Monday, February 28, 2011

All in a day's work

My best friend in Durban asked what I do in a day. "How does your day look?" she asked.
Well this morning was beautiful. We had to be up early for Jan to go to Cape Town. He left at 5.30 and the sun only rises around 6.20 these days but the light was already changing the sky.
I could see there would be clouds and by day break the wind had begun to blow.

This day may be a little different. On Friday, we had a "serious talk" with the staff. They did not arrive for 2 days last week because - in their words- their car wasn't idling.  I'm not sure any employer would be happy with that excuse. Especially when you call them half way through the day and they have done nothing to sort it out. Perhaps we will be lucky and they won't come back. He did say say he wasn't coming to work in his car today.

Probably sunds silly not to want staff here but Jan & I have never lliked having people working around  our space. We have always had a sense of relief when staff don't pitch up. This is another story though.

So today while Max was still asleep I was able to clean the kitchen, get washing started and eat breakfast. Next I picked up the dry mown grass (more than I used to have for my whole back yard!) and took it to the orchard to help keep the soil moist around the trees. I mixed a bucket of seeds to put around the fruit trees. The chickens will be living in the orchard and it will be good to have lots of herbs and veggies growing for them to eat when they get here. I found a HUGE toad in my box of seeds. Lesson here- don't leave your boxes on the floor.

I have started the flood watering in the veggie garden, collected support poles for the beans at the house, fed all the animals, doctored the sick ones (boy do cats hate bulbinella on their skin!),  planned the work to be done this week and the dinners too. All this and it's only 7.27am. I think I need another cup of coffee!

I think the old saying still applies today: Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy & wise.  A little more on the wealthy and wise please!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trouble with being an employer... that no-one wants to work! It doesn't matter where you employ people, you will always have problems that go with it. And until you have been an employer, you will never appreciate all the crap that is envolved.
I don't think most people who sign an employment contract for their jobs, realise that it is a 2 way contract. You do the work as agreed, when agreed and you get paid as agreed. If no work then no pay. Very simple.
I could do without the bullshit. Life is difficult enough. Can we all not just keep our word and help each other?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


 This is before after a vicious head over handle bars.

And this is after. I can't discipline him anymore. I just start laughing. Too cute. 4 is such a nice age.
 Dad & Max followed by 2 dogs and a cat, walking from Granny's house home. This is the new path we spent the xmas holidays doing.
 We went for a braai at the oooooother end of the farm. This change involves us not working ALL the time. Taking a bit of space to be somewhere else on the farm. And try to use up some wattles!

 Stuff from the garden- Quinces, grapes (SOUR! must be for wine- hooray), granadillas and pears from down the driveway on the neighbour's farm.
 The very full carob tree. And there are 3 of them. Anyone for carob pods? Even these fell slowly to the ground yesterday. 37 degrees in the shade and hardly a breath of wind. We just lay around like lizards and did nothing.

 The happy farmer. Ask Max who is the farmer and he says "mommy". What is daddy?  is always the next question. "He's the worker". That's my boy!

What are we having for dinner?

The worst question of my day! I never know. I always plan to have a menu plan (like I did in Joburg) but never seem to get to it. So today, Granny came home with fish from Still Bay and we decided it was fish & chips for us. 1 problem- no potatoes. No problem! We knocked over some more tyre towers and found enough for 2 meals. Now I know 1 tower should definitely have more than enough for many meals but I did not have enough soil or compost when I started them and they grew so fast. Anyway, the new ones are doing well too and I already have all 4 tyres in place. Sorted. And dinner sorted too.

We found such lovely critters today. Under one of the potato towers, we found 2 tiny mice- their bodies as big as R2 coins with a black stripe down their backs. So sweet- and I love rodents! Sorry Linda! I thought for sure they would have had a potato feast but neither they nor the giant snails had done any damage. I didn't expect damage from the giant rain spider who came out to greet us.

And when we dismantled our very large compost heap today, we found a veritable menagerie- twakkie (house snake), LARGE lizard with black spots & stripes, frogs, rhino beetles and 100's of larvae, spiders, worms & centipedes. A very good day!
And we have a good pile of very nice compost. Straight to the veggie garden with that.

Some compost advice from my mistakes. Baby your compost heap! Our biggest was about the size of a king size bed and I have put them together and virtually ignored them. With the wind that howls around here, I really should have been watering them more and have covered them sooner. We mowed with our tractor yesterday and have made a thick blanket of the dry grass to protect this new pile from the beginning. Don't forget to add some worm wee, manure tea or something to make it really go.
And so you know, our staff put the left over bits from slaughtering one of their sheep for christmas into the middle of this big heap. All I found today was a jaw bone. Everything else was remade into something lovely and useful.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"How did you manage to get there?"

I have had that asked of me many times. Meaning how did we move from a big city life to a farm. I suppose the question is more financial than anything else. And of course that's a sticky question. If you have read any previous posts you would have seen that we have been planning and looking for a farm for 10 years. We were trying to buy the farm outright and it did not quite work out that way. Does it ever? But we are here, renting in the short term with the first option to buy and in the meantime we have the lifestyle we wanted, safety and the place to earn to the farm for ourselves.
Soon I will be telling you to start, build and sell businesses to get you where ever it is you want to be. I can only say that is where we have invested our time. And all our energy. Our families thought we were crazy. You know- like the dog chasing the rabbit that no-one could see but the dog could smell. Actually they still think we are nuts and they are probably right.
The other thing is, I think you have to believe you will get all you think about- and you will. You know all the hype about thinking you are worthy- or able. Forget all that and just go forth and conquer. All that must be will be.