Sunday, 23 November 2014

In the bag

I have started another blog which will deal only with all things alpaca related.
What's in the bag
If you'd like to see what it's all about, please click on this link.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Introductions all round?

I often wonder about the origins of names that other people use as their Blogger name.  The name I use, is an abbreviation of my given name, Danielle (pronounced Dan-ee-elle).  I shortened it to Dani because I was tired of being called "Daniel" - a common way of saying the female version it in South Africa.

But - there are many fascinating names of followers of my blog out there e.g. Chickpea (is that because you're a chick, and pea is part of your surname?  Or because you like peas?  Or chickpeas?  Or is it a favourite family name from when you were a child?)

Similarly, (and in no particular order) : The Shroom, shrimptonandperfect, (from the 60's a.k.a. Jean Shrimpton?), dreamer, Fracas Farm, Wriggly Tin Farm, Bear Soap, DFW, Hilltop Homestead, Redloon, Thistlechick, Treasure Hunter Girl, 1st Man, johnnybgood, Riverhauler...?

Won't you share what inspired you to choose your Blogger names - without exposing your privacy?  Just for a bit of fun :)
RMan and Dani in 2007 - cartoon style :)
(And you can't see the wrinkles nor the grey hair
- bwahahaha)
I'll leave you with the link to a site that my brother sent me http://cartoon.pho.to/

It's brilliant, and it instantly transforms any photo into a cartoom image.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Minky - before and after...

...shearing.

This is to remind you of what Minky looked like on the 18th October this year...
Typical little boy - scruffy, dirty and filling
his face
 ... just 4 days before Chris from Helderstroom Alpacas kindly arrived to shear our three alpacas.
Miranda - showing Minky what to expect and
what lies in store for him :)
Minky wasn't mad about the blower which was used to try and get 1) as much of the dust and 2) whatever vegetable matter out of his fur as possible prior to shearing.
Minky getting the blower treatment -NOT a
happy chappy
I don't think the noise of our generator (which powered the blower and shears), nor the noise from the blower helped Minky's state of mind either.  But, the shearing is necessary for his own good during the heat of summer ahead.

And, as for being strapped by his feet and pinned to the floor for the 3/4 hour it took to remove his fibre...
Minky after shearing - he's less than half the size LOL
...he didn't "speak" to RMan until the next day.  But all is forgiven now :) (a bowl of freshly grated carrots helped too.)
Minky's fibre - and this pile is just from his legs!
He doesn't look quite so cute and cuddly anymore, and has instantly "lost" a lot of visible weight, but I do have his fibre as a reminder.  And his fibre will grow back again next year when we will have to start the whole process over again.
Minky, being the scruffy lad he is, has
fleece which is taking me hours (and
days) to pick clean.  Each scrap of
vegetable matter has to be picked by hand
I'm sure he is much more comfortable now and will be better able to handle the summer heat.
I'm using the 1st (unsquare) solar dehydrator frame that I had made as a picking table - a bit
of chicken wire slung over the top allows the
vegetable matter and very short fibre to pass
through and collect at the bottom.
Sitting in the remote room (now know as my craft room) behind the garage, I have started the process of picking each scrap of vegetable matter from the aplaca fibre - MP3 earphones firmly plugged in my ears, a mixture of Josh Groban, Moody Blues, Eric Clapton, Luther van Dross, Nickleback, etc thump out of the earphones and help keep the boredom at bay.  Given my isolation in my craft room, RMan's ears are also spared the tuneless noises eminating from my lips.  (I'm hoping in my next life I come back with a voice that can hold a tune - what a gift that would be!)

I have found an inexpensive second-hand table top weaving loom in Cape Town which my son-in-law will bring back with him next weekend.

Then the fun bit starts... :)  I'm feeling inspired.  And I can't wait.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The scars recede

I have always felt guilty about the scars we have caused on our land.  Scars from earth moving, creating our dam, planting our trees and, most of all, the scars caused during our building process.

Google Earth has finally updated the images they capture in our part of this planet.  Being out in the sticks (and therefore unimportant) they only do so every three years, but - it was worth waiting for :)

This is what our piece of land looked like when we purchased it back in March 2008:
Our plot of land in March 2008 when
we purchased it.
The path that crosses it is the footpath
caused by our one neighbour - a shortcut
across the field to shorten the trip to the
main road 4.5 kms away.
Also interesting is the plough line
which transgresses both our plot
and the neighbouring one.  I can tell
you that the fence that divides the two
plots is old and rusty - so the
scars of that plough have lingered...
It was completely overgrazed by the locals cows and sheep.  And full of renosterbos - all those little individual dots are visible on the Google Earth screen print. Signs of ploughing from yonks ago - and who knows when that last happened. Certainly long before 1996 when the smallholdings first started being sold off and inhabited by "newcomers" because the oldest resident has no memory of that fence not being in place.
Our plot of land with phase 1
of our build - one large room
(consisting of the lounge / dining /
kitchen) and the white shiny IBR roofed
bathroom to the right side - Aug 2010
Then, we got involved and scarred the land with our personal requirements. The driveway round the (dryer side of the) perimeter,  The dam.  The grape vine area.  The vegetable patch and the underground cellar which we never completed / built.  And the house build.

Ugly, nasty scars.
Our plot - October 2013
But, this is what our smallholding looks like from "space" in October 2013.
Our plot with markers.
You can even see the solar
panels n the garage roof :)
(Still enough space to
triple up on that if we had to
/ wanted to)
To give you some idea of what lies where, I have labelled the various area's I mention in this blog.
Our home November 2014 :)
I am strangely comforted by the latest Google Earth images (even if they are over a year old), because I finally realise that no matter how we bend our smallholding to our requirements, if we were to leave it, permanently, and no one was to occupy it ever again, all the buildings would collapse, the rubble would become overgrown, and it would revert back to what it was originally.  It would no longer be scarred by the mark of man.

In the meantime though, we are trying to treat it gently.  We are trying to be good custodians.  And we are aware of our impact - even if it is only on 2.2hA of land.