With the weather being so nice lately we have been spending most of out time outdoors. We secured the duck pond liner last month to stop it blowing around and we have now added some wooden platforms for them and edged it with some limestone we had lying around, it’s not exactly landscaped but it does the job. The reed bed has also had it’s annual spring clean which is just a case of removing some of the old reeds and emptying the trap that collect bits of food and soil etc that makes its way down there from the kitchen and outside tap.
Joe has been away for 10 days so I took advantage of there just being me in the house and managed to finish painting the doors going into the freezer room and bathroom. I couldn’t really get this done while he was here because he was in and out of the freezer room getting tools. I also have started re-pointing the house, at the moment I’ve been concentrating on getting the walls done which will eventually be part of our walkway to the bathroom, but eventually ( probably in about 5 years ) I hope to get the whole outside of the house done. I’ve decided to just use clay and sand, I know this will eventually wash out on the exposed sides of the house but this was how it was originally done ( minus the sand ) and the house is still standing after almost 70 years.
We finally got round to finishing off the panels on the outside of the kitchen ( only taken 2 years ) these have now all been plastered and the laths re-attached.
Since Joe got back he has finished clearing out the barn, not an easy job as it has been used as a bit of a dumping ground, and has levelled the mud floor and dug the trenches ready for the gravel and cement to form the floor for his workshop. A huge stack of sturdy timbers has been delivered, ready for construction to start.
Most of our vegetables have now been planted outside and in addition to the usual we are trying globe artichokes and fenugreek this year. We have also been recording our minimum and maximum temperatures along with how much rain we are getting. This has been very useful especially for the rainfall, it is very easy to forget the last time it rained so now we can water our plants when they need it rather than when we think they need to be watered. We have had a problem with our broad beans; we suspect a mouse is eating them. Fog, our cat, has been missing for more than a month now and we think the mice and rats have just started to notice his absence. We hope he will return but we can’t wait for that to happen so we have started to make enquires about finding a couple of replacements. If he does turn up he will have to accept that he now has to share us. In the meantime, we are very pleased to find that Sol, one of our dogs, has learned to catch moles, so he’s earning his keep now! He doesn’t eat them (nothing seems to like eating moles) but he watches them intently to make sure they’re properly dead.
On the 18th March Palamartsa was visited by the Kukeri, a group of traditional dancers who wear masks and bells to ward off evil spirits. We had heard of the Kukeri but had never got round to seeing them in action so it was great to have them visit our village.
Easter is a time of great religious celebration in Bulgaria, with each of the four days leading up to Easter Sunday having special significance and rituals. We were invited to join in traditional egg painting with the pensioners’ club. Local children joined in dying and decorating eggs, with special care given to the red eggs, which are kept until the following year as a symbol of health and good luck. Nova TV came to film the dyeing of the eggs and then asked Joe if they could come to our house and film here. I thought they might be interested in the renovations we have done or the garden but they were only really interested and amazed by the fact that you can pick up and stroke our chickens without them running off.