Weather or what…

In the past two months the one thing that dominated was the weather, it started very warm at the beginning of October then we had some cold spells, floods, lots of snow and then storms, I believe it is classified as variable!!!!
Mid October was really good, the Autumnal colours had to be seen to be believed and we spent time going into the mountains and walking, just to see it all, the first picture was taken in Vratna the second by Maria near our chalet, such diverse colouring.

Then at the end of the month it rained and rained, our garden seemed to be getting washed down into our neighbours and since then we have improved the drainage system as much as you can in a garden on a hill, then as you can see, the next day we had a snowstorm and high winds.

We did however get some reasonable weather at the start of November, so we took to the hills and were lucky with the sunshine but even then the snow was coming and going and it was quite icy in some places like Diery.

Then around the 20th the snow came and unusual for here it kept coming and soon we had enough to go out and enjoy it, we went skiing and snowboarding up on Chleb which at the beginning of December was a first for a lot of us and the conditions were pretty good, free riding you had to look out for big rocks but we had a great week, even Meddy went several times and never seemed to tire, she went alpine trekking with Maria also followed when we went snowboarding.

Just as we thought it was all sorted for the winter season, we had our ski passes, our gear was all ready and then last Monday we were hit by a pretty bad storm, not as bad as some places over here that experienced 150-180km winds but we didn’t sleep, awoke to no power, no internet and limited mobile access, the power came back after a day but we were without internet till this weekend, you do not realise how much we rely on it till it is not there but at least no-one was seriously hurt, the forests however looked as though some giant had swiped his hand across them, it so reminded me of the 87 storm in the UK.

The storm wind was very warm and combined with the rain it took away all of the snow, we now have green fields and are hoping it will snow in time for the festive season which is important to the tourist business, so fingers crossed.
It has been in general a very good year for us and we hope everyone has a great Christmas and a Healthy Happy New Year, 2018 here we come……..

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October so soon!

Yes its October and the summer seems to have flown by, we have had a very good summer and I suppose that is why it flew by, July was quite stormy and we had some cold spells but August was very hot and humid, for three weeks the temperature never dropped below 30c, this just meant a lot of watering but the vegetable garden grew like a mad thing, then about two weeks ago the temperature dropped like a stone and now it is cold and wet and we have had a couple of frosty nights, how the seasons change over here.
We managed to get all our hay cut and put away although some of it stayed on ostrva’s for a week or so which was fine, our sheep barn is full and our friend Jaro benefited from our surplus, we never have any waste with hay, there is always someone who will take some.

As I said the vegetable garden was brilliant but so was the rest of the garden and our new bees worked hard to pollinate everything which resulted in a  very good harvest of garlic, onions potatoes and in particular the tomatoes which seemed to take a while to ripen but then we had loads which we devoured or made into paste for freezing, all in all a pretty good season, on the wild side, mushrooms were very scarce due to hot and dry but we managed to get plenty of wild strawberries and blackberries for jam and wine making.

On the construction side we decided to sort out the veranda area at the front of the house as the tiles were breaking up, we opted to build a completely wooden raised veranda, we used Red Cedar which is harder than normal pine and will put up with the winter snow etc.  We are very pleased with the finished product and it has been used far more than when it was just tiled, we sat there a lot in the afternoons when it was too hot to be working, a brilliant addition to the chalet we think.

The sheep have really grown and we now have two rams who will do their stuff with our ewes we hope, Meddy our new dog has really settled in and has the best life a dog could wish for, she loves walking in the mountains or anywhere for that matter and is learning about the wildlife and what not to chase, its a good learning curve for any dog with so much to smell and track.
Now we are clearing up around the garden, sorting out the gardens we look after, hoping to get out in the mountains for walks and then we will be sorting out for the winter season, more about that next time.

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It has been a long time coming

How time flies they say and in this case it has really rocketed along and now three months have passed since my last blog. So much has gone on since April, the sheep went outside in the field after their winter in the sheep shed but only four days later they were back inside due to heavy snowfall and the cold, as you can see it came with a vengeance but luckily went just as fast and since the end of April they have worked their way around several fields.

It is always amazing how everything wakes up after the snow has disappeared, in May and June the wildlife reappears, the flowers in the meadows have been stunning, especially the orchids, on the bad side we lost a few shrubs and the 30 odd days of minus temperatures down as low as  -28c took their toll on quite a bit, most noticeable  a lot of our bonsai trees were unable to put up with the cold and now we will have to start again but that is nature, here are some images of the beauty that nature can produce.














