Friday, 20 April 2018

No nakedness allowed in the garden

Dear Family & Friends

Another beautiful day to play with in our garden...So, we took advantage and enjoyed the most out of it. We worked hard but it was a kind of work that we get so much pleasure despite the aches and pains for overdoing things once again - Ah...that's gardening:)

no nakedness is allowed in the garden

With the constant sunny days we have here, it is wise not to leave the garden soil bare and naked under the sun. We have to care and respect our living soil. There's lots of living microbes in the soil and other creatures, all vital to keep the soil healthy in order to produce healthy plants and good food for us to grow in our garden. A cover would keep our soil moist and stops rapid evaporation.

my lemon grass is mulched with grass clippings to keep it warm and moist

We let weeds grow along with all the purposely planted plants because a living plant creates a biodiversity of nutrients to feed the soil. With all the dense growth, it also acts as a ground cover. But as spring progresses on, the warmth sunshine makes all the plants grow crazy that we have to somehow cut them back and we use it as a mulch resource - back into the garden:)

our fruit orchard area where we gather tons of garden mulch resource

Another good thing with these free resource is that: these self seeding weeds produces a lot of flowers that feeds the bees and butterflies in our garden too. It's a winner's concept:)

one of the many variety of dainty weeds we use for mulching

At the end of the day, we've collected buckets and buckets of green mulch - all for free, and I placed them on top of garden areas to act as a cover to the many seedlings that are popping up - in fact I mulched every bare soil that I could see:) So pleased with all the works done and earned another goodnight sleep in the process Zzzzz:)

my front garden bed all thickly mulched up:)

Gardening is such a good therapy for all. Hope you are enjoying your garden too:)


Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sleepover for an old girl?

Dear Family & Friends

Such a beautiful time of the year over here - season wise, and there's equally lots of new stages and chapter of life that is opening up for our family. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed how blessed we are. It's all exciting but sometimes 'old me' is hesitant of moving forward as I find comfort in familiar and routine ways of life.

cool and sunny - just lovely:)

This week I took a  'sleep over' invitation. Not typical of this old girl but I was game to give some pleasure to our two girls. Yes...just a sleepover in our city apartment and I tried my best to make it as exciting as it sounds. The apartment is nice and my two company are even nicier - but I lasted only a night, as I really prefer our village home.

our city of Plovdiv

This week we also shared challenges as daughter 1 faces a new direction in her career. It was only five months ago when she started her very first job with a British owned company. After only two months, she knew it was not the job she likes to invest her life in. 

As parents, we do all our best to help and guide our children. With her skills and talent, we guided her to easy transition. It literally took her only 40 minutes from the time she sent in her CV to a big Chinese firm, and got an immediate job interview offer!! She really surprised us when we heard her speak Mandarin and wrote in Chinese for this position! I can't tell you how she can speak the language because we don't speak it at home and she have never been exposed to a Chinese speaking community or school?! We're proud of this girl:)

a road pavement - Do you see it as flock of flying birds?

We believe this year is going to be a great year and we're just at the start of it:) Our CEO says I have to start running and just go for it. I can't and am not allowed to be an old girl. Hope you are staying on top of a good year too!


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Our Garden - is our holiday destination

Dear Family & Friends

It's madness in our garden. The bees are so noisy buzzing everywhere as they visit one flower to another. Our ground is covered with hundreds and hundreds of blooms from bulbs plants, weeds ground cover, perennial plants and the fruit trees are also starting to put out their blossoms. It's such a happy place. It brings me lots of smiles as I watch everything coming back to life, every plant looks so fresh and new. With warm sunshine and blue skies, there's no better place to be in.

these succulent plants gets red tints with lots of sunshine

The garden itself is a holiday destination for our family. It's more like a working holiday whenever we are in the garden for the moment. Our family enjoy working together. It's time to do pruning of our roses, sowing annual seeds, propagating to multiply our existing plants etc... Such rewarding job:)

a butterfly on the anemome flower
Most days I go to bed with an aching old body due to all the garden works done,  but once in bed, I just can't wait for the morning to come again, as I look forward to be back in the garden to do more gardening jobs of growing and sowing plant seeds that I enjoy so much!

