Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Always go forward

Dear Family & Friends

A garden with a pomagranate tree always looks magical to me, specially when they are laden with red ball shape fruits! They just command your attention. I always wanted a pomagranate tree in our garden. The first one I planted died on me but I was still determined to grow it, so I went and bought another tree to plant. I change it's location to one place that I can easily notice everyday. I'm giving it a very special care and so far so good. One day I know that it will bring a magical feel to my dream garden. 

a fruitful pomagranate tree in someone's garden

In life you just have to keep on trying even if you face set back or failure. If you are so determined, you will figure a way and reach your goal:)

a deflated bread but still very delicious:)

My little girl is in charge of bread making in our home. Nothing complicated as she uses the aid of a bread machine. No one bread comes out the same as she often changes her mix depending on seasonal produce. She could be doing a bread with grated courgette, or grated apples with cinnamon, or with herbs, all depending on what's in our garden. It's all done using her imagination without proper measurement or recipe. Usually she hits it right and we all enjoy her work. Of course there are times the bread comes out deflated...but still very delicious and appreciated by all.

In our family, we do experience obstacles from time to time just like everyone else in life ...but we always go forward. Well, hope you do the same too:)


Friday, 14 September 2018

Is Bartering still in fashion?

Dear Family & Friends

Work is a wonderful thing. Work is a mandate in life, it gives meaning to our living existence, and it sustains us overall. We might work to gain some money so we can buy things we need and want in life, but we can also work in exchange for other things or service. We call this bartering, an ancient form of practice but it is still practiced in our village:)

a box full of very large tomatoes from our next door neighbor

Our neighbour called us over to our property wall and handed us: a bag of potatoes, a bag of peaches that I was coveting from his peach tree that is just next to our boundary wall, and a box full of big red tomatoes! Everything was a big treat for us:)

a bag of potato and peach harvest from our neighbor

Although we also grow veggies, but it is not as big and abundant as theirs. In our village, there's no chance for starvation even though there's no business opportunities. You don't have to buy nor pay for food around here.

In exchange for all the good food we got today, our neighbor also passed on an old chair for us to repair for him. Since we own an electric drill machine, and with just a few bits of screw, we can hand him back a good as new usable chair that he will be so happy of too! That's how we barter things around:)

We noticed autumn air has arrived. It's another very nice season to enjoy. Time is moving on and I hope all is nice where you are too!


Sunday, 9 September 2018

The best pet in the world

Dear Family & Friends

Our two girls are quiet in nature and the only pet we have living in  our garden is just as quiet as the girls. For us, Tin Tin our tortoise, is the best pet there is. He's a free roaming tortoise within our enclosed walled property and we can be assured that we won't lose him. He got complete access of the entire garden. He takes care of himself as he forages and eats whatever he fancies that I grow. Sometimes I don't mind but other times I do!

Can you see tomato seeds over the tortoise back shell? He's been eating our tomatoes in the garden!

This quiet creature likes to come and meet us when he hears us in the garden, mainly in the summer, as he usually hibernates almost half of the year! When I water the garden, he normally gets soaked as he appears from the undergrowth just where I'm watering. We tend to think that tortoise move slowly, certainly not this one. He can walk faster than me!!

Our tortoise and his most favorite food - berries!

Our tortoise is a vegetarian but not every fruit or veggies takes his fancy. When we hand fed him peaches, he took just one bite out of politeness, but he will never say no to berries. Since berries in our garden are now out of season, my big girl goes out in the village to gather some wild blackberries because we just love to see how our tortoise enjoys eating them. 

Once, we noticed that after hand feeding him the blackberry, he lingered a while and then he made a few circle movements around me before walking away. I'm sure it was his language which I don't understand. I can just guess that he was saying 'thank you'.

God definitely created lots of very interesting creature to give us some joy. Enjoy your day.


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Paper piecing project

Dear Family & Friends,

In between chores, I'm just too restless if I have no projects to work on at the same time. Hands at work in tranquility is very therapeutic activity for me. Since I've finished a big crochet throw blanket, I'm free to start a paper piecing chair cover project, to replace the shabby one I've done for our apartment use.

hand sewn paper piecing project

Everyday I do a little bit. It takes a while as it's all done by hand. I also use recycled fabrics because I like to believe that I should take responsible action of not being reckless with our consumption at the expense of our future environment. Paper piecing is an ideal way to recycle old clothes.

Do you like this 3D design?

