In September, we had Shipka Fest, the school started again and autumn came. It is the last full month for Frieda and Hugo. No new volunteers will arrive for now.
In the garden, we stopped watering, so it’s officially autumn. We finished the fig season by the end of september and go to apples and pears. The tomatos will be harvested soon and all the other vegetables and herbs (cucumbers, zucchinis, pumpkins, kale, mangold, parsley, rocket, beans and corn) will last until next month for sure. We spent quiet a lot time on conservating the fruits we picked, like drying the aronia berries and figs or making syrup and jam out of them.
For me, september was a painful month concerning animals. In the first week, our little foster puppy hunted a chicken again and it died of the injuries shortly after. The chickens have mites probably, so they are now in a very bad constitution, anyway. Since they can jump over the fence, they are able to run around in the garden and on the street, what they casually do, since they don’t get any food because it’s empty and we need to have a car to buy new one. Our little foster kitten, in the other hand, is very cute and sweet, but she creates some problems as well. Shara, our old lady cat, felt that the trouble was too much for her and left the household for sure. Monkey and Isa still have some fights, but they start to get along a little bit better. It’s not sure yet wether she’s going to stay in the household or leave soon. Karthego, my foster dog I found on the street in the beginning of June, finally left the Open Mind territory in this month to travel to a new, long-term family in Germany. It was very hard for me to let him go because I was having long walks every day with him, he slept in my room and was my responsibility overall. For the other habitants of this paradise, it was quiet a relief however, he was a lot of trouble in the end. More than once, he messed up my whole bedroom, the porch or the kitchen, pooed or peed in the house or “played” quiet agressivly with us or our possessions. His “kill”-count for our poor chickens ended with 3 dead ones in his liability. Sara found a “love-hate”-family in him, but enjoys the house being way calmer now.
Of course, concerning community work, Semptember is THE month, with the famous Shipka Fest being launched. Sadly, in August, we had some illness, so it was a little bit tricky to keep up with the preperations and it was rather chaotic from time to time. In the end, we had a sucessfull event and everybody was happy with the outcome. After Shipka fest, we discovered that the Café near the museum had issues with the floor and we are planning to put tiles instead of the instable wooden floor of the moment. This will be a big site in october, if I have to guess. Additional, we checked the composters again and except one, they were all quiet acceptable concerning stability and fill level. In october, though, when the pruning- and harvestingtime will reach their piek, it’s possible that I have to readjust them a little bit. In the moment, we are planning to present the ESC – program to young people in Shipka and Kazanlak and preparing a presentation concerning our experiences. We hope that we can create a perspective for young people and help them to explore their possibilities.
In Shipka, there are Marcus, Fanny, Rux, Frieda, Hekim, Hugo and Ru as volunteers, but in Open Mind, we’re only two. Hugo will leave on the 4th of october, I will go at the 19th. No new volunteers will come for the next months. I think, since the beginning of the project, there never were so little volunteers in this house.
The visual change in our house for sure is the change of the floor in the dining room, which we did out of clay and fixed with varnish. Now, it has some kind of modern art flair. After Shipka fest, it never went back to the normal state of living. The project is in a constant change, but I experienced it the most in the last two months. We seperated the food money and everybody is cooking for themselves again. For that reason, the community meals went missing, we’re not eating in the dining room, but in our bedrooms most of the times. We also don’t have a weekly schedule anymore. There are no cleaning plans, but it works because people just do what they think is necessary, which is keeping the house way cleaner than the plans did, on an optimistic side. The clay is difficult to clean still because we don’t really know what is okay to do and what is not. Hopefully, it will not break so fast after all.
The Golden Apple School in Kazanlak started again after the summer break this year with the annual deep cleaning of the teaching room, doing new paint on the walls and on the blackboard, preparing new lessons and getting used to drive to Kazanlak again. On the monday after, the official ceremony was held in Shipka and then, an inofficial celebration with Banitsa and interesting conversations in Kazanlak. Happily, we found new help for Kalinka and Bougidar, namely Vasko, who will teach a little bit of music to the children in the following year. He also monitors the children in the afternoon from time to time, which gives Kalinka the possibility to breath again. In sum, the start of the school was a big sucess and we hope that it will last like this for a long time!