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Tuesday 25th August, 2015
Category: 2015/08
Tags: compost glass jar hiking holiday

How many times have I begun a diary entry with a thousand apologies for not updating sooner? Well add this to the list. The past few weeks seem to have been unbelievably hectic (though I'm not sure with what exactly) and just generally being out and about more often than normal has meant that the days at home are full of catching up on gardening, organising jobs being done and of course harvesting the veggies.

The prolonged hot weather has made for a great crop of most things, so I've been quite busy freezing, drying and canning things - mainly tomatoes it has to be said. I think I mentioned the straw bales recently and how the milkman said he'd look into it for me. Well when he came with the milk we had rather an odd exchange.

I asked if he'd enquired about the bales and he looked at me blankly for a moment and then said 'there aren't any'. This came as quite a shock, so I asked what about people with cows and horses, don't they need straw? 'Oh yes,' he said, 'people with cows and horses can get straw, but not you for your garden. You need to buy it earlier in the year.'  This wasn't quite how I'd imagined the conversation going, so blundering on blindly I asked when exactly I should buy the straw. 'In May,' was the reply. I smiled politely intrigued as to how I would buy straw in May next year before it has been harvested, and let him go.

A little bit of detective work indicated there were bales a plenty for sale in Sevlievo and then I struck gold when a good friend got a Bulgarian pal to ask at the farm in the village from where I can apparently have as many bales as I like for 1.50 each... and I don't have to wait until May! So, as soon as I return from my trip away I shall be chasing up this source of bales and can't wait to start arranging them into beds.

Yes, you read that correctly, I'm having a few days away hiking in the Rhodopi region in southern Bulgaria.  I've never been that way before but the thought of gorges, rivers, caves and mountain scenery is irresistible. It's been many many moons since I did any serious hiking and so I needed to borrow several items from the friend I'm going with, including a decent caghoul. The recent torrential rain provided a good opportunity to go and try it out, to check the waterproofing was still okay. So I donned the jacket, put on my hiking boots and set off with Alfie for a walk.  About twenty minutes later I felt an ominous flapping sensation under my right foot and was horrified to discover that the sole of the boot was peeling away. Blow me if a few steps further on the other boot didn't do the exact same thing!

Turning tail we headed back home, as I slithered about on the gravel path in my now soleless boots, aware of the creeping sensation of socks becoming soaked.

With only a few days to go I now lacked some vital hiking gear (thank goodness some higher power prompted me to try the boots before the real thing) so it was a quick trip into Veliko Tarnovo to a couple of sports shops to try and find some replacements.  The choice wasn't huge but I managed to find some decent looking ones which promised to be both waterproof and breathable.

I've been wearing them non-stop around the house and touch wood they seem very comfy so far.

As soon as the sunshine returned I decided to have a go at making my compost bin using my stash of pallet boards. It turned out to be a much faster job than I had anticipated and within an hour there it was complete with repurposed worn out flip-flop hinges:

I've transfered the current compost heap along with its fabulous collection of hardworking worms and plan to make the old compost area into a better butternut squash patch.

And to finish on a pretty note, here's my latest little decorative item:

Wouldn't it be extremely cool if I could find very small solar led lights, like a fairy light only with just a single bulb, which I could lower into the bottle of water to light up at night? Maybe I'll ask the milkman if he knows where such things can be had...


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