Thursday, 20 April 2017

Already half way through spring

Dear Family & Friends

One by one our fruit trees displayed their best blooms, and the faithful and hardworking bees pollinates them during their daily visit. There's always a tree full of blossoms in our garden because different fruits displays their blooms on different stages one after another depending on their variety. The last fruit tree in our garden to bloom is the quince tree.

fruit trees blooming one after another

Somewhere under one of those fruit trees, is a pile of chopped and dropped trees branches for composting. Somebody stood and contributed his liquid gold onto the pile of compost to activate it even more, and the unexpected warm shower woke up our tortoise from his 7 months slumber! to the delight of the two girls. ...as they have been wondering where and when he would make his appearance once again. 

Our tortoise finally woke up after 7 months...and very hungry!

The weather is warming a degree higher each week...my seeds are fast germinating in the recycled pots. One by one, I transplant them to their final destination in our vegetable garden where they will continue to grow for our kitchen table.

potted seeds sprouted

Recently I've just gone mad on anchovie little fishes. They cook so fast, rich in calcium and you eat the fish - bones and all! I remember eating them as fritters when I was young...so I went to find this recipe and been making them almost every week!

anchovie fritters


We are half way through our spring season - already! Hope you are all doing well and happy where you are:) Enjoy your day and stay happy - for the best is yet to come:)

Yours

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Come outside - miracles are waiting everywhere

Dear Family & Friends

Spring time always brings out the beauty in the garden... but it is not just confined in one place. We went exploring in our village and we saw a long procession of caterpillar crossing the road.

moth caterpillars crossing the road enmass

It's fascinating to watch them all linked up together as they walk to their destination. These caterpillars will eventually turn into moth but they could be destructive when a very large numbers of them come and feast on pine trees.



tag along caterpillars

All is peaceful and quiet in our little village. From the top of the hill we see fields that are slowly worked on, for this is the time and season for it.

view of our little village from the hillside

 In our weekend trip to the city, spring also makes people come out more in the open from their apartment dwellings. We saw a group of people enjoying a hot air balloon ride on this warmth day.

hot air balloon ride

Well, we also spotted a pink vintage car on the road...I suppose this is in keeping with the spring time mode:)

Old Russian car still good!

Spring brings another new season...we are still keeping check with our goals whatever the season...always very thankful and contented for life is good in Bulgaria. Hope you are keeping the same outlook. Stay happy for there's nothing better than that:)

And, don't forget to come outside everyday because miracles are waiting everywhere:)

Yours

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The up and coming Ikea competitor

Dear Family & Friends

Our two teenagers are very united with our little family... they so appreciate that we bought this little city apartment which is theirs. The great thing is that, they both understand that there's a great deal to work for in life. Every Saturday, we go there for a bit work...and holiday fun in between! It's not completely finished, yet it can be called livable already.

the furniture restorer's workshop

For the meantime, we need to build our kitchen units which has to be personally designed in order to maximize the space area, as no ready made kitchen unit for sale qualify the specification we require.


Another one more to go....

We bought cupboard furniture that fits in size but not the right colour, to convert into our creative kitchen we have in mind. That's when our ingenuity comes to play. We have to refurbish it. Our big girl is so committed with the idea. Everyday, she works on this 6 parts furniture: sanding bit by bit using machine sander and hand-power for the nooks and crannies. It's a lot of work....before we are able to paint it to fit in our design concept.

She's really doing a very good job - so proud of our hard working teenager

The work and responsibilities we present to our teenagers are 'well' taken as opportunity to develop strong characters that is needed these days for a successful life. They still got the responsibility of finishing their educational studies at the same time. With this, they develop a work life balance...able to tackle and arrange their own daily schedule to accomplish their responsibilities.

If only I can send you the fragrance of these flowers...

Everyday I see my big girl juggling school work along with pressuring herself to finish the furniture restoration, as she is so keen to see it installed in the apartment as soon as possible. Her father would always remind her to take the time in order to give the very best of her work as oppose to rushed job performance. Patience is an important virtue too:)

At least part of her time when she works outside, in my front garden, to sand the furniture, she's filled  with the fragrance of my hyacinth blooms...yes, there's no better workplace than this:)

Keep motivated in life, for life is meant for good.. and it is good:) Have a good day!

Yours

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Colour me beautiful

Dear Family & Friends

With the change of weather, we can't help but enjoy it. We have good intentions of visiting our city apartment each Saturday to do some work, but for the past weeks, no much progress or work done because we're just enjoying our time there!! So, this Saturday, our CEO said he is not taking us 3 ladies with him. He is serious in doing some task on his own!!

colour me beautiful!

