We’re having an unusually warm spell for this time of year. After a week of temperatures of 15 degrees, all the snow has melted and we’ve had a chance to get out into the garden. We’ve managed to disperse the large pile of manure from our big sow, Ellie, which has been accumulating for the past year. It will have time now to settle into the soil with another few dumps of snow before we rotivate in spring.
All our cute little piglets have now gone to their new homes. Most have been sold to lovely people from another village who are just starting out breeding. Two are staying with us and one has gone to a neighbour, Petko.
Petko is the person we originally bought our sow from when she was a little piglet. He gave us lots of advice and was very supportive when we got started. He has now given up breeding as he is too old. We’re very pleased that he has had a piglet from both our litters.
Ellie, our lovely big sow, had her second litter of cute piglets in December. They are very healthy little piglets. Rearing pigs organically means that we do not routinely give them antibiotics which is better for the pigs’ health.
Only last week, they were weaned off their mum, Ellie. Here they are enjoying their new feed.
Merry Christmas everyone & best of everything for 2013.
Getting that Christmas feeling here. We've had about a half metre of snow and have been snowed in for a few days. Here's a few photoes from life on the farm in the snow and around the snowy village.
Have a wonderful Christmas.
Lots of love Chris, Claire, Wally and the rest. xx
Our two week trip south to the Rhodope mountains got off to a slow start. We had a mishap with the bus in Popovo, only 8km away. Not to be easily put off, we enjoyed a couple of tourist days in exotic Popovo and Targovishte, discovering new wonders, before getting on the road on day three.
We stayed in a wonderful wee village, Solishta, deep in the mountains and, everyday, walked to our hearts' content with Wally in toe. We had several little excursions, to Shiroka Laka where we met a colourful character called Ilya who owns the Gaida Inn; to Devin where we visited Orpheus’ cave, the Devil’s Throat and had a dip in the open-air mineral baths; and to Smolyan with its amazing museum.
Wandering near the Greek border on our last day, we came across some weird and wonderful structures – a little mud and straw hut, straw statues and herb garden. It turned out to be an NGO project called Future Now which brings volunteers from all over the world to work in this remote village where they try out lots of crazy and creative ideas. That evening we were drawn into a traditional dance class. The regulars were very patient given that we tended to do the opposite of everyone else!
And so we’re back to a pregnant pig, 2 pregnant goats, a slightly ferile cat and clearing out the last of the garden. Oh and chopping lots of wood – the autumn chill has set in!
This summer we've ventured beyond the farm a little to explore a bit of the Bulgarian coast and here’s what we found.
We’ve had our first visits to 2 little resorts, Sozopol and Pomorie, on the Black Sea coast not far from Bourgas, which are favourites of Bulgarians and other Eastern Europeans. Neither is fancy but both feel really relaxed. We liked Pomorie best as it’s less busy and there’s a lovely promenade along the beach where people gather to swim and walk while watching the sun set. Our best find was Pomorie outdoor cinema which has lots of faded charm, a view over the Black sea and a projector man straight out of Cinema Paradiso.
At home, Ellie has been for another visit to her man. Four of us escorted her up the street to Rumie’s house where she got reacquainted with the beardy boar. She spent the night but business done was happy to trot home again coaxed with a bucket of apples and a fag. So fingers crossed and we wait for the blue line!
The weather is cooler so we’ve been busy in the garden catching up. A good patch of the garden is now cleared where we had beans, potatoes, onions, garlic and sunflowers. The auburgines, peppers and tomatoes are coming to the end of their seasons and the melons, courgettes and squashes are ticking along. Still no Japanese pumpkins, Hiroshi and Satsuki, but we haven’t given up!
In August, we had our first workshop with Joanne Mcmillan (www.joannemcmillan.co.uk). We didn’t know quite what to expect when Joanne suggested a workshop on Family Constellations but it was very powerful and as you can see we were a pretty happy bunch by the end of it.
We also had a fun day with Nkiru, the daughter of Trudie and Uche who have a holiday house in the village. She came to teach me to spin and although she didn’t have much success on that front, Baba Hristana came and showed us how to hand spin and was amazed at Nkiru’s skill with the wheel.
Hope you all have enjoyed your summers. Would be lovely to hear from you. x
Our little village still doesn't quite know what hit it. Last Monday, ten French film makers turned up in a battered Renault van. But, film makers with a difference. They make sudden films that might last for 5 minutes or just 12 seconds and they do it all within five days. During the time they were here they made ten films. They looked around, took in their surroundings and started to get busy- writing scripts, making contacts, finding locations, investigating village life, staying up all night.
The peace of our little farm was rocked but we loved every minute. Claire and I helped to make introductions, translate subtitles, take them to see the goats and the babas. We even tried to get hold of two old cars for a road race, Tarantino style. Scripts were written, torn up, recycled, everyone helping each other. One morning the garden was the setting for a TV discussion panel, the next it was full of people dancing.
The first thing they did was to hold a screening of their films from Romania and we managed to attract an audience of fifty or sixty people. Then there were three days of filming and getting to know everyone. By Saturday the films were ready, just in time for screening at 4pm in the village centre. One of the films called 'Smile is free’ is on facebook. There were surreal dramas, a documentary about rakia making that used a waterproof camera inside the copper vessel and a comedy about waiting at the bus top. Two of them took a quick trip to the Black Sea and the mountains to make a film about an Irish girl with a violin. Then there was a big concert and party till 4am. By Sunday lunchtime they had all gone.
I have to say it is rare to meet a group of people who work with such a co-operative spirit and with so much love and energy. Pinpin, Clemence, Camille, Paul, Sasha, Sunus, Karim, Etienne, Adelaide, Thibault, Melodie and Sebastien, merci we miss you all.