"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 7 January 2011

A very refreshing break

We left Cape Town on Boxing Day - by we, I mean RMan, myself, NGirl, MKid and WGuy - RSon joined us 3 days later.

Surprisingly, there was very little traffic so the trip only took us 2 1/2 hours.  Naturally, we had to stop at Dassiesfontein - NGirl wanted to show WGuy all the goodies available there, and RMan (finally) bought himself a hat to wear whilst working on the farm - very necessary for those hot, sunny days.

Talking of sunny days we had nothing but overcast skies for the entire time we were there - drizzling now and then, but only producing 4mm of rain in 8 days - just enough to rinse off the leaves.  But the overcast skies were perfect for getting out onto the land and getting some work done.

Before RMan pulled a shoulder muscle using the pick, we managed to plant and lay irrigation to : 5 tiny Eugenia trees (as a wind break) 1 conifer which had been slowly dying of thirst in a broken pot at our home in Cape Town, 5 tiny lemon trees (grown from pips last year) and three avocado trees - also grown from pips - in the compost heap - LOL.  I think I have heard that avocado pips do not produce fruiting trees - time will tell...

We created a small wind break - to help the lemon trees along -
the wind blows something awful there...
We also lined the 5 individual pomegrate trees we have planted with a square mtr of Weedguard (a permeable ground cover for the prevention of weeds and the evapouration of whatever water we give the trees) and then we laid a continuous strip where we planted the lemon trees - we're very interested to see which method works better!

The renosterveld which has sprung up in the three months since we last able to visit were terrible - RMan, RSon and I climbed in and cleared the area where we planted fthe first of my lemon trees, and RSon also cleared the driverway - which was becoming completely overgrown.  We also gave the grape vine area a good weeding and installed some wire supports - as well as creating a border round them - it would appear as if some sheep and cows have had access to our property - not too sure how, for we can't see the fences broken / changed, and the new growth on the grape vines has been "pruned" - but we can see their droppings...

Believe it or not - weeding this area took RMan and I three hours - boy, is that ground hard!

Weeded and fenced - now the grape vines may have
a chance of survival against the heat and the cows / sheep

MKid just had to go to the closest thicket of wattle trees to build a "Survivor" shelter with WGuy - Cubs is obviously rubbing off on RKid - well Cubs, Ultimate Survivor / Ray Mears and Bear Grylls (can't stand the latter personally)  :-)  RKid wanted to sleep in the shelter - until he saw a large-ish spider and a couple of beetles walking round in it.

I'm very impressed with what they achieved though - using only branches - no twine or string at all - and it survived a night of hectic wind too... 

MKid had an absolute ball and is now the Official in Charge of All Fires - nothing he likes more than lighting the fire (with adult supervision, naturally) for the evenings braai (barbeque) - yes - we did manage to braai our dinner every day - and very cosy it was round the fire even when it started to drizzle slightly.

This was WGuys first exposure to anything eco - and I am very pleased to hear that he is trying to convince his parents to follow our example - he has, apparently, even gone so far as to start researching wind turbines, etc.  Very chuffed I am - hope the enthusiasm doesn't wear off as he becomes submerged with his normal working / daily life.  He was very impressed that our total energy use was 95 watts at any given time...

A simpler life is possible without too much loss of comfort - we are providing proof!

But the most exciting news of all - a neighbour of ours has recently started developing his piece of land, and has put up some temporary living structures (sleeping area and bathroom).  And he has put up a wind turbine!

What a thing of beauty it is.  It was spinning madly when we arrived - and continued spinning (even on the gentlest of breezes) for the entire time we were there!  I sat, transfixed at the sight of energy being produced with nothing other than the wind!

We took a walk there on the last morning - as the skies were clearing.
Naturally I had to get a closer look so we took a walk to see it - not only is it gorgeous, but it is also whisper quiet.

I am a shade of green - and it has nothing to do with being eco-friendly!  Ah well, we'll get ours when finances permit...

BUT - we have proof that a wind turbine is the route to go - not that I needed any - I have always been convinced that that will be the solution to our power requirements.

I can hardly wait J.


  1. The pictures of your land are gorgeous. And the prospect of future wind power is awesome! I have always been drawn to windmills ..

  2. Dani...I just love reading your blog! This was another wonderful post. You guys are accomplishing so much. Not only on your farmstead, but spiritually, emotionally and mentally even for others who don't live there with you. Thank you!
    I'm green, too...you are able to do so much all year round there compared to here where I am. I can't wait to plant grapes, my trees...you guys are doing a wonderful job.
    As far as the avocado, please share what info you find out. One of my grandmas used to sprout them all the time in her kitchen window. Here is a link that explains exactly how did it. BUT, what I'm wondering is why at the end it says "Avocados grown in this manner certainly will NOT be edible".

  3. Mrs Mac - thank you for the compliment :-) Widnmills - I too have a connection with them LOL

    Ezra - your very kind words - thank you. Yes - sprouting them on the kitchen windowsill is very similar to the way I sprouted ginger - I must say i was surprised when they suddenly appeared in my compost heap :-) - I will let you know how the avocado trees perform.


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