"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

Sunday, 21 May 2017

If there's something strange in your neighborhood...


...who you gonna call...


You all know how that song continues, but they're not going to help in this situation.

You, me, your neighbour, your family, strangers - they're the only ones who can pull the trick out of the hat.

Snakes - we - or more correctly Stellar - found a puff adder in the alpaca feed shelter last Friday.  RMan noticed that Stellar was behaving weirdly so called her inside whilst he went to investigate.

Yup, a roll of shadecloth in one of the (un)used bins was moving.

Thankfully, John, the odd-job guy who helps us was there on that day and between RMan and John it was  dispatched.

He then spoke to one of our neighbours who told him that the caretaker of our neighbours property found 4 Cape Cobra's and 2 puff adders - in the last week!!!  That is scary stuff...

Snakes should be hibernating at this time of year.

For goodness sake - we're exactly a month away from mid-winter!
This Paulowina tree should only be flowering in September -
 not now...
Then, this morning we noticed that our Paulowina tree is flowering - that shouldn't be happening yet - historically it should only happen in September.  The seasons are definitely wonky.  And, as much as I can handle what is happening, can the farmers?

Our weather has even made international new weather reports:

CNN Cape Town weather

Finally, have you read the latest about the moss growing in Antarctica?

If we don't all change our ways and consider Mother Earth, and the harm we are collectively doing to her, then she will reject us.

Are you more ready for that rejection than doing your bit now...?

It's our choice.  

Friday, 19 May 2017

I see skies of blue...

...red roses too...








(I love Sir David Attenborough - he never fails to lift me up, and give me hope...)





Saturday, 13 May 2017

Fire trap


This last March we had hectic wild fires in our area.  We have had them before - in our little valley - those damn Black Wattles burn like hell!!
A tiny puff of smoke was the first sign,,,
But this time it was started with a lightning strike on our drought parched mountainside - 20kms away over the mountain to the north of us - the mountain that we face.

Our first inkling was a little puff of smoke - as in the pic above.  The fire had come over the mountain.
The wind changed direct and the smoke increased
Soon, our entire mountain was engulfed...
Dusk - and the fire is creeping down the mountainside
We are roughly 7 - 8 kms as the crow flies from those mountains - not terribly far when a wild fire is burning.
This pic was sent to me by a resident in Suurbraak
Dusk - and the flames become more apparent
Seeing a fire during the day is one thing, but watching it at night one's depth of vision is impaired - leading to many, many sleepless nights.  Has it jumped to the farmlands?  How close is it now?  Which way is the wind blowing - our way...?

Lots of things go through your mind at night.  And very few of them positive.
Smoke so thick it almost blocked out the sun
Thankfully the wind kept the worst of the fire from endangering us.  It took 5 days for that fire to completely burn out / get sorted by the local farmers / firemen.
A second fire a few weeks later - this time it was on our
side - on the farmlands
But, the lesson was there.

If - if - we should be in danger of a fire sweeping through our area, we do not have sufficient water for our (small) fire brigade to make any significant difference.   Plus, it would take them +/- 45 minutes just to get here.  Historically, they pitch up with a small +/- 1 000lt trailer load of water, and then break Black Wattle branches from the trees and everyone climbs in helping to beat the fire with the branches.  That is not terribly effective.  The fire department cannot bring their big fire engine as the area, in most places, is too rough for it to traverse.

And, for us, not having any way to evacuate the alpaca's in the event of a fire, we were nervous and RMan wasn't happy - he felt powerless and vulnerable.

So I climbed on Google and Gumtree.
Fire fighting water trailer
I managed to find what he was looking for -  a fire fighting water trailer. But they were in Johannesburg.  Ah well, couriers deliver...

We sent off an enquiry, got the necessary feedback, and placed our order and paid (in full - what was wrong with me, I know better!!).

One week delivery, became two, became three.  Asking for references (yeah, a bit late, but we were thinking that we had thrown away what was - for us - a fairly substantial amount of money) we contacted them.  Unanimously they all described waiting for ages, but that they did eventually get what they ordered.  So, fear allayed - a little bit...

After one and a half months enough was enough.  The excuses were becoming repetitive and our patience had run out weeks ago.

RMan requested his money back.

Two weeks after that he got 50% refunded.  And more excuses - the trailer will still be sent on Monday evening the next week, etc.

A further two weeks down the line he finally got the balance that was due to him.

Why - oh, why - did I pay them in full???  That is totally out of character for me.

Anyway, the company had use of a fairly substantial amount of money for 2-odd months.

But, we still didn't have any means of effectively beating a fire.  So Google again...
Thick rubber fire fighting beaters
 I found two companies who manufactured rubber mat fire beaters.
Premat fire beaters
 I contacted everyone in our little valley and asked if anyone wanted one - we were going to order.
Safequip fire beaters
Most of the other inhabitants also wanted so one or two, so armed with an order of 30-odd units, I asked if there was any chance of a discount on quantity.

Yup - quite a nice discount in fact.  Thanks Safequip ;)  That was greatly appreciated!

So, at least we are all now equipped with some basic means of protecting ourselves against a fire in our area.

I am still keeping my eye out for another water trailer manufacturer who can supply us a unit within our budget though... ;)





Disclaimer:  No discount was asked for nor given for sharing the info above.  It is shared here merely to assist anyone else who might be interested in having some sort of fire fighting equipment.