"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

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A place of healing and a celebration

Sadly, last month RMan's dad passed away.  But, thankfully, RMan got to Johannesburg in time to see him.  However, due to the emotional stress RMan has experienced in the past weeks I thought it would be good to get him to the farm - to give him some lebensraum.  He has had to be so strong for other people and his emotional needs have come second.

Also, it was RMan's birthday this weekend and, with no phone call from his dad on the day, it would be even harder.  It is never easy to lose someone near to one.

We managed to leave on Thursday lunchtime with our RSon joining us on Saturday.  After the recent rains the countryside now is green, with all the farmers crops well on their way.  Lambs abound - even our neighbour, Tom, has two new additions to his flock.

As you can see the lambs in the above photo are so new born that their tails haven't been docked yet

It constantly amazes me how the lambs are born in mid-winter - how on earth do they keep warm?  There is still snow on the mountains and we experienced temperatures of 3oC in the early morning - and we're wrapped up in warm jackets and boots - the lambs don't even have their fleece yet!  Can cuddling up to their mother's be sufficient?  I gained a new respect for farm animals this weekend.

On Friday we managed to get the builders back for the day, to finish plastering around the last four window frames, and in the corners where the roof meets the walls - we discovered that that was the spot where the birds were gaining access to the house - there were two more dead birds in the house - and bird droppigns all over the floor - take it from me, it is NOT easy to clean up dried bird droppings - it sticks and sticks...even with the assistance of a pot scraper!  But I don't like the fact that birds are dying in our house.  They obviously don't have the wherewithall to find their way out once they are inside.  Pervention is better than cure - so to block off their access was the only solution.

The photo above is from June last year - he's not looking that good at the moment.

Max, (we've named him that) the cat that adopted us last year, actually came running when he saw us arrive.  He managed to wipe out all the cat food I had bought him - shame, he's pretty thin.  He was so hungry that he was even eating the bread crusts I threw outside for the birds, and a slice of avocado I acidentally dropped on the floor!  There wasn't even enough food to leave him a bowl full when we leave as I always do. (I'll have to get a bigger bag for him next time.)

I have been asking RMan for ages if we can get a supply of wood in - the locals cut the alien trees and sell the wood - part of the Working for Water campaign in this country( http://www.dwaf.gov.za/wfw/Control .  They sell 1000 pieces for R200.00 - we pay R29.00 for 10 - 12 pieces in town!

But, we had borrowed the work van to transport some stuff to the farm and we could only load 500 pieces - 1000 pieces would've been too heavy - and most of the 500 pieces are still too green to burn.  But, I'm not grumbling - at last we have some wood now.  The balance of the wood will have to be collected next time we're up there.  Negosiegat, the shop in Barrydale which sells Dover Stoves, is out of stock at the moment - new stock should arrive in 2 - 3 weeks.  But at least I now have wood for the dover stove when it's finally installed.  We used a bit of the dry wood for our braai (barbecue) on RMan's birthday - we had our neighbours, Neels and Petro, round for dinner.  A really lovely evening was had by all!  And our first social gathering on the farm.

Even our son enjoyed his break away from Cape Town - he took this beautiful photo of one of our aloes in flower.  And what a pleasure, and a priviledge, to share the farm experience with him - his only visit was last year when he was so incredibly helpful in erecting and installing our roof.  Now at least he has shared the benefit of all his hard work, and he has experienced the comfort of our little farm house.  He loved it :-)

When we left on Monday, we went via another farmer, in Bonnievale, who had recently had an article in the Farmers Weekly.  He has 14ha of his farm planted with pomegranates!  What a lovely helpful, pleasant person Willem Van Der Merwe is.  We must have spent a good hour-and-a-half with him and the advice he gave us was brilliant - I hate to thinking what bumbling idiots we must have appeared to Willem, but, there again, I guess everyone has to start somewhere!

All in all a brilliant long weekend - and just what the doctor ordered.

Rest in peace, Peter.