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Monday, 13 June 2016

A turning point

I am sorry for the delay in updating the blog, but understandably lots has been going on physically and emotionally over the last month. Things have been so tough recently that a couple of times I just wanted to sell all the house contents as currently I would not be able to sell the house due to Bulgarian law and ownership issues and leave, so understandably at times like this I was not in a frame of mind to write a blog, In order to try and avoid missing anything in future I think I will need to start creating the next post as soon as I have finished this one, but there just does not seem to be able to find the time or that I am in the wrong frame of mind to do the blog justice. Anyway here goes.

It is now over three months since my darling Sara died and not a day goes by where I get emotionally pulled apart trying to make decisions in how to adapt and change my lifestyle here in order to stay and in turn that then upsets me more as I feel I am letting part of her go, but change I must. At times I find it hard to pull myself away from feeling despondent and thinking what is the point of carrying on without her, but where would I go and what would I do. Last week I feel I hit the breaking point potentially due to total exhaustion as my way of coping with the loss of Sara until then was work, work and work. That along with sleepless nights and no enthusiasm to eat other than salads and sandwiches basically has taken its toll on me. The final straw that 'broke the camels back was I decided the wash the wedding bouquet that I had made Sara that hangs on the wall in the bedroom above our wedding photo and I basically cried my eyes out and felt I could not cope any longer. Thankfully for modern technology and Skype family members are in regular contact to make sure I am okay and my eldest sister calls me daily to make sure that I am alright and as she puts "she is always there holding my hand". She listens and deals with my emotional breakdowns which must be hard for her knowing I am so far away, but never tells me what to do, just listens. I know this is a journey that I must make on my own through the emotional minefield that currently surrounds me but to know that family and friends are around helps with this tortuous journey. I write this as some have said reading what I am going through helps them and so I try to put in words how I am coping. After my chat with 'Big Sis' and having time to think as I stood by Sara's grave which I still visit on a daily basis, for solace and also a bit of time out from my hectic life at the moment and to try and put things into perspective, finally something clicked I realised that I must change and by not doing things that Sara so enjoyed doing or growing things that Sara did is not me forgetting about her for that will never happen. It is invariably the only route on my new journey without her that I can take in order to survive. The part of my life with Sara by my side physically is now in the past, but she burns bright in my mind with my memories of her and what we achieved together and I am so proud of her and myself in what we achieved together. I now know that no matter what I do Sara will never be back physically with me and certain aspects of our life together I now have to let go and that I must achieve new goals and have new paths to follow on my own, but knowing what Sara gave me has given me the strength to go on. So not as a total detachment from my beloved Sara I took my wedding ring off and placed it on the handle of the freshly washed wedding bouquet that I made for Sara so many years ago and placed it back on the wall beside our wedding photo. Now not with a heavy heart, but a new fresh outlook of what I have around me I continue my journey and adventures knowing 'I did Sara good'. Of course everyone has their own process of grieving and grieving is a process in order to go forward. I myself came to the realisation that depression and despondency of my loss will not bring her back and suffering from depression before and knowing that it is a slippery slope that the further you go down the harder it is to get back out I know the only person who can change my outlook of my new life is me. I now have come to terms that Sara would not want me to lose what we built together and I feel I have come through the other side and am grateful for what I had and still have and now know it is okay for me to change for it is not letting go of the memory of Sara, but life itself ever changing and that adaptation it necessary in order to survive.

So enough of the heavy stuff, so what has been happening at Novo Nachalo Ranch...

The herd of goats have settled in well and finally have started going out with the goatherd. The first time I went to ensure that they, more so little Naya and other than her staying close to me she was fine. The other after initial bouts of dominance settled down although surprisingly Duchess tended to keep with the sheep to avoid excessive conflict. Where the goats and sheep are grazed there is an animal watering site so even when the temperatures are high Galia the women who looks after the flock takes them all down regularly for water. They all go out now without me, the first time was a little problematic with Naya calling for me, but when she came home she was happily walking with Millie, Tilly and Duchess in among the other goats that are returned back to a house further up the road. Millie is definitely showing signs that she is pregnant enlarged belly and eating like there is no tomorrow and a friend who also has goats thinks she will have twins when she gives birth at the end of July. Although Tilly aborted last month looking at her and discussing with a goat breeder it may be possible that Tilly could be still carrying as she has started to 'bag up'. He has indicated that she may have kids as she may have only partially aborted (also as one of my readers mentioned) or that she becomes a maiden milker (thinks she is pregnant and so produces milk, so in about a month we will know for sure.

