Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

but it’s not the end of the world ( she said hopefully)

After a week of being snowed in, Marie and I managed to get into Yambol on Tuesday so I could have my long overdue blood test. The results this time were mixed.  My red cells, hemoglobin and platelets have all shown some improvement, but the white soldiers have let me down again with a drop from 1000 back to 700.  I keep getting silly little infections because my immunity is all but non existent…these are things like urinary tract infections and thrush, things I haven’t had for 20 years or more…and strange things growing in my nose…and at the moment, I have a mouth full of ulcers and I just think that the few white cells I have are spending their time fighting these bloody infections and not getting a chance to improve.  When I turned in the good results a few weeks back, that was the first time for ages that I was completely infection free…so the war goes on.

Yesterday Marie made her departure back to Australia and I have some very sad animals around the place…Goosey didn’t disappoint and followed her right to the front gate honking his farewells to her.  If anyone knew something was up, it was him.  If the gate had been open, I have no doubt he would have tried to follow her into the taxi. And Gina, who didn’t show much at all when Marie was leaving, came into my room later that day and was very sad indeed. She sat with her head on my bed, not something Gina does, and just looked plain miserable.  Dinner time cheered her a little, but she’s not that happy this morning and clearly looking for that ‘other’ person.

And as when Jillian left before her, I felt very sad to see Marie go, but she needs to get back to her family and I need to continue to rebuild myself so that hopefully, by the time the weather is warmer, I’ll be doing some work.  It’s a very quiet house this morning.

The weather has warmed considerably so if I can muster the energy, I might try and take Gina for a bit of a shuffle around the village today.  I may not be able to move very quickly now, but I just let her free and she can run crazy…and she does.

Now I wait to hear back from Dr Amine…

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and so poor old Goosey continued to pine for his Lucy and every day he’s sat out the back calling, calling, calling for her.

Marie has been feeding him and watering him and slowly but surely you could see him starting to bond with her.  He got very excited when she appeared in the backyard and started following her very closely when she was there.  Even when I ventured into the backyard, he was almost affectionate and clearly just wanted some company, coming and sitting very close to me and even allowing me to touch him…but Marie was definitely the favourite.

He even figured out which room she was sleeping in and whenever she moved about her room or coughed or made any noise, he started calling her…I had to give her ear plugs for the night because she’s had a cough that sometimes wakes her at night and yes, every cough bought a chorus of Goosey calls for her.

Last Friday we went to Yambol so Nana ( that’s me) could have a bit of a day out and a bit of an airing. Hey, spending most of your life in bed is very boring and really starts to get you down after a while.  Anyway, I was in the bathroom drawing on a face when from down below, at the front of the house, I heard the funny little ‘putt putt’ noise that geese make.  I thought to myself that he must be out the front of the house…next thing I heard Marie’s voice asking ‘and what are you doing around here ?’  Well, clearly, looking for her !!

And the other day she decided to clear the snow from the front of the house and guess who discovered her there and spent the rest of the time keeping her company….it’s really sweet.

and people ask me why I don’t eat my geese !!  How could you eat something that forms bonds with  not only it’s own species, but with humans as well.  This has been fantastic to watch, Marie and her new bestie wandering around the yard.  He just loves her.

A friend made the comment that Marie may look out the window of the plane when she’s returning to Australia and see Goosey flying along next to her shouting ” Oi, where do you think you’re going…what about me ”

But don’t think I’ve forgotten his goosey needs.  A friend found me another goose and she’s beautiful

White, like her predecessor, but she has curly wings, which is lovely.  After Goosey’s initial excitement at meeting her, there’s been a bit of a cooling off and now she and Goosey and kinda skirting around each other a little, doing a lot of checking out of each other.  I’m hoping they do bond and in fact, Marie and I are sure they will once he forgets Marie  🙂

TooLucy, for that is her name, is a bit of a harpy and she nags him a bit.  When she does this, he promptly seeks out Marie.  She’s much quieter and doesn’t nag. I have no doubt that they will settle into each other and it will be nice to see Goosey with company again…he really has been so lonely and it’s been quite sad to watch.

