The sound of chainsaws have taken the place of the woodpecker, the trundle of the wood delivery has replaced the sound of bird song & the smell of the village is now of wood burners, which is nice actually.
Nigel is spending every day cutting up the beams & wood pile & storing it all in the barn. Its lovely & dry, mainly, but a bit damp on the outside, so it will dry out nicely in the barn.
This is about half of the wood chopped, plenty more where this came from!The pile is growing day by day & its great to see it all as it gives a good indication to how long we will be nice & warm. No really I love to see it all stacked up Its a bit like my mum & her store cupboard I would guess, it's our winter store & we can tell as we go along if we need to buy any more. We have so much kindling (we use tree branches) wood, its amazing how until you live here you just cant understand the storage space needed for the winter heating alone. We have some stone built pig houses & use one of them to store the kindling in to keep it nice & dry & seasoned.
Look at that sky, no that is not now, these are the stone houses that now two dog bedrooms & kindling store.There is nothing worse than a fire that won't light on a winter morning & the kindling is a big part of that. We have over the spring/summer been saving every scrap of paper & cardboard, also for lighting the fire. These we store in wicker baskets, in the cellar during the summer. It sounds like a right palava but it really isn't. Do you remember when you were young, did you have an open fire? Thankfully we did so we had some memory of what to do!
We have really needed the fire lately. The weather was quite nasty. It looked like the sky had fallen in & the hard frost we awoke to did not diminish as the day wore on. We had a week of this It was like a not so wonderful, winter wonderland.
Everything stayed white for a weekI wonder at the storage space needed for people with livestock! It's easy to see why there are so many buildings & barn space. We have no livestock, as its an expensive & very time consuming past time, but I know many expats who do & wow good for them but its not for me. I am just too naturally lazy to be getting up at some God awful time in winter snow to feed them & clean out animal houses. Lugging about hay, straw feeds etc is not my forte so I think it's brilliant that people do but I am far too old to start now! I do many times wish we had discovered this 15 yrs ago, then maybe we would have been pig, lamb, duck & turkey farmers but the timing is well off for us. We will continue to grow what we can & learn what we can, but we will never be as our Bulgarian friends!
The surrounding countryside is really beautiful again. All the crop areas have been ploughed & flattened (I don't know the correct way of saying this) & all around the rich brown earth is a rich green, flanked by trees that are now barren of leaves giving us free views of the hills, rocks & mountains along with the trees that are in differing stages of loss, giving us red, gold, yellows & browns. When the sun is shining through the trees the gold's shine & the reds glow its truly gorgeous. There are still many green trees too, we have lots of pine trees here, all sorts too, they keep the greenery in Bulgaria in the depths of winter when all else looks dead. I love them & class ourselves as very fortunate to have a huge one in the front of our property. We also have a completely different one at another of our properties round the corner so I get to collect lots of pine cones. Walking round the village there are many & driving through the country lanes we pass forests of them in many different stages of growth. I really want to go get a real tree for Christmas but two things stop me. Firstly, I am not sure if it is illegal to do this, I hear mixed messages about it. Some say its ok others say prison! Second I love them growing in their natural environment, if we did cut one down & adorn it for a couple of weeks it will then just be fire wood!
The weather has warmed up a lot with long sunny days again, well as long as a November day can be. The dogs are out most of the day sunbathing & playing chase, instead of in front of the fire. They all pile in at tea time.
I have been cooking up the pears this last week, upside down cake & still practicing with the pastry :-)
Sausage rolls for Christmas are a must as far as I am concerned so I need to find the perfect wrapping for them. I have managed to find sausage meat & a mix that I liked now I am onto the next experiment to get the right roll. I realise this is very English of me, but some things are difficult to let go off :-) These may be a thing I don't eat all year but are a must for a Christmas fuzzy memory.