The weather stayed quite mild for us at the end of November through to mid December, so we did some more work on the walk way making it more weather proof for winter. Joe got the framework, wall and the window installed at the end of the walkway and the rest of the panels installed above the windows and even managed to get them plastered before the temperatures dropped. He built two temporary doors which all though not exactly draft proof are definitely helping keep the walkway temperatures above freezing. While he was busy building I managed to get the outside woodwork finished, it has all had its last sanding down and its final coats of linseed oil applied. We didn’t have enough time to get anything done with the part where it will eventually connect to the house so we have just wrapped a sheet of plastic around it that we had lying around.
The idea behind the walkway is that the sun in winter will warm up the cob walls of the freezer room and the bathroom though the day and keep that area well above freezing. We have had temperatures down to -15C and the walk way area is still managing to stay warm enough to be able to work in there with out having to wear hats and gloves. We have noticed that we have miscalculated how low the sun is though the day and if we’d made the windows about 4 inches higher we would have got more sunlight hitting the cob walls, but even so considering it is not finished the idea seems to be working. Even our bedroom and the hallway is all ready warmer, so far we have had no condensation on the inside of the windows and better still no ice.
We have also reduced our number of ducks, we bought 15 ducklings back in May, and out of these we ended up with 9 males and 6 females. The original plan was to cull the males over two days to reduce the flock gradually but in the end we did all nine on the same day. We thought this might have upset the remaining females suddenly loosing all the males but it was the opposite even though they are still stress heads they do seem a bit calmer, not as noisy and we are now getting 5 eggs a day from the 6 remaining ducks. Our neighbour Nadelka came to help us with the ducks, as she’s an expert plucker and gutter. She had us organised in no time, but it still took us the best part of the day to do all 9.
After seeing to the ducks it was then time to kill the pigs, one was done just before Xmas and the other we managed to fit in between Xmas and New Year.
The pensioners club had a Xmas party on the 29th at a local restaurant and they had organised a mini bus so we could all have a drink or two. I’m still surprised when you can go out for a meal and the restaurant doesn’t look twice when everyone starts producing their own bottles of homemade wine and rakia to drink.
For New years Eve we decided to have a small party and one of our friends had a small pig that we could do as a hog roast, so everything was set to go, the hog was roasting away nicely and me and Joe had sorted out the house and the food when suddenly about 2 hours before kick off I started feeling cold, not just a bit cold but freezing, by 6 o’clock I was in bed with so many clothes and blankets covering me I could hardly move. So the party went on with out me, but not for long, Joe started to feel cold soon after, shortly followed by one of our friends, so no-one lasted to see the New Year arrive. I have never had flu before and never want it again it is the only time I have had a temperature high enough that I started to hallucinate and that I have felt so cold. It is now day 3 and we have finally got the energy to clear up the mess from New Years Eve, the last few days have been literally feed the animals and go back to bed. We now longer feel as cold and whereas we felt like we’d been run over by a truck we now just feel like we’ve been hit by a mini 🙂 This is the first time we have been ill together but we’ve muddled though, the animals got fed and watered (just) and we took turns to go and make each other herbal teas. This seems to be a particularly bad strain of flu most of the village has either got it or is recovering from it. I suppose one good think has come from this, I haven’t had a cigarette since Year Years Eve, I really just couldn’t face having one, I’m not saying I’ve given up just that I’m not smoking at the moment.