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Sunday, 30 October 2016

I am still here

First of all I must again apologise for the delay in posting and thank you to Curly Cub, Snowdrops and many others who have contacted me to ask if everything is okay as I have not posted for sometime. It is now eight months since Sara died and on the eve of what would have been her 60th birthday I sit here trying to compose something of interest to my followers.

I suppose I ought to write firstly as to why the delay and then go from there.

As many of you are aware I have written before giving some insight to the grief that I have been going through and continue to suffer for there is not a day goes by where I sorely miss Sara. Many things or quite often a combination of things can take me to the edge and feel that I do not want to go on, but I do for many reasons most of all for Sara.

I am very much a perfectionist and when the workload becomes ever increasing it tends to put me on a downward spiral of negativity where it can be a major battle to overcome. Day to day life is a constant juggle of prioritising many aspects of surviving here on my own and other aspects can and do produce some very grey days, but somehow my inner strength gets me through to the next day. When Sara and I were living and working in the UK, life was as we used to say ''an existance'' working all  the hours god sent to pay bills and live a sort of semblance of life. Many aspects were material things which are not necessary in order to survive. but luxuries or what society would expect you to have. When we came to live our dream here in Bulgaria it became ''our life'' where frivolous luxuries were not necessary in order to survive and that simple things mattered more and that we as a team achieved so much together. Now without Sara it has become an existence once more for me due to the feeling of what is it all for. I used to get great pleasure from doing things for Sara, making her happy and without her here with me physically that pleasure is gone, but I soldier on.

Many things have and do cause me to teeter on the tightrope of life, many things out of my control, but ultimately they still have an effect on my day to day life. The worst has been that when Sara died she had not made a will and although we were married, under Bulgarian law a percentage of the house belongs to either our children, or Sara's parents, but as we had no children and Sara's parents have died that percentage of house ownership goes to her siblings. In the last seven months there have been numerous meetings with solicitors here in Bulgaria for compiling documents, emails being sent to solicitors in the UK, the Foreign Office and Sara's siblings and it now seems finally after a few issues I am at the home stretch to finally get sole ownership of the house back. Understandably at a time when least needed, when I was trying to grieve for Sara, I could have done without the additional stress, which after eleven years of not smoking I have started albeit temporarily in order to try and deal with the worry. As I have said alot of this situation was out of my control which at times made it worse as limited saving had to be used to for advance payments and that there were expiry dates on documents so there was an urgency to the matter which in turn created additional stress.

Life at times can throw up some weird coincidences which 'knock you for six' and at the last blog post there was one such coincidence. A new follower of the blog had asked to be included into my 'Google circles' which then informs followers that I have written another blog post.  On opening the request, the persons name and surname were the same at Sara's before I married her.

So with these aspects added onto day to day life and trying to re adapt, trying to develop my life out here on my own has taken its toll on my enthusiasm of life here, but also finding the time or the inclination to write, so once again apologies for the delay, but I hope you understand where I am coming from.

So what has been happening...

As autumn fully takes hold with the last remaining leaves being blown from the trees, in the village there is a constant hive of activity with constant plumes of smoke from gardens as rubbish and weeds are burned along with the sound of tractors ploughing gardens before that wet weather sets in. Up until last week we were still getting temperatures in the upper teens and with the sun it made working in the garden pleasurable, if you can call weeding pleasurable so that I could rotovate the lower section of the garden ready for planting lucerne next year so that I can cut it as fodder for the goats.
Sadly due to time constraints I have not been able to get the garden ploughed as normal, as my neighbours son-in-law does all the gardens on the same day and I was not ready for ploughing at tat time. Still after a couple of hours at least half the garden is rotovated. In the next couple of days if te weather holds out and picking the last of the sixty cabbages I will get to rotovate the last half. By now I am sick of seeing cabbages and the goats are fed up with them too, but before rotovating that part I need access to te barn as another fifty bales of lucerne are due to arrive to stock up for winter feed for the goats.

