A big update for October!

Already we have been here in Alekovo nearly two months – unbelievable how fast the time has passed. We’ve had our first visitors (Tony & Julie); Jane was here for a week to check out progress (and see that Toby and I were behaving /looking after ourselves properly LOL) for herself; we’ve got out first livestock; had our first encounter with the village vet for the grand sum of 30 leva for two house calls, treatment and medication; built a wall; prepared a poultry house; made some new acquaintances; visited old friends – the list goes on!

It was all at sea – but now it’s here!

12th of August the packers came to our house in Abu Dhabi for a 4 day marathon of packing 99% of our worldly goods into cardboard containers (pics above).  On the 5th day 269 packages went into a 40ft container (63 cubic metres) for the sea journey to Varna in Bulgaria.

After arriving in Bulgaria it came from Varna to Svishtov 2 days ago and the customs inspection took place today – the agents kindly sent us the pictures of the container opened for inspection.  So, early next Monday I’ll be at the Customs House in Svishtov to present my ID documents and arrange delivery to the village – very very exciting!  Unloading day will be a huge event and the pressure is on Nigel to get everything inside the house finished before the furniture etc. is moved in – we will see!!!

Four Little Piggies

If you haven’t already seen my post about the 4 little piggies you should read it! They are fascinating, and after nearly two weeks in their training pen they are almost ready to be let out into a larger area – it’s 1/3 of a field that we need digging up and clearing of loads of weeds, thistles, docks, etc.

The 4 little piggies digging up their pen

Although still small they have done a pretty good job of digging up their pen in between their 3 meals a day – it will be interesting to see how they do on “proper” pig food and a lot more foraging! They definitely like eating hay which bodes well for the winter and for when they go into a bigger field with other critters.

Mangels or beets from our lovely neighbour Nyedelka

They also love the large turnip/mangel/beet like roots that our lovely neighbour Nyedelka throws over the fence for them – need to try and grow some of these next year!

House & Garden

One of the two new hugelkultur beds in the orchard

Before the backhoe moved out (we had it in to lift a concrete collar into place around one of the wells) we used it to dig two new hugel beds (google “hugelkultur”), 1.5m wide by 5m long at the edge of the orchard area. We’ve started to fill these with some huge old tree stumps, trunks from recently felled trees and a lot of branches that have been laying around rotting for the past 12-18 months – we may not get around to adding fresh manure, straw, weeds and more soil until later this year or maybe even next spring – we’ll see how it goes.

Two of the IBCs have now been installed at the back (North side) of the house to collect rainwater. Naively I thought it would take a lot to fill the two 1000 litre tanks – but two days of steady rain (really, just steady not storms) and they were full!  So we are exploring our options – like an inline pump to drain the water elsewhere. There are two more to be put in place – one for the garage and one at the South West corner of the house which drain into the pig paddock.

IBCs installed on the North side of the house.

Feeling creative, Toby had an idea to create a second flowered area (we were only going to have “Jane’s Garden” outside our bedroom window).  So, using rubble, broken concrete and stones – we must have lifted and shifted a ton of the stuff – we’ve created a low wall and are slowly filling it with good soil. It also needs a good helping of composted manure (loads of that around here!) before planting some bulbs for the spring.

Building the stone / rock / rubble wall around what will be a new flower bed.

Fire In The Hole!

The most recent milestone achieved was this week when Nigel finished testing the heating systems in the house and we were able to light the petchka (woodburning boiler) that’s in the office for the first time.  WOW what a difference it made as the temperatures have been as low as 6C in recent days.  The rooms in the house quickly heated up to a very comfortable temperature and last night was really cosy!  Although the fire burns out during the night, the bedrooms are still much warmer than the rest of the house in the morning so there isn’t the instant “brrrrrr” getting out of bed. So the learning curve for the fires is all about how much wood to put on, how often and how we might keep the fire going overnight so it doesn’t need relighting every morning.

And finally you may have noticed that I’ve given the website layout a bit of refreshment.  There’s a few images / graphics still to do once the computer arrives next week but that’s all.  I’m very pleased that there are about 40 people following the blog, some family, some friends, some online acquaintances and some who we don’t know who are thinking about or doing the same sort of thing as ourselves – going after the “good life”, or a simpler, calmer, more sustainable and more thoughtful lifestyle.  But to all of them/you a big thank you – we hope to be posting more regularly in the months ahead.

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