Thursday, December 9, 2010
The dam wall is almost cleared and the holes are gradually being fixed. Patrick has done really well.
We have put some hurdles in to help catch some run off since we removed the shrubs.
We plan to make a small beach area and a floating jetty. Anyone for a swim?
It seems the work is endless but I am so grateful we can do all we do. We must have been preparing for this all our lives as our learned skills are coming in really handy.
Max is starting to help us with bits & pieces. His attention if he decides to help, lasts quite long. Especially if you need something taken out with a gunda gunda or destroyed. These things are fun!
We are planning to take the tractor down to the oak trees and do some clearing over the holidays. There are berries to pick and acorns to look for so we will probably get quite a bit done while Max does that. There are several dead trees- very large ones- which need removing. Jan & Wim were deciding how many strings of cortex they would need around each trunk to cut it! Could be noisy.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
...do not take your car where only a 4x4 should go, it may not like to stay there overnight and you may get muddy walking home.
...do not let your 69 year old mother do the gardening she wants, she will probably break her ankle.
...do not let the kids wear their gum boots into the house, the floor will require hosing.
However, do make lots of crunchies, have good hot chocolate on hand and cuddle up with the ones you love and read Paddington.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
With a small amount of panic around keeping Max away from a rather large puff adder, we started to catch it. The Gunston Man (remember him?) caught it with a piece of rope and put it into a large feed bucket. We walked waaaaaaay down the bottom of the farm and let the peeved snake go into the bush. It really was quite beautiful. About half a meter long and 5cm thick. Max and I had the previous day watched a clip at Granny's house where a guy let a cobra go back into the wild in India so he was chuffed to be doing so too.
And very well done to clever little Toni!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
- The reader will have to appreciate that background facts and arguments were presented in the April, May and June issues of the Management Briefing 2010. These reports are available from Intersearch.
- This paper addresses the issue of the perceived "crisis in South Africa". Some may point to the high levels of crime and murder in society and the collapse of infrastructure and identify these issues as the reason for the crisis. Others may indicate the World Soccer 2010 that was presented very successfully as reason for optimism. The country has the capability. What is needed now is some time and hard work.
- Thus we have two different conclusions and two alternative perceptions of the future.
- The reality, however, is more complex than these issues on the surface of society. If there is a crisis in society, then it is much deeper below the radar; not easy to observe. It represents a process over the past decade where dysfunctional structures have been created over time and where an abnormal society has been slowly emerging.
- If there is a crisis in society, it has to be seen within a certain context of circumstances.
- The number of people who are poor, is just too high (25.7 million people from a population of 49.3 million);
- The number of people who depend on a state grant for their daily survival is not sustainable (13 million with the possibility of an additional 7 million);·
- The number of people who are illiterate has become unmanageable (24% of adults over 15 years);
- There is no solution for the number of jobless people. The most recent statistics indicate an official jobless rate of 25,3%. The real rate, according to the Bureau for Market Research at Unisa, has reached 41%. The figure used in the advertising industry for marketing stands on 63%.
- The number of people with HIV/AIDS is terrifying, as it sucks the human capital from the middle sector of society (5.7 million people);
- The large number of people who are going to die from HIV/AIDS may destabilize society eventually as it impacts on the productive middle sector of society (estimated deaths: 1 000 per day is the most recent figure available);
- The number of Aids orphans is beyond the reach of Government and society (by 2015 some 5.7 million or 32% of all children will have lost one or both parents) and this fact in itself has the potential to disrupt the educational process;
- The terrifying reality is that the number of people with the necessary human capital - the expertise and skills to support society and capability to pay taxes - is too few to carry the burden of the numbers in need. (5.3 million tax payers, with 1.2 million of them paying 75% of all personal and company tax).
- In January 2010 the Democratic Alliance disclosed in a statement that only 32 of the 970 sewage plants in the country are still functioning properly.
- In a report to Parliament in February 2010 it was revealed that "when it comes to fresh water", only 30 municipalities out of 283 have the capability to supply clean water to the inhabitants.
