"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

Monday 31 October 2011

Let a man go to an auction alone...?

Is it wise to let a man go to an auction without his other half?

Hmmmmm...  Dunno.  I reckon that men are more eager impulse buyers / "half price sale" shoppers than women.  At least that has been my experience of RMan.  No one, and I mean, no one, can rein RMan in when the temptation is there LOL

As we have been looking for a tractor, I get pending farming equipment auction notifications e-mailed to me.  Before we went to the farm last weekend one such mail arrived.  A farmer is retiring and the auction featured some farm equipment which seemed to be just what we were looking for.  But viewing days were Monday and Tuesday, and obviously we were still on the farm on those days.  However, RMan didn't forget, and on Wednesday morning he piped up, "So, are we going to the auction today?"  What - it's across town and I've got so much work to do, plus three loads of clay encrusted washing to shove into the machine before the predicted rain later in the week!

So RMan and RSon toddled off to the auction on their own...


What did they buy...?

They didn't get a tractor, but they did buy a table wood saw, an auger (for digging holes for our trees), another (spare) 5KvA generator...
These will certainly help transport the rain water
from the roof to our water storage tanks...
...rain water gutters and downpipes, a couple of (long) ladders...
... wooden planks (which will come in very useful), some gabion baskets...

... a couple of cupboards for our kitchen and one for the future bedroom(s) and quite a few wooden pallets, which I will probably turn into wooden fencing and / or use in the construction of my compost area LOL

I have big plans for the excess gutters...  But I'll tell you about that another time.

Oh, and RMan (clever man) also managed to find...
... a ride on lawnmower.  Why would we need that?
The grass is so high it's almost concealing the caravan
Well, following the good winter rains, the veld grass is now knee high.  And knee high grass hides lurking snakes.  
I love this type of grass, so delicate and light,
wafting in the slightest breeze
And lurking snakes, plus my grandson - well, the two just don't add up to any number that I am comfortable with.  Even I was extremely aware of where I placed each foot as I toddled around the farm on our last visit.
Even the area between the rows of lemon trees is
being submerged by the growth
Attempting to cut the tall grass with a weed eater (strimmer), or a petrol driven push mower, would take forever!  The only solution is a ride on lawnmower!  All it needs is a bit of an oil change, a couple of v-belts, a 12 volt battery and a set of blades...

Then I reckon the first order of business is going to be the trimming of that high grass in the vicinity of the house, and then perhaps a zoom around the perimeter of the farm to cut a firebreak of sorts.

Well, I guess buying at an auction is a brilliant form of recycling, and if it's going to help us finish building the house and help in the garden, can I really complain?  

Nope.  I reckon they did good LOLOLOLOL

Sunday 30 October 2011


Continuing the introduction of new friends to old friends, welcome (fáilte) to Astra from Ireland.  She is another newbie blogger who is forging her path to self-sufficiency.
And I would LOVE to audibly hear your accent!  There's something about the Irish accent that grabs me deep down inside.  And I am so looking forward to following your journey as your described it in on your dream page.  Trust me, once you start on it you'll never look back :)

Astra, I reply to all comments (even those placed on old postings), but given the size of this planet, and the different time zones, it may not be today by your time, but will certainly be by tomorrow  LOL  But, you appear to be in my time zone, so unless you are a late night bird (commenter) you should get a response from me on the same day.

Thank you for following my blog.  It's so nice to have you with us... :)

Final harvest and Spring growth

A final broad bean harvest awaited our arrival on the farm.  Another 8 kgs (roughly 18lbs) of beans landed in my kitchen sink!  As well as quite a few pods of seeds for next year.

It is a bit of a hassle removing the inner sheath from the broad beans (and naturally I have to have a sample now and then - well, a woman can't work herself to death and starve in the process, can she?), but the meal and taste sensation that these beans provide is worth every minute.  Whether slathered in cholesterol reducing (LOL) butter or tossed in a simple vinaigrette - they are just too delicious!  A complete meal in themselves.  They are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium and are also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Phosphorus, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Folate.

Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4322/2

Three of our pomegranate trees are filed with the most beautiful coral red flower buds.  The colour is so striking that they can be seen from the house - a good 40 - 45 mtrs (140 feet) away.  I can't wait to see whether any of the flowers produce fruit this year.  The trees are now three years old and should produce viable fruit for the first time.  (Did you know that the pomegranate fruit contains 613 seeds, which apparently represent the 613 commandments in the first 5 books of the Old Testament?)
Even this little grape plant is chock a block with developing grapes!  Compared to our plant in our town garden, which doesn't have a single bunch (and is 2 years older and gets regular TLC) this is absolutely amazing!  Another perfect example of leaving it to Mother Nature - who knows best!  :)

Saturday 29 October 2011

Flower Power

This article appeared in our local Saturday paper.

