Sunday, 8 October 2017

Rain and sun and rain

Once again a late blog, and once again I have a huge stack of pictures (and a couple of videos) and very little idea of what has gone on in the last two weeks, or is it three, since I last updated this blog. I've basically been working and working and therefore once again not really wanting to be sat at my computer for the half and hour or so a day when I'm free and could be doing something else. But I need to get this done else it'll just never get done so let's get on with it. Thanks for reading, as always.

As per usual, with these blogs covering a long period, I'll not do this day by day.... first off...

In the garden

It's coming to the end of the season now, obviously but we have had some nice weather and things are still growing. There's also work to be done as we approach winter to make the place a ready for snow and everything that brings with it.

Tomato trimming going on
Tomato trimming going on
A lovely flower on our lawn
A lovely flower on our lawn
Bekir trimming a tree
Bekir trimming a tree
Bekir trimming another tree
Bekir trimming another tree


A took herself out into the raised beds a couple of weeks back and trimmed all the dead bits off the tomato plants so the still growing bits could flourish as we approach the end of the growing season. Once again it's been such a fruitful year for tomatoes here. She's also finished digging out and clamping all the spuds which are now in our bottom corridor covered in sand; let's see how well that works for keeping them into the winter. We had Bekir over on Friday this week as well, more of which later, and one of his tasks was to trim down the walnut tree that was growing very close to the power lines; some of the branches actually brushed the cables as they fell so it was good timing to get that job done. He has also trimmed the plum tree over the green building again, which I did last year also, as it was starting to put pressure on the roof.

Bekir's visit

He did more than trim a tree...

View as the sun rose across the valley
View as the sun rose across the valley
Sun-hazed ridge in the mist
Sun-hazed ridge in the mist
Scrub trees into the misty distance
Scrub trees into the misty distance
Cleaning out the kitchen pipes
Cleaning out the kitchen pipes
On the roof to clean the chimneys
On the roof to clean the chimneys
The cockerel scratching in the soot
The cockerel scratching in the soot
Window people back finally
Window people back finally
The egg we found on the roof terrace
The egg we found on the roof terrace
The reason for Bekir coming over was A lit the fire in the kitchen on Wednesday past and filled both the kitchen and the lounge with smoke. This prompted a call to Bekir who was free on Friday at the usual time. I collected him and took the camera and was so pleased I did - what a view from the top of their cheren put as always. His first task was to sort out the chimneys and he began by taking down the internal pipes and giving them all a good clean. He then went onto the roof and dropped his heavy weight down the chimney that had caused all the problems and unblocked it from whatever had caused the issue. We have found that we share a chimney between the kitchen and lounge so probably next year he'll change that around which will be good. Finally, as you've seen, he also got out and did some tree surgery, and also cleaned the chainsaw filter so now that is running well. He was also finally able to get the window people to come out so now our balcony door works again - this was good as Thursday the key froze in the lock and the door became actually unusable. We took him home at lunch time after a really beneficial visit and hopefully he'll be back in a week or two to redo the grouting on the balcony and then we are ready for winter. While we were looking at the roof terrace (there's a small amount of making good to be done up there as well for winter) we found a birds egg just sat on the wall. Quite late for that, I think? It was broken, sadly.

Winter is coming

That visit was prompted, as I've said, by the fire being lit and winter certainly is on its way, and has arrived and left a few times over the past couple of weeks.

Absolutely bouncing down
Absolutely bouncing down
Big splash off the metal table
Big splash off the metal table
My "winter is here" face
My "winter is here" face
She is more excited than she looks; honest!
She is more excited than she looks; honest!
Painting station set up in the lounge
Painting station set up in the lounge
Me painting, A relaxing by the fire; perfect evening
Me painting, A relaxing by the fire; perfect evening
Thelma happy to be back in her cave
Thelma happy to be back in her cave
Snuggling the puppies and recovering from a cold
Snuggling the puppies and recovering from a cold
The day after A did the tomatoes it rained so hard it was literally bouncing off the table outside. We also had water in the back windows on the landing again, once more caused by blocked drainage holes. Once we have finished the walls inside I think this won't be as much of a problem as the dust will reduce. We've really enjoyed using the lounge a bit more with the fire in there lit and a couple of evenings we've gone in there to hobby; both playing a game and I also set myself up a painting area while A read; that was a really nice evening as I got away from my desk for a fair while. The change in the weather has effected us both, and A more, and she hasn't been all that well for a few days though thankfully now she seems to be recovering well. After a few lovely days yesterday was another horrendous day with really heavy rain and a huge thunderstorm that was causing all the lights to flicker. Today is supposed to be drier though so hopefully that forecast is correct; we have guests and want to get some sightseeing in.

Guests

We've had a few guests and visitors over the past few weeks as well, though photographic evidence only of one.

