Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Life in Bulgaria........ Spring...... Chestita Baba Marta

All through winter we look forward & the mantra from all us ex pats is  'Never mind it will soon be spring'.
Spring comes early here & usually with a bang, but February will give you a taster sometimes, like this year. Its almost mid Feb & we have been having 24c temps in the day! It has been a lovely relief & we have actually been out with no coats on as its too hot :):), drinking & eating outside the restaurants & everyone has been happy.
The Martenitsi, or Martenitsa, are being sold on the streets & I am now looking forward to Baba Marta, Baba means grandmother & Marta is March, so its Grandmother March. March 1st is Baba Marta, it is a traditional folk law here to usher out the old & usher in the new but we have to make Baba Marta happy so we have a good year. We wear little decorations of red & white cotton threaded together sometimes with beads & tassles then when we see the first Stork or the first blossom we take them off & tie them to our fruit trees for a good harvest.
We adorn our houses with little Martenitsa dolls hung from door handle or on walls for a healthy household & also wear them on our clothes. Its a happy day :):):) So first of March I will not be saying Dobur Den ( Good morning) but Chestita Baba Marta (happy grandmother Marta). End of Feb is the spring clean to get rid of all the old stagnant & bad parts of the previous year ready for new growth & life.

First we have February 14th. No not valentines day but the traditional day for pruning the grape vines! We will be out there helping others & then back here pruning ours for a good healthy crop to make lots of lovely Grape cake, Red Vino & Rakia :). Lots of food will be prepared & eaten along with Rakia & red wine from the previous crop will be partaken. I am so looking forward to it, lets hope the weather holds out with lots of warm sunshine it will be a good day!
Grape buds
These Grapes still have 4 months growing to do!!! We also have big red Grapes too
I know, I know, it's not spring yet but you could be well fooled into thinking it's just around the corner. Now saying this March is Spring but we had a 3' fall of snow over night 3 winters ago so I personally hold my breath till April. April is a glorious month with everything coming to life, Bulgaria springs into glorious colour with al the fruit trees blossoming & trees that from a distance look like cotton wool :) My garden also looks its best in spring with the birth of bulbs & I just love to see the Lilly leaves & can't wait till they burst into bloom in June. The one shrub I am over the moon we inherited here, is the peony, we have four bushes & I adore them!
All four bushes are slightly different colours but all beautiful & a very welcome but short lived visitor in spring.
Time to fill the pool so it can warm & tidy & clean pool area :)
Time to get out the cushions & enjoy the sun in the sheltered area temps have been over 40c in April!
 My tortoise's will also be hopefully surfacing I LOVE them & can't wait to see them romping around in the garden :):):) The baby is a worry but it survived last years hibernation period in worse weather & temps so we hope!!! Off course Spring also has given us our Kittens & our Pup's
Minishka was pushed under our garage doors full of mange & flea's
The garden bursts into life from Feb onwards slowly at first, but then there is an explosion & it's definately at it's best at this time of year.
Can't wait for my cherries I compot them to have all year

First bulbs of significance, I wait a long time to see these :)
Spring is the start of our socialising & many parties are had in the garden as space is a problem for us. At first coats are needed as evenings can be a bit chilly but April is normally very warm so life al fresco starts & I can't wait. Here is a little of life in Spring in photo's....... 
 As you can see Spring can also be sunbathing weather, this is begining of April !!!!!
Must have coffee trips with friends to soak up the warmth of the sun
The first thing I like to do when the weather changes is have a day in Veliko Tarnovo & lunch at my fave cafe
 people watching & lazing in the sun over perfect coffee!
Well it is SPRING ;D
Yep it's a must after a long cold winter & is mandatory ;D

 Also the start of work in the garden that doesn't stop till end of summer!
 Rape fields outside our village

Party time starts now :)

Beginning of April eating in the garden, bit chilly after 7pm!
Even the tent is a bit chilly at times but keeps the dew off  ;D
Spring is a great time for catching up with friends, some we may not see all winter or just briefly. I would love to have a lunch time party in April/May but the Villagers are sooo busy it can only be done in the evening. This year we have some new ex pat friends so I may be able to arrange something, at long last :)
So my Bulgarian spring in a nutshell is......
Lots of garden work, clearing weeds, planting, sweeping, mending etc interspersed with sunbathing in the suntrap, reading Martina Cole & soaking up the sun. Cooking for meals with friends, making Jam, going out for coffee & a little bit of al fresco restaurant eating in VT. Sight seeing is also a prerequisite especially after being house bound for awhile & seeing Bulgaria come to life is truly a wonderful feeling. Warm temperatures, hot sunshine, browning of body & a feeling of hope & something to look forward to, & that folks is SUMMER........ 


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