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Friday, 23 December 2016

What a year

Well what a year it has been, one I would not like to repeat in many ways, emotionally, but I have to thank family, friends and followers of the blog for their support through the tough times. There are far too many to mention individually, but you know who you are.

At last the legal issues that I have had to deal with since Sara died have at last been completed, so over the last two months my mind has been on overdrive contemplating my future. There have been occasions where I wanted to sell up and go back to the UK. Partly due to feeling I was stagnating and not going forward emotionally and partly due to frustration with the language barrier causing me at times to feel very isolated. Due to the daily lottery pick of emotions, another time I felt like selling up to then buy property elsewhere to then expand the goat herd to enable me to produce more cheese. Viewing a few houses made me soon realise, ultimately any profit made from the sale of this house would soon be eaten up with repairs to a new house, so would be a situation of 'cutting off my nose to spite my face'. So for the time being I will stay here for at least to the end of next year when I will need to renew my residency. possibly requiring me to create a company due to the UK deciding to pull out of the EU (Brexit) or that I am not in a financial position to stay as I have a few years to go before I will be able to get a pension, but for now I live for the day (with a little immediate forward planning) for know one really knows what tomorrow may bring.

So as the winter draws on and the winter solstice has passed meaning spring will be here before you know it, not much has happened in the garden. This being the case then I have been concentrating on jobs indoors or some jobs outside when the weather permits. We have had temperatures well below freezing at night (the lowest being -12) for a couple of weeks now and a little snow so the fire is constantly burning during the day which keep the cats and dogs happy and is very welcoming after working outside.


Partly due to the cold weather and partly because Isaac is very much an athlete and regularly jumping over into the girls stalls at night when I separate them for the night I have finished making the upper stable doors to each of the goat houses. What with deep litter and the doors keeping the heat in at night water buckets are not freezing at night and all the goats are keeping warm which is good as all the girls are now confirmed pregnant with Duchess due to kid at the end of February. Now that Isaac has done the business he has become a little bored and gets into all sorts of mischief as he is still less than a year old and seeks out attention. So I spend a little time training him to stand at various points in the enclosure on blocks and to start lifting his feet on command which he seems to enjoy the attention. Eliza on the other hand is very aloof and does not crave attention, which causes problems when hoof trimming. All the others once tethered will stand and allow their hooves to be trimmed, but Eliza she is like a bucking broncho and so at the moment I am not forcing her as she is at the stage she could abort. So each day all get their treat of bread which she now comes up for and even pushes her way in for. In addition to this wen she is separated at night with Duchess I sit in the stall with them as Duchess is very much a calming influence on her to try and bond with her.

Eliza is turning not a stunning goat albeit a little bonkers

Cheese production is very limited at the moment as Millie's milk yield as gone down, but I have started experimenting with semi hard cheeses such as Caerphilly and Roquefort.  The first Caerphilly has be tasted and even some sold after friends tried it and wanted some, so hopefully once the car boots start up again and tasters provided that will become as popular as the Garlic and Chive soft cheese.

     
Novo Nachalo Caerphilly type cheese
Novo Nachalo Roquefort type cheese in the making.

Grace the dachshund is at a testing time at the moment for each time I go out she is into disemboweling sofa cushions and the like. I do not think it is separation anxiety, I think it more that she is in her terrible teens stage and being a Daxie tends to dig a lot. The evidence in the garden is apparent as she has dug up newly planted bulbs and the like and so I think she is just doing the same when indoors. Still hopefully she will soon grow out of it, we had the same problem with Bella until she was eighteen months old and then she was fine (fingers crossed).
 Butter wouldn't melt - NOT

DISgrace - Crime scene
A morning foray on the bed pillow disemboweled 
and not that being enough she decided to chew a pen up
 so ink stains on a jumper.
     
Being colder and trying to move forward, I have started decorating the house in preparation for when hopefully my parents come and visit in May next year. So to brighten the place up, out with white and magnolia in with red and yellow in the living room and kitchen. Maybe I am reverting back to my youth for I remember my dad being a little more than annoyed when I decided to paint my bedroom wall pillar box red, but the paint was gloss paint. There are times when Bob Marley or Kate Bush is playing on my computer, with vibrant colours in the room, incense sticks burning I feel I am back in my teens. If only it was that easy to turn back time.  

 Living Room

 Living Room

 Kitchen to Living Room

Invariably the stress and build up to Christmas has been a bit much at times for me. Trying frantically to re-create what Sara and I used to do making gifts for neighbours, I took to making mince pies, biscuits and chocolates for them. 
Chocolates

 Ginger biscuits

Mince pies

I have not made any hand made cards this year I just cannot get my head round it as that was Sara's thing, but with all this ups and downs of emotions through creating the gifts I will not be making them next year. It is not that I am letting go of Sara's memory that will never happen, but it is a thing we did TOGETHER and I have to create a new life without her by my side albeit in spirit or memory, I have to create MY new life of my own. 