Slowly, my paper piecing project is getting bigger as my fingers gets more callus with every needle prick LOL! Nonetheless, I do enjoy the progress I make and it's always nice to have a goal to work on - big or small goal, until it's done. This is what makes life more interesting. I have a long way to go, but hopefully I could show you my finished project when it's done.

For now, I must get back to my sewing. Enjoy your day too:)


Thursday, 30 August 2018

A little outing

Dear Family & Friends

It's been almost a month since I visited the city.  I find the city slightly more hotter than being in the village surroundings for summer comfort. Since we're running out of basic supplies, it was time for grocery shopping in town once again. 

We also popped in our city apartment and I noticed a few more nice changes: New landscaping and a third phase of similar apartment building next to ours are now finished and occupied! So many apartment buildings are rising so fast over here!

New signage:)

Going to the apartment for the day is a little family outing for us. We usually stay for lunch and have simple finger food like sandwiches or take away pizza. This is a happy break for the family already. No, it's not hard to please this family.

Another apartment building for neighbors:)

For most families here, summer holiday is almost over. As school children prepares to go back to school in September. For us, it means it's our turn to visit the seaside when it's not too busy anymore, just to mark a summer holiday. Our big boss has already booked us a short weekend holiday treat. It's another fun family time to look forward to.

Hope you are still enjoying your season where you are.


Saturday, 25 August 2018

Summer is catching up - Stay hydrated

Dear family & friends

Summer is catching up. My tomatoes are ripening and more are coming in. Although my cucumbers  plants are getting tired, since I am not coping in giving them as much water as I should, to combat the fierce sunshine. Some plants are slowly saying their goodbyes.

Hostas are flowering at this time

With our summers, every plants in the garden seems to just want the same thing - WATER! But have you ever thought that we too need as much water as 8 glasses a day? 

With my frequent headaches and dizziness, plus back aches, I realized I must change my ways. So, I started to have more discipline and pushed myself to go into hydration theraphy - that is: to drink at least 8 glasses of water on daily basis. 

The roses are carrying on blooming too

Doing so brought immensed changes. Gone's the headaches and diziness. The kidneys are now more equipped in disposing the toxins and bacterias inside the body that are creating chaos within. 

I've gathered my little family in this simple discipline of daily drinking 8 glasses of water a day. I hope you do the same too, if not already into it. 

Let's all have a goal of becoming beautiful and healthy too.


Monday, 20 August 2018

along the merry way

Dear Family & Friends

What's keeping you busy these days? There's a lot to do everyday here. Sometimes I'm just engrossed with doing bits and pieces. Some of my plants have produced seeds but as they are not dry enough to collect the seeds, so, I neatly tie and hang them in bunches to dry further on in the garden.

collecting and drying out some plant seeds

This week I've found out that our favourite second hand shop where we bought some old furnitures and treasures is closing down :( It's sad because there's not many shops that resell very old things over here. The sales proceeds also supports recovering young men who got into trouble due to alchohol and drugs. These young lads also works to fix or rennovate some of the furnitures and fixtures to resell.

a very heavy duty metal basin purchased recently - my treasure:)

So, we acknowledge that this particular shopping era of ours is now on end. My last buy was this big old and very heavy metal bowl. I still don't know how to recycle and put this into good use, but I do have a few ideas in mind for a new project. Perhaps I can make a portable water lily garden with it - we will have to see!

very rare snack treat all the way from China!

Well, not everything goes on and on in life. In fact another thing that we'll be missing is the big packet of rice crackers :( Yes, we ate all these snacks very quickly too LOL

courgette grows in abundance here

On the serious side, the vegetable garden are supplying us with non-stop courgette and cucumbers so we're trying to keep up with eating them on daily basis. No one is complaining. From time to time, like every two weeks, I'm also able to harvest some of my precious exotic veggies like kang kong and sweet potato leaves for stir fry. Some of us are complaining it's not enough and could we have more of that. Well, we have to learn to be grateful for whatever the garden gives us....and we are:)

Enjoy your day too.


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Wild life makes a healthy garden

Dear family & Friends

Our garden is full of green plants and peppered with all sorts of colours too. It's dense with all kinds of plants and creatures. I can tell you that once you're inside the four walls of our garden, you can even feel an immediate cooler temperature than if you step out of our garden wall. All these vegetation brings about a cooling effect.