Aw??!! Yes, we're banned...but life is still good, days are never ending rays of sunshine. I'm sure sooner or later we will say we have enough...but for the moment, we just got to enjoy what is before us:)

Our garden, the place where I get to admire the Great Designer's handiwork:) Awesome!

No need to go too far, just wander into the garden...there's just so many beautiful and inspirational things to see.

white blossom of the plum tree

Most of the fruit trees are in full bloom - putting out flowers even before their leaves. The whole tree just bursting with hundreds and hundreds of little flowers that smells so fragrant! ...and the buzzing of visiting bees are literally too noisy - but it's a nice noise to my ears:)


blue grape hyacinth

On the ground, buried bulbs are back with their spectacular flowers. They come back every year - roughly at the same time and place. Isn't that amazing! A few bee species visit each and everyone of them too:)

new leaves emerging along with the blossoms

On some fruit trees, as the blossoms are aging a bit, new fresh leaves are emerging ...all leaves shiny and clean:)

blazing red orange

Endless sunbeams, plus cool air...we are blessed with a good measure of them...day after day:) If it is possible to post them to you...I certainly would:)


sunset in our village

If a picture paints a thousand words, then I'll surely paint these things that we see surrounding us:) The old folks that remains in our village knows this secret beauty so well.

the left handed artist at work

We are ever so grateful for all these beauty that surround us too. If we have this good, I really wish you have them too!! - even more...if there's such thing:)


we also call this painting job:)

Some of us paints nice picture paintings, but some of us...also do some serious sort of painting too. I'll share with you on that on my next post...because it's also very good:)

Have a good day and keep rejoicing.

Yours

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The gardener and her activities

Dear Family & Friends

I wake up everyday and really believe that I live in the last piece of paradise on earth ;P I just love where we live...more so at this time of the year. It seems perfect: weather wise...and with all the spring blossoms, it's impossible to ignore that we have a Great Designer who created all these:)

Can you see the gardener on her way to work?

Everyday this main gardener is seen walking to and fro in this piece of paradise....for there's just so much sowing, propagation, and planting going on in the garden at the moment. 


pots and trays filled with seeds germination - I'm one very busy gardener LOL

I'm conscious of how my husband works hard to earn money for the family.... and it's just right that I should be wise and thrifty in keeping and maintaining our family garden. It's so easy to get caught spending a lot of money to fill the garden with plants....but that's not really necessary.

another corner where I lined my pots of plant cuttings.

Every year I use our own collected plant seed to replant for the new season. I also do a lot of propagation to multiply more plants to fill the garden without the need to buy some more. Presently, I'm trying my hands on grafting...to have the possibility of multiplying fruit tree varieties too.

our two peach trees are packed with blooms this year...hoping for lots of peaches

With all the successes and failures I go through my garden experiences, slowly our garden is getting established, each year better than the last. In life, I find that we learn faster when we just dive in and do the things we need to do..without worrying how it will fare.

We are all grateful for the work we have and find to do here...it's funny to say that work do bring joy to our lives. Work keeps us going...that goes without saying that we all sleep well too:)

Hope you are all having a great time too!

Yours

Saturday, 1 April 2017

The first beans to sow for this year

Dear Family & Friends

A village grandmother gave me a small bag of fava bean seeds yesterday. I felt like Jack of 'Jack n the beanstalk'...so full of excitement to get some magic beans. I'm not familiar with Fava beans, although I've planted them once before, with little success.

Photo by South GA Seed CO.

This time around, I did a lot of research on this type of beans. I've learned that the whole plant is edible and delicious...from leaves to flower, to the bean pod and bean itself....I'm beginning to look at it in different perspective. I'm more keen to  try on the green shoots:)

One reason why the village grandmother gave this particular bean seeds was because she said it is the earliest beans harvest one could sow in the year. Well, that's definitely another great incentive. Plus of course, any legume plant grown in the garden will increase and fix more nitrogen into our garden soil!

I'm off for another quick gardening fun time. Hope you are having a good day too:)

Yours

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Happy Spring - a new season

Dear Family & Friends

Driving and dentist are not my favorite 'things' in life!! Somehow the new season seemed to help me overcome this:) My family are very impressed...they forgot that I can even drive a car as it's been a long time. Doing so, I have given my two girls great encouragements too! Our CEO himself is busy and well motivated with a lot of things. Our home is one very busy place. Everyone engrossed with projects and plans. 