On the goat front the young kids Eric and Ernie have grown well and both are now over twenty kilos and as they are now weaned are due to be collected next week to go to their new home . Now with the kids weaned, Millie their mother is being milked in the morning and producing between a litre and a litre and a half at each milking, but once the kids have gone she will be milked in the evening as well.

Eric and Ernie

I did not realise that billy kids were so quick in getting their act together as to mating for at a month old they were going through the actions and more so once Isaac my young billy came into rut. Being in rut has created him producing a lovely aroma especially on damp days that pervades around the garden. A lesson quickly learnt was do not trim his hooves unless in tatty clothes for when I did his hooves a couple of weeks ago I inadvertently had the stench of him following me around the house as it had become ingrained in my decent jeans and tee shirt, but after a couple of washes it is no longer there, phew. The aroma is caused by the billy urinated on his legs and face which induces the females to then come into season, so for the last month or so an active herd would be an understatement, requiring much management. Normally Millie her kids and Tilly (Millies daughter are housed in the same house at night, but when Tilly was in season the young billy kids were taking advantage that Isaac was not around and hassling her so for a few days it meant 'musical goats shed' moving one female to another shed or housing them with Isaac overnight when they were in season. Watching the herd it became apparent that each of the females has a different strategy when in a 'oestrus either to entice or avoid Isaac to mate with them. Duchess the old Anglo Nubian would press her butt against hay racks or corners to stop him mating with her, Tilly was 'a bit of a tart' and let him just get on with it, Millie was a little more quiet vocally than the others whilst Elisa his favourite even now after possibly now being pregnant has to be checked out each morning with the usually billy behaviour of sniffing her, tongue flicking and front leg kicking to assess her receptivity. At the moment both Duchess and Tilly have conceived as neither have come back into season and it is possible that Eliza had not caught the first time as she was being mated again a couple of days ago. Millie may be due back in, but oddly she was mated again a week after her initial mating, but they may be due to her only recently having kids, so the first kids will be due at the end of February next year so exciting times ahead.

Seems like I cannot get away from my animal record keeping days.

Isaac has been a challenge to manage when the girls are in season,
 but all in all he has behaved himself very well
 and has turned out to be a cracking billy albeit it stinky.  

Novo Nachalo cheese production seems to be taking off as sales have increased with repeat and new customers and with Bulgarian villagers trying it and with people from the other side of Bulgaria enquiring about it and buying it, but sadly sales will invariably slow down as the car boot sales have finished for the year. This will give me a chance to trail making new cheeses. Current best sellers are Garlic & Chive, Walnut & Honey and Red Chilli Jam and Yogurt Cheese all having been developed in the last three months since the product first was launched. Although not making a huge amount of money it does pay for the goats upkeep at least.
Ever popular Walnut and Honey Novo Nachalo cheese
Red Chilli Jam and Yogurt Cheese

As the weather has turned colder the pechka is being lit either early in the morning when I first get up or in the evening. After having the old windows and doors replaced with UPVC which although quite a big outlay they will in the long term pay for themselves by reducing the amount of wood I will need to burn or and electricity consumption to keep the house warm, but now that a rug has been placed in front of it I am lucky to get a look in. 

Is there room for one more?

The added advantage of larger windows is that they also enable me 
to be able overwinter te orange, lemon, lime, bougainvillea and geraniums 
upstairs as they allow more light in.

Not much is happening in the garden now as it goes into dormancy for the winter, 
but the last few figs cling on before the major frosts.

So like the garden I will have to go into a state of dormancy, but it gives me the opportunity to slow down a little and reflect on the last few months, prepare for the next growing season, but more importantly have a little 'me time'. So still practising with my new camera and making butterflies to trial selling at next years car boots along with the now popular Novo Nachalo cheese I prepare for the coming winter and think to myself how lucky I am to have friends, family and followers looking out for me to make sure everything is okay.
Moon shots with new camera

Spirit of Sara butterfly decorations.