We've also noticed that by letting the garden grow as naturally as we could, there's more and more interesting creatures that comes and live within too. They're all contributing to the health of our garden. 

this big spider is a friend, by catching pest on it's web

There's also an increase of visitors - wildlife creatures that comes in our garden too. It's interesting to see how many species of birds flying in and out, making it all a very joyous place with their cheerful songs. Most recently, we even spotted a wild polecat - which my daughter refers it as 'pole kitty'.

Growing polyculture garden attracts beneficial wildlife workers into our garden. There are also ugly pest within that eats and destroy some of my plants but I welcome them along too because they are food for the beneficial creatures. With the presence of the good and bad creatures, they balance out and keep our garden healthy. 

I really encourage you on gardening - small or big way - it doesn't matter, because there's only good things out of it. Happy gardening:)


Friday, 10 August 2018

everyday food found in our garden

Dear Family & Friends

The summer this year has been so very kind to me. We have T-storms almost every day. Rain sometimes comes with it which is very unusual as we are used to dry and very hot summers. So, this is like constant late spring time weather:) I am happy!

green seedless grapes and peach fruit snacks from our garden

The garden tomatoes and peppers are not as happy as me. They prefer it hotter. Though a bit slow to bring in their goods, yet, we're still never short of other garden produce.

courgette with herbs fritters

The courgette, pumpkins and cucumbers are just going all out madness with bearing their fruits for us. So, here I am getting to be a real pro in making courgette fritters with creative flavours - countless ways with various herbs, and we don't mind them every time!

trying out different finger food we could do with our garden produce

Of course, in time, the tomatoes just can't help themselves in catching up with late goods delivery. Slowly, they're coming on to our kitchen table too. So, fresh raw tomatoes salad every day is not a problem either. yes...we love them every single time:)

fresh tomatoes sliced with a bit of salt and olive oil makes a good snack food

There's nothing better if you could grow some food in your garden. The joy of having grown it yourself, free healthy food, and finding them not far from your kitchen, is definitely a great blessing to be proud of.

Have a beautiful day where you are too!


Sunday, 5 August 2018

journeying home and bringing good news

Dear Family & Friends

Our oldest daughter have been doing weekly back and forth journey from the city to our village home - using public transport.  The journey from the city back to our village home is her happiest one. Due to responsibility, she nevertheless brave the journey to the city without complain. For this, I admire her the most because she perseveres quietly.

you can watch the countryside beauty on your slow train journey

She has two options for transportation: either by taking the smelly and stuffy public bus transport or  take the  less frequent, slow but empty train ride. 

inside the slow moving train carriage

It's not a bullet train by any the train runs on very old rails that really needs to be upgraded. Yet, if you ask me, I really don't mind the slow motion. It also comes with an equally slow humming chug-a chug train noise and slight swaying as it travels on. It's a soothing experience!!

our public train carriages are never crowded

Coming back home on a train is always a happy one..but there's this 'one day' which became an 'extra happy' one:)

green meadow field by the train station

Getting off from the train, she starts walking by a big expanse of green field covered with low growing meadow. It's a five minutes walk from the station to our home and she was bringing the good news we were all anxious of - yes...the Friday driving test she took that day was a success! We were all so very happy for her. 

the ticket with date issued when you can later collect the official driving license!

It will be a month, when her official driving license will be finalized. She will then be eligible to drive a car...That means, she will now have the option to use public transport or take the car for better convenience:)

Times like this is one of our family's joy. To celebrate, we went out to share a simple pizza time in town:)  Hope you are having a joyful day too!


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

happy food for a happy family

Dear Family & Friends

It is very important to me that our little family is united. We love and prefer to be with each other - every time and anytime. We support each other, we feel each other's pain, and we all help each other. I think that how it should be. Our big girl lives in the city apartment during the week because it's convinient for her work situation, but she just can't wait for weekend or before that, to be back in our village home because it means we're all together again:)

 one simple but happy food we enjoy in our family

Life is very simple for us. At home, nothing is complicated. My cooking is always plain because I only prefer easy and uncomplicated dish. Anyway, it's nothing to do with delicious's all about happy food - and our outlook in life.

sometimes our food gets extra special but not usually...

Food makes my little family happy - yes, just any food will do as long as we are all together in one little home.

Hope you are enjoying your family too.