New season of Spring in our home

We have been having endless clear blue sky as spring time is here. Everything is waking up...a new start, a new beginning and a new season in life. I'm hoping as I'm writing this, that you find yourself encouraged where you are too.

tree blossoms means fruits are on it's way

With my to and fro exciting dentist trips ... and the never ending sowing and propagating gardening season...it's another day of a very simple meal like: rice with egg omelet, the best I could come up with, but everyone is very happy! It must be the benefits of tons of fresh herbs from our garden that I throw in with the omelet. or perhaps the 'serotonin' in the eggs that contributes to people's mood: making them kind and happy. How true?...I don't know! Egg meal certainly make my life's schedule easy to cope on busy days:)

when you see spring flowers you see new hope

All of the fruit trees and shrubs we planted autumn last year have taken on - showing new shoots and greenery:) It's definitely nothing to do with green fingers... sometimes, these are just seasonal things to do. We just do the best we could and know how to, for it's all under God's control.

my garden friends, even better than the frog prince - they're beautiful:)

People are coming out after a season of winter hibernation (talking more about myself)...even the froggies are out and I'm so happy to see them again. I will make a pond for them this year so they can have a happy home with a swimming pool in our garden:)

staying healthy and having free fun at the same time

Unlike the members of my little family here, I don't do as much exercise - fun exercise like cycling! But I promised myself that I would keep up with that too...got to move this old body!!

Well, that's us here...let's all try to stay positive and motivated in whatsoever is good...hope you do the same too...and have a great day!

Yours

Friday, 24 March 2017

Few Steps for a better garden ecology


Dear Family & Friends

Over the last few years, I have become more aware that as I grow older, it's inevitable and a fact of life that one moves on for the next generation. The children will inherit what the prior generation leaves. There's more to think of, than ourselves. What we make of our environment now will be passed on to the next.


autumn was the best time to gather leaves to mulch the entire garden

I definitely can't change the whole world but I could start within my own little piece of world - my home-my garden. My goal is to pay attention to the principles that guides my choice and action for a more sustainable garden for the sake of my children and the next generation.


 we built some trenches as part of our design to help our garden soil retain moisture.

In my piece of garden...
  • There is no digging or plowing, for it merely damages the soil community and structure. Anyway, who needs extra work when it is not necessary?
  • Every roots in the ground will be left there except for the ones that we eat, like carrots, potatoes etc.... As plant activity changes, the composition of soil community will change. The roots will decay in place, decaying is part of a living cycle.It will leave nutrients for other new living roots, and will create a passageway deep into the soil for air and water.
  • Return unused produce (kitchen waste) to the garden...it is very essential to provide food to our garden ecology. When we take, we also must give.
healthy soil community is so important

Just a few simple ways that I want to put into practice for our garden at this time. It's definitely not much to implement but it is enough for now, and I must start!

Spring is here. Have a happy gardening day.

Yours

Monday, 20 March 2017

A Milestone- time to move onto the bathroom

Dear Family & Friends

Whilst Monday to Friday is a very routine day, with each one of us occupied with either working for a living, running a home, or completing our education requirements - all these done from within our home. Comes Saturday, we set out Hi-ho... hi-hoing to our city apartment to carry on  with our family DIY interior decorating project. Thus, on Sundays, we are grateful that our wise God gave us a mandate that we have to have a rest day too:)

lighting shopping day

Being Saturday, my little girl normally have language teaching at home, but since her student got an engagement, it was canceled. So, she and I managed to join in the family project team.

we don't own a palace to accommodate this grand chandelier...

Now that we have already finished the ceiling works, we have to start thinking about the lighting features. Thus, we visited a large lighting retail shop. The choices are many. We have in mind to hang a small chandelier...so we went to look out for a suitable one.

this small chandelier might fit in...

It has to be quite small as our apartment is only tiny, but we want to add some elegance - for interest, to compensate the size. I think an interesting feature will do the job. So far, we have found one lighting that we might go for. The lighting for the hallway, bedroom and bathroom have yet to be consider..sometimes all these decisions to make can be too much for the old brain...but we will get there slowly.

a sample of the floor tile design for the bathroom:)

Next shopping stop was to a bathroom tiles outlet. Again there's so many beautiful choices. Tiles made in Italy are the most expensive choice, those from Spain comes next in ranking. The Turkish tiles are more commonly sold as they are the cheapest in the market. 

Turkey got some very good tile designs in their historic buildings, from historic times, so I thought of looking at their tiles. I was a bit disappointed that the design pattern we wanted came in set of four. Only two of the four were appealing and we are not given the free choice to make:( Just as we were about to leave the shop in despair, we caught another floor tile pattern that really match our idea. I was so happy...even more so, because this one is made in Bulgaria. I would rather patronize a local product. The price was reasonable too....so our shopping day ended with a big dance of joy.

measuring carefully before cutting the floor boards...one at a time


The rest of the day was spent in our apartment and we finally finished all the flooring in the main room, hallway and the bedroom. There were a lot of measuring, matching, cutting and fitting, till evening caught up with us again.


piece by piece, and then it was all done!