I have not put paint to canvas for a couple of months now and have never considered myself a portrait artist, but one of the things I really want to try and do is do a portrait of Sara. So here is the start. A long way to go and it currently hangs in the bedroom ready for me to continue with it when time permits and when I am in the mood. At least it is hanging which implies I am relatively happy with it at the moment for I will never put a painting up that I am not happy with.   
Darling Sara

So I am up early this morning to write the blog (apologies it is so short) and prepare for the day ahead as I am making steak and mushroom pudding instead of doing turkey for tomorrow, the big day. A couple of close friends are coming round for although initially I just wanted the day alone I know deep down that would not be moving forward with life and be dwelling on what has been not what will be. It may be a tough day, but I have gone this far and there are certain to be more days like these but by the strength in me I know I can go forward, I have come this far already.

Anyway you guys have a really good Christmas. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support and kind words over the year. Be sure to cherish every moment not just tomorrow, but every day. Be sure to tell those loved ones around you you love them, not just tomorrow, but every day. You have one shot at this life, make it a good one. 

God Bless you

Love you always Sara xx
Dave.

44 comments:

  1. The painting of Sara looks so much like her be nice to see it finished, painted from your heart buddy

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  2. It is so good to hear from you and I think you are doing an amazing job. I love the new colour scheme. The cheese looks amazing and Grace, well what we can say! Not behaving up to her name at the moment. Your chocolates, biscuits and mince pies look really lovely and you are doing a great job with your portrait of Sara. I do tell my loved ones that I love them as I know how much we have to appreciate every day we have. Have the best Christmas that you can and eat well.I am glad that you have some close friends to be with you on the day and steak and mushroom pudding sounds lovely. Take care x

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    1. Many thanks Carol for your kind words. You have a Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for 2017.

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  3. Wishing you the merriest possible Christmas and all the best for 2017!

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    1. Best wishes Janna and here is to a good new year.

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  4. Very wise words Dave, a good reminder for all of us. We hope your day is as happy as possible. What an amazing job you are doing, you're a hive of industry. Can you please pass me a mince pie?

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    1. Cheers Curly Club, sadly all the mince pies have been handed out to my Bulgarian friends and neighbours. Merry Christmas.

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  5. Thank you for the update. It sounds like the goats are doing well. Grace has charm and looks so innocent!
    Peace and best wishes for 2017

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    1. Many tanks for your support and kind words over the year Alcea Rosea. Merry Christmas and here is to a good new year.

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  6. It was good to read your latest news while sitting here on Christmas morning. I so admire how you have coped in the past months and wish you a happy Christmas and send best wishes for 2017.99

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    1. Thanks Lindsey and best wishes to you for 2017.

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  7. Merry Christmas Dave and here's hoping that 2017 will be a little easier for you. Your baking looks delicious and the chocolates look very yummy. We have had 25cm of snow over the last 2 days so we are definitely having a white Christmas. The painting of Sara, looking forward to seeing what more you add to it. Take care. Janice

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    1. Snow due here at the end of the week, but to date this winter have been lucky. Best Wishes for 2017 Janice.

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  8. Glad to hear that you spent today with friends, and hope you managed to make some happy memories. Love your portrait of Sara. Cheeky Grace looks lots of fun! Wishing you a successful and happier 2017, best wishes, Michele from Somerset

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    1. Many thanks Michele, hope Christmas Day was not too hectic for you. I have now gone down with a stinker of a cold (again) so not much going on for a couple of days. Best Wishes for 2017.

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  10. As you say Dave, we've made it past the solstice.
    Hanging on for the return of the Sun.x

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    1. Take advantage of the sun today Sarah as snow expected at the end of the week. Before you know it it will be time to start in the garden again.

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  11. Thinking of you during this festive period and wishing you all the best for the New Year and the challenges you will face. Believe it or not you are not alone although it may feel like it at times.

    Kath

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    1. Many thanks Katt, been a tough one this year, but looking forward for the New Year. Best Wishes for 2017.

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  12. Just checked to see if you had posted and was so happy to see that you had. I think of you often and wondered how you were doing with the holidays coming. I am sure it has been difficult and you do seem to have various ideas as to how you will be making changes in your future that are more fitting for you. Many people have had a tough year and I am hopeful that 2017 will be better for everyone. Take care. Love your painting. That surely must have come from the heart. Belated Merry Christmas and best wishes for a Happy, Healthy, Successful New Year. Ranee (MN) USA

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    1. Many thanks Ranee. Amazing how small a world it is in that that you live in MN where a company that developed a zoo based animal record database for zoos globally is based. I worked very closely with them whilst working at Chester Zoo when they were developing a new database and attended meetings there and other in other states in USA. Who knows at one time our paths may have literally crossed when I was walking along the sidewalk. Best Wishes for the coming new year

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    2. Small world, indeed. I love Minnesota. I love the four seasons and the people and all the small towns and large cities. It's not a perfect state, but none really are. We used to live in a suburb of Minneapolis for many years and just recently moved back to what was my home town. We bought an older home in a town of approximately 4000 people. Big difference to the metro area. My husband continues to commute to a different suburb of Minneapolis. We are hopeful he will find employment a bit closer to what is now home. Until our potential paths maybe crossing again, Best Wishes for a Happy New Year. Ranee

