Saturday, 7 August 2010

Quick Update

We've had a pretty hectic couple of days and I've not had the chance to update my blog - Shame on me! Not only have the days been busy we have been out 2 nights in a row to friends houses for a meal and it's been lovely catching up. Tonight I was thinking that hubby and I would get some quiet time together to chill out, watch tv and enjoy an evening together.....until our friend Marian (male) popped round and hinted that he was going fishing - hubby looked at me, waited for a yes and then shot off to get his gear together and into the car! Humph so I'm a fishing widow tonight, but at least I have chocolate to keep me company lol

As the weather is very hot now the above gound pool is becoming a godsend, somewhere to cool off, relax and have some quiet time lounging on an inflatable lilo. I'm not much of a swimmer so a quick dip usually suffices, hubby likes to have a swim and although the pool isn't huge he still enjoys it. I must point out that I can swim, just don't really feel the urge to. We have to remember to put the filter on every day and clean the bugs from the top of the water but it doesn't take long.

Vasko has had an eventful day, he's all recovered now from his accident and is back to normal apart from the flies. So hubby and I have given him a trim around the face in an effort to stop the flies laying their eggs on him. He was so patient and didn't try yo bite us once, it's as though he knows we are trying to help. He's had his face washed, and any red areas checked. Fly eggs (and a few maggots) removed, had a clean with an antiseptic wipe and been sprayed with fly repellent a few times today in an effort to keep them at bay. Hopefully now that the area can get more air to it we should be able to alleviate the problem and he can sleep soundly in the shade during the day without being plagued by flies.

The piglets are growing fast and getting more playful and inquisitive by the day. They're quite happy to have a little stroke now too and like to investigate anything new. Mum Charlotte is so chilled out this time and happily leaves them alone for a few minutes at a time to have a wander round the stable yard. They're all looking healthy and happy and will be starting to try solid food in about 10 days time. We have already had people enquiring about when they will be for sale so hopefully they'll all go off to nice homes in 6-8 weeks time. Also moving off to a new home is one of the older piglets, she'll be joining another that we've had here for a friend until she could move into her house, so at least they'll be good company for each other.

A last littel thing I wanted to say was a huge thanks to English Mum for offering to send things for Vasko dog if we can't find the necessary things here. I'll be popping to the vets when I go to town to see what they suggest and fingers crossed we'll have him in tip top condition in no time :) If you click the link you'll find a lovely site with great pictures and whole load of humour thrown in.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Poor Old Dog :(

Vasko is having a bit of a tough time lately, poor thing. We now think he was hit by a log falling off the pile a few nights ago, making him sore all down one side and not too good on his legs. He's improving every day and is managing to get around, eating well and even got a little excited at tea time yesterday so must be feeling better. Since he arrived here his life must be very different, but hopefully in a good way. He's a quiet dog that likes to lie in the shade all day and sleep, not very boisterous and slowly learning that he can trust us. His skin is clearing up well, fleas and ticks are gone and he has new hair growth on the leg that was covered in tar when he arrived.

But since he's been a lying about more lately due to obviously being sore on his side he's been plagued by flies. They swarm all over his face and beard and have been laying eggs beside his mouth! Over 2 days I must have washed hundreds of them away and I assume they can't be good for the dog. So I'm trying to find a natural fly repellent to help Vasko.

Flies and mosquito's are abundant here this year due to the amount of rain we've had and Vasko isn't the only one being affected. Hubby is constantly bitten on the ankles by what we call "Stable flies" and I've got some rather huge and sore mosquito bites in places that are luckily never seen in public! We're on tick watch with the horses and donkey as we have a different village shepherd(ess) at the moment and she insists on allowing the goats and sheep to graze the field outside our house for large parts of the day while she has a snooze in the bushes!

Mafia, the cockerel and his harem are of course enjoying any bugs that stray into their pen, the girls are looking a little tatty at the moment so Mafia must be enjoying his time with them! Not one of them has been broody this year, which is fine by us as we keep them as layers only now. The silly turkey hen however, is sitting on rancid eggs and won't let me take them away grrrr. Admittedly with the losses we've had due to foxes or beech martens this year we won't be breeding any more turkeys for the table. When you work out the cost to feed them and time taken to care for them properly it's actually more economical to buy them from the supermarket, although I doubt they'll taste as good.

The piglets are getting more confident and energetic by the day and all wanted to come and investigate who I was at lunchtime when I went to give Charlotte some apples as a treat. Mum is much more chilled out this time and has no problem with either hubby or I being around or handling the babies........but she still doesn't like our friend Jordani and I doubt that will ever change now. I'll try and get some new photos of them all tomorrow.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

More Piglets Pics

I can spend ages just watching the piglets and find them totally adorable, every day they get stronger and this morning they were chasing each other around and playing while mum, Charlotte, had her breakfast. They do still sleep or feed for most of the day and occasionally we get to see things we haven't noticed before. Yesterday one of them had the hiccups which was funny to see.

So far we think we have 7 girls and 3 boys but as they never stay still long enough for us to get a proper look that could change over the next few weeks.