butterfly and chamomille
Watching plants grow, some planted by me, while others just comes up by themselves, is one big miracle. Although I've sown some seeds - but I definitely am not the one who makes them grow and bloom:) 

Happy gardening to you...sending you our lovely sunshine wishes:)


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Plant propagations going on

Dear Family & Friends

I was pruning the lavender bushes so that it will grow more compact. I gather the cuttings to use as mulch covering for the soil, and some of it I stick onto the ground, and hope that they will take roots.

my way of propagating lavender: stick cuttings straight into the ground and hope for the best

Not all of them will take roots, but some will...even with this lazy method. It's the ideal time of  the year again for sowing and, I have to do what I must do.

a commercial business propagating new start of goji berry plants

Many plants are easily propagated. We visited a gojiberry farmer and he propagates his berries with much seriousness than how I do it with some of my plants. Well, he have to as he does this for commercial business.

Lots of goji berry plants in a commercial greenhouse

He got a big green house where he grows on his rooted goji berries to bigger pots before transplanting them onto his field. I'm sure with all the automated misting, almost 100% will be successful.

This fig tree branch is now putting out new leaves after the winter rest

Back to my garden, not all of my plants needs to be propagated the figs. Since I've already ran out of space where I can grow more. Perenial plants are now growing and coming back themselves every year to my joy.

One fig tree branch snugged into the crevice of a wall, perhaps so warm that it's leaves is more advanced and with fruit

Our fig trees are all planted near the property walls because they can have more protection from cold. But during my garden walk, I noticed that one of the tree have pushed a branch into the wall...this branch must be warmer than the rest that it even starts shooting out new leaves and little fruits. It made me smile when I saw it.

It's busy time when I get to the garden...but there's nothing better than that! Happy gardening to you too.


Saturday, 31 March 2018

Is a university degree a door to opportunities?

Dear Family & Friends,

Is a university degree the door to work opportunities for our youngsters? My husband was talking  to one French friend who got two children, exact age as our two daughters. Their oldest daughter is in university, while ours has been on full time job for a while now. The friend was so puzzled because she said that in France it is impossible to get a job, even for a university degree holder, as competition is too big these days.

entrance door that has stood there for years

Since our daughter couldn't make up her mind what she wants to take for a university degree, she decided to apply for her first job instead. Yes, a 9-5 office job as what most people would go for. 

Within 10 days, both jobs she applied for offered her a position! - that's without a university degree, contrary to what many believe is essential. If we told the French friend that our daughter has never been to a 'school' in her life - probably she would fall off the chair after the conversation?!

old ornate door

Let me tell you that the husband of this French friend got his own business and most recently they advertised for a candidate to fill a post in their company. They got 200 applicants - all with university degrees - but only one got hired. My question is what happens to the 199 other applicants:( 

When our daughter presented herself for job application, she presented her skills and personal character. The fact that she doesn't have a university degree or has been to a 'school' ever - was not an issue at all. Does this prove that perhaps expensive education system is a 'con' business?

one big mighty tree - soon it will sprout back to shade of greeneries after winter dormancy

To date, our daughter is learning a lot from her present job. It's a good company, offering training opportunities, and very focused on team building and putting values on their employees. But since our daughter is not used to being in a 'box'... being employed is proving her that it's not what she sees herself doing for life either. She's realizing more that she wants to set up her own business - hopefully soon. 

Thus, I still believe that parents are the key to their children's success as they guide them to be their own person. I don't think you can get those personal guidance from a university or a school, to land a successful career. Just my thoughts. Wishing you a good day today.


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Our neighbor's fruit orchard

Dear Family & Friends

I'm convinced that having fruit trees is the best thing you could have in the garden. Trees grow for years and the opportunity of gathering fruit out of it, is just a bonus. Once we visited our neighbor who grows lots of fruit trees.We picked fruits from his short trees till we were full - oh, so sweet and juicy food. Since there's so many fruits, we were invited to take home as much as we could too!

Fruit trees lining the pathway of our neighbor's shop front

Our friend got a vast land and he planted a big fruit orchard. This is of a commercial scale already.

