The last month has been a bit of a strange month. We’ve been having a break from hosting volunteers; it’s hard work having volunteers! There’s the extra cooking (you can’t just have toast for dinner when you con’t be bothered to cook!), and then you have to find work for people to do which isn’t always as easy as it sounds 🙂 Julie has been in and out of hospital, which has meant I’ve spent a lot of time driving back and forth with food and entertainment for her, so we’ve not got as much done as we had hoped this month.
We have, however, managed to make some progress on the kitchen. I was losing the will to live with plastering the ceiling, so I’ve decided to do that in stages, and concentrate on the more satisfying job of ripping out the ceiling and putting in the new doorway into the lounge. Taking out the ceiling was a massively messy job, but that’s all done and cleared up now. The doorway has been a huge technical challenge as I’ve never put in a lintel before. After getting some advice from a builder friend, I chose some timbers we had knocking around, and managed to rig up a system of ropes and pulleys to haul the large timbers up 10 feet to their final resting place. Now I’m on with knocking out the doorway and I’m developing a new respect for cob as a building material; it’s sturdy stuff and is proving very tough and resistant to being hit with a big hammer.
It’s not all been work though; I managed to get in a weekend in Byala, near to Varna on the Black Sea coast. I went with the Palamartsa dance group, and stayed in a lovely little hotel near the beach.
We have also had a busy month in the garden along with the 62lbs strawberries and 36lb of cherries from May we have also managed to store 6lbs mulberries, 10lbs raspberries, 21lbs garlic, which we’ve plaited, 6lbs peas, 6lbs broad beans, 2lbs french beans and 2lbs chard. Unlike most of our neighbours that don’t have freezers we have the advantage of not having to jar them all now, so most of the fruit and veg is in bags in the freezer so we can make jams, chutneys etc later in the year when hopefully we have more time and the temperatures aren’t in the low 30Cs. The only exception is that some of the strawberries are regularly made into frozen yoghurt which is lovely to have at the end of a hot day.
So far we have been pleased with what we are managing to store but not everything has been a success; we only managed to grow 8 carrots, 2 parsnips and 3 beetroot so won’t be storing any of them for winter 🙂 and we don’t have as many onions as we would have liked. Along with what we have managed to store we have also been self-sufficient in veg since the beginning of June only having to buy in staples like flour, salt and occasionally meat. We still have quite a lot to come out of the garden. The tomatoes are just starting to ripen and we have loads of squashes producing fruit and the brassicas are doing well even though they did suffer from white fly earlier in the year.
We’ve got lots of apples ripening now, but they are mostly small and not very tasty, so the pigs are enjoying those as a treat. Joe has started off a batch of cider vinegar from windfalls, so we’ll see how that goes!
And finally, here are some pictures of the baby swallows who are nesting in the porch, and in our bathroom. The ones in the bathroom are making a right mess on the floor, but it’s lovely to watch them growing 🙂