Thursday, 12 November 2009

Cabin Fever Cured!

Today I've been feeling a bit stuck, normally it doesn't bother me that we don't go very far or out very often but after almost 2 weeks of being home with the kids every day I just needed to get out for a while.

I'm not the kind of person who can shop for fun or who enjoys endlessly wandering about window shopping etc. Shopping is ok if and when you need something but I don't class it as a hobby or daily occurrence. The village shops (we had 9 at the last count) stock most basic provisions like bread and salami's but there isn't a huge amount of choice. It's nice to help support the local people who run the shops and we're now used to the odd hours that they open.

Sometimes it's just nice to go into town and visit one of the supermarkets and do a full shop. Now with extra choice in the local town there are 3 supermarkets and most things can be bought there at reasonable cost. Slightly cheaper than the village shops but a little less friendly.

This afternoon I've been to Kaufland supermarket with my sister in law and it was lovely just to have a break from the kids to be honest, plus I came back with bags of food to replenish the fast emptying fridge and freezer. Even nicer was the news that my daughter had brought all of the horses in for me as it was dark when we got back. Both of the kids helped with unloading the car which was nice and there hadn't been any new arguments or outbreaks of war while I was out. Other half is still poorly and is tucked up in bed with a supply of paracetamols and vitamin c rich juice.

Tomorrow is village market day so we'll be heading off to see if there are any bargains to be had and then off for a coffee in the cafe with the local ladies. Plus it's my daughters 14th birthday so there will be chocolates handed around as is the custom in Bulgaria.

Changing Weather

After a couple of nice, sunny and warm days today we have wind and it's a bit chilly. It rained last night so my winter garden got a good watering unfortunately so did the washing I'd left on the line!

One of our chicks has been hurt overnight when the young horse managed to get in the pen and had a very obvious broken leg so my first job of the day has been to put it out of it's misery. Not something I enjoy doing but it was for the best, being sentimental about animals doesn't go along with self sufficiency but we do care about them and hate to see anything in pain.

We're trying to fatten the turkeys up now as their days are numbered, extra corn every day and some time out grazing in the garden for them. We keep getting told by the locals that donkey meat is excellent for sausages, as much as I'm up for trying new things I do draw the line at horse and donkey. It's a personal preference and I don't think that will ever change although I'd imagine I've probably already eaten something containing at least one of the two!

The locals are now starting to slaughter some of their livestock, a neighbours cow has gone today as she doesn't have enough winter feed to keep 3. We have bales of hay and lucerne in the barn for winter but I do worry that we'll run short. Our horses and donkey are on minimal feed as none of them are working hard and they all look well. Not fat but not thin either. Luckily there's still some grazing around so they're happy during the day and overnight either get apples or hay to keep them busy for a while.

They do however still get bored and had started eating the timber partitions inside the stables, a quick paint with a chilli concoction soon stopped that though! Daylight hours are getting shorter and now the animals have to be in by 5pm and fed, in a few weeks it'll be 4pm and once the bad weather comes there will be days when they can't go out at all which I hate. I might get the electric fence out this year and make them a small turnout paddock where they can at least stretch their legs one at a time just to break up the day and enable them to let off some steam.

The general consensus here is that when there's snow on the ground the animals need to stay inside, I can understand the theory of it but don't agree. Horses don't mind the snow, some really enjoy it. It's the wind and rain combined that they don't like. Predictions are that this winter will be mild and short, snow on the ground for only a few weeks at the most, hopefully that will be the case but if not I'll be trying some things to keep the animals and us humans amused!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Tidying Up

We've spent today tidying up, the kids have cleared a load of stuff from the garden, David's been working on the roof again and I've done a much needed weed and sort out of my winter veggie plot.

The weather has been nice over the last few days so we've been outside a lot working and getting some of the jobs done that were put off because of poor weather. The roof is really starting to look great and I'm looking forward to seeing it finished. The garden is so green now and my winter veggie plot is doing very well.

I've planted garlic, red cabbage, sprouts, lettuce and black radish which is like a spicy turnip, peppery and great in casseroles etc. We'd never tried black radish until moving here and like it, although I do sometimes yearn for a proper swede or turnip. The black radish seeds that I sowed last month are doing very well but did need thinned out, so today after weeding my small patch I decided to get stuck in, thin out and re-plant some of the seedlings, now my small patch has grown by a third as I couldn't bear to throw any of the seedlings away and had to plant them all! If we don't/can't eat them all I'm sure the horses and donkey will.

Our small chickens are doing ok in the barn now as it's not too cold, the horses and donkey are looking very woolly with their winter coats now fully through and the turkeys and large chickens are enjoying the freedom of the garden during the day. The kids seem to be enjoying their extra week off school although I think they're a little bored at times. It's nice having them around a bit more during the day but I'll also be happy when they go back to school and my normal routine can resume!

Monday, 9 November 2009

An Impromptu Holiday

I'd expected the kids to be fit to go back to school this week and they are, unfortunately for me all bulgarian schools have been closed for a week due to outbreaks of flu in certain areas.....oh well.

The kids knew that when we moved here they would get various jobs to do daily and would have to help out with certain things. All great in planning but not quite the same in practice! They do feed the animals morning and night and also do the dishes but getting them to do anything else is a pain to say the least. They argue, throw tantrums and mumble and moan about having to do small things that they're capable of doing in a small amount of time. Now that our oldest is a teenager (she'll be 14 this friday) her mood swings can be awful too and the youngest has always been moody lol

We spent the weekend making sure the animals had clean bedding and housing, did some housework and also watched a few films. David has had a couple of days off but has been working on various jobs around the house that needed doing and I've pottered about as usual, even managing to spend some time with our young horse introducing her to a bit and bridle.

Our young chickens have been moved into the barn so it's almost peaceful in the house now and we've made ready space for 2 piglets that we're hoping will arrive soon, one for us and the other for a friend who is hoping to move over soon. Our piglet will provide meat for Christmas as our big pig is hopefully pregnant and due mid January. The turkeys and chickens have been allowed out of their respective houses and are happily roaming around the garden for the day since there isn't much growing now.

I say there isn't much growing now as I've only got a small winter vegetable patch. But while wandering around earlier today I found there's a fair few things growing that weren't planned! Onions that have self seeded, garlic that I didn't dig up as it was too small is growing again and doing well and there's also some peas sprouted up the garden that must have self seeded. So more work than I'd expected but free food for us!

Soon I'll have to plan the spring garden and decide what I'd like to plant next year and where. The growing season here is much longer than the UK but does get much hotter in the summer so some things don't do wonderfully while others flourish. Maybe I'll write another post about what we grew this year and how well it did before I post my next year plans.