Next to it is the large fruit orchard

It's an investment that can bring big returns.

Fruit orchard requires only minimum care

I came home thinking, if I could have the same opportunity, I would also be happy to go for a fruit orchard business. But as it is, in our garden, although not as big as our friend's land, yet, I already managed to make a small version of a fruit orchard with around 70 fruit and nut trees, excluding vines, for our consumption. It could easily feed many more families. 

Back home to our garden, sign of Spring with our daffodils

Like most of Europe, this year we also got caught up with a rather late spring after the last snow visitation during the end of February. Nothing that we could not cope...since that's part of our season. But I can say that spring is now here. The fruit trees in our garden are now in the process of producing a variety of fruits for us with the help of the pollinating bees. All we have to do is to wait for the time when it will be ready to gather and enjoy. If only you could plant just one fruit tree, it is definitely worth the effort.

Happy gardening to you too.


Friday, 23 March 2018

Sowing seeds directly in early spring

Dear Family & Friends

To have a head start of food supply from the garden, I have to pre-sow seeds indoors and transplant it out in the garden when the weather warms up a bit. As we don't have a greenhouse, the only place I can put the seed plant trays is in our lounge, not so ideal and thus I'm not keen on this. This year, I thought that perhaps I could do this seed sowing directly outside but protect it with bottle cloche.

some broad beans seeds sown individually in each recycled bottle cloche

To cut chores and be more efficient, I have to find ways that will work well for me. I dropped some vegetable seed into the ground and covered it with an upturn plastic bottle, to keep the temperature warmer for it to sprout. Once it's slightly bigger, I can transplant and spread it out in the garden. 

vegetables seeds sown directly with cloche to keep it warm for fast germination

In our garden, there's always the harvesting and then the food preparation to deal with. It amazes me that all year round, I can somehow get harvest from the garden to bring in to our kitchen table.

my harvest for this day: rosemary herb, kale, onion, and sunchoke roots

I managed to dig up my Jerusalem artichoke. These tubers can be used like potatoes, but even better than the potatoes, because I can just leave them underneath the ground all winter long and harvest them in spring. So, my harvest after the winter snow melted consisted of rosemary, kale, sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke and onions. With just some eggs, this will be a wonderful and delicious egg fritata meal. Off for a quick meal!

Hope you have a nice and beautiful weekend too. I'm positive despite the fact that at end of March we are showered with more last minute snowfall...but it's not staying long with next week, sunshine will be back:) Happy!


Monday, 19 March 2018

Earn what you are really worth of

Dear Family & Friends

Our 15 year old girl terribly wants to have a full time job just like her 20 years old sister. If it is only possible, she would not hesitate. But being employed is not exciting as it sounds. In fact, we hear the occasional groaning and moaning from our employed girl. She is only sticking to her first job because it is still an opportunity for her to learn something while she is sorting what she really wants instead.

It is true that you are to earn what you are really worth of. You have to be in the right job. Most people should be earning more than they should be earning these days, but they are doing the wrong thing,  in the wrong place, and they need to do a change.

Sometimes you can earn more, by just walking across the street, to get a new job in your special town, using your special skills to get more valuable result for a given employer. or even start your own business. Remember, everything in life is results.

This is a challenging time to be out in the job market and working to survive and thrive....and it is not going to get better in the years to come. However, despite of the challenges of the economy, there's countless challenges that you can turn into opportunities....specially for people like you who could find and create jobs to earn more than they ever did before, and do them.

The first key of course is to do your homework. and here are 3 very simple steps to start with:
  1. prospecting - create a thorough search or lead for potential job you possibly can. This is vital.
  2. presenting - arrange to meet and make a presentation to prospective employer, to sell your potential
  3. follow up - for the very best opportunity until you get the job you want.