- Parliament's water affairs portfolio committee was told in July 2010 that "millions of litres of highly acidic mine water is rising up under Johannesburg and, if left unchecked, could spill out into its streets some 18 months from now. The acid water is currently about 600m below the city's surface, but is rising at a rate of between 0.6 and 0,9m a day."
Saturday, November 20, 2010
My new Silky saw was very useful to cut most of the branches and Jan did the big ones and a dead tree with the chainsaw.
Can you tell it's hot? And Max doesn't like any noise he isn't making- hence the ear muffs. Between chainsaws, shredders, weedeaters and the tractor, he gets a lot of frights on start up. Soon he'll be doing it for us...
Naughty dad and Max throwing rocks across the dam at mom. And Jannie, quite pooped from trying to fill this hole in the dam. We were carting clay from the other side to tamp in and other than wheeling the heavy barrow up the dam wall, the tamper must weigh about 30kgs. I think any jelly bellies are a thing of the past!
Tomorow it's crumpets and then to finish the water to the veg garden and more weedeating. Unless it rains...
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Unless you count the tractor whose seat is not fixed to the body. I have no idea how Patrick (our farm labourer) has managed to stay on it. I think this must be Jan's next job so I can learn to drive it. Very useful old thing.
We have a large trailer for the tractor whose wheel keeps going flat. Jan bought a new tube and it looks like that has done the trick. Now don't drive it over very pointy things with those old wheels! Very big chunks of rubber missing from them and I don't think it has had any new tyres in a very long time.
May have to trade my Condor in for a double cab bakkie with diff lock. That should go about anywhere on the farm. Could be worse- I could have to have a vehicle for dodging taxis.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Her daughter has also been sick and so some very expensive tests later, we will see what is up and if I will lose anymore children. I don't do well with animals in pain/suffering or dying.
Our labourers lost 2 sheep to the rooikat in 1 weekend and then 1 got sick. They did what they could but really did not know much. And what do I know about sheep?!! Anyway, I had them help me drag and carry a really heavy sheep into the shade and sat with it to slowly pour water into it's mouth.
What it makes me wonder is- Am I ready for any other animals which may die? I am planning chickens a 2 geese but it could be heart-breaking. Dare I risk it?
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
After the first lot of rain, we put on our gum boots and went for a walk. Toni & Helix- our boy cat who thinks he is a dog- came with us. We had to carry the children- all 3- across some of the river branches. None wanted to be left behind ( a lot of woofing and meowing going on!)
Along the way we found the usual puff ball mushrooms (mostly not-edible) and this Red Stinkhorn. And boy did it!
It was lovely to see the river run.
Then it rained again! Eish! There is a drift which you cannot usually see from the house but we could this time. Just lovely.
Of course the dam is still leaking so all that lovely water poured out and down into our fields. We will have to do something to try and fix it without spending too much.
We also used our indoor fireplace (everyone seems to have one around here) for the first time. We used lots of cast-iron pots and Jan did a sacrifice for he & Mom (that's a braai in case you were wondering).
First bread on the fire got a bit burnt on contact as the pot was a bit hot but tasted great. And I think we will be doing some more cooking like this because we have a forest of wattle to tame.
This a nice pic of Max digging up our driveway. Now that should keep him busy!
By the way the beginning of the driveway is at the end of the row of trees.
Can't wait to get going.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
He has used silicon grease to seal the nuts which drain the housing before the impellar (sp?) and is about to cut up and old gum boot to make a gasket.
He has had to re-wire it as it was wired backwards and not earthed. Oh and also not sealed. Not good in a potentially wet environment. And the worst of it was, he can't see how it was EVER serviced with all the mud and gunk he took out of the housing. Perhaps our water won't be such a lovely shade of beige anymore.
But we still don't need an alarm on the house.
We stopped for a picnic at the bottom of the pass at Max's insistence. Half way up would have been better.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Also new to our brood is Prunes- a calico cat which has been living on the farm. Perhaps we should have called her Hoover with the way she sucks down food. She is healthy and really doesn't seem to have the ticks & fleas one would expect from an unattended farm cat. She is loving and doesn't seem too phased by the other cats, puppy or Max. BTW, she too is named after a character in one of Max's books.
