Since the last posting the weather has been mixed, some days needing just shorts and t-shirts whilst other days definitely justify bundling up before venturing too far from the house.
More crops have been planted and I experience frustration when seedlings don't appear and little (silly) bursts of happiness when a row of greenery pops up. Last month I mentioned the rhubarb my mum brought us from England had not survived the winter - I was wrong. We have a rhubarb plant, admittedly not the 3 we had last year but we HAVE rhubarb, Yeah
Paul has declared I have a root obsession. It took me 3 days (with lots of coffee breaks) to dig a 6 square metre area, previously uncultivated, to a spades depth removing weeds c/w roots at every spade full. The poultry loved me as one 2 metre row was producing a full bucket of weeds for them. The cleared area will be used for growing baby corn this year as the transplanted vines will not be established enough to affect their growth.
Also following on from last month, we cut and tasted the Lamb Prosciutto WOW it tastes awesome, even if I say so myself. We also had friends come over to scrounge some compost and used them as guinea pigs they agree that the taste is pretty awesome, I did do other items for lunch just in case they didn't like it.. Lessons have been learnt though - next time we cure and air dry a joint, of meat, we will debone it first. By we I obviously mean Paul who is much better at butchering than me, he prepares, I process, seems to work for us. Another conclusion was that if this becomes a regular occurrence we will need to purchase a meat slicing machine, getting the meat thin enough with just a knife is difficult and very time consuming.
As we keep killing the livestock, to eat, we (actually I) thought we better expand the range. Paul would like to increase the number of sheep we have and get some goats, I'm not convinced. We have bought 4 Muscovy ducks and bartered, some seedlings, for 23 quail eggs which will hopefully hatch in the next week. Incubating eggs is nearly as frustrating as planting seeds due to the 'wait and see' element of the process. If incubation is successful the quail will be for egg production and also meat. The 4 (original) ducks are not intended for the table although their eventual offspring will have no such protection. It is very likely that we will be purchasing some chicks at the market next Friday to replace the chickens that have either been killed by the Byalka (pinemarten) or wandered off, never to be found.
We have now been living in Bulgaria for 2 years and apart from occasionally missing my family and friends I have no regrets at all. One of our friends came over, for a week, 2 months after we moved in and is coming back this year, it will be interesting to hear her comments as I often feel that we have not done much at all, other than what seem like day to day activities. Other visitors this year include Paul's youngest 2 children who will be here for 5 weeks and possibly his aunt and uncle from New Zealand will be taking a week out of their visit to the UK for a detour to Lomtsi. Both Paul and myself will get to spend a week in the UK this year, independently, as airline restrictions mean an adult needs to accompany his youngest son. I get to see my family early July whereas Paul has to wait until mid August to visit the rest of his family.
On the subject of visitors, some of you are aware that we are registered with Workaway and Helpx - we host travelers, infrequently, throughout the year. These people provide us with help around the place in exchange for bed and board with the added bonus of new faces, topics of conversation and often increased enthusiasm for what we are doing here. Although we enjoy having helpers stay with us after 5 months of no (live-in) company it was daunting the week before the arrival of our first helpers of 2014. Julie & Remi arrived a week ago, during our communication beforehand I was impressed by their enthusiasm and sense of humour which is so much more impressive in person. If the rest of the 2014 helpers brighten our days as much as this couple we are in for a good year.
To round of this months update I had been thinking about a bee tattoo for quite a while but although I knew the bee I wanted I realised it needed something more, probably something floral. Talking to the local tattoo artist she took my idea and worked with it until we were both happy with the final design. The top of my right leg is now adorned with the most fantastic body art. No more tattoos planned - unless I lose something else important to me.