Monday, 2 December 2013

What A Difference A Week Makes

As the title at the top of the blog says what a difference a week makes. The first snows of the winter have arrived. Initially it was just a bit of a dusting, and made everything look clean and white. Everyone was wishing each other "Честит първи сняг" or Happy First Snow. Everything was all quite nice, and the snow was quite light and powdery. I should have realised that something was up when the tractors hadn't been out and about ploughing the village roads.

The morning after the first snow my trusty snow shovel and I were out digging trenches in the garden. The cats and dogs, apart from Sirrius, would much rather follow these pathways than try wading through the snow. Sirrius is like a four legged snow plough, and will often end up with a mound of snow balanced on the end of his nose. I was glad that I had remembered to place the snow shovel under the porch, rather than having left it under the barn. So I had to dig a trench from the back door to the studio, one from the back door to the barn and another from the backdoor to the shed. This meant the animals and I could sort out their breakfast, get wood from the main logpile and get to the big freezer if required. Then it was clear the path down to the gate and down to the cellar. Over the years I have got it down to a fine art.

With enough paths and trenches done inside, it was time to tackle outside. First it was the steps down to the lane. These steps never really get much sun on them at this time of year so I sprinkle them with ash from the petchkas to provide additional grip. The only downside with that is that you do often end up leaving a trail of footprints, or pawprints, indoors. I was in fine company as Nikolai the water man was clearing snow from the front of his, and Saeed was also clearing snow from his house too. As our driveway slopes down to the lane, clearing there before the lane gets ploughed is always a good idea. Otherwise instead of a level amount of snow I am confronted by a snow wall which I would have to deal with first. Once the front had been cleared that only left the driveway round the back of the house to do. So to my mind it seemed an ideal time to go indoors for a warm up, a coffee and some toast. It was round about that time that the first of the big fat snowflakes started falling.

The cats had decided that unless food was involved their place was in front of the fire. Looking at the photo Mr Cat is missing so he had probably positioned himself halfway up the stairs, right where it would cause most inconvenience. I know that the old saying is about it being a dog's life, but the cats don't seem to do too badly out of things. The dogs would have been guarding other rugs. At times we have had cats and dogs sharing the sheepskin rug in front of the fire. One coffee led to another and still the snow came down. Over the course of the day I redug the trenches three times, it was still coming down when we went to bed. By that time we had had about 10 inches of snow which had fallen that afternoon and evening.

The following morning we woke up to nearly a foot and a half of snow. Those big fat flakes were not the dry powdery stuff, these were the wet heavy ones. In one way it is easier to shovel as the snow sticks together, but it is harder going on the old back. Our big peach tree has suffered a broken branch due to this snow, also at least one of our fruit tree saplings has not fared well. This soggy snow has also damaged trees elsewhere round the village, but at the moment there isn't a lot that anyone can do about it. Since the snow stopped falling in such vast quantities the roads have been ploughed, and I did end up with a 3 foot snow bank at the bottom of the drive. So once again it was a day spent snow clearing. After previous years I have learnt to carefully clear round the gates, and then open them to ensure that there will be no ice to get in the way should you need to get out in an emergency.

After a couple of days without snow things soon start returning to normal, and the novelty has worn off. If we get blue sky days throughout the winter then things will not be too bad. Unlike today where we have leaden grey skies and a persistant drizzle and rain in the air. I don't mind the cold but I can definitely do without the dampness. OK -20C sounds cold, but here it is normally a dry cold and not that awful damp bone numbing cold which is the norm for the UK. Given the choice of the two locations I do know which one I would choose. Mind you even the night time temperatures haven't got much lower than -8C so far. Although I do have to point out that this isn't the winter proper yet. We have even managed to get out into Gorna and continue with our winter siege shopping. The good news is that we are 98% ready now, Sod's Law dictates that there will always be something that we forget, but hopefully it will be small enough that I can get it home on the bus.

I don't know what is happening but the roads are a lot clearer this year. There is not the traditional layer of ice That we normally find ourselves confronted with. As I have said previously this will be our sixth winter here, and so far none of them have been the same. It certainly keeps you on your toes, and who knows what the rest of the winter might throw at us. We have already had a couple of days worth of the power going off at the most inopportune moments. We have definitely learnt this lesson as there are torches and candles dotted round the house, and we both have head torches normally within arm's reach. One thing that we have started doing is, we now fill a couple of thermos jugs full of hot water. Even when you come in from outside, or shopping, you can get a hot drink straight away. It might be a simple thing but it all helps.

It looks like the 27000 mark is within touching distance, so now I am wondering how close to 28000 we can get to by the end of the year. So a very large thank you to all of you who take the time to read these blogs, to those who forward them on to family and friends and to those who actively follow these blogs. I am amazed by how many countries this blog has made it to, the latest one being El Salvador. It is all because of you, so once again a very big thank you to you all, and there is plenty of room if anyone decides they would like to follow the blog. :o)


  1. Now being read in Japan - 2 Sheds.

    1. I am guessing that that is you fingers :)

  2. And that's the 27000 mark passed. Thank you everyone :)