Sara here and the way missing her can suddenly 'come up and bite you in the butt' all has to be dealt with on a daily basis. The combination of trying to get ready for the 40th day service and cleaning up the house for family members arriving from the UK means that at the moment work is constant and generally keeps my mind on track going forward, but simple things can trigger moments of dwelling about Sara and then occasional tears. It can be from the simple gesture my neigbours and Bulgarian friends make such as they want to buy me small plants such as primulas to plant on Sara's grave, to Veska another Bulgarian lady at the gate holding a piece of lilac saying "za Sara" (for Sara) to finding the bottle of cologne Sara had which was called Tosca, the name of her beloved horse she had from when it was a foal, to the moments of solitude when suddenly you feel it is all too much being alone.

The lilac cutting given by Veska


Once again quotes from my all time favourite film Out of Africa in which Isak Dineson said the following help me on those occasions.


Basically when I feel myself dwelling too much I force myself to get up, I dust myself off and then get on with the next task, but life goes on and so it must for the memory of Sara. Slowly but surely things in the smallholding are being adapted to enable me to continue and not be swamped with too many tasks. I am thinking ahead and have new plans of which some may come into fruition, some may not. time will tell, but essentially it is important that I stay positive and remember the good times Sara and I had together. Most of all I cherish the realisation that I actually knew what true love was and that I made Sara happy.

As an update the first carboot of the season that I attended, the first without Sara albeit that it was raining was a great success, not only that I dealt with selling without Sara, but that I pretty much sold out. My niece and her partners came with me for moral support and many of Sara friends came for a chat. The trouble is now need to get making more jam, brown sauce and tea lights.
How chuffed was I.

More chicks are due to hatch this week as the Light Sussex flock of chicks gradually build up in preparation for selling. Sadly due to a incubator malfunction I think many of the Indian Runner eggs may fail to hatch, but we will have to wait and see. Fortunately I now have another automatic more reliable one for the next batch of Indian Runner eggs that will go in at the end of the week. I am also now looking to buy another goat, hopefully an Anglo-nubian to enable me to produce more cheese in the winter, a time when it is not possible to work in the garden, to keep me occupied and develop new skills further in trying to achieve a little more of the self sufficient lifestyle that Sara and I endeavured to achieve.

So as you things are little hectic still to say the least and apologies for the delay in writing this latest update but I hope you enjoy.

33 comments:

  1. The grieving process is very painful Dave and I really feel for you. As you say moments happen and then work beckons and thoughts stop for a while. Glad you have some company with your niece and her chap staying, which will help, talking is good. Well done selling all your produce, sure you felt your efforts were worth while. Love and hugs XXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Cindy. It is good having the company of family around me to help with the initial setting up of the garden as a little delayed with the weather which gives me a little time to breath and assess things for the future. Take care you guys xx

      Delete
  2. Its a busy time of year, so much to do in the garden, well done with car boot, those tea light holders are delightful :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Busy indeed but at least the weather is slowly improving to be back in shorts when out in the garden.

      Delete
  3. So glad you did well at the car boot sale-even with your increased price! I read where you sent some of your chickens to SIL's. One day in the near future things will fall into place and you will develop your own routine. Sounds like you are on that road.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes my SIL is well pleased now having fresh eggs direct and at least it now gives me the space to concentrate of my Light Sussex and Indian Runners. Slowly getting there with the routine and the last couple of nights had really good nights sleep which can only be good for recharging the batteries.

      Delete
  4. For me, it is the same. Keep busy, not only to ward of the sadness but to be so tired you immediately drop off to sleep. The dark and quietness of the night is one of the loneliest times. How lovely that you are carrying on with the boot sales.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At last Denny I am getting a good nights sleep and not waking up at rediculous hour thinking what I need to do the next day. If anything the time I find he loneliest is at mealtimes and the infrequent times I sit to watch TV in the evening , normally one programme as I am so tired I quickly fall asleep in the chair. Having the dogs and cats around me and all the other animals also help keep me occupied and to keep me on track.

      Delete
  5. Oh fantastic the boot sale wen,t well, more that it is a social time, allowing you to meet people. You have fantastic neighbours. Enjoy having your niece n partner to help.
    Would tomatoe sauce sell or do expats bite the bullet n pay over the odds for what they know Heinz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed Kirrie. Re tomato sauce, one of Sara's specialities was Spicy Tomato Sauce which always sold well after I had said to buyers it was good for using as a pizza base filling. So that will definately be on the list for future sales when we have our glut of tomatoes and for me to make for winter storage here.

      Delete
  6. You are doing such a good job with everything. Glad the boot sale went so well. Looking forward to seeing chicks. I am full of admiration for your skills with jams and sauces. I have never made jam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly it seems I am better at jam making than cake making at the moment, still practice makes perfect.

      Delete
  7. Nice. it´s seem like nice to start a new life in Bulgaria. Good for pepole with gardeninstreting.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Keeping busy is your salvation at the moment, and you are doing very well. In fact, you are doing better than us in getting going with the veg garden! I shall look forward to seeing how it fares through the coming months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Potatoes now in - next week start of organising trenches for tomatoes and runner beans.

