The new year didn’t start to well, one of our freezers decided to pack in. It was here when we bought the house so we don’t know how old it was but we’ve had 5 years out of it. Fortunately for us last year we jarred all of out fruit and vegetables and instead of freezing a lot of our pigs they had been made into hams and processed so we didn’t have any large lumps of meat in the other freezer taking up space, so we managed to get everything into our remaining freezer and nothing was wasted.
Our mild winter has continued so work on the new beds for our vegetables has progressed well. At the moment, with help from a friend, we have 17 beds finished manured and ready to go for summer planting, so should easily get them finished this year. The fruit trees have all been pruned and we have had a major clear up around the orchard of previously pruned wood. We have cleared a part of the garden that we don’t use because it is under the walnut trees to store all the tiles we are removing from the old beds. The open barn and old long drop toilet has also had a good clear out, we have been using these as general dumping areas since we got the house and came across items we had forgotten we had like an old spinning wheel and a couple of wooden trenchers. These are now stored in our recently tidied out corn shed.
Joe has been busy re organising the work shop, the main job in there was to build a stand for the lathe to get it off the floor, that is now done. He has also been updating the storage for all the tools. We have started to use up some of the off cuts we’ve had lying around so I built some shelves for the kitchen alcoves and Joe used the lathe to make some handles for the kitchen draws. He also made a nice egg stand with turned feet for the kitchen.
Our winter planting didn’t go well this year. Some broad beans came up and the lettuce has done well but no peas or spinach came up. We are not sure if it was because we have lost some of the soil structure with re building the beds or if it was because the weather has fluctuated a lot over winter from being in the high teens to freezing in a couple of days then back up again . The spinach has now been re-sown and is coming up and the peas, broad beans and french beans have been sown in toilet roll tubes so we’ll see how they do. The tomato seeds have all ready sprouted and yet again it looks like I’ll have too many but they’ll always do for swapping.
My daughter Sarah came over again, this time she wanted to see what Bulgaria was like in the winter, but we had no snow and no freezing temperatures so it was more like the UK in October. We did get her put to work helping clear the garden at the other house and we spent some time stocking up our pork pies and sausage supplies. We all went to a macramé workshop in the near by village of Voditsa to make a tea light holder, we didn’t manage to get them finished in the class but me and Sarah got ours done before she went home.
We were going to update the summer house this spring, just a bit of painting and decorating, but as we’ve had to cancel our volunteers we are leaving that for this year and have made a start on our summer kitchen. Even though a lot of businesses are shut at the moment our local DIY shop is still doing deliveries so we should have no problems getting the materials here. We can’t believe what is happening in the UK our local shop and the small independent super market we use are still well stocked although we have heard some of the large chain super markets have empty shelves that doesn’t affect us because we don’t use them.