Mind you, the ever practical Hristina on finding out that Lucy had been killed suggested that I knock his head off and eat him !!!

And me ??  I just continue to improve in my general health stakes.  Every day sees me in less pain and less difficulty and able to do more and more.  I have another blood test later this week and I’ve got everything crossed that the results are even better than the last lot.  I feel so much better and figure that must be a good sign.  Wish me luck.

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but no bad news….which is nice.

First the glad. My latest round of blood tests have shown some improvement. !!!  I’m doing my best not to get too excited because I’ve had improvement before and then those hopes have been dashed.  But though I’ve had improvements before, they’ve never been this good.

Just to help you understand what’s happening to me:

The areas that my blood is failing are white cells, red cells, haemoglobin and platelets…most things really….  🙂

My white count should be between 4,000 – 11,000. When I was tested on Jan12th it had fallen to it’s all time lowest, 600.  Latest result, I have 1,000 white soldiers helping to keep me alive.  It’s still a long way short of ‘really good’ but there’s a part of me now that thinks if I do catch a cold, I might not die.

My red count should be between 4.20 – 5.40. Last test, 2.88 –  Most recent test 3.84

Hemoglobin should be between 120 -160…last test 71, this time 91

and my platelets should be 140 – 440…last test, 165 and this time 194

The psychological effect it had on me was worth a million bucks of great medical treatment and I think the effect is still happening.  I just feel so much better in every way.  Still frail, still fragile and my weight has dropped even further to 63 kilos – my new look will be ‘Famine Chic’, but I can always build up again later. But generally, I just feel a lifting of spirits…let’s hope I don’t get crushed again.

To the sad news.  Unfortunately, because I am out of action, I’ve let a few things slide, one being the locking up of the geese every night. On Wednesday night my poor lovely Lucy paid the ultimate price for my laxness when, what I can only assume were dogs, got into the yard and literally tore the poor wee thing apart.  I awoke yesterday and could hear Goosey making a rather strange cry…over and over and over and over.  Now this is a goose who loves a good trumpeting and a damned good honking, but this was different.  I threw on some clothes and headed outside, only to find the remains of Lucy and her poor old partner just sitting there calling for her.  And he’s still calling for her…it’s really sad.

I went down this morning and the f**kers had obviously come back last night to get him.  Fortunately I had asked Marie to ensure he was locked in safely and so he was OK, but they had been right around the enclosure, obviously looking for a way in.

I opened the gate to let him out and he just came and sat next to me.  Geese partner for life and I think he’s very lonely.  As soon as I’m fit enough, I’m going to ask around the village for a new girlie for him… he deserves it. Whatever took Lucy apart did it in front of him, so he must be feeling pretty shit right now.

Other than that, life (if I can call it that) goes on.  Gina is as happy as a pig in poo because Marie is cooking her deluxe food, far more deluxe than she gets from me.  I warned her she’d be making a rod for her own back, but of course, it’ll be a rod for my back after Marie has gone…a bit like Jillian and her two walks a day for Madam the Queen….boy, is Gina loving this.

Time for me to sleep away another 3 or 4 hours…

ciao for now

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Cheeky Sod !!

Last Sunday night  Storky was running around in the big garden flexing his rather large wings.  I had guests here and could only keep half an eye on his antics.  Sometime later I wandered down the back yard and was somewhat saddened to find him gone.  I knew this was a good thing, because he must move on, but I was slightly stunned at the suddenness of his departure.

Next day I was out on the front balcony hanging my washing out when the gang of turkeys down below me in the street suddenly took flight and in a state of great agitation fled back to their home on the other side of the road.

I looked out to see what had spooked them and flying down the road in a most stylish manner and yet completely without gracefulness was one stork. Altitude, very low…flying style, just hilarious.  I waited for the crash landing on the road but he made it over my fence and when I went downstairs to the front door, guess who was there waiting in the garden for breakfast. ?  Yep, Storky. I could see the expectation in his bright eyes and sure enough, when I appeared with the food dish, he got very excited.