      Delete
  9. Be kind to yourself you are doing terribly well. I lost my mum last year so to a degree I can understand the rush of emotions especially when something strikes you on the raw but you are keeping yourself busy and carrying on with your and Sara's dream. Cheesemaking is something I intend doing in due course. I am assembling books (often second hand) and bits and bobs of equipment. I have a book on cheesemaking by Dick and James Strawbridge and they advocate using a large catering soup tureen in which to process the curds which seemed to me a good idea as cleanliness and temperatures are important but it also lets you process a useful amount too. I have a site on Pinterest on which I have collated lots of useful links https://uk.pinterest.com/pattypan2/dairy/

    There are lots of other bits and bobs there. Hope it is useful. I am particularly interested in natural cultures for starting off cheese rather than buying starters in i.e the Cornish Yarg I believe they use a natural starter made from nettles to curdle the milk and then the nettles are used to cover the cheese afterwards. Glad you have company and are starting to get the garden on the go.

    Kind regards

    Tricia (aka Pattypan)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for the links Tricia, when I have time in the next couple of weeks I will have a gander at them. We managed to get two large (10 litre and 15 litre) stainless steel pans. As you say they need to be large in order to get a workable amount to produce a good amount. Hopefully next week we (my sister and my niece) will be trying our first hard cheese we made.

      Delete
    2. Glad to have been of assistance. Unfortunately I have not had time to play the washing machine flooded the kitchen bathroom and dining room and has wrecked the laminate flooring so for the past couple of days we have been drying out and then replacing the flooring. Maybe I will get to play a little at the end of the week - especially after purchasing several books on the subject. Am glad you have had some company. Hope you have managed to play with the cheese.

      Kind regards.

      Tricia (aka Pattypan)

      Delete
    3. Oh dear Tricia - hope you get the kitchen floor sorted and then get chance to have some me time. Counting the days for the possible new arrivals (ducks and AN goats).

      Delete
  10. Love the tea lights! Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and feelings at this difficult time. With very best wishes, Janet and Mark

    ReplyDelete
  11. Out of Africa is my favourite movie too. You are a brave soul Dave. By the way I love the tea lights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I lost count of ho many times I have watched the film Curly Cub, but when in Kenya doing a training course at a chimp sanctuary had the chance to visit Karen Blixen's house.

      Delete
  12. I am still enjoying your blog - funnily enough you write quite similarly to Sara. You sound like you are managing to cope and I admire you so much for getting on with it all. I imagine keeping busy is the best way forward to help you get through the grieving process. I love that you keep mentioning her and keeping her spirit alive in this blog for all of us to read. Well done for doing so well at the car boot sale and great also to know that you have some family with you to keep you company. Keep on trucking!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks MillyMollyMandy - still days where the truck chugs along, not in top gear with the occasional water leak, but it will continue on with the journey until its final destination.

      Delete
  13. You write so endearingly pet. I look forward to your upadtes and read them to my hubby. We both admire you immensely and wish we were as brave as you and Sara were to make a new start. Sadly, your dreadful loss made us realise that it wouldn't work for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Cherie for your comment. It is a shame that this life would not work for you. but each and every one of us have our own capabilities. Be sure to see each and every day as a blessing and make sure to tell your loved ones that you love them. Love costs nothing, but is as precious as any diamond or gold nugget.

      Delete
    2. That life would work wonderfully for Tony and I as a couple but I couldn't cope if I were to be left alone in a foreign country. I used to read your lovely Sara's posts and dream of doing the same as you two did. I often looked on 'Green Shifters' site and drooled over properties in Bulgaria. I bet it is a lovely, rewarding ... but hard... life.

      Delete
    3. Indeed it i hard work, but worth every minute, but at the moment it is a matter of readjusting/rebooting to get back on track. Not everyone's cup of tea, but definitely a situation of living your life and your dreams to their fullest.

      Delete
  14. I haven't commented before, but want to add my support, prayers & best wishes to those of everyoner else. I always enjoyed reading Sara's posts - especially about the animals - and was shocked to hear/read about her death. Thank you to you for continuing what she started, and wishing you well as you start your journey without her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for your wishes. At the moment the journey is tough, but each day I go on a little further cherishing the moments I had with Sara and pleased that many of you guys appreciate me continuing with Sara's blog in her memory. Understandably I may write less frequently but there are only so many hours in the day and at the moment life is full on trying to organise for the growing season.

      Delete
  15. Hi Dave,
    loving your blog as usual. What lovely neighbours and family you have. Well done at the car boot sale. I was wondering how you are getting on with your bees? Did they make it through the winter? I am chuffed to bits as mine have just made it through their second winter. The first year I did everything as taught by traditional beekeepers, e.g medicating and feeding. But I was never happy with this and last year I decided to do it organically and I did no medicating or feeding. I harvested some honey in the spring, but left all of the summer harvest to feed them in the winter. I have also planted lots of herbs in my allotment to keep them healthy. Do bulgarian beekeepers have different methods?
    Best wishes, Michele from Somerset

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi - yes the bees made it through the winter fine and seem to be ultra strong. Bulgarians tend to strip the hive of honey at the end of the year and feed through the winter, whereas I left a good 6 frames of honey for them as feed for the winter. I do not medicate and they are pretty much left to their own devices with regular checks through the season to see that everything is OK. I am intending to split the colony in a couple of weeks to create a new colony and hopefully prevent them from swarming. They are pretty busy at the moment as there has been lots of cherry, apple, peach, cornel blossonm and there are rape fields close to the village and in a few weeks time the acacia trees will be in flower so lots of pollen collecting. No fully sure what Bulgarians do but at the moment I am following protocols via reading, google and a friend for advice who has a large numbers of hives and experience.

    ReplyDelete