 Tilly pregnant - moje be (maybe)

Sadly due to drastic changes in the weather from glorious sunshine to torrential downpours and thunder the increase in heat has meant that Duchess's milk yield has decreased and I am lucky if I am getting a litre a day from her which is unusual for an Anglo Nubian. Anyway each day I bottle it and then freeze it to enable me to make cheese which I hope to start selling at the monthly carboot. I have just finished making a batch of garlic and chive cheese from a Queso Blanca recipe and from ten litres I have managed to make close to two kilos of cheese which is good and its really tasty as well and I sold out of it in two hours at the first carboot I sold it at. Maybe I need to get another goat!!!!
Naya avoiding mixing with the herd staying close for comfort in the big wide world 

All down to the watering hole for a drink.

Sadly the duck hatching  has still not been fully mastered and out of 20 eggs only three hatched at the beginning of June. Speaking to an old work colleague who worked in the incubation centre at the zoo I have a now reduced the temperature slightly  and will increase the humidity further in the last few days of incubation, so will see what happens at the end of the month. 

Annoyingly the Light Sussex chicks still are a little problematic in sexing them and even though some are now a couple of months old still have not started crowing, but all in all they are fine and all roost together in one shed from the main flock, the only disadvantage is that they are eating me out of house and home. Reading up I understand that it is possible to assess sexes of some poultry by their wing pattern/length in the first couple of days so if I decide to breed more then maybe will have to check that method out. I say if I breed more simply because the length of time it takes to rear them they are not cost effective. I may look next year at selling fertile eggs for hatching as an option, but will have to wait and see.

The garden has definitely suffered recently with the major downpours and thunderstorms, just as the tomatoes are beginning to ripen and the flower border beginning to fill up. Yesterday evening saw once again the gazebo I erected to provide me shade and a place to sit and relax has been totally destroyed and ripped apart. Initially a little upsetting as I also built it as a memorial for Sara who hated the full glare of the sun in summer, it feels at times God is testing me to the limit, but I have now moved the large parasol over there so it still can be used as an area for relaxing albeit with the ae occasional annoyance of a fly pestering me.

One of the frequent thunderstorm we have had recently (last night's deluge). I don't think I need to water tonight . 

Before the storms images of produce. 

 First cropping of cucumbers 



Some crops have been managed to be harvested and frozen before the plants were damaged. I have managed to pick/shell and freeze around 5 kilos of peas and about two of broad beans The first row of garlic has been pulled dried and how after plaiting hangs ready for use later Sara did not show me how to plait garlic so 'Google' came to the rescue and yes I cheated a little by tying them whilst plaiting, but not bad for a first attempt.

First attempt at stringing/plaiting of garlic

Flower border filling up nicely

After the latest storm images
Scabious and Nicotiana hanging their heads down

 Is this now a weeping fig?

 Slightly slanting sunflower patch

Trailing sweetcorn?


 Shallots & Onions

 More Nicotiana

I think the pool needs filling!!!! NOT

With the torrential downpours not only has the garden been hit badly but also now due to the sheer amount of water coming from the heavens not only the barn roof started leaking a little again, but also the poor goat shed became flooded one day, so remedial work needed to be carried out which seems to have worked following yesterdays downpour.

Poor Bella has not been herself since Bonnie died and had become very depressed, not eating and staying indoors when I was outside. The only time she interacted with me was when I went to bed when she would lie on the bed with me. So against my previous decision of not getting another dog I did. So speaking in Bulgarian to a guy I met up with him where he took me to his daughter who had bred the puppies and after much broken English/Bulgarian I came home with Bella's new friend, a little Dachshund. It took some time to think of a name, but in the middle of the night it came to me, Grace, Grace because she is not only Bella's but also my 'saving grace' and so each of us help each other and to look forward to our new life together.

"Now listen to me"

Butter wouldn't melt - yeah whatever

Primatologist maybe

One tired out Bella having a break Grace

Well not entirely 

Don't push your luck Charlie will tell you where to go, and he did the next day.

And so the fun begins both for me and for Bella

So as I draw this latest blog to a close, once again sorry for the delay and to all of you as they say in Bulgaria
                              приатен ден (priyaten den) 
                                     Have a Good Day