Now, if chamomile and mint works on both the elephant and rhinoceros, perhaps it (or something similar) will work on these too...? 
Jane's pests
... or...
John's pests
... or even one of our pests...?
Nature is wonderful, isn't it? We know / remember so little of how the farmers lived in days of yore.  Their lives weren't lived with chemicals and electrical gadgets, they lived simply, freely and in far more eco-friendly way, in tune with everything on the planet.

Makes you think...!  What have we actually gained with our modern lifestyle? And what have we lost?

Friday 28 October 2011

My new glass storage containers :)

Last week I told you that I had won a gift voucher on a give away that Sprig was running.

Well, thankfully RSon was at home on Tuesday morning when the courier company delivered a large box of goodies whilst I was on the farm.  I had been told it would be a gift voucher for ZAR500.00 to spend at Consol's factory shop.

But, I'm not complaining - not one little bit :)

This is what they brought:
I'll be able to see what is inside with these useful
"blackboard" jars
Glass storage jars with a small blackboard painted on the front - complete with a little piece of chalk inside.  So cute :)
The containers all have a rubber seal - no
contamination of the fridge with these :)
And I got a round and square set of fridge storage containers.
And finally, I also got a brilliant jar with a small solar panel and 5 X LED lights in the lid, and which also has a handle so that it can be hung from a hook / tree / whatever.
Join the dots to activate the light
- how clever is that :)
How lucky am I, and what a stunning selection of goodies they sent me.
The LED solar powered lights in the
bottle create a perfect light for a
romantic evening outside on the patio :)
Thank you Consol, and thank you, Sprig.  I am thrilled to pieces!

And all Consol has done is whet my appetite even more.  Now I have to visit the shop and see what else they have...

Thursday 27 October 2011

Please - wont you help us save Bantamsklip?

I received an e-mail from Sprig this morning.  For more information, please click on the link in Sprig's name.

It is all to do with a nuclear power station that the government wants to erect roughly 100-odd kilometers from our farm.  This one is only 100 kms - but they have others in the pipeline all along the coastline of South Africa.  If we can be vociferous enough, maybe, just maybe, we can change their course of action, and steer them in the proper direction.  It can't hurt to make the effort and try.  Can it?

Join us, wherever you are in the world, and let your voice be heard.

Please, please please.  Think of your little ones and their future little ones, think of your extended families, think of all the inhabitants (all God's creatures great and small - us included) of this world, and go to this site, and sign the petition. 

We don't need any more nuclear power stations on this planet.  Seriously, we don't!  What we need is for all governments to adopt renewable energy methods.  To install wave, wind and solar farms.  To use the moon, sun and the wind which is given freely by Mother Nature and which will not adversely affect our incredible planet.

To follow the example of Japan, and to actively start decommissioning (HA!) existing nuclear power stations - not build ruddy new ones!

Consider this.

What on earth could Japan know that we don't?

Sign the petition.  Please?!

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Continuing the introduction of new friends to old friends, welcome to Rachael from New Zealand.

Rachael, I reply to all comments (even those placed on old postings), but given the size of this planet, and the different time zones, it may not be today by your time, but will certainly be by tomorrow  LOL

Rachael appears to be new to the blogging world - please, won't you visit her site and make her feel welcome :)

Thank you for following my blog.  It's so nice to have you with us... :)

We're slowly getting organized...

We arrived back from the farm late last night.   Lots of news to tell you, but having had 3 days away from work there is a bunch of catching up to do. Also, I need to get my head  / all the news in order.

But I thought I'd tell you that I reckon RMan is amazing.  If he needs to buy something, he ask everyone he meets if they know of anyone who is selling  whatever he's looking for.

And that is just what he did.  He needed something - urgently.

We have so much stuff that we have to schlep from our town garden , and so much stuff which we are going to have to schlep for life on the farm, like compost, pine poles, etc.

So, everyone got asked (even the most unlikely people) if they know of anyone who has a trailer, and if they would like to sell it.

Sooner or later you have to hit pay dirt!
And we did :)
But, not only did we get a stunning 2.4 mtr (almost 8 feet / 2 mtr3 of loading space) long trailer for ZAR peanuts, but it is a very special trailer.  It comes with a completely removable tailgate (hopefully making the removal of sand, stone and compost a breeze), and it even has provision for a lid (which we will have to have made, as the original one was rusted through).