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  13. I cannot get over how determined you are to move forward with life. If Sara was there in body I am sure she would be saying that life always changes and we never know what it is going to change into, and that is so very true. Love the look of your new colour scheme and it did raise a smile with the memories of joss sticks and bright coloured walls from the past...my Dad's fury was over the brilliant orange and dark purple combo lol. The new cheeses sound great, and I look forward to hearing how well they develop over the coming year.
    Belated Christmas greeting to you and New Year good wishes too. Sorry I have to write anonymously but I don't seem to be able to log on as me.
    Lots of love to you and that naughty teenage pup

    Kathy xx

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    1. Many thanks Kathy for your kind words. For me to stay here in BG it is necessary for me to move forward in order to survive and as the cheese brand suggest Novo Nachalo is the Bulgarian for New Beginning. Best Wishes for the coming New Year.

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  14. thank you for your update..you have many friends here who care, some of us having or going through similar sadnesses. It is encouraging to read about your ways of dealing day to day.I love the colours of your living room, but I'm afraid I laughed at your destroyed bed, having had similar 'help' from my cats. regards Teresa

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  15. I hope 2017 proves to be a gentler year for you Dave. Happy New Year love.

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    1. Many thanks Cherie K Happy New Year to you too.

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  16. Best wishes for 2017 Dave from Portugal, let's hope Brexit treats us well,
    Catherine x

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  17. Hi Dave I was so pleased to read this last blog when I came across it shortly after you had posted it, thought I commented but now can't find it it! One of the mysteries of the Internet. I think you have coped tremendously well since the loss of Sara & worried for you in the run up to Christmas. So pleased you have been able to find enough inner strength to carry on with your chosen lifestyle. All the pictures of the goats, gifts etc are wonderful. Having gone through a bereavement shortly after you & some wrangling albeit it not all legal you have my deepest sympathies as I know how wearing it is. You must be worn out with it all. I hope this year is kinder to you & you find peace in knowing Sara is at rest. Take care Linda

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  18. Dear Dave,


    For a few years me and my wife have been reading your and your wife's blog. Our daughter contaced Sara about our idea of living in Bulgaria. Buying a house there has been our dream for quite a while. But your recent post wasn't very optimistic. We are curious what you think about moving to Bulgaria. Also, would it be possible to meet you in Bulgaria this coming summer? Our daughter, who lives in London, would be our translator.
    We can't believe it's been almost a year sice Sara passed away. We hope you're okay.


    Best wishes
    Tomasz & Anna Gnyp

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  19. Hi Dave, Just popping in to say I hope the worst of the winter is over for you. I hope you kept yourself as warm and well nourished as you kept your furry family. They are very lucky to be in your care. Hope the cheese making is going well. We think of you and Sara often and hope you are okay x

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    1. Many thanks for the comment Curly Club. I will endeavour to post a blog soon once the kids start arriving for being the coldest winter for 69 years in Bulgaria not much has been going on recently. At long last the temperatures are rising again so soon it will be all systems go in the garden. Cheese making has ground to a halt at the moment as sales during the winter have ground to a halt as has the milk supply as all the girls are pregnant. It does not seem like a year ago next week that Sara died and to say a lot has had to be dealt with physically and emotionally with losing her would be an understatement. I miss her each and every day, but life must go on and knowing that 'I did her good' and made her happy is a blessing that helps me carry on life's journey with her in my memories and in my heart. You take care x

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    2. Hi Dave just to let you know my thoughts are with you at this time, stay strong & as time passes hopefully your pain will ease a little. As you say you know you made Sara happy & you had a lovely albeit short time together.

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  20. Hope the winter has been kind to you and your furry friends, and that your happy memories have carried you thorough. Lovely that the days are now lengthening, guess you will be sowing like mad and preparing for your new furry babies. Best Wishes from Michele in Somerset

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  21. I have been wondering how you are doing and hoping all is okay. Having just caught up with the most recent comments I can see that you have had a cold winter and will be very busy soon with the garden and the goats. Take care of yourself and try not to work too hard.

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  22. I hope your goats are well and producing healthy kids. It has been good to be in the garden and planting seeds.

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  23. Hope all is well and you will post soon

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  24. Hi Dave, just popping in to say you are thought of often and we hope you're not working too hard. Take care of yourself.

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  25. Hi Dave, just popped by to see if you've updated the blog & wondering how you are. Really hope you are coping, would love an update if you have the time. Best wishes. Snowdrops

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  26. Hi Dave,
    Thank you for keeping this blog going. I found this from a simple Google Search after I decided to buy my first place in Bulgaria earlier this year.

    I started at the very beginning of your BG story and worked my way through all of the posts. Totally stunned by what happened. Thank you so much for continuing to tell your story.

    I see it has been 4 months or so since you were last online; I hope all is well and you are having a successful spring.

    We would all love to hear your latest news.

    Best wishes,
    Jon

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