Summer is drawing to an end

Well its September but there is no sign that autumn will be arriving any time soon. The thunderstorms finally stopped about the end of July and since then we’ve hardly had a drop of rain and with day time temperatures still reaching 30C it still feels very much like it is still the middle of summer.There are signs that winter is on its way, the storks have left and the bee-eaters and swallows are gathering for their journey south we have also got our first autumn crocus flowering in the garden. Even though this year didn’t get off to a great start we have been very pleased with the vegetable garden, we have had our best potato and carrot crop since we have been here and most of what we managed to get planted have done well including our first crop of sweetcorn.

Towards the end of April we decided to try out a bit of an experiment at the other house. We have previously grown maize there, but that time we had the ground ploughed and tilled before planting the crop and kept it weeded. This year we didn’t have the time to prepare the ground it was a case of strim the land and stick the maize in and see what happens. Amazingly the maize has done quite well considering it has only been weeded once when the plants were about 40cm high. We will probably not end up with as much maize as last time but considering the lack of work and time we have put into growing it we are happy with the results. Our new crop of the year was to be chickpeas, the plants grew well but you get very few peas off each plant and only managed to harvest a couple of cup fulls, so next year it will have to be plant loads more or not bother.

All this sun has been good for dehydrating our fruit and tomatoes. We have managed to dehydrate enough plums, apples and peaches to keep us going in mixed fruit till next year and lots of roma tomatoes which we will jar in oil when we have them all done. We have also upped our cordial making, I am not keen on just water and in the past we have bought cordial but now we have cherry, blackcurrant, quince, strawberry and elderberry cordial so that should save us having to buy any.

Our major break though this year was finally getting the house all connected together, no more digging through the snow to get to the toilet. We needed to make a window into a doorway and brick up a doorway and make a window. These were done at the same time because materials for one job were needed for the other. We started by removing the bricks to make the entrance for the doorway, these were needed to brick up the original doorway. Then the bottom of the door was cut off, the top became the window and the bottom was sawn in half and attached to 2 of the windows to make 2 doors. The main part of the house is higher than the part that the toilet is in so we had to make another set of stairs which are now in place. We’ve also managed to get the second window in the living room finished, when we took the old windows out to be refurbished we liked the view so much that we decided just to put one single piece of glass in instead of having the 2 windows so we saved ourselves a bit of work there. We have also finished the dividing wall in the barn and added a new doorway to access the new room which will be used for storing feed for the animals and poultry. The main part of the barn is slowly getting filled with our wood for this and next winter.

My daughter came over for her second visit and as she was flying into Varna me and a couple of friends decided it was a great opportunity to meet her off the plane and have a couple of days chilling out by the sea before bringing her back home. While she was here we had organised a party to celebrate being in Bulgaria for 5 years and it was made extra special with having her here to celebrate with us and for her to be able to meet all our friends and neighbours.

We finally managed to rear some ducklings, our pekin ducks kept sitting on the eggs but gave up before they hatched so we ended up putting some of the eggs under our muscovy duck because she had gone broody and we don’t have a male so we swapped her eggs for Pekin ones and we now have four your duckling waddling around.

After the swallows nest got raided by the Jay we let them back into the bathroom where they managed to rear 5 chicks so it was well worth the inconvenience of having to clean up after them.

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