It's hard to believe that our older pigs were this small only 6 months ago - they now weigh around 45 kilo's! Charlotte is ever such a good mum and has loads of milk to feed her litter thankfully. She's eating and drinking well and keeping their sleeping area clean.

Time will tell what the piglets personalities are like. So far the one female with the black spot on her back seems to be the boss, there's a big, fat male that likes to sleep on his own a lot too. All of our pigs are friendly and love attention, with handling from a young age they make lovely pets (big but lovely) and we've even had one that would walk on a lead like a dog!

Vasko has made great improvement overnight and is walking about more than he has been, he seems is much less pain but quite tired, although he's usually asleep for most of the day. Hopefully he's on the road to recovery and should be fine in a day or so. We have friends arriving sometime today to start a new life in Bulgaria. I hope they've had a good trip and settle in well. At least they should help me keep busy until the kids come home!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Sweet Sounds

When I woke up this morning the first thing I heard was Charlotte softly grunting away at her new babies, it's a wonderful sound and I'm so grateful to be able to live here and do what we do and enjoy all that the Bulgarian countryside has to offer. Makes a great start to the day!

Our 10 new arrivals all seem to be doing well and are all feeding from their content mum. We've had a quick peek at them but prefer to leave them alone most of the time to bond and adjust to their new surroundings. Here's a photo of baby number 1 starting to suckle, it's amazing how quickly on their feet and looking for food.

We've not quite managed to get a photo of all 10 babies as there was quite a wait after number 8 arrived and we did think labour had finished and were waiting for the afterbirth. It was a lovely surprise to find another 2 babies but by then it was dark and the flash of the camera may have upset the new family.

Other news this morning is that my poor old laptop seems to have died, so if any of you reading are good with computer problems maybe you could help me out. Usually I manage to repair it myself but this time I'm stumped and annoyed as it's probably due to a virus. Still, at least I have the old desktop to use even if it means I've lost all the photos and files on the laptop. I'll be spending part of today installing programmes I use on the desktop so things seem a little more normal. Vasko is at least looking a little better this morning and is moving around a bit more. He's not the most active dog by any standards but with a sore leg just wants to lie down all day. He's had some pain medication and hopefully will be back to his usual self pretty soon.

Monday, 2 August 2010

It's Baby Day!

Our lovely sow, Charlotte, was due to give birth today and never one to be late she has so far produced 8 healthy piglets which we're delighted with. There may be more but if not we're happy anyway. She's proving to be a wonderful mother. I'll upload some photos tomorrow for you all to see as I'm sure Charlotte needs some rest right now and bonding time with her new babies.

Poor Vasko has managed to hurt himself overnight and woke us up howling, we rushed outside but couldn't see anything wrong apart from he was standing in the yard whimpering. This morning we noticed one of the big logs had fallen from where it was stacked so we think it may have hit his front, left leg and although I've checked the leg and not found anything unusual it's obviously sore. He's had a very quiet day sleeping in the shade, managed a small tea, frank plenty of water and seems brighter tonight. He can bear weight on the leg but doesn't want to. When I checked his leg he didn't flinch so hopefully he's just really bruised, or has torn a muscle. Poor old dog! If he's not any better tomorrow I'll try and get him in the car and go to the vets in town.

Well that's our news for today, it's time now to go check on Charlotte and the babies again before securing everything for the night, think I best make some tea for us both too!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Pig Roast

Yesterday we had our first ever pig roast and a good time was had all round. Big thanks to everyone who attended and brought lovely side dishes to compliment the home bred, home reared, home slaughtered and home roasted pig. The biggest thanks of course go to the wonderful pig for providing us with a magnificent feast. we were quite surprised at the weight of the pig - 45 kilo's, which meant 5 hours cooking time over an open apple wood fire being turned slowly until done.

Here are some before and after photos of the pig being cooked. Hubby did a great job with the pig, making the spit roast frame and cooking the meat.

Because we've been so busy there hasn't really been the time to use the new pool and today is a little cooler than it has been so the water temperature won't be that warm. It does look good and will get plenty of use especially when the kids come home. The new path is also a major improvement and I wish we'd done it last year before our wedding! Still, things change here slowly and improvements are always being made. Hubby made a wonderful door for the bathroom cupboard and fitted new marble window sills in the living room last week and even smallish jobs like those can make a world of difference. One day we'll have a finished house to be proud of, but until then we'll just keep on with the work and looking after the animals and enjoying our life in Bulgaria.

Charlotte, our sow is due to give birth in the next 2 days and is looking very well although a bit tired, she's still enjoying her food (as ever) and is quite happy to be handled as long as she gets a belly rub at the same time. I decided to try and get a weight measurement of her this morning using a formula kindly left as a comment here and was quite surprised to find out she's roughly 213 kilo's! Saying that she does feel heavier when she steps on your toes - and she is heavily pregnant. Looking back at photos from January she is even bigger with this second litter so I'll be counting the piglets as they're born. Fingers crossed all goes well and we have a healthy mum and babies at the end of it. Poor Charlotte will be having a break from pregnancy and motherhood over the winter and enjoying all the attention she'll be getting. I'm off now to collect windfall plums for her and the other pigs to munch on. They do love fruit. Might even make some more jam later today after I've washed the huge pile of dishes from last nights feast.