Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Preparing For Summer

Here Comes The Summer
I don't want to get people too excited unnecessarily, but in the words of Feargal Sharkey and The Undertones, "Here Comes The Summer". The temperatures have been slowly creeping up, even now at 5.30pm we are 22C. The ground is warming up, and everything seems to have burst into life with a vengeance. I have lost count of how many times I have already cut the grass this year, but as soon as you have turned your back to put the lawn mower away the grass is already six inches high again. Unfortunately cutting the grass is just one of my tasks at this time of year, later when it is all brown and crispy it isn't too bad. The good news is that we don't intend playing croquet so the grass doesn't have to be to any other standard than short. Like many others find, it is OK if you don't look at it too closely, from a distance it looks green so therefore it has to be grass.

Fruit Trees and Raspberry Canes
I can remember back in the UK and the lawn being full of daisies, and no-one ever planted any. Well over here it seems to be a similar story with Dandelions, stones and sticks. The dandelions aren't too bad, and the lawn mower will soon make short work of them. Most of the sticks and twigs just get crunched up and turned into splinters. All too often with the stones I have had them ricocheting round my ankles. The stones don't do the mower blade a lot of good either. I have possibly run over so many stones that the mower now seems to chew the grass rather than cut it. So being part of the way through the job I thought that I would finish it off with the strimmer.

The Garden Prep Underway
Now Mr Flymo in his wisdom has decided to make his strimmer out of a lot of plastic parts, and over time the extremes of temperatures take their toll. All was going well until the spool cover decided to break, which meant I ended up with strimmer line tangled up into something that a Psychotic sparrow would be quite happy to call home. Mr Flymo must have thought that this could be a potential problem as he made this cover orange. So once I had found all of the bits, it was a matter of treating it like an Airfix kit. Also using the traditional serviceman's logic, I decided to beef it up a bit to prevent it happening again.So now I am ending up with a strimmer that looks like It had come out of Dr Frankenstein's garden shed. The only snag being that I had done such a good job that the other side disintegrated, Net then had the brilliant idea of seeing if the spares can be sent out here. Well it has to be better than Dr Frankenmo's strimmer, and probably pounds lighter too. To finish off the grass I got my angle grinder out, and dressed out a lot of the damage on the mower blade, and also sharpened it a bit.

The Vegetable Patch
The veg plot has been sorted out and things have been planted in their trenches. That was something I never even thought of in the UK, if you plant in a trench, that is the only area that you need to water. The only things that we tend not to do that with are the tomatoes as they can end up with too much water which can also cause problems. The strawberry patch has already resulted in me being able to eat a couple of bowls full. The raspberry canes have all been staked and wired, so I am hoping for a good crop of them this year. Most of our fruit trees are showing signs that they will produce well this year. Sadly nothing to report on the Sweet Chestnut or Almond, but they are only a couple of years old.

Under The Barn
Those who live here, or who have read this blog previously, will be aware that it does get rather warm in the summer months. You could even say that it gets hot, so when that happens we just retreat up under the barn where it is nicely shaded. We have tables and chairs up there, as well as on the patio near the house. I have even sorted out a radio for up there as well as a kettle, and a beer fridge. We even have lights up there. One thing that I have learnt since living here, is that in the village there is very little light pollution, so of a summer's evening there's nothing better than doing a bit of star gazing from a sun lounger.

Filling The Pool
Getting There
The pool is up and slowly filling. We originally tried one of the pools with an air filled doughnut round the top, which was great to rest the back of your head on. I did that once when it wasn't fully inflated and the water just cascaded out. There was nothing to grab hold of to prevent it either, until it had got to a lower level. So we have one of these rigid frame efforts, and after four summers it is still doing the job. As we don't have a well we have to use mains water, so we don't fill it up all in one go, as that might cause problems with the village's water supply. At the moment the water is crystal clear, but cold. It must look inviting though as I have already had to fish out countless wasps, bees, beetles, butterflies and moths. I am looking forward to the return of the Fireflies, which should be anytime soon. I have heard that some people have already seen the odd one or two, but the night time temperatures up here on the hill are still a little on the cool side, so I normally expect them towards the end of the month.

Crane Fly
One thing that I have noticed an abundance of are the Crane Flies. I am still trying to work out their actual purpose as they never seem to really do anything. That is apart from saying "Oh look he's reading a book near that light. Let's go and annoy him". Hopefully the birds will eat their fill of the useless things. Even the cats have got bored with chasing them now, although perhaps they are saving their energy for the big moths which are about in the summer. The frogs are still about and making a racket in the evenings, lizards can be seen scurrying across the road. I have even seen a couple of snakes which had failed in their attempts to emulate the lizards. Fingers crossed that we don't end up with any snakes visiting us this year. It is bad enough finding them in the garden but we could do without them coming indoors to watch a bit of TV.

Prize Winning Knees
So that is part of our preparation work ready for the summer. The heavier winter clothes have mainly been packed away, and the lighter ones sorted out. It will soon be shorts and tee shirt weather again, which we all look forward too. The good thing with the summer here is that if you fancy having a barbecue next week the chances are that the weather will be sunny for you. Unlike the UK where you are constantly monitoring the weather forecast. So the knees will once again be getting exposed to the sunshine, and the feet will end up with either a white flip flop pattern or a crock pattern.


  1. Great summer atmosphere
    It's really nice and authentic

  2. Nice one, and you managed to get a link to The Tones in there as well. Top man

  3. Great stuff CB we got a pool house this year with solar heating that I ( yes me) made after seeing it on you tube...and it works.....lovely blog, save me some strawberries
    love from patrecia in sushitsa

  4. There is a new follower to the blog, so I would like to take the chance of welcoming Boyana. Please feel free to share the blog with family and friends :o)

  5. Good stuff! I can imagine me in our garden when we move over, casually tending the plants, to suddenly flailing and windmilling around when a strange bug lands on my arm.

    1. There are plenty of strange bugs over here Tom. When we first arrived we were told that most insects will try to eat your plants, those that don't will try to eat you. :o)

  6. Time to welcome another follower to the blog, so a very warm welcome to you Gaz, and please share the blog with family and friends :o)

  7. It seems that we have a new Bulgarian follower to the blog, so a very warm welcome to Mr Malinov and thank you