"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, 12 August 2011

A hard days work

The Western Cape (the Cape Floral Kingdom) is home to three types of vegetation - Fynbos, Strandveld and Renosterveld.  Our area, the Overberg, is home to renosterveld.  It is not known how renosterveld got its' name, but there is general consensus that it was named after the Black Rhinoceros which used to live in this habitat, and which was the only animal that would eat this bush.

Renosterveld is apparently on the endangered list, due to agricultural development.  There is not much remaining renosterveld on our plot as it was firstly, planted with wheat years ago, and secondly, it was completely overgrazed by the locals animals prior to our buying the land.  (The locals feel no shame in cutting fences in order to let their animals graze on another persons land LOL)

Whatever - our plot is covered in renosterbos (rhinoceros bush)- a hardy, not particularly pretty bush.  In fact not even the livestock will eat it.  The conservation status of renosterbos itself is not threatened due to its weedy nature. It is widespread and abundant on road verges and reaches high densities on disturbed or overgrazed lands.
It is also the perfect place for ticks to lay in wait for their next meal, or for a snake to shelter beneath on those hot summer days...  And the latter causes me some concern - especially when our grandson visits, as, being 7 years old, he is not as aware as we are.  

So, this last weekend, I started removing it from our future orchard area.  This bush can only be pulled out of the ground after the rains - and even then it's no easy task on some of the larger bushes.  In summer, when the ground is baked hard, you have no chance!

RMan came to help, but even so it took us a full day to clear a small corner of our land.
What a difference it makes!  I am well pleased with our efforts :)
It's beginning to look like a meadow / orchard now.  I can't wait to see which new (renosterveld) plants grow now that the renosterbos has been removed.  And all the rain water that will now be available to the plants / lemon trees, or just able to soak down to the water table...

I can't tell you how many (new) muscles I discovered I had in my body - after spending roughly 10 hours bent over double, and straining as I pulled out the bushes, I felt the protest of each and every one :)  But, I reckon it was worth it!


  1. If only my bermuda grass was as easy to pull...(But I don't have snakes hiding in that.)

  2. I was just trying to picture a Black Rhinoceros of the past walking through that orchard of yours...what a sight to behold. Sounds like a lot of hard work but one day you will look out and see trees laden with fruit growing where there was once nothing but inedible brush...won't that be something.:)

  3. Looks good Dani, reminded me of around here until all the brush was gone. Do you'll have a water well or do you get by on catchment and maybe have to haul water?

  4. tami - Snake - they scare the bajeebers out of me :)

    Mr H - Yes - it's hard for me to conceive of black rhino's in the area too. The promise of the future (orchard) is what kept me going LOL

    tffn - No, we don't have a well yet - can't afford it. But we do have an (erratic) supply of (questionable water quality) from the local municipality. We, personally, don't drink it - just use it for watering plants and keep us and the place clean... :) Drinking water we schelp with us from Cape Town...

  5. No drinking water? Got a filter? We will be buying in renosterbos ;~)

  6. Tip my hat to all the hard work....wow, Im exhausted just reading about it. Also, i think we should start a little collection here to buy you one of these: http://www.brita.com/products/water-pitchers/ hahaha

  7. Elephant's Eye - It's not that the water is muddy, it's undrinkable because of the taste - think Overberg adds too much alum to their water...

    Why do you want to buy in renosterbos?

    wickets - LOL - a britta wouldn't help - see the reply comment to EE above.

  8. Dani that is just what myself and the daughters have been doing. You are right we have also discovered that it is easiest pulled out after the rain.

  9. i dunno why you just dont add a few tots of http://www.missionliquors.com/whiskey/johhny-walker-whiskey.html its made water taste great for centuries!!!!!!

  10. wickets - I wouldn't do that to scotch! :)

  11. African Bliss - Great minds... :)

  12. Wow Dani - that is a lot of work. There are somethings around here that are just so much easier to do after a rain, but still a lot of work. Emily

  13. When you are harvesting in your orchard this will all just be a memory..Now what's going to be in the orchard??

  14. emilysincerely - Guess the rains are good for more than watering our plants LOL

    Frann - At the moment only lemon trees... :)


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