2013 year roundup

We’re well into our 3rd year living full time, high the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria and still loving it! Our dog Jakal, has been deemed very likeable by all our visitors. He accompanies everyone on their walks and is no bother, disappearing up steep slopes, gone for ages following boar and deer scents, then reappearing to scout…

Banitsa

Having lived in Bulgaria full time for 2 years now, I have learned lots of new recipes and wanted to share this one. Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian dish made with filo pastry, feta cheese and seasonal organic vegetables. It’s usually served as breakfast but we like it with salad on warm evenings or home…

Animal Instincts

On the road to self-sufficiency we have acquired a few animals, each species being entertaining in different ways and each bringing a different dimension to our life in a rural mountain retreat. I’ve learned so much this year, starting with my bee colony which, though not seeming interactive at first, play their part in pollinating…

Mountain Rescue

One day I was out walking with Jakal, our guardian dog, clearing one of the many walk routes around Melanya from fallen trees and overgrowth and also marking the way as there are many tracks that cross the path. I’d heard a storm approaching but thought I had time so carried on but the rain began….

You can teach an old dog new tricks

Spring has finally started in the mountains and as well the usual signs of new life, like the bluebells, daffodils and crocus’ emerging, trees budding, butterflies and bees getting active and birds calling for mates, our dog, Jakal disappeared for 2 days. We could hear him barking higher up in the village and we called…

Mountain Life – More than just a Holiday… It’s Goodbye Britain

It’s been seven months since we packed up the Land Rover and left the UK for the mountains for the very last time. Not simply an adventurous vacation, this European road trip was goodbye England and hello Bulgaria for the foreseeable future. Instead of the usual rush to get to our retreat, we spent time…

Interesting Wildlife at Melanya Mountain Retreat

Our relatively short time in the Rhodope Mountains has been wonderful, discovering nature that is different to our experiences in England yet very familiar. The countryside is very similar to the UK with the four distinct seasons and the same species of trees including Oak, Walnut and Silver Birch. From our very first visit 6…

Wild Mushrooms

This year has been very dry with no rainfall for 3 months, a very hot summer and only 2 days rain since October. Winter came early and we had 2 days of snow in mid-October but they were just brief and it warmed up again but it still hasn’t rained. Luckily the morning dew has…

Sweet Bulgarian Baklava 2

It’s Kurban Byram today so I made baklava last night – 1st time without any help and it took ages rolling out 20 sheets of filo pastry, crushing walnuts, cooking and pouring sugar syrup over. Well worth it though as delicious – so much so my parter ate 1/4 but I managed to save enough…

Mother Nature’s Gifts

I’m extremely lucky to have an organic garden that is brimming with produce that costs a lot to buy from shops. Fruit trees are all around me and I’ve never seen so many different kinds of plum, from small and round to large and oval, and all one colour per tree, either yellow, orange, red,…

Sweet Bulgarian Baklava

Every year, at the end of Muslim Ramadan, our villagers’ families visit to feast and overindulge in sweets. One delicacy is baklava, a sweet made from layers of filo pastry with walnuts and organic honey. Divine! Luckily for me, this year one neighbour was visitor free so offered to show me how to make it….