He had a very big feed and a very big drink

and then settled back in for a peaceful, safe a day in the garden

Where did he spend the previous night ?  no idea, but the next day at approximately the same time he started the flying antics in the garden again and once again, he vanished but this time the neighbours saw him go and told me very excitedly, that he had settled in the nest up the road from me.  Now, the fact that he could fly up to a nest was great news, but he had the wrong nest…his home was over the other side of town.  Sure enough, about half an hour later I saw him fly over again…slightly less clumsily this time and a little time later Colin came to tell me he was back in the right nest, which is down near his place.

And the next morning ?  I opened the front door and this time he was actually standing right on the step with his best ‘where’s my breakfast’ face…

I’ve become the restaurant and day care centre for this delightful creature. I’m very happy that he’s returning to the nest every night, but suspect that his mother isn’t feeding him anymore. I really don’t know, I know so little about them, but he’s going home and night and spending his days with me.

He is however, spending a lot of time searching for food in the garden and standing on the highest point he can find in the garden and doing a lot of wing flexing, so I reckon I won’t have him here much longer.

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So very, very close…

I think its probably fairly common knowledge that since coming to Bulgaria I have developed a real love of storks.   They’re huge, they’re beautiful and I never tire of watching them.  I was very excited when I returned here last year with a decent camera because I knew that, at last, I could get a little closer to them, albeit through the camera lens.

Did I ever think I would get this close to any of them ?

Absolutely not !! And yes, that’s my garden you can see behind my latest visitor.

This is a chick that was bought to me this morning by Illiecho, a man in the village. It’s probably flown out of the very high nest that it was born in and doesn’t have the flying strength or ability to get back up there.  I actually saw it on the ground when I was walking Gina yesterday and did feel some concern about whether it could  survive an attack by dogs or large predators.  Illiecho saw it still there this morning and, for whatever reason, thought I could sort out the problem.

I was slightly flummoxed and the baby stork didn’t look too good and I’m thinking ‘I don’t want this responsibility’.  What if it dies ??

Anyway, I rang Yanko, my vet and he contacted a bird refuge centre in Stara Zagora.  This was sounding good to me because I figured I’d be running the bird through to the refuge late today…er, no.  I called him back to find out where I should take my newest new friend and he gave me the number for a  Dr Hristova at the centre,  who I was to call.

I did and she told me that unless the bird was injured she could see no reason why I couldn’t raise it  !!!  What !!!  I told her I knew nothing about storks, but she assured me that I would be fine.  She told me what to feed the bird and to call back if I had any worries.

Colin popped in and asked me who was going to teach the baby to fly…  I responded that clearly it wasn’t going to be me…I can’t fly  🙂

Anyway, I spent the morning chopping up liver and fish and thankfully, my new baby seems to like what I’m offering.

He/ she is  beautiful thing and I can’t help but go out every so often, just to look at it.  I’m not getting too close because it is a wild bird and needs to prepare to head South once the weather gets cold…that’s working on the premise that the bird survives.

It’s night time now and this lovely creature is settled in my garden… I hope it’s still there in the morning

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I’ve got a lot going on just now but am still managing to take a few moments to enjoy what’s happening around me, like the wonders of the storks. I have my favourite just up the road and whenever I gaze towards the West, there she is, day

and night

Busying herself with the constant maintenance of the nest and taking care of her new babies.  Yes indeed, the babies are appearing everywhere and seeing their little heads poking up over the edge of the nest is delightful.

I also have countless swallows nesting around the house. When they first started building their nests I thought I might try and stop them this year, but as time went on I realised that they don’t do any damage and having them bustling around the place is terrific. And when I step out onto the balconies where they have built nests, I see their rather cute little heads poking out of the mud nests and they are just lovely as well.

This little bloke was just sitting on the wire outside my lounge-room the other night when I was photographing the stork

Not the slightest bit afraid of me, just happy to sit there and have a bit of a look around and check me out.

And of course, the gods rarely let me down and the stunning evening skies continue

The gardening also continues, though I do confess to getting a little help yesterday.  The growth is just remarkable and I found myself falling further and further behind.  If I was just maintaining the damned thing, I think it would be easier, but I’m still trying to knock the great backyard mess into shape and I suddenly became aware that I was starting to run around with my head up my backside and the garden was winning.  I enlisted the help of three local girls and today I sit here feeling ever so slightly less pressured…mind you, the beetroots are coming online and I bottled my first this morning, and the peas are ready for their first harvest, so there’s still plenty for me to do.