We just need to finalize it with a skirting board on the edges. Then it's time to move on to the bathroom works.

we forgot that this was the 'before'  photo some months ago....

We easily forget that some weeks ago, the apartment was not all this homey.. Slowly, it's all coming together:)


the room is basically ready with just the skirting board to put around the edges...

It is a challenge for us because we're mere amateur in this field but we are not afraid to give the best of what we could do. Learning as we go, and if we don't have the knowledge...we go find it.

Onward is the direction...and I hope you have a good week ahead to look forward too:)

Yours

Friday, 17 March 2017

Indoor birthday picnic

Dear Family & Friends

My little girl turned fifteen! I said: 'Let's have party'...and she said: 'Mummy I just want your home cooked spaghetti'. So, on this Saturday, after she finished her weekend morning teaching job, we head off to our little apartment in the city to have a birthday picnic:) The plan was to have fun birthday celebration and a little bit of weekend work in the apartment at the same time.


the teenager with her French language self-study


We are homey bunch and prefers to have fun in our own home where we can take all the time to enjoy ourselves. So, for this little party, it was all made easy. We just bought a bucket of deep fried chicken, bought a selection/assortment of mediterrenean salad...and made some local yogurt drink:) plus my home cooked spaghetti which we packed with us. I tell you it was the best party ever! We were all filled with contentment:) There's nothing better than a family who finds joy in the simple things of life!!


deep fried chicken, assortment of anti-pasti salad, a quinao salad, homecooked spaghetti in tomato sauce, yogurt drink


We ate till we couldn't move....that our usual Saturday decorating work was put to the side for that day. Instead, we made further work plans for the following week. As for the preparation, we also managed to go shopping for the next job's materials that we would be needing. It's really a great blessings to have flexible family that are united and in agreement:)

tiramisu as the  birthday cake:)

By the end of that day, we head back home to our quiet village after a hectic running around the city....and had a tiramisu birthday cake as the finale of the day.

That was how we celebrated a teenage girl's 15th birthday:) All fun!

Life is good and I also hope you have a good day today:)

Yours

Monday, 13 March 2017

This working hand

Dear Family & Friends

This girl is not into nail painting or is a fan of a beauty saloon.... but since we were at the mall meet up place early, she popped into a nail varnish shop who's encouraging customers to try on their product..so she decided to paint her nail for free to fill the time.

the manicured hands

This is a hard working hands...a hand that loves painting, yes that includes DIY wall painting, furniture painting and water colour paintings! But today she got the sense of humour of showing her painted nails to the chickens in our garden!!..perhaps to cheer up a dull and cold winter's day.

let's see what the chickens got to say about this hand...


'Come on chickens...have a look and let me know what you think about my painted nails.' ...the chooks are curious creatures...at least three of them came forth in response.

They were willing to engage in a conversation with the girl...it's all girlie talk.

I think they were impressed by it all

Judging by the look of this candid photo, I think they were fascinated with what humans can come up with....which they call: manicure:)

It's true there's nothing much going on in our garden at this time of the year...but having chickens in our garden keeps us entertained all year. Well, just some small talks to include in my journal. I'm afraid nothing's so exciting going on for the moment. Hope you have more excitement where you are and do keep happy:)

Yours

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Free Extras for the Apartment

Dear Family & Friends

When you buy a new built apartment in Bulgaria, it's common that you pay the price for the size by square meter which includes the outside balcony. Basically you get the very basic structure of rooms with walls and concrete flooring. All other detail like wall finish, kind of floorings, electrical fittings, bathroom fittings, windows and doors are buyer's extra expenses and preferences.


free internal doors were installed in our apartment 

It's our first time to purchase a new built apartment in it's bare skeleton structure. Perhaps it's guts, or perhaps it's mix naiveness. Fortunate for us, we chanced a developer/constructor who offered good standard workmanship. Many gives shabby work for more profit...

Surprisingly, a double glazed windows and balcony doors were included and installed for us. Then later on, they also included internal doors, security door phones, doorbells, plus all electrically wirings and switches/sockets too. All these extras were for free. A bonus for us:)

a nice extra little touch - no. 3 on our main door

Today when we visited the apartment to do some weekend work, we found out that not only they came in to fit in two internal doors of our color choice...they also placed a little touch of brass number '3' on our outside main entrance door. It placed a smile on our face.

a black bird in our snow covered garden...it was hard to photograph him...he is so movable!

Little surprises do bring smiles to our faces. I hope you have many such smiles too along your way this week:)

Yours