Now, this is another teaching I'm sharing with you which was shared with our family unit recently. Hope you will find it of benefit too. Wishing you a good week:)


Thursday, 15 March 2018

Spring Holiday Weekend at the Mountains

Dear Family & Friends

Our day started with a very nice sunny day. By 9 am we head towards our mountain destination for a weekend treat - to get a break from our usual daily works...but most of all, a family time together and specially coinciding it as birthday celebration for our 16 year old girl:) 

winding roads as we head up the mountain route

The mountain peaks are still covered in snow, but down the base, it's all clear and just a perfect day to travel. After winding upwards towards the peak, we faced snow piles but the roads were cleared. When we reached the summit - the highest peak, the road suddenly turned bumpy with lots of pot holes. The winter freeze and melting snow created water ran off, ruining the roads. For 10 kilometers we had to drive carefully, slowing our travel time for at least 30 minutes. 

breakfast  coffee to keep me awake!

Soon, we were descending down the mountains, onto the other side of the mountain. The road got better and the snow piles disappeared. Winding up and down the mountain is tough for our birthday on our way back, we took another alternative route. We passed the mountain barriers through four tunnels underneath. Unlike some western european countries, in Bulgaria, these facilities are free - no toll charge whatsoever for it's use. 

buffet dinner and breakfast all inclusive

Our hotel resort destination for the weekend is literally surrounded by tall mountains - it's an awesome sight! It was a nice time for our family...lots of swimming sessions, cycling around a big lake by the hotel premise, a game of complimentary bowling, and we literally indulged in our dinner buffet and another breakfast buffet with wide and good selection of food. 

a lace of waterfall wall on both sides grace the stairway

It was just one lazy and relaxing time. We had two big comfortable ensuite bedrooms,but for most of the time, our two young ladies pop in our room and all four of  us fit in the bed to watch a documentary film on screen! Being together is what we enjoy the most in life - no matter where we are:) That's what brings much happiness to our little family.

a big lake behind the hotel premise

After our weekend long holiday, we are now ready to get back to our individual daily routine work. Life is not about indulgence, but a refreshing time is also good for our well being:)

I wish you happy spring time season just like what we have here - if not - better:)


Sunday, 11 March 2018

Spring gardening commence

Dear Family & Friends

It's now 6 in the evening and I had a good long day out working in the garden... time to call it a day. 

This week looks and feel very much like spring time:)

We had a mild winter compared to the previous year, with the last snow fall around first week of March!!. Not the usual norm, as March is normally not as cold for snowfall...but it did!

just last week, everything was buried under thick blanket of snow

Obviously, last week's two feet deep snow melted quicker than it should. All is good for my garden:) Now it's all cleared and warm enough to do my spring time garden chores!

A birdie as my company as I work in the garden

I treated myself to a couple of pruning garden tools recently, and have put them to good use today. It's time to prune the old branches of plant bushes to make way for new growth. I also divided and spread out chives and other flowering bulbs. It's one fun time as few birds were hopping and flying around, to keep me company:)

old potatoes were planted out 

It's about time to sow some seeds in my vegetable garden area too. I managed to gather my left over potatoes and planted them out onto one long row in my garden bed. While doing so, one tiny frog kept me company too:)

busy bees coming and going out from their hive to as they gather nectar in the garden

The air is cool but the sun is shinning so brightly...just perfect for a long working day in the garden. The bees were out and they were working as much as I did. With so many of them coming in and out of their hives as they gather nectar from tiny weed flowers, they were making so much noise and I really enjoyed that! The noise of  cheerful workers.

Spring time is to be celebrated. It's the best time of the year. Next post will be about our family spring holiday trip, a weekend by the lake. Till then...and wishing you a nice day too.


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Lottery win found in our garden

Dear Family & Friends

As the sunshines and bringing with it a warmer temperature, I was really excited to go around the garden to see new developments I am missing. Well, not much...but I still managed to notice some new things!

catkins of a hazelnut tree

We planted two hazelnut trees five years ago, since nuts are good and expensive food source. Making nut trees worth growing. But our hazel nut trees doesn't seem to show us good promises for years. Then, for the first time this year, I saw some interesting thing on our tree - catkins!! It's the male flower of probably, it's going to produce some fruits this year!

male flower is called catkins

It takes so little in life to give me great joy. I didn't know the presence of catkins on our hazelnut tree would be one of them! Probably the same joy when one wins a lottery?

