In Bulgaria, the 21st of March is recognised as the first day of spring and all the Martinitsa bracelets exchanged on 1st March, are taken off and tied to the tree you want to bear lots of fruit. I’ve fixed mine to plum trees because it was a poor harvest last year. Though it probably will be good for them anyway, as fruit trees often take a year off to recharge their batteries and then have a delicious abundance. The weather will also have a great effect on yield, too much rain or plenty of sun, but I still follow local tradition and offer my wishes to mother nature.
Spring has already got off to a great start, with Baba Marta being kind and not dumping a late snowfall on us. Daffodils and bluebells are brightening up the garden, trees starting to bud with new growth and dotted all around the mountain slopes is beautiful white blossom. Migrant black storks have arrived and are nesting at the base of our mountain next to the River Arda but often soar on high over the house. Bees have got busy with the arrival of nectar to restock their hives and the first asparagus spears have poked through in my organic greenhouse.
I love this time of year. Everything is coming back to life and this morning I saw a Hoopoe in front of my chicken run. Another migrant bird but very shy, it keeps its distance from humans and flies off instantly. Which is such a shame as the bird has amazing plumage of a spotted crest that raises into a mohican. The best way I’ve found to photograph them is from inside the house, catching them unawares!
The clean air in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains smells so wonderful and the warm sunny weather signals its time to transplant seedlings into their garden plots. Which means digging out the weeds that have taken hold over winter to allow growing space. I find this very therapeutic and hard physical work makes me feel alive, shaking off hibernation and waking myself up, mirroring nature and embracing life again. Out with the old and in with the new 🙂