Thursday, 1 July 2010

Jam Season

Although my vegetable garden isn't doing fantastically the fruit is starting to ripen on our many trees. A couple of weeks ago I harvested some lovely sour cherries and mulberries which I turned into jam. The sour cherries were also added to various alcoholic spirits and we now have a nice sour cherry vodka and a sour cherry liqueur which is mellowing nicely and should be much better at Christmas time.

Over the last 2 days I've harvested plums and once again made plum jam which is one of our favourites, also made some plum liqueur and finally got round to setting the green walnut liqueur away too. Hopefully they'll all work out well. Hubby is quite impressed with the tiny taste of sour cherry liqueur so I may just have to go pick some more before they start falling from the tree.

Once again the weather here has been strange, sunny this morning, wet and overcast for part of the afternoon then a big thunder storm this evening. As I'm typing this it's just started to rain again too. This is not normal June/July weather for Bulgaria and it's making a huge difference to the crops. Next week is supposed to be warmer and drier and I really hope it is, although it means I'll have to start watering the garden again!

I'm quite sad that there are no more lettuce or radish to be harvested now. Despite the cooler weather they've all bolted and what we hadn't managed to eat was fed to the chickens, nothing gets wasted here! The extra rain has made the grass have another spurt of growth and my weeds are doing wonderfully too, so today I was out with the scythe again for a while, then collected what I'd cut for the pigs to munch on. Charlotte is looking quite pregnant now, although we can't feel any babies moving about yet. We've had to cut her feed down slightly as she was getting a little bit overweight, and the piglets are getting extra feed now as they're so big. I'd love to weigh them all and I'm sure there's a formula out there somewhere on the interweb but I'll look for it another day.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

No Rest For The Wicked

Yesterday was a really hectic day and very long. The morning started off as usual with animals being fed and watered, the horses and donkey put out to graze, fresh coffee made, shower and clean clothes on to go get some food shopping. That was the easy part. Shopping done, pig feed bought, phone bill paid and a few other small things done in a local town then I was heading home for a late lunch, coffee top up and possibly some gardening if the weather stayed fine.

On my way back into the village I called in to see a local man who sometimes bales our hay/lucerne etc to see if he'd be able to turn and then bale it, and we would collect the bales with the ex-camper van to bring home and store.....No problem was the answer, but let's just check it first, drove to the field and all looked well although the guy did ask that we move the boundary hay on our plot so he could see for definite where he had to work up to. Back to the village, call in to see Neville on the way past to let him know his hay was to be turned also, home, put half of the shopping away, quick change to work wear and back out to start moving hay! Phew, we managed to get both plots sorted and bang on time the tractor turns up and starts turning and rowing up the hay. An hour or so later and all that can be turned is done, there's me thinking we're finished for the day when they guy with the tractor mentions that my hay is dry enough to bale so should he just get the baler and get it done? Ok, phone call to hubby to ask him to bring ex-camper van and cash to pay for the baler, tractor returns and we're producing bales of lucerne at a pretty good rate.

So while it's being baled we start loading up the van, 53 bales on the first load and still the tractor and baler are hard at it. We'd guessed there'd only be a maximum of 60 bales to collect so off we go home to unload the first lot. On arriving home we realise that the donkey has managed to get loose again, hubby and I unload the van, he goes off to load up again and I'm on a hunt for a missing, hormonal donkey on a mission! I quickly located, caught and fetched the donkey back home and put her in the barn for the night. Then fed and watered the animals before hubby returned with another load of bales - we got 94 bales in total which will go a fair way to providing the necessary winter feed for the horses and donkey.A quick cup of coffee later and all the animals are settled and shut in for the night, and we're off out again to have a tidy up at hubby's sisters house before she's due back from her holiday in the UK.

Home by 10.30pm, a quick sandwich for tea and half hour in front of the tv before what is now past our usual bedtime! Alas no sleep for me as I had to go pick said sister in law up after her long journey in the early hours of the morning. So I was showered, changed and back out of the door by 3am in awful weather to go collect her. Back home by 5am to fall into bed for a couple of hours sleep. I doubt I'll be able to stay awake too long tonight and we've had a day off from other jobs today to try and pull ourselves together again. The one thing I can say is that I'm really glad we did get the hay baled and stored when we did as there's been nothing but rain since.......which isn't looking too hopeful for anyone who still had hay lying on the field to dry :(