Saturday, 26 June 2010


There's something going on around here this week and I'm betting it's hormone based! Maggie the donkey who's usually quite amiable and happy has managed to get loose twice today and wander off to visit a male donkey down the street - Oh and didn't she give me the run around when I went to catch her, she's normally not known for speed but believe me she can move when she wants to!

She's not the only hormonal one here at the moment, my horse Maya was in a foul mood tonight and refused to be caught to come in, she managed to get loose and went careering off down the track at a flat out gallop, so that's 3 times today I've had to round up unruly animals! Pah, all on my own too as hubby has gone fishing, maybe it's a hint and I'm hormonal too although I certainly don't feel it.

My cart is still waiting for a puncture to be repaired and hasn't been used at all this year so far, usually we get Milka on the cart during the spring and autumn and go for a jaunt around the village. It amuses the locals and helps keep the horses weight down a little. Admittedly it's not a very comfortable thing to ride in but I do enjoy it. Horses or donkeys and carts are still used a lot around the village for transport and are an everyday sight. Next month there is a huge horse fair at a neighbouring village, Kamen, and we'll probably go for a day out.

Let's hope the hormones have calmed down a little tomorrow and things will be back to normal.

A Swift Recovery

Over the last week or so I've had trouble with my back and left shoulder so not really got much done in the garden apart from a spot of weeding. The wet weather has meant I've not needed to do any watering but has also made the grass grow quickly. Yesterday I went out with the scythe to "Find" my vegetable plots again and was surprised to see how well some of the vegetables are doing. Even though my tomato plants are small in comparison with the locals there is fruit on some of them and that made me happy.

The photo above is of Butch, our little Bulgarian bitsa who lives outside in all weathers (with access to a kennel of course), he's a fab little dog and quite good at guarding too despite only being small. I love his funny, short legs and he's also very bright and will sit, give a paw and sing on command. Scruffy Vasko, the dog who decided he wanted to live here, is putting on weight, looking much better and starting to get more of a personality. He likes to follow me around when I'm feeding the animals and barks at the window for his tea, although he's not very good at figuring out when tea time is yet! We have found a couple of problems with him, he's food aggressive, especially towards men and a couple of days ago he bit hubby on the leg quite badly so we'll need to keep an eye on him at meal times.

Our gorgeous piglets are growing up so fast and will be 6 months old in July, they're still great to be around and love human company, but they can be rather boisterous and will mug you for food! Oh and boy can they be noisy when it's feeding time. Soon the 2 male piglets will have to go, we can't and won't risk any interbreeding. They are slightly larger than their sisters and should give us plenty of meat for the freezer. I'll be sad to see some of them go but our next litter of piglets are due the first week in August and Charlotte is looking huge already so maybe we'll get a bigger litter.

I'm still missing the kids dreadfully and hope they're having a good time. They've been to visit my mum who has been on holiday in the Lake District and my sister said they're ok. Neither of them have rung but they do keep in contact via Facebook. Right now I'm off into my garden while the weather is dry to get more scything done.....the pigs and chickens will get the cut grass when I'm done and hopefully the garden will look a lot better :) Hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Flowers Galore

This year is proving to be rather good for my flower garden. Admittedly I'm probably more comfortable growing vegetables and not exactly a flowering garden guru. I find it hard to remember the varieties of flowering plants, how long they last and how they should be treated etc. Some of the non-edibles growing in the garden I only know the Bulgarian names of and really should look them up on the internet and see how to care for them properly. One of the species I do know is Calendula and they are in abundance this year and looking wonderful. So many different shades of oranges and yellows and they always seem to brighten my day, I love taking photographs of them.

Most of the Calendula and different varieties of Marigolds growing this year are from saved seeds, which I randomly scattered around the flower beds to create and haphazard effect.  I'll save seeds again from them all later in the year. My Vinca Minor and Vinca Major (variegated) are doing rather well now too, the latter hanging very nicely over the garden wall although they haven't had many flowers bloom this time. The geraniums and pelargoniums are coming along well and starting to flower now, they are cuttings saved from last year's plants that have overwintered in the house.

Of course the Lavender is doing well and I love the smell of it every time I pass close. Cornflowers are opening now and adding a touch of blue amongst the foliage and predominantly yellow and orange flowers. And I've finally decided what one of the Bulgarian mystery plants that were given to me are - it's a Dahlia and should flower in the next few weeks hopefully. I'll have to remember to dig it up for the winter.

The weather right now is very strange for the time of year - we've had more storms than ever, temperatures have dropped around 10 degrees C into the mid twenties, and the rain today has been awful, almost violent! All of the animals were inside early and happy to be somewhere dry, poor Maggie the donkey looked utterly miserable when I went to get her in and decided to fore go her usual roll in the building sand that is part of her daily routine! Hopefully things will brighten up again over the next few days and get back to normal. What's the June weather like in your part of the world?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Stormy Days & Nights

A couple of nights ago we had a huge storm, the wind raged and the thunder was louder than I've ever heard before - the whole house felt like it was shaking and woke both of us up! While the cooler weather it brings is very nice and the rain does wonders for the garden it's not exactly what you want in the middle of hay season. We still haven't collected the rest of the hay from the field as every time it dries out we get another storm which damps it again so we'll have to wait and see if it is salvageable.

My small flower garden is a riot of colours at the moment and starting to look really nice. The strawberries are busy sending out runners everywhere so hopefully next year we'll have a much bigger crop - not that we can have a smaller crop than this year since the chickens managed to eat every single one!

All of the varieties of beans are now flowering as are the courgettes. I've been out to buy some garden netting today to keep the butterflies off my cabbages and will put it in place later on as we're in the middle of another storm right now, at least I won't have to water anything later! Hubby is busy doing some work round at his sisters house today so it's all quiet here, even the dogs have decided to shut up and go to sleep. Last night I didn't sleep well at all as my shoulder and back are still very painful and it's hard to get comfortable. Then the dogs started to bark and kept it up for hours, so I may have a nap this afternoon in front of the TV or lie down with a book for a while until the storm has passed and I can get back outside.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Night Time Noises

Most nights here are relatively quiet, you can hear the crickets chirping, frogs calling, birds tweeting and sometimes the horses or pig snoring! The village dogs bark if there's someone about and ours usually join in until whoever is about has passed.

Last night we went to bed early because we were tired and also I've done something to my back or shoulder and I hurt pretty badly and couldn't get comfortable sitting in a chair. We were woken up sometime after midnight by the sounds of a chicken in distress - Our last bantam hen had been taken off by a predator who had sniffed out her hiding place and managed to get in, we thought the Beech Marten had returned so got the torch and had a quick look round the stable was then we spotted a fox, it decided to move and stood on the yard wall watching us for a few seconds before heading off into the night. So back to bed we went after first making sure hubby had his air rifle handy and ready to fire. The fox didn't return and there are no more birds loose around the place so hopefully he'll leave us alone now.

Our visitors today have been the calf that hubby helped deliver last year and her mum, Sashkia. They've happily munched away on one of the paddocks and probably gone home now for the night. Yesterday I had a visit from a gypsy/turkish/roma lady and her hubby who wanted me to read a letter she had received from the UK Immigration Service, which of course was written in English which she couldn't understand. Lo and behold she was removed from the UK and banned from re-entering until 23rd June 2010 after serving a 9 month prison sentence! Watch out UK I expect she's right now packing her bags to come back and commit more crimes!!!! I can only imagine what she thought of the UK prison service and the facilities there. I'm sure the Bulgarian jails don't have matching curtains and bedspreads or playstations etc!