We have been busy building again, first we built a new apiary shelter and now we have bees once again after the devastating time Maria had last year, so fingers crossed that the new home will help them grow into a strong colony and soon we will have more hives. Also we have taken down the old chicken house and added a section onto the existing sheep shed which has given us a new chicken house and extra storage area for our hay, it is so much tidier as well. we also did quite a bit of maintenance such as replacing posts around the garden and sorting out the pathways.

The garden in general is looking very good and full of vegetables and fruit, the strawberries were the best for ages and we have eaten loads every day for the past two weeks, the greenhouse has proved to be invaluable especially during the cold spell and is full of tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines, Maria’s flower beds look better every year and I am always amazed how much everything expands, it is due to her endless weeding and care. Maria has sheared the sheep for the summer, we are in the process of haymaking and have nearly filled our shed for the winter, we have all our wood chopped and stored, at the moment we are sorting out the north side of the chalet as we had a water freezing problem in the kitchen, we are using the wool from the sheep to insulate so it is a test and we will not know how good it is until the winter.

Otherwise life here is very good and we will be out picking fruit and produce for storage over the next few weeks plus walking and visiting some other areas, just enjoying life in general as you do…..

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Its over once again

Well, thats it for another season, the ski resort closed yesterday not surprisingly as we have had plus temperatures for two weeks reaching +22c on Sunday, it is ridiculous how quick the weather has changed this year, the ski-ing and snowboarding on piste has been very good since the beginning of December but free riding in the mountains was terrible, too much wind and too cold made it very icy,
Here a some pictures, first of Paseky with a good piste but grass already showing at the beginning of March, plus some of Maria and I up in the mountains on natural snow having a great time even if I managed some slip ups.

The best news so far this year is we have another dog, since Roxy died two years ago we have been looking, well actually, Maria has been looking and at last found Meddy who is a rescue dog from Levoca near Poprad, she is six months old, a Border Collie crossed with a Springer Spaniel we think, but she is lovely and has settled in very well, as you can see from the pictures she loves water especially muddy water, just the right kind of dog for us I think, she is getting lots of training at the moment and seems to love it here.

When we went to collect her we had lunch in Levoca which is a very historic walled town, the restaurant was called the 3 Apostles, as you can see it is very plush but not expensive, the service and food was excellent, will go again in the summer.

Also in March our Ewe gave birth to triplets and they are all very well, this is her fourth lot of lambs and she is a very good mother so we never have to worry about anything, this weekend we put them out in the field at last although we may have to put them inside if the weather turns really cold.

Other than that we have been busy in the garden repairing stuff damaged by the winter, we have started sowing seeds in the greenhouse, should put potatoes in this weekend, the Snowdrops Crocus and Pulsatilla are up so spring is finally here…………

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It has definitely been cold so far…..

Hi everyone and Happy New Year to you all, lets hope it is a peaceful and healthy one. Since I wrote my last blog I can say it has been very cold, since the 12th December we have not had a plus temperature till yesterday, the coldest day was 7th January -28.7c, not snowboarding or skiing weather I can assure you and it stayed around -20c for the whole week, but since December 9th the conditions on the slopes have been very good, we actually went free riding up behind the chalet on several occasions.
It was a great opportunity to test out the new camera, snow pictures can be very difficult due to lack of definition but most images came out well, the first two are from the very cold days in December.

On Christmas eve I was fortunate to be at the ski resort in Vratna and spotted two juvenile Golden Eagles playing above us, I was told by one of the hunters that it was a ritual for choosing their mate, I took loads of photos but it was so difficult because of light conditions and the speed they were moving at but here are a couple of the better ones, they were amazing to watch.

The following images are from the coldest day, first two are the river in Terchova which is just slightly warmer than the surroundings.

The next four were taken around Chleb where the temperature was -30c which resulted in the visibility been exceptional, we could see approx 100km or more, the sharp peak in the centre of the second image was taken with a 400mm lens and is approx 80km away, the other two images show how the cold froze the snow and shrubs sticking out of it, very beautiful but it was too cold to stand around for very long and the camera did not like the cold either.

In the middle of January the resort hosts an international ski competition for children under 14 years of age which I normally get to do gate judge for but this year I was not required so it was another chance to test the camera using my 100-400mm pro lens, here are three images from that day, the sharpness of the skier crashing was great and the camera seemed to cope very well with varying light conditions, I was more than pleased especially as they were all taken hand held.

So we have had a good season so far, Maria has been teaching most days and we have found time to go and ride around the area so we hope things will continue giving us more snow and more riding. Last images are of our friend Jaro and his horse Gastan bringing timber down from the forest, it is very impressive as he sends the horse down on its own with the complete pine tree, moving at a fair rate through the snow gave me a moment of panic as he came straight towards me but he knew when to stop thank goodness, brilliant horse and bloody impressive to watch, hope you enjoy 2017 and bye for now…..

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