Back to work after our bit of a break

Well we finally got some proper snow and some freezing temperatures which the dogs have loved but Fog hasn’t been to happy about and has abandoned his rat/mouse control duties to guard the pechka. We knew it was coming so were well stocked up on the essentials but neither of us appreciated how long it would last. We are used to snow falling and a couple of days later it turns to mush and then it’s gone. 11 days ago we had a good 2 foot of snow fall in 2 days and it was deeper than that where it had drifted, we need higher wellies 🙂 But with temperatures dropping to -20ºC at night and not rising  above 0ºC through the day the snow had just sat there and frozen. That was until to day when temperatures went up to a tropical 8ºC and the snow has started to melt but I think it will still take a while to go. As soon as the snow started we had the snow-plough past our house, he was up and down a few times and kept the road clear (pretty amazing since there’s only 2 occupied houses on our bit of road) so we had a nice clear road but the car took some digging out to get through the drift, but you can’t have everything 🙂 Unfortunately, the car is frozen solid and won’t be going anywhere until it warms up a bit! We have been lucky our water hasn’t frozen again even though it’s been a lot colder so we are pleased about that and hope we’ve learned our lesson for future years.

On a good note Joe’s elbows have benefited from his time off and we have had plenty to keep us occupied. Firstly 2 days before the snow came we had our second pig (Danny) slaughtered, we decided that we wanted to hone our butchery skills so instead of Stefan cutting him up into manageable parts we just had him cut in half. This was done at the neighbour’s house where he’d been since before Xmas so he didn’t have the stress of being brought back here. Because the weather was so cold we hung him up in the gateway so we had time to plan exactly what we wanted to do, unlike with our first pig where the priority was to get him in the fridges and freezer as soon as possible. We learned a valuable lesson – half a pig hanging in -20ºC is likely to freeze solid and may prove difficult to butcher!

The first of the kitchen units is now built, this one is for me so is lower than Joe’s and it just so happened that the standard Bulgarian table, that everyone here has, was just about the perfect height. Trying to find 2 exactly the same height was a bit of a problem but we asked around and finally found a couple. We removed the tops, gave them a sand and coat of paint and they came up looking all right. We got some red spruce from a local timber yard that was 3 years old so was well seasoned and after a lot of sanding and linseeding we had a work top, nicely joined together with Joe’s new biscuit jointer. We have loads of off cuts lying around from various jobs and old wood lying around in the barns so they were cut to size to make the shelves. While we were at it we had a small cabinet that needed some tender loving care so that got some paint thrown at it and a new top and is now home to the bacon slicer and food processor. While I was busy painting and linseeding  Joe designed a saddle for the fridge, I have to admit I wasn’t convinced about the idea but now it’s done I think it looks good and was a great idea.

We have now changed our mind about the stairs, we had built the first 3 but with Joe out of action at the time I built some temporary ones out of limestone from the animal run and we both rather like them, so when the weather warms up I’ll take them to bits and build them in properly.

Most importantly we got a bitter brewing kit off a friend for Xmas ( Thanks June ) so we have finally got round to getting that under way, one of the things we do miss being here is a good pint of bitter so we are really hoping it will turn out ok, it makes 40 pints so that should keep us happy for a month or two 🙂


  5 comments for “Back to work after our bit of a break

  1. January 28, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Happy new year ! It is just Great to read your blogs,and see your photos !! Thanks a lot !

  2. Mum & Alan
    January 28, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    The kitchen furniture & the stone steps look lovely. What’s a saddle for the ‘fridge’ like, & what is it for?

    • Joe
      January 28, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      The ‘saddle’ is two sets of shelves, one either side of the fridge. They hang from a pair of planks that lie across the top of the fridge, and are just for keeping things I need regularly when I’m cooking, like oil, pepper, salt, vinegar and my magnetic knife rack and suchlike. The cob walls in the kitchen make it difficult to attach things like shelves, so this seemed like a good way of utilising otherwise wasted vertical space. There’s a picture in the gallery, it’s not finished yet, I’ve got to make Julie’s side but this was just to test the idea out, see if it works well for us.

  3. carol in penrith
    April 8, 2016 at 11:01 am

    all looking good still …. we’re just getting into Spring, daffodils and crocus …… bet you’ve got blossom on the trees already … how did the animals make it through the winter?best wishes from Penrith, Carol

    • Joe
      April 9, 2016 at 7:53 am

      The blossom is now out, I’ve put a photo on our latest post just for you 🙂 All our animals survived the winter and looking at the populations of birds and other small critters that are appearing it looks like everything else did ok too.

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