I’ve got an English guy from here who’s doing some work for me as well. He’s done the repainting downstairs that needed doing before my guests arrive at the end of this month and he’s also finished off the architraves around the doors and windows, a job Ivan never finished, and it’s looking really good. He’s a terrific fella and you have no idea how good it is to see these jobs done and know that I don’t have to worry about trying to find the time to do them myself.  And never underestimate the simple pleasure of a little English conversation.

Though, speaking of English people…I had a very strange thing happen the other night.  I was in the bar having a wee beer on a warm night when a certain very unpleasant person who made my life hell here before and ruined my business and my Bulgarian experience with his toxic tongue, had the audacity to come to my table and try to talk to me.  Apparently he wants to ‘ put everything behind us and build some bridges towards friendship’.  I tried not to laugh. I got up from the table and calmly informed him that ‘I was particularly choosey about the people I spent time with’ and walked away .  Clearly, he’s confusing me with someone who forgives and forgets !!  Not a chance. !!

And he’s not the first…I’m astounded that people who thought it appropriate to tear me apart a few years ago now think we should all kiss and make up.  I’ve  had emails, personal approaches and messages through third parties asking me if we can get together and be friends.  Some have received carefully chosen responses, some I’ve just ignored, for that is all they deserve, none are welcome back in my precious life.

Anyway, to much more pleasant things…Lucy continues to sit and Goosey continues being the big butch bodyguard.  He’s stopped being so aggressive towards me but I still get a little hiss if I get too close and when I sneak in for a look at Lucy, he gets very agitated.  When she comes out for a quick bath, he waddles up to the pen and escorts her out into the yard.  He watches her while she bathes and then escorts her back to the eggs…it’s very sweet and lovely to watch.

And to things social…I had a great day out last week and as soon as I find time to upload the pictures I’ll get a little something up here…

Right now, I hear the peas calling me to harvest and another few kilogrammes of stones begging to be raked up and added to the enormous pile in the backyard. And that will be my next challenge, how to get rid of that bloody huge pile of  bloody stones !!

for now


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the love of water

Geese are great lovers of water and after all these months of having Goosey and Lucy and only being able to offer them small tubs of water to play in, I enlisted the help of Ivan and Slavi, the guys that chopped my wood for me, to dig me a large hole in the backyard to sink my old bath into.

The Geese actually stood around watching them while they where working without so much as a single hiss, so perhaps they knew what was coming and it made them happy.

When the guys finished, I dropped the hose into the bath and G&L stood at the side watching as the water level got higher and higher.

As soon as it was clearly what they considered high enough, in they went and it was  a sight to behold…you can’t imagine the joy it obviously bought them to be able to immerse their bodies completely in water

Goosey in particular put on a terrific display

I think some of his display may have been for the benefit of Lucy but as you can see, she’s more interested in other things.  She’s very pretty but she’s not very bright..he is certainly the brains in the family.

When Ivan and Slavi were here digging they asked whether the geese had any eggs.  I replied that they did but I had no idea if any of them were ‘good’…she has been laying for weeks now with no sign of actually sitting on them properly.  She’s been having some time on the eggs but most time wandering around with her blokey eating and looking pretty…

Ivan headed into the goose house and picked up every egg and shook it next to his ear. I’m watching this with great interest.  He removed four eggs from the nest telling me they were no good but the rest were fine and I should expect babies.  HUH???   how did he know ?  Well, apparently, if the eggs are bad they ‘slosh’ when you shake them.  If there are potential babies in there, they don’t make any noise at all.

So, I’ve given the geese a good water playground, I’ve sorted the bad eggs out and left the good and guess what ???  She’s really sitting properly…just like that.  I hardly see her and am now putting food and water close to the nest because she isn’t coming out much at all.  There’s something like 20 eggs left in there.  The place could be wall to wall geese in a few weeks !!

Am I ready for this ??  I doubt it…

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