Thursday, 26 July 2018

understory plants for the fruit orchard

Dear Family & Friends

Two years ago, we decided to turn the grass lawn area into a fruit orchard. Greedy us packed at least 12 different fruit trees, probably there's only about 3 meters distance from each other. It will be densely packed but we will try to trim them into dwarf sizes.

facing our young fruit orchard area

To keep the fruit trees happy with more company, we also planted perrennial herb bushes like sage and rosemary. There's also gooseberries, goji berries, and other flowering shrubs planted underneath the trees. The benefit of doing this is that the surrounding soil will be covered with living plants for moisture retention. 

our sweet cherry tree with daylily companion plant

Planting other plants in the fruit tree orchard also benefits the trees because flowering shrubs will attract beneficial insect to the area to later help with the fruit pollination.

our young fruit orchard with surrounding plants for company

The berries planted under the fruit trees are actually producing fruit snacks for us already. So, having understory plants underneath the trees are indeed a win win idea, while waiting for the trees to fruit in their season.

densely packed with berries

Our garden is chaotic in every ways. That's how plants grow naturally in a healthy forest. Believe me, this is not a scary chaos, but a beautiful one.

Enjoy a nice day wherever you are.


Saturday, 21 July 2018

When the garden becomes too dense, It's time to chill out

Dear Family & Friends

Every morning before the sun gets the chance to become too fierce, I go to the garden to gather our food for the day. It's like going to supermarket but without taking your wallet with you because everything is just free to take:) At this moment, I have abundance of vegetables in season to pick: cucumber, courgette, leafy greens, okra and lots of herbs. Our lunch would be so delicious with all these fresh produce:)
my garden is so dense with growth at the moment

Everything is just growing very fast with the summer sunshine. My garden becomes a dense jungle...but I try my best to ignore it, otherwise there's just so much to do. My priority these days are to just keep harvesting what the garden gives us.

the edible globe artichoke buds have now gone into bloom

Sometimes I can't even cope with the harvesting. I have every intention to gather and cook the globe artichoke flower buds, but I missed the time and they all started to bloom into beautiful flowers. I must do my best next year.

we place cardboards around the newly pruned lavender to suppress weeds

Our lavender bushes have all been pruned back after flowering. We laid some cardboards around each bush to help us suppress weeds and grasses from growing around them. Cardboard doesn't look so nice but it does the job.

There's just so much to do in the garden but I never let it bully me. I have to master the art of chilling out too. Hope you are also enjoying your day.


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

My whimsical potted plants

Dear Family & Friends

I normally don't like growing plants in pots, simply because they require more attention - specially watering - as they dries up so quickly. But from time to time, I can't resist playing up with some garden plants, showing off some of my creativity ;P

tied up twigs makes a rustic little pot of soil to grow my succulent

This succulent plant was planted with pieces of sticks which I tied up to hold some soil. Hopefully it will last a long while.

boxwood little plant

I've been wanting to turn this tiny evergreen boxwood I rescued into a topiary...but it's growing too slow for me. Patience is needed but I'm still hopeful I will turn this into a tiny topiary oneday. 

my aloe vera produced a beautiful flower

Last year, I planted aloe vera in a recycled olive tin can - simply because aloe vera will not survive outside in the garden during our winter season, this way it's easier to take them indoors. To my surprise, I discovered that this plant is actually capable of producing such interesting looking flower!

So, I conclude that perhaps potted plants are still worth doing for various reason.

Happy gardening to you.


Thursday, 12 July 2018

sunflower & gooseberries

Dear Family & Friends,

The summer in Bulgaria this year seems to be very different. While the rest of western Europe experiences heat wave, we were having spring cool and wet days! Since I physically can't stand intense heat...I'm just so grateful for this:) Another bonus is that: my usual thirsty garden is given extra drinks too:) Yet, our summer is not over, it's probably just shortened...but we still have several weeks for those extra sunny hot days to shine for our tomatoes and all sun loving plants to enjoy.

gooseberries are in abundance this year

Before the stormy/rainy days poured to the max, we managed to harvest lots of sweet red gooseberries. As I have been propagating them a lot last year, we obviously have more berries to eat this year too:)

a few of my cheerful sunflower

In my anticipation for the summer, I planned and grew more sunflower for extra cheers. Sunflower grows like magic overnight but I always have problems if I sow seeds directly in the ground because slugs and snails just eats them up as soon as they sprout. So, I patiently sow seeds in trays and transplant them in ground when they're bigger- still, over 60% of them gets eaten. Yet, I'm still happy I've got a few growing here and there:)

Add caption

Well, gardening is all about enjoying what comes up - sometimes you gain, sometimes you lose. That makes everything more interesting from year to year.

Enjoy your day.