Ready to order
Ready to order
The first guest to mention isn't even human. We were sat having our lunch on the patio, which was a great pleasure to me in itself as I haven't been outside as often as I like, and a bird of prey came swooping in with its eye on our chickens. The roosters did their job, alerting the chickens (and us) and Thelma, Louise and Rambo went barking over towards it. I was gutted to not have my camera as it was stopped its dive about 20 foot in front of us, backed air desperately, and flew off again. What a sight! Sadly we have lost Baker, who we thought maybe had gone to sit on eggs. We can't find her and with that big bird around and hungry maybe she's been got. I hope she appears in a few weeks with a gaggle of chicks following her. We shall see. Our second guests were Venko and family who popped past for a few hours for a brew; that was a lovely visit though very short. Next summer we'll have to be more free and get them for a BBQ again. We've also had Nick and Emma past for breakfast which was lovely; gorgeous scrambled eggs. Emma has been over again since as well for a coffee. The Little Lady came past too and she is looking a lot better now which is a huge relief. Finally yesterday my friend from Belgium arrived for his visit. He is only staying a couple of nights and so last night we took him for Iskander in town, which was superb, and today (it's early Sunday morning as I type this) we're going to drive around and show him some of the sights.

Moon

This requires no introduction really; some lovely photographs of the moon is all:

The moon was red as it rose
The moon was red as it rose
So bright as well; this on full auto
So bright as well; this on full auto
The next night, through whispy clouds
The next night, through whispy clouds

The puppies

Last but by no means least we have a few more photographs, and a video, of the puppies.


Thelma holding her ball, waiting for us
Thelma holding her ball, waiting for us
Sisters cuddling
Sisters cuddling
They are so happy that the temperature has dropped a bit (but whenever it rains they are furious of course). Having not really fought or played alone very much for months now there are once again daily scraps on the sofa, and they have been racing around on the top bank again chasing each other and having great fun.Once while we were watching from the top corridor we saw Louise literally turning somersaults as she played. How awesome. Thelma is still completely addicted to her ball and her toys and we do have to entertain her as well, though she also is beginning to play on her own a bit more. Finally a photograph taken while I sat with A at the end of my working day in the nook; Louise with her front leg over Thelma, cuddling her sister. Too much cute!


Sunday, 24 September 2017

A drive, some chillis, and enjoying being here still

Yet again it's been two weeks since the last update, two weeks where I've just not had time sit down and go through the photographs (and a couple of videos) that have built up over that time. It's been busy with work, for sure, but also and more importantly I've been taking a little while away from this desk to spend time with A and to enjoy being here - the previous month I could have been on a space ship circling the planet for all I've got outside. So, because of that change, it's a much more relaxed Beard that is sitting down to type this. I do hope it doesn't take very long to write up, though. We'll see.

Around the place

I'm going to go back to the non-consecutive grouping for this; when you've got 14 days to cover it doesn't make sense to try and write it "diary-wise". So here goes. Around the place - the garden, the kitchen, the dining room, the hobby and, not least, the views. What a place we live.

Icicle Radish ready for the pot
Icicle Radish ready for the pot
And now they are in that pot
And now they are in that pot
Lots of stuff from the garden
Lots of stuff from the garden
Needle through a hot pepper
Needle through a hot pepper
All strung up
All strung up
Working in the garden
Working in the garden
We're in harvest at the moment so A has been making great progress preserving and making use of the produce we have grown; she's made more soup with the Icicle Radish, and spuds from the garden, and some of this went over to The Little Lady next door I think. It is so tasty. She's also strung and hung the hot peppers and chillis from this year, this before we've even touch those that she did last year! We'll have to start making more use of them I think. She has also dug up every potato from the fenced garden and we have now got two huge vats full of spuds, with sand clamping them, to see how well they last over the winter; we had so many we couldn't actually fit them all in the tubs we had spare so there's a lot of spuds in our future (not a hardship - they taste great!)

A late blossom on this tree; doomed to fail sadly
A late blossom on this tree; doomed to fail sadly
This hornet took refuge in the truck bed of Thomas
This hornet took refuge in the truck bed of Thomas
Chickens drinking from the watering hose
Chickens drinking from the watering hose
Wild flowers in the orchard
Wild flowers in the orchard
Wood chucking, with "helpers"
Wood chucking, with "helpers"
It's remained warm here until just the last couple of days and so the daily watering round has continued until very recently. It may indeed carry on again as it's been a glorious day today. Anyway in the orchard one of the trees got a bit confused and blossomed, which was lovely to see but a bit of a waste as now the temperatures at night are getting well into single figures and we're even having to bring our plants in pots inside. The hornets are also starting to struggle, bouncing off the windows all night and settling wherever they can once they get exhausted. So long as they don't get inside it's OK - they are huge. The temperature has been such that the chickens are getting thirsty (they have many buckets of water spread around the land, before anyone suggests we are letting them go without) and they have begun to follow me around the orchard and drink from the watering water near the trees. It's funny to watch them chase me. There are some lovely wild flowers still in the orchard, though my focus was slightly out on this I still love it with the closed flower in focus in the background. The job of throwing the wood inside and stacking it is ongoing; I've done a couple of throwing sessions and A has done a few stacking sessions - we're close to completing it though the weather we've had this week has paused this task briefly.

