"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

Friday 18 June 2010

Winter scene

Winter hit the Cape early this year...

Neighbours of ours were up at their farm this past weekend when the two large cold fronts hit.  They live about 3 kms from us and are also in the process of building their future.  The one cold front dropped 30mm of rain on Saturday night and Sunday brought the snow...

They took photo's for us of the snow that fell on the Langeberg / Tradouw Pass mountains.  Apparently it was so cold that they had to go to Swellendam to buy a coat for their dog - the only coat they could get was a kiddie's jersey which was adapted to fit Star.

Wish we could've been there, but we do need to get the air vent we placed on the one gable modified so as to not let in so much air - can get quite drafty at night as we haven't got the ceiling in yet.

Think I would also like to have my Dover stove in, and working, too - insurance against such cold weather.

Friday 11 June 2010

Burglar and weather proofing

We managed to slip away to the farm again last weekend - heavenly!  Perfect weather, little wind and enough time to get some all important jobs done.

Firstly, due to the increase in petty break-ins we installed some burglar proofing on the windows.  Very simple system - and I was so busy assisting the main worker that I forgot to take photo's.  Perhaps it was also the fact that I'd forgotten to charge my camera batteries and they ran dry... or that I was so busy cleaning up the dust from the drilling.  I did use the vacuum cleaner hose, strategically positioned, to catch the bulk of the dust whilst RMan was drilling, but some always manages to escape and settle everywhere.

But, the empty batteries forced me to try something that I had been contemplating, and that was to try and charge my camera batteries in my solar light - they both take the same size.  It worked!  So perhaps I don't need to purchase a special solar battery charger for our AA size batteries after all!

But, we also noticed that the kitchen door, which faces south and subsequently never gets the sun, was sticking at the bottom due to damp, so that prompted us to install the back porch roof.  Again I say we, but the main worker did 99% of the work.  And what a good job he did too.  We had extra Resin roof tiles left over from the main roof, and, together with a couple of wooden supports, the job got done.

We still have to get the side walls where the roof meets the walls built up to enclose it totally, but I reckon it's brilliant.  It completely changes the appearance of the back of the house. 

RMan constantly surprises me, even after almost 30 years of marriage, I never knew that he was capable of such handyman feats.

We also made some progress on the raised veggie patch - installing the main support beams.

And we have discovered that apparently a local resident, who is squatting on the land he occupies, has no water connection, so he is helping himself to everyone else's!  Share and share alike - but 13 Kl in a month?!  That is going a little too far - we never used that even whilst we were building.  So we'll have to make a plan.

When we returned to Cape Town I immediately went to check my special lemon tree cuttings - mother hen syndrome I guess.  I had, after all, been away from them for 4 days.  They were doing well - I can even see some tiny leaf shoots growing!  But I thought perhaps I should share my mini-greenhouse system - a perfect way to recycle empty plastic bottles and propagate cuttings simultaneously!

I love it when a plan works.