"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 7 September 2013

An eventful week...

Firstly, welcome to my newest follower Lawrie Weber.  Lawrie doesn't appear to have a blog, so I can't give you a link...

Lawrie, I always reply to comments, but am dependent on the sun charging our solar batteries.  I am, therefore, sometimes delayed...

Thanks for hitting the followers button :)

Update: Lawrie is a newbie blogger - please visit her blog and give her encouragement :)

Her blog can be found at:  http://fireflyfarmadventures.blogspot.com/.  She is recording her family's course towards a more sustainable future through living off their land, and embracing a simpler and greener lifestyle.

She also has a brilliant simple idea for keeping children amused on those stiflingly hot summer days which lie ahead...

Good on you, Lawrie :)


Last Sunday was Mike, my grandchilds', 10th birthday.  His very first "proper" party was planned - which included inviting all the kids he likes from his class in his new school.  Natasha and Wayne found a wonderful venue - in the grounds of a nearby berry farm in Swellendam.  Brilliant, the kids would be out in the fresh air, playing as children should, instead of being stuck inside a movie house, or in a steakhouse, eating kiddies sized portions of high fat foods glued to the closest computer games...

After opening his gifts from his parents, and "finding" the trampoline which we had bought him, and with a couple of slices of toast and a mug of tea in our stomachs, we all headed off to collect his cake, which had been ordered from the local supermarket, as well as rolls for the kids hot dog lunch.

Great excitement all round...

We arrived at the venue, and entering the "lapa" - a very basic wooden structure with walls, windows and a roof - I immediately set about investigating what was available - a first aid kit, a 10lt urn, tables, chairs, cups, saucers, plates, cutlery, an indoor barbecue.  It seemed to have everything we would need.
A birthday table filled with goodies
to inspire all the children who were
invited to celebrate Mike's 10th birthday
As Natasha was busy greeting parents, I started plating out the sweets, crisps, etc.  In between arrivals, Natasha got busy with the "party" side of things - the tablecloths, paper cups and plates, clown hats, blowy thingamabobs (which have a feather on the end and make a farting noise when they are blown), balloons, etc. Even though the party was only due to start at 12.00 noon, some kids were arriving earlier.

And, kids, when they're somewhere new, also have to start investigating and exploring...

What did they find?  A swimming pool (bear in mind that although it was Spring Day, there had been snow falling on the mountain tops for the previous two days, so the water was still freezing), a maze (which is still in it's infant days to it's basically just a pattern of paths at the moment) rolling green lawns - perfect for the planned soccer and cricket - and...
The berry farms' foefie slide
...a foefie slide.(I think it is called a zip line in America.)

Oh boy.  Once they discovered that there was no holding them back.

I lost count of how many rides they had - and, as they had a wait between rides, they invariably ran back passed the lapa to grab a cooldrink and a handful of whatever - crisps, sweets, biscuits...

I took a wander down to the foefie slide to take some close-up pics.  Mike was about to have his umpteenth turn.  Cool - I'd get an action shot!

Just as I snapped a pic of him, he took off.  And slipped off.  Landing heavily on what I thought was his back.  It's terrible the thoughts that flash through your mind with the speed of light.

But he rolled over screaming and pointing to his lower arm. I rushed up to him and held his arm (at the elbow) firmly on the ground where it was lying - to prevent his moving it anymore.  Signalling frantically to RMan with my free hand, our young GP, who is a new friend of Natasha and Wayne's, and who had been invited to the party with his young family, ran up.

A broken wrist / arm was the immediate diagnosis.

Oh boy!  And the party hadn't even started yet.

I recalled the first aid kit I had seen in the lapa, as well as a pair of large wooden salad servers.  Hopefully the kit would contain bandages, and the servers would make an excellent splint.  I dashed off.

There were suitable bandages and the servers were a perfect length and size. Our GP made a rough splint and Mike was rushed to his surgery for a more secure support to be applied.

Unfortunately, the x-ray department in Swellendam is not open on a Sunday, but, it would've made no difference.  The doctor reckoned it was a serious break which would involve a operation, so Mike would have to go to the medi-clinic in Worcester anyway, which is approximately 130kms away.

After administering a pain-killing sedative, and strapping up his arm properly in the surgery, Mike and his parents took off.

In the meantime, RMan and I were left with the parents, Mike's teacher and the children. Thankfully, the teacher had the presence of mind to ask if she should call the parents to come and collect their kids again - she had all their phone numbers on her cell.  After all, what is a party without a birthday boy?

They all managed to eat a slice of birthday cake before they went home.
(I do not have permission to publish a pic of the
children, so I have blurred their faces)

A big birthday shout-out for Mike, and then
cake... :)
Natasha and Wayne called us later.  Mike's wrist bone had broken into the growth plate.  A very serious break.  He was scheduled for an operation at 7.00p.m. that evening.

All went well with the op, and, thankfully, the surgeon managed to pin his bone without the pin intruding into his growth plate.  That could've resulted in the growth in that arm being stunted.

