Monday, January 24, 2011

Grace & Vodka

I think this should be the title of my book as it very aptly describes what is required to run a farm.

Not for a minute did we think living on a farm would be a breeze when we lived in Jo'burg, we just did not know the challenges we would face. Some have come as a complete suprise (see previous post "The wheel fell off") and some we suspected all along (workers not carrying out instructions for example- not unique to a farm).

We did know this farm and all about it was neglected and rather run down but we did not know it was un-loved. The poor tractor needs almost daily repairs to stay going. The tyres are so old, they are literally wire-bare. Still going since 1967 though.
The "plumbing" - and I do use this term loosely- has been cobbled together as new developments happened in the world. The kitchen, bathroom and washing water goes underground and pops up outside our bedroom windows. Thank heavens for small mercys that the toilet desn't too! For now, this has not been a headache.

The horses break fences on a daily basis by rubbing their tick-infested behinds on them. The driveway washes out with each rain. The dam still leaks despite our best attempts to fix it- albeit not as badly as before. The old wooden floors in our bedroom sag more each day.

All this and we haven't even got to the critters yet!
Actually, they have been fun. We now have bee hives around the farm and whilst they are not ours, hopefully they will trap the bees so we can get to the areas they are swarming and do the work that is needed.
I have found several kinds of frogs & toads- VERY large limestone coloured to tiny vivid yellow and brown striped ones.
When Vanessa and Adam were visiting for lunch, we found a huge tortoise- about 40cm long- and have found a few babies too.
There are lots of snails and some serious slugs- remind me a bit of the banana slugs in the US.
There are tons of birds and unless someone is playing a joke, we keep hearing a fish eagle call. The birds of prey may be a problem for our chickens but we hope to manage that by giving them lots of shelter.

Now it may sound like I am moaning but it's far from it. I couldn't be happier to be picking up horse poo, scratching in the various kinds of soil, stomping around in gum boots all day. It so beats the vulnerable feeling I had in Jo'burg. Do you know the cops visit all the farms in the area every month - just to see that everything is ok? Now that is different. And very welcome.

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