The lead up to very different Xmas

Since moving to Bulgaria we have had a lot of new experiences and this Xmas was another to add to the list. Friends of ours in the village are moving next year so this is their last Xmas in the village and they wanted to make it a time to remember. The plan was to have close friends around for Xmas dinner and have it in the barn. I have to admit I imagined us all in thermals, wrapped in blankets and it being a pretty cold affair, but they built a cosy room out of straw bales, lowered the height of the roof with a large tarpaulin and even decorated it all. The weather was also on our side,  the sun was out and it was more like a Bulgarian spring day ( English summer) than a winter’s day. We all brought something to eat and the majority of the food was home grown or home reared meat and it turned out to be one Xmas I will never forget and for all the right reasons.

This winter we have decided to take things a bit easier than we have done in the past, as long as we get something done each morning then we are allowing ourselves to take the afternoon off if we feel like it. All though just lately we’ve had a few mornings off as well, due to the amount of nights out we’ve had lately, January will definitely be a detoxing month 🙂

After the success of the first Jumble sale another was held on the 15th December, I was worried we wouldn’t have much to sell with everyone donating to the first one but there were plenty of donations. We didn’t raise as much money as the first one but still managed a respectable 940 leva towards the children’s fitness centre the rotary club wants to build in the near by town of Popovo.

It doesn’t look like winter is going to arrive any time soon, the weather has been very mild and up to now we haven’t had much in the way of snow or the temperatures dropping below freezing. It’s so warm the bees are still flying around and I’m still picking caterpillars off the brassicas which is a job I didn’t think I’d still be doing in December. We have spent quite a lot of time trying to get the orchard under control, each year we have been pruning the trees but have never got round to removing the acacia and wild plum saplings that have sprung up every where. These have now been removed either by digging the smaller ones out or in the case of the ones that had got to tree size these have been sawn off and the stumps can be removed at a later date. Our apple and pear trees have been pruned and all the fruit trees have had their trunks whitewashed ready for when the cold weather gets here.

Our poultry has been joined by some new friends, there were 2 lots of birds that needed re-homing so we have taken them in.  We now have  an extra 2  ducks, 7 hens and a cockerel, they have all settled in really well, especially since we have added some extra roosting poles into the coop.

Joe has now built the chimney for the workshop and the wood burner that was originally in the living room has been relocated out of the barn and into the workshop. Work has now started on making the work benches, we have quite a good system going Joe makes the tenon part of the joints and I do the mortices. This has become a lot easier since we bought a new grinding wheel for sharpening the chisels on. I’ve also found a new use for some of our off cuts of wood, I’ve made a knife holder so we can easily find a knife when we need one. The plan will be to make more of these and have them in various places around the garden and out buildings.

We thought we had plenty of space to store wood when we built the workshop, but it turns out you can never have enough space. Some large poplar trees were taken down in the village because they were too close to the electric wires. We drove past them a few times and when nothing seemed to be happening to them Joe went to the mayor to see if we could have them. Some the mayor needed but a deal was struck for the rest of them. Next problem what to do with them, we know a guy in the village that has saws big enough to saw them but they were far too big to go on our trailer. The great thing about this village is that there is always someone who knows someone that either has the equipment for a job or can get it. So a low loader with a crane picked the trees up and took them to be sawn. We then had to find somewhere to store them when they had been cut into planks. Fortunately the barns at our other house aren’t doing much so these have been cleaned out, made secure and have now become our secondary wood store.

While Joe was building his chimney I carried on in the walkway, there is a patch of floor that had been laid with limestone flags but these were badly laid and partially covered with cement. these have now been cleaned off and relaid which was a bit of a challenge because they are under the stairs that lead into the old corn store so there was only about 2 foot of head room to work in.

We hope everyone had a relaxing festive period and wish everyone a great 2018

  8 comments for “The lead up to very different Xmas

  1. Marilyn laugesen
    January 1, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Love your posts but don’t know if you get my replies. ?

    • Julie
      January 1, 2018 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Marilyn, I had a look and the last reply I can see from you was in 2016, we do get a few that say from anonymous but obviously we don’t know who writes them 🙂 Looks like the UK has got all of our winter weather, send it this way when you are finished with it 🙂

  2. Alex
    January 1, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    Looks like a wonderful feast. Can’t believe you’re still chasing caterpillars! When do you expect winter to bite?

    • Julie
      January 2, 2018 at 9:18 am

      At the moment there are no signs that winter is coming. This is our 4th winter and by now we have usually had a good covering of snow and the temperatures have been well below freezing.

  3. January 2, 2018 at 2:21 am

    Looks like you have been busy busy, as usual. The feast you had looks wonderful. You can certainly have some of our snow, we’ve had a couple of feet and temps have been in the -25C to -40C range. Thank goodness it’s supposed to warm up a little this week. Wishing you all the best in 2018.

  4. Simon Hill
    January 2, 2018 at 5:29 am

    Great post, as usual! Winters in Bulgaria seem to be pretty serious things. We are still in China and have had our last Christmas here. It was 20+ when we went for a walk in the park the other day.

    • Julie
      January 2, 2018 at 9:21 am

      Xmas day the temperature was 16C and most days it’s above 10C so I don’t know what’s happening this year. We have usually had snow and freezing temperatures by now.

  5. Deb
    January 2, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Hi, happy new year, I love hearing about your busy life in Bulgaria. You sound happy and seem to acquire new skills every time you write. John retired back in 2016 and gets out climbing a fair bit. Since May 2015, I was elected a district. councillor, which keeps me fairly busy; planning committee is enlightening. I too learn something every day, more mental than physical. I go swimming a lot to clear the grey cells. Wishing you both a healthy and happy 2018.
    Love from Deb xx

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