Mike was discharge the following day.

But, he had not even had any birthday cake.  And he had all the gifts from his friends still to open.

So on Wednesday evening, Mike and his parents came round to our house with a left over milk tart (melktert).  The beautiful coloured candles which Natasha was clever enough to find were placed on top, the candles were lit, and the lights were dimmed...
Candles whose flames burn the same colour as
the actual candle - absolutely stunning!
...and it was stunning.  The flames were the same colour as the candles.

Whilst Mike munched on some milk tart, he finally got to open the gifts he had received from his friends.

Judging by the relaxed smile on his face when he went home later, the "bad" birthday was all forgotten - and his memories of this big double number birthday will be mainly good ones :)


  1. Yes, ziplines ARE dangerous, especially for unsupervised children. In the pic I didn't see any padding at all under it in case of such falls. Hopefully the venue has liability insurance to cover all the medical bills. Google 'zipline accidents'. The darn things are so much fun.

    I'm so glad your GS is feeling better and that his growth plate was not impaired during the repair. A belated happy birthday to him. And a hug for you for being so quick-on-the-trigger to get splints and bandages. Many folks don't ever get the 'lay of the land' so to speak at events in case of accidents. Kudos.

    1. Kris - Nope - no padding - just a (hard, dry) sandy patch worn in the grass by feet... And, no, it's a case of use at your own risk.

      Thanks for the wishes - I've passed them on.

      I did NOT mean to imply in this posting that I was in any way the "heroine, in fact HUGE kuddo's to Mike - there was not a single tear shed during this entire incident. Bless him.

  2. Glad you were right there when it happened! If he had continued moving the break could have gotten worse. Yes, zip lines are fun but agree, dangerous. We went on one in Mexico once & had a stick to use as a brake. Others went with a different company & got titanium sticks for brakes. I used my brake so much that you could smell smoke.

    1. DFW - LOL - smell smoke... Nope - no brake on this foefie slide.

  3. The birthday plans sounded wonderful, and unfortunately sometimes the injuries of childhood happen on otherwise wonderful days such as these. One of my son's broke at arm ice skating on a birthday expedition, and another had an allergic reaction to a birthday meal at a good restaurant. Still, they remember their birthdays fondly. Very best wishes,

    1. Jane - Yeah, I'm just sad for Mike that this happened on his 1st birthday party.

      Isn't it weird how mainly good memories remain after a negative incident. The beauty of the human brain :)

    2. Thank Heaven for small favors ! Without my children remembering the good things, I think with four boys and one girl they would recall a trail of "bad birthdays" !
      I have one of my own. When I was turning thirteen, my parents and I picked up five of my friends and we went to a beautiful lake for the day where we swam and barbecued food. On the way to picking up my friend Patti, we saw a plane crash. We were late to the party at the lake because we had to notify police and relate our eye witness accounts of the crash.

    3. Ouch - that must've been very traumatic!

  4. "And the party hadn't even started yet."
    Well done you!
    Here's hoping Mike's arm heals perfectly.

    1. Quinn - Seriously, all the accolades MUST go Mike's way - he was the star of the show!!

      His arm is all wrapped up in plaster of paris - including the op site - I find that weird - how does it heal without air?

  5. That's awful that it happened on the birthday. Not that it would have been a welcome event any other time, but gosh!

    I hope he gets well soon and that it isn't a big, long , convoluted process for the little guy.

    1. Harry - It will entail another op in a couple of months to remove the pin, but he's coping admirably with the cast, the "phantom" itches and the inconvenience.

      Yeah - this type of thing is unwelcome at any time...

  6. Hi Dani, I've added a link. I didn't realize it wasn't connected.
    Thanks Lawrie at Firefly Farm Adventures

    1. Lawrie - Thanks - I've updated the post above with your info :)

  7. Well, sounds like that didn't go as planned. Glad he's ok after the surgery and all. That's certainly an "unforgettable" day!!


    1. Sue - Nope - not as planned at all...

      Yeah, he's coming along beautifully thanks :)

  8. grateful that granma has a cool head and great presence of mind. Wish your young man a quick and complete recovery!

    1. Thanks Diana. Yes, he's mending well, and has his 2 week check-up next Tuesday :) Cast comes off 3 weeks after that, and then it's the 2nd op to remove the pin, but that should only entail a day visit in the hospital.

    2. But, I actually did very little - the GP was the most important visitor that day...

  9. Oh no! What a birthday. Memorable, but not in the expected way! Good thing you'd thought to scope the situation out at the beginning. At least Mike will recover and the incident will be referred to with chuckles for many years to come.

    I wanted to mention that I changed my domain name, which is why your "Blogs I Read" has my last post at a couple weeks ago. It seems a number of blog readers didn't follow along on that. :)

    1. Leigh - Yeah, there are already chuckles happening... :)

      I picked up the domain change, and sorted out my dashboard when you posted about it :)

    2. ...and I amended my "Blogs I Read" - thanks :)


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