Rather hot for September
Rather hot for September
A lovely early dawn, with the stars still out
A lovely early dawn, with the stars still out
Rain on the windows
Rain on the windows
Chickens taking shelter under the trailer in the storm
Chickens taking shelter under the trailer in the storm
This picture has not been filtered or processed at all
This picture has not been filtered or processed at all
This one has, but look at all the colours!
This one has, but look at all the colours!
Beautiful double rainbow from the roof terrace
Beautiful double rainbow from the roof terrace
The storm moves on into the distance
The storm moves on into the distance
Another following in its wake
Another following in its wake
We lit the fire
We lit the fire
We played a game or three, and what fun it was!
We played a game or three, and what fun it was!
As I say the weather has been on the change. Last weekend A went out with a friend for the night and when I went to get her it was 35 degrees as I was leaving the land. The next day was also lovely, I was up early (as I have been a lot with work on my mind so much) but the day after it was torrential with some amazing thunder and lightning and heavy rain. The best thing, though, was while it was still raining the sun came out really brightly and there was the most amazing strong rainbow - the brightest and clearest I think I've ever seen, and another ghost of one right next to it. I was running around the house like a loon with different lenses trying to capture its beauty. I thinkit came out well enough. For the last two nights we've lit the fire in the Lounge, not so much for warmth but for comfort as I've taken two evenings away from my desk to spend some much needed time relaxing with A. We played some games of SBG and had a brilliant time together; very very needed.

Mountains march into the blue distance
Mountains march into the blue distance
This road is so bad... off road vehicles only, surely...
This road is so bad... off road vehicles only, surely...
.. oh, and those. Obviously
.. oh, and those. Obviously
A rural signpost
A rural signpost
Beautiful wooded view
Beautiful wooded view
Another lovely meadow flower
Another lovely meadow flower
Last Saturday was a busy one for us, it is going to cover two whole paragraphs. During the day we went on a drive in the morning and it was an epic one. We headed up over the mountains to the South and West of us and got completely lost, driving over some very dodgy roads and at one point accidentally driving through someone's gate and into their front yard. Literally over the top of the gate (it was just a pine pole laid across the road) and snapping it in two. Fortunately the lady owner (who was sat on her porch with a WHAT ARE YOU DOING! look on her face as we made our entry) was lovely and just asked to buy Louise off us. It was such a great drive, though longer than we originally planned, and again helped me to relax and us to enjoy being in this wonderful country once again.


Venko and Ivan
Venko and Ivan
Can finally see the drummer
Can finally see the drummer
A guest appearance on the microphone
A guest appearance on the microphone
During a break, the hat takes centre stage
During a break, the hat takes centre stage


I worked that afternoon and then in the evening we were out to see Venko and Olden Beat playing at the cafe in town. We were both quite jaded however it ended up being an absolutely superb night. We stayed almost until the end and enjoyed every second of it. One of the girls from the bank, who I know likes live music as we've talked before, was there and even got up and sang for a bit. The venue was outside on the terrace and it was warm enough, until just about midnight, for us to not feel chilly in our shorts and vest tops. Lovely. Talking of Venko he dropped past here just now with his family for the first time for ages (our fault; we were supposed to invite him in August but I didn't stop working once) and that was a very lovely visit as well. We are blessed where we live and with the friends that we have.

Thelma not happy about being photographed
Thelma not happy about being photographed
Me with my lovely new hat
Me with my lovely new hat
A distant hawk of some kind
A distant hawk of some kind
Thomas with a flat
Thomas with a flat
There is the culprit
There is the culprit
I'll leave you with a few other picture from the week that didn't quite fit in but I did want to share. First of all is the look Thelma gives you if you see her sleeping very cutely and go and get the camera - she was not impressed, but still didn't move more than that eyelid to glare, then back to sleep again. I've bought myself a new hat and I wore it on the drive we did last Saturday. It's wicked! The other day A was stood on the balcony and saw a group of four or five birds of prey swooping around. They came back for me to get a photograph, though at a distance. Any twtichers able to identify this bird? Finally A went to go shopping and found Thomas had quite a flat tyre. We spotted the nail immediately. She was able to get it fixed at a local garage (after we pumped it up to get her there) for 2 lev. Pricey.

There you are - long delayed, but hopefully enjoyable for you to read.

Cheers