December was a month of low activity, the temperature is low, the garden is dormant and the first snow of the year came in the beginning of the month (3 December), but not for a lot a long period. December and January had around one week of snow, with almost all of the other days with clear sky and not very cold. Because of that and because it was Christmas time all the volunteers took some time to visit their families or to travel.
In the cold and calm January, when some snowdrops start to bloom, we took some time to collect some pine combs in the mountain, improve our knitting skills, making our own bread and cheese, to do some office work and to do some activities in Golden Apple school.
Activities with the kids
With the kids from the Golden Apple we are always looking for different activities that can be useful for them to develop themselves in an alternative way and also to take care of the nature, so in these months we did the following activities.
In the beginning of December, with the kids from Golden Apple, we went to a house of a blacksmith in Kran, town between Shipka and Kazanlak, to learn how to work with metal and to show the kids an alternative and handmade way of doing it.
Because to learn new languages has a lot of benefits for the brain and connects people, additionally to the English they started before, we chose to teach French to the kids, being our French volunteer Ophelie, the teacher of these classes.
Food for birds
We added honey and peanut butter to pine combs and toilet paper rolls with the purpose of attaching sunflower seeds to it and to serve as food for the birds. After we went to the Tulbeto park in Kazanlak, near the school, and it was decided where to put the feeders.
Also to sensitize the kids, with bags and gloves, we went to the park and we collected some of the trash from there. In the end the kids were entertained and we helped a bit this world.
With an easy way of doing it, using thread, we showed to the children how to knit with the fingers. They got entertained and found a way of creating something useful by themselves. With this type of knitting it’s possible to create scarfs, hats, headbands, bracelets, necklaces …
In order to escape to the excessive products packaging that we are familiar with in the conventional markets, which is not sustainable, promotes pollution and eventually to biodiversity decline, with the kids we went to a bulk shop in Kazanlak that allows to buy seeds, dried fruits, cereals and spices and together them we cooked muesli mainly from products from there.
Christmas Shipka Bazar
For the Christmas time we did a small bazar in the center of Shipka where we sold only handmade things we did (some of them from teamwork with Golden Apple school kids): survachkis, painted postcards and Christmas decorations, being all the money for donations for Chitalishte and Museum of Shipka.
Survachki is a tradition in Bulgaria and it is made by cornel tree branches and it is applied popcorns, dried fruits, thread and wool. Its purpose is to slightly hit the other members of the family in the back, while reciting a poem, for a promising new year in the Christmas or in the morning of the New Year’s day. After that the first person is rewarded with something. Because it has some rules, our Survachki were made in the Chitalishte of Shipka with the help of Rada (that works in Chitalishte and Museum).
Rehearsal room in Chitalishte
In the Chitalishte, after all the help from Green Association and our work to remove the old painting of the rehearsal room, the walls were painted and Ivan (friend of the project) finished the room by building a new wooden floor with money sent by donations to the Chitalishte.
Since the beginning of this year we started to measure all the trash that goes to the recycling bin (plastic, paper, glass and metal) as a way to be conscious about which are the products that contribute more to our trash production and to manage a way to reduce this amount. Before the start of the measures we already were in the way of buying less packages and prefering glass (that can be reused or recycled most of the times) over paper, plastic or metal and trying always to make our products instead of buying them.
In the near future we will post an update about the results and about the way we live at home, always looking for a more sustainable and less polluting lifestyle.
Talk of Ophelie with the people of Shipka
In Shipka, in a meeting with the representatives of the town and the people to talk about what was done the last times and what need to be done, Ophelie, with the help of Tanya (to translate everything), talked to them about the importance of green waste for compost, instead of ending in public trash bin, the importance of reducing the waste by going to bulk shops, using personal reusable bag to shop and the importance of doing recycling properly.