Thursday, 14 January 2010

Pig Watch Begins.....

Ok so we've got the pig house all sorted for the new arrivals, sealed off any draughts, extra straw for Charlotte to nest in and bought in extra supplies of pig food for our soon to be mummy.

The site lights are set up in the yard and our friend and mentor has brought a big wooden crate round in case it's too cold for the piglets and we need to bring them into the house! The pig has been pretty quiet the last couple of days and sleeping a lot, probably due to having a bellyful of piglets. She's still eating well and enjoying a good itch like pigs do.

We're all really excited and a bit nervous at the prospect of having new born piglets. It's not something we've done before and we're really lucky to have a friend close by who is very knowledgable in all things pig. Fingers crossed all will go well with the birth but if it doesn't at least we have someone close by to call on to help out.

I'll be taking some photo's once the babies are born so will post them on here for you all to see.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Socialising & Celebrating

We don't socialise as much as we should due to living quite far from town and one of us would have to drive each time we go somewhere. Eating out is not expensive here so very occasionally we treat ourselves to a pizza in town. Alcohol is also quite cheap to buy and neighbours are always giving us homemade rakia, some good - some bad! Whenever we visit a friend there's always a glass of rakia, plus coffee and usually juice too plus nibbles, the Bulgarian people are very friendly and hospitable.

During the course of the year there are many celebrations and holidays in Bulgaria including name days which are like birthdays, a list of the bulgarian name days can be found here Bulgarian Name Days . Each village or town also has a special day, ours is usually 15th March when there is a horse and cart race on the football stadium with the winners receiving bales of straw and lucerne plus a small amount of cash donated by the spectators.

We're learning more every day about some of the traditions and special events here and it's lovely to be included with the celebrations, makes us feel like we're a part of the community. The children are accepted at school and even though us adults are still struggling with the language at times the locals seem to appreciate that we are trying. I just wish that I could understand more bulgarian and hope to be able to do so over time.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Slow and Steady

There's a little more work being done on our house today thanks to my hubby. Sometimes it seems as though we aren't getting much further forward but looking back at old photo's of the house when we bought it makes me realise just how much we have done and although it's taking time we are getting there.

Our main house was a standard 2 storey brick and stone built building with 3 rooms downstairs and 3 rooms upstairs connected by an outside staircase. Originally the house was around 120 sqm's and when we bought had no windows, water or electric. There had never been an inside bathroom or kitchen as such although the house had previously had electricity but the cables had been stolen.

Hubby decided that he wanted to do most of the work himself so that's what is taking the time, there's only so much one man can do in a day! He's been in the building trade for over 20 years and is very good at most jobs which has helped us immensely and also saved us money.

Finding reliable, good tradesmen in Bulgaria is apparently a problem for a lot of ex-pats. There are many "Get rich quick" builders around only too willing to part you from your hard earned cash. Lots of them have no qualifications or experience and are hell bent at ripping other people off. The few that can do the job they claim to do and for the price agreed are in demand. Word soon spreads if builder is bad and he soon finds himself running short of employment. Word also spreads if a builder is good at his job and doesn't overcharge, certainly the jobs that hubby has done so far have received praise and other work has come forward because of it. Let's hope it continues and 2010 is a good year!

If you have bought a property in Bulgaria or are considering it please do be careful who you trust. Get lots of quotes and think things through thoroughly, the cheapest quote may not always be the best standard of work. Ask any builder for photo's of work done and testimonials from past clients. Also check out the forums I have listed on here as many unhappy clients will tell their stories on them.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Another Day Closer

Today we've been outside and busy, re-arranging where some of the animals sleep because the pig has refused to stay in her house and is so big now that she can lift the door off the hinges and let herself out!

Last night we could hear noises in the stable yard and went to check, the pig had let herself out and somehow the donkey was out too. Of course the donkey was in the yard attempting to open the feed barrels and the pig had decided that she's have a snooze in the barn where the donkey usually sleeps!

So needless to say we've now moved Charlotte the pig into the big barn to give her some extra space for when the piglets arrive. Poor Maggie the donkey has been sleeping in there with the small chickens and has been relegated back into her small stable next to the young pigs we have here.

The maternity barn is now ready, with extra straw for comfort, some of the drafts blocked up and the pig quite happily lying in the middle of her new bed snoring away! Bring on the piggies lol