Friday, January 31, 2014

Interesting start to 2014

Well  what happened with the weather.   We go into winter with stockpiles of essentials ready for being snowed in and mid January I'm building raised beds in the garden only for the snow to arrive and bury them all a couple of weeks later.

Admittedly it's only our second winter here but we were worried at one stage that the snow wouldn't arrive.   Surprisingly it feels much colder than it did last year, even though the temperatures haven't dropped below minus 15 celsius.   It may be that this year is more windy and we had some days of fog which dampened spirits.

The boys room has been put on hold as I'm too mean to heat parts of the house we are not yet living in, and I refuse to voluntarily give myself frostbite.    The only part of the main house being used currently is the bathroom, which is wonderful  when the petchka is lit and we can have a soak in hot water before getting out into a warm room.  It's a guaranteed way of warming my feet up, which are rarely warm at the minute.

January feels like it has been a month of not doing much, other than keeping warm, but small steps forward have been taken on various projects, like the garden and the boys room.   I think I have probably made more biscuits than normal this month, so another reason to look forward to spring and getting rid of the winter tyres.

Paul has been working on increasing the supply of pieces he is turning so that when we eventually list them, for sale on  Etsy, he has a good selection of work to display.    His work did get interrupted by a most unusual commission, it can't be every day a woodturner  gets asked to make a new wand as the old one broke after the cauldron was dropped on it.

As a point of interest only novice witches use 'whippy' wands

We are also experimenting with making lamb prosciutto (lamb ham), more about that at a later date.    The jars I 'put up' during the summer are supplementing  the dried goods we stockpile in the run up to winter and some weird but tasty concoctions are being enjoyed.     One gap in the  'made' jars  is curry sauces - all the ones in the cellar are tomato based so research is being conducted into other options such as spinach and aubergine for this summers crop.    I think a cabbage based curry sauce may be a step too far though.

There are lots of things that need doing but at the moment the weather is against us, although we have taken a gamble and covered half our kitchen table with seed pots of herbs and spices in the hope they germinate - it's really too early for them but if it works it frees up tubs for later sowings.

More about crops sowings, lamb prosciutto and room demolitions next month.

Love and laughter to all.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Blogging hasn't happened since May 2012, as most of our family and friends have been following our progress on Facebook but we've recently had requests for updates from friends who don't use social networking sites.   This post  is intended as a quick bring up to date and then I will try to make time to update on a semi regular basis.

We have now been living and thriving in Bulgaria for 21 months, during which time we've made mistakes (not many and none serious), learnt new skills, found new inner strengths and laughed a lot.

Friends and family have visited, some loving it and planning return trips, others we'll have to visit in order to see again.

The house is still not fully renovated which can cause stress at times, but then I remember hearing of people who have completed the renovations quickly only to be dissatisfied with room layout, or more seriously location.    We considered 4 possible rooms as the bathroom before we decided on it's final location 
We removed 30 bags of mud flooring before installing a wood floor    

Another view from bath, bookcase made by one of our volunteers

Back of bathroom door, painted by my sister and nephew

Most of the house windows, there are a lot, have been stripped back to bare wood and repainted.  

 Rewiring is being done in stages with separate distribution boards covering each area as done.    Bulgarian electrics are 'interesting'.   On the good side we no longer get electric shocks off appliances.

We have had 2 successful growing seasons and our cellar is now looking well stocked with preserved produce.    The freezer is well stocked with animals we have reared and slaughtered - yes we kill and butcher ourselves.   Currently we have 2 sheep, 7 rabbits, 6 chickens, 1 goose and 7 cats, although these numbers fluctuate depending on births and our requirement for meat.

Garden - as was

The coming year will see new techniques tried in the garden (assorted raised beds) and hopefully the garden terraced with flat paths and wide steps - I have slipped and fallen a few times on the slopes.

This will be the base for the pool.  Off the picture you have garden to left, fodder field to right

The vines are being removed and new vines established in the bottom corner of garden as they attract too many stinging insects, for me to be comfortable - although we were impressed with A & E when I got stung last year.

No doubt in future posts I will make reference to things I should have mentioned here and you'll be thinking WTF but you'll just have to ask, if it doesn't make sense.

Love and Laughter to all who read.  xx