Gluten-free doesn’t mean missing out

A popular diet in healthy living is gluten free. It is becoming widely known that our bodies find it hard to process certain foods and the glue that holds them together is often the culprit. Gluten is a protein that helps our favourite breads and pastries stay in their risen state when baked, but it is…

2017 yearly roundup

A dramatic 2017 was the year of a very long hot summer after a dry winter, with very little rain for over 4 months and I was very aware of the forest fires that raged in Portugal and caused a lot of suffering. So when our mayor phoned me to tell me there was a…

Variety is the Spice of Life

In Bulgaria the four seasons are very different.  There is a vast difference between the hot and dry Mediterranean summers and the snow covered -20°C winters. Whilst we relished the chance to experience ‘proper’ seasons in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, we had become used to the all-year-round availability of fruit and vegetables in UK supermarkets. Large…

2016 yearly roundup

After an easy winter and a dry start to 2016, the weather turned wet, with a rain shower almost every day until mid June. What followed though was the driest summer we’ve seen and our 13,000 litres of backup water storage wasn’t enough to keep us and our house low maintenance! Even now at the end…

Marrying the Old with the New

We feel incredibly lucky to have found our little piece of heaven in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, a small but strong community village, frozen in a bygone era, and have embraced the old ways of living for health and happiness. Living a more rural way of life has many benefits but we’re glad we could bring…

Breeding like rabbits

It was after reading John Seymour’s, ‘The new complete book of Self Sufficiency’, that the idea of farming rabbits was born. I had enjoyed the taste of wild rabbit meat and disagreed with the way shop bought rabbits live in the same, or worse, conditions as battery hens. With a large garden full of organic…

2015 yearly roundup

Another year has passed in the mountains and I’m pleased to report that after the wetter 2014, this summer was the expected ‘hot’ mediterranean heat that lasted for 3 months. Blue skies, bright sun and 38°C everyday. Lovely 🙂 Yes it was dry and a few times our mountain spring did not cope with the…

2014 yearly roundup

Another year on in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria, and I’m still learning something new everyday, becoming more and more adaptable and expanding my DIY skills. Here’s a roundup of a few of the things that have occurred this year… 2014 has been another year where water has been a huge issue but this time…

Curly Kale

I’m learning new things everyday living here in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains and one thing I feel I have to share with everyone is a new vegetable I’ve been eating, though it’s not Bulgarian! When I began keeping chickens. My Dad was very insistent I grow Kale to feed them. He grew up in East…

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…

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…