The drought of 2020

Since our last post (in May) we did get some rain in June but nowhere near enough to restock the IBCs or the water supply to the village. Last night it rained and we got all excited but it passed by far too quickly. The water situation in the village is pretty desperate. All our IBCs have been empty for weeks and we are not using tap water to water the garden so we have been taking trips to the spring to collect water for the garden and the woodland. The spring is now also running very slow so we have made the decision to more or less abandon the garden for this year and concentrate on keeping our perennials alive. There’s 2 reasons we haven’t used tap water for keeping the garden going; firstly at the moment we don’t have an outside tap and secondly the water supply to the village is so low. Our water gets cut off daily usually from 8am to 6 pm but we are lucky; people on higher ground have had no tap water for 6 weeks and we cant justify using tap water for the garden when other people have none. We are not alone, this is happening in other parts of Bulgaria due to such a dry Autumn, winter and spring.

We have managed to get a crop of potatoes even though its half of last year and managed 12 portions of carrots We’ve been harvesting beetroot, cucumbers, courgettes and kale. The beans all died along with the corn and the tomato plants are really suffering. On the plus side the kale, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers and aubergines are still alive but they are not growing. I’m hoping when we get rain they’ll start too grow again if it arrives soon enough. We did get a good crop of figs and black currants but the plum trees lost their plums before they were ripe and any that did ripen were pretty shrivelled. It looks like we could get a good crop of peaches if the tree holds onto them for another few days. I have removed any shallow rooting flowers out of the flower beds and potted them up so I don’t need to water the beds. The established plants seem to be holding their own at the moment. Even though it’s disheartening watching our vegetables wither and die we are fortunate in that we are in a position where we can buy fruit and vegetables from the shops unlike some of our friends who rely on their crops to sell or feed themselves but have lost them due to being unable to water them.

On the livestock front we have 4 new ducklings which our old rouen duck hatched and 5 new chicks which one of our chickens hatched but the eggs were from a neighbour. These new chickens should be a large bird for eating. We also got 8 random chicks from a bird fair but we are hoping 4 of them will be a large breed that we can use with the others and breed our own chickens for meat.

Its getting a bit busy in the bathroom and food prep room. Our original pair of swallows raised 5 chicks and were then joined by another couple of swallows that have raised 4 chicks and we have a pair of swallows that are sitting on a new nest. Its a good job they have good reflexes; I’ve only twice been clipped by one of them when going through the doorway.

After 6 years of using a wood burning shower we have up-dated to an electric one. For the last 6 years we have had a ready supply of small pieces of wood to burn in the shower, we have now used all that up and because we are not doing so much building work we are not producing so many off cuts. This means that if we want a shower we need to chop and saw some wood first, then wait for it to heat up and to be honest I was getting a bit fed up with this situation so after some nagging I now can have a shower when I want, well I would be able to if there wasn’t a water shortage.

The work on the summer kitchen has been slowly progressing mainly due to injuries, Joe’s tennis elbow and my tendons in my wrist, both of which are improving. The outside of the kitchen has been painted along with window getting a fresh coat of paint. The walls are all built and been plastered, the roof on the porch area and in front of the kitchen just needs tiling and me and a friend have got 2 of the new flower beds built. The felt was taken off the outside of the smoking room and we finished plastering and staining the wall, all that is left to do now is put the 2 side windows in.

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