Next on my list of adoptees will be a few chickens. I am planning a chicken tractor to move around the farm but first off the bat will probably be just 3 and a small movable ark. I want them in the orchard first to manage any bugs as the fruit grows. The trees are so small, they need all the help they can get.
We still await the police clearance to continue with adopting our human family member.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
We think we can own land. Now really think about that concept. Pah! What a joke! All we are, is stewards. Best we each start behaving as stewards. Each day I will make a conscious decision to do or not do something which will only make an ounce of difference. That's enough.
Monday, September 13, 2010
While we have been here, we have been growing a compost heap and will have to figure out how to take it with us. I am sure it will be seen by the owners -and especially the letting agents- as a rubbish heap instead of what it is- a kajillion little happy and very valuable microbes. Now how exactly does one go about moving a not-quite-ready compost heap?
I think perhaps the older stuff will go into the worm boxes and the newer stuff into an old kitty food bag. Should work.
Speaking of kitties- these 5 are not going to be happy with me again. At least it's a positive move to lots of space. Enough for all of them to claim a spot and still be at home and safe.
We go for walks with Max around the neighbourhood here and almost always end up with a trail of little black cats following us down the street. Now I won't have to worry about cars- just ticks and snakes!
And about those snakes... This is definitely puff adder territory so I have been doing some research about what plants repel snakes. The consensus seems to be that anything with a strong smell will work as the Jacobson's Organ snakes use for smell is very sensitive. This means my permanent herb garden will be nice and close to the house for a good reason. Other than for how pretty it looks. Lemon grass, mint, rosemary, lemon thyme, garlic chives, penny royal.
The cats are a help too as they eat the rats & mice which would be a snake's food. No food = no snakes.
And it's time for Max to get a dog. He is so scared of dogs and we just don't know why. On the beach, I run towards dogs and he runs away. This will be an interesting choice to make.
We need something which won't grow too big- Lab or smaller- but not an excuse for a dog. Something which won't chase our livestock or the wild things. Something which will be Max's best friend. I have to say that a Staffie springs to mind. We will see.
And so to packing- again!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Today we visited Eureka Mill near Heidelberg (that's in the Cape!). I used to sell a lot of their flour in Foxglove- especially when Penny Zeffert did her amazing natural bread courses.
We met Nico- the passionate miller (and everything else man). He took us on a tour and explained how they do things at Eureka.
I wasn't sure how to approach this, so this is what I decided on- I'll give you the facts and then my opinion.
Eureka does not use GM seed wheat. They do not grow organically (yet, as they can't afford to loose their crop). They stone grind all the wheat. They don't add anything (preservatives, bleaches, fortification- anything).
They collect, clean, sort, soak, mill, grade, seperate, pack, ship, build, bake- just everything- themselves.
If you hear Nico's explanation of what Eureka doesn't do, you will never use "large name brand" flour again. Why do you need to process wheat so far, that you remove the protein and good fats and then have to add vitamins for it to have any food value? That is not logical and in my mind should be illegal. The big guys should not be allowed to do what they do without disclosing it on their label. At least we can then choose for ourselves.
I suggest we all ask more questions. I am a strong proponent of READING THE LABEL but how about you try? Next time you buy something- anything- you try.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I will have to have my own opinions I am sure but it really is interesting to hear all the background.
People here seem to accept crappy service and poor quality without another thought. Anyone who wanted to come in here and take on any of the exisitng businesses, would have plenty to keep them busy. With excellent service and a great product, people would flock to it. I think complacency has set in and there neds to be a shake up.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
In this little town, everything is left until the last minute. Manana, manana… It makes doing business very frustrating and difficult. However, with every whine, there is an opportunity to make a good business just by offering excellent service.
We have been trying the local restaurants and I am afraid so far they are appalling! The take-aways are awful too. We will have to go back to cooking more as we used to do. Got to plan the shopping too as not everything is available immediately or it is so pricey, to make you not want to buy it locally. Sad, as I would rather support local business. Silly and short-sighted, as it makes the locals buy out.
We 3 looking for the little holes to fill and finding big ones!