new sprout on a propagated rose branch

As I continue with my garden inspection, I've also noticed that the climbing red rose I rooted from our existing rose plant have also taken off with new shoots. Another big smiley on my face as I dream that in due time, the water well area would have a rose dome roof to shelter me from summer heat as I manually draw buckets of water for the garden:) !!

winter look of a fig tree - very naked and cold:(

Since I planted one of the fig trees away from a sheltered wall, I always check on this one after the winter season because figs don't really like to be exposed to harsh cold temperature. It's on it's third year, so far so good as it gets established. I should stop my anxiety over it. I think I can now replace  it with another smiley face:)

Life can be one big lottery win... just go and find the daily joy to live with. Hope you are keeping joyful too:)


Saturday, 3 March 2018

Creating a pathway under the grapevine arbor

Dear Family & Friends,

My husband has been impressed with my growing lavender specially as I managed to fulfill his wishes of lining a garden path with rows of lavender thru propagating and multiplying our existing bush. I think it's not because of green thumb, but because we got the suitable variety for our area.

A new variety of lavender plant

Some 3 years ago, I bought another lavender plant variety to add to our garden, but this one is not doing as well as our other lavender. It's still alive...but not really putting much growth! A proof that challenges are within our garden too. 

a new pathway under the grapevine that leads all the way to a shed

We have a few changes and add ons that we want to do outside our home like: building a sunroom on the southside and a tiny porch on the west side, although we're not sure if we could do these projects this year. In preparation, I started and went ahead with creating another pathway that will go through under our grapevine arbor area, should we proceed with our plan. My new pathway is nothing posh, and it was so quick to set up:)

rosemary plant can make a nice garden hedge

The new pathway leads to the tiny mud shed and to the south side garden entrance. I plan to plant and put in some plant structure in this area. I'm thinking more of perennial and evergreen plants that will remain attractive all year - one that grows easily too. Perhaps I'll make a Rosemary hedges and plant a variegated vinca plant as ground cover under this arbor.

vinca with varigated leave is evergreen all through the year

With no budget involved, I will have to start digging some plants to propagate and multiply for this purpose. Spring will prove to be a busy time...but I'm looking forward to do this project:)

garden area under the grape arbor will be a new project for this year

Being kept inside the house for most of the winter season, it's time to get a dose of sunshine and resolve the state of the anaemic self! Gardening is just the right solution for this. So I'm off to do a little bit of that today. Hope you are staying healthy and happy too.


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Harvesting whatever the garden gives

Dear Family & Friends

The truth is, I'm not really that strong and fit to look after our garden. Digging to bare minimum,  and letting nature take most of it's course, is the only way I could do and maintain things in our garden. I wasn't born a 'wonder woman'. But, you don't need to be one, to have a productive and beautiful garden. Let me show you what funny things could happen in the garden without my involvement!

self seeded argula in the grass lawn pathway

My green salad loving girls find that when my purposely planted leafy greens are bare after being harvested for the nth time... they just had to walk to the grassy pathway and even there, they could find healthy looking argula greens growing together with the grasses. Fortunately for the argula plant, I don't cut grasslawn... I just tread on them, to keep it flat for maintenance.... Afterall, we don't even own a lawn mower for this job!!

self seeded kale

Although I failed to grow enough winter greens, I found that somewhere in the garden, there's always one that grew itself. It could be self seeded kale, cabbage leaves or other brassicca plant. They all more or less makes delicious winter long you're not fuzzy looking for a specific variety.

chinese parsley

Likewise with the self seeding herbs. Parsley in particular will just find itself to grow anywhere in our garden. I sometimes get mixed up with another parsley looking herb...same leafy look but with a  stronger taste...I think it is a coriander. We like them all. Every herb gets the privilege of growing where they want to grow when it comes to my garden landscaping scheme.

chives making a new comeback as we move on to spring time

As I look around, I also see chives shooting up...there's so many of them everywhere but they are good food that we enjoy. Even if we can't consume it all, they are very pretty to grow and they always come back every year without any attention or given care and produces beautiful flowers.

I can see myself gardening with joy even if I'll be too old and crooked in form...there's a technique to it - go for natural gardening:) I'm going out for a while to enjoy another sunny time in the garden, but not too long, it's a bit windy for a whimp! Hope you enjoy your day too.