Happy days - and it has been put to work already.  Last time we went to the farm it took the recycled balustrade parts and one of the water tanks.
Oh, I almost forgot, the water tanks.

When we went to pick up the trailer there were two tanks lying to one side. They got included in the deal :)  The 2 X 1000lt (300gal) tanks had been used for storing (cooking) oil at a bakery.

What a state they were in... (if you're of a queasy nature, skip the next few photo's)
Old, sticky, thick, congealed oil lined the base, sides and inner roof of the containers. That entailed RMan having to devise a method of scraping out the mess...
He took a wooden pole and inserted a thin metal plate at one end - almost like you'd do if making an arrow.  This he would use to scrape at the oil at the bottom of the tanks.
Then a dose of vinegar and bicarbonate was initially used to "loosen" the congealed oil, and with the aid of his tool he scraped and dragged, swished and scrubbed...
... until the oil was broken down enough to ooze the thick sludge out via the bottom tap...
... into a bucket.  Revolting work, I can tell you.

Two days of (at times) back-breaking work resulted in...

... Ta! da!
... a spotlessly clean water tank.  Recycled goods, cleaned in an environmentally friendly way, and thus suitable for storing water for human consumption, if necessary, but definitely good enough to hold water my veggie patch :)

It doesn't even smell of oil!

Clever RMan - I'm very proud of you.

Now, all we have to do is get our rain water gutters up... :)

Friday 21 October 2011

Bird feeder update

Following my earlier posting on the bottle I purchased to supply the birds with sweetened weak black rooibos tea (sugar water), I thought you'd like to see the latest news...

In the past seven days the bird feeder had the following visitors...
A cute little Cape Whiteye (capensis) - can you see
him / her hiding in the tree on the left
- checking me out, no doubt :)
Time for a sip, or two, or three... actually
he / she had five
The Cape Whiteye (capensis) eats insects, spiders and spiders eggs, as well as honeydew from aphids.
CW to me; "I can see you hiding there...
Then, what popped by was a...
Black Sunbird (Nectarinia amethystina)!
... stunning male Black Sunbird!
Two good slurps :)
The Black Sunbird eats insects and spiders, as well as the nectar from many indigenous flowers.

Now, half the bottle of sweetened rooibos tea is gone, which is roughly 375 ml (an 8th of a pint).  If the Cape Whiteye had 1ml / sip (5 mls) in those 5 sips, and I allow the same amount for the Sunbirds longer slurp, that would equate to 75 visits to the sugar water bottle since I installed it in the tree.

Between the two I reckon they are providing a vital eco-friendly pest control service to my garden :)  Not too shabby - I am very chuffed, and will definitely be making another couple of bottles for the farm :)

... I just need to quaff the wine, methinks...

Anyway, in half-an-hour we're off to the farm for the weekend - so I'll see you next week :)

Thursday 20 October 2011

Snails this time...

I feel sorry for birds in winter, and always try and toss out a handful of crushed mealies (corn) for them every morning.  Mealies, or bread that is passed it's best.

On his most recent visit, MKid helped me crumble some stale bread, and we tossed it outside on the patio.  In deference to the poor birds beaks we used to toss it on the lawn, until we discovered that the neighbours cat was making a meal of the newly fed birds - so patio it has to be.

I reckon we must've tossed the bread too late in the day, as it was still there that evening.  And it rained.  So the bread crumbs got a tad wet (a.k.a. soaked) and firmly attached to the paving.

Which means that it's not so easy for the birds to peck up.  But, it seems I have discovered an accidental eco distraction against snail damage.

... because the snails proceeded to make a meal of it!
Munch, munch, munch.
They even went so far as to spread the word... (or should that be taste?)
I have no problem making piles of soaked stale bread to attract snails - it will certainly make them easier to spot at night and toss into a bucket of diluted beer water.  Why beer?  Well, beer destroys their mucus membrane LOL (now I'm wondering what effect beer has on humans - apart from the obvious...!)

And I'm going to have to be sneaky here, 'cos I dunno if RMan is going to willingly part with a bottle?

Wednesday 19 October 2011

God is in the detail...

"Red sky at night, shepherd delight,
 Red sky at morning, shepherd's warning..."

Or so the saying goes.

However, this was our sunset on Monday night...
and this...
... and this was the whole of yesterday...
Reckon some farmers may have been caught out...

Even though our gutters and rain water storage tanks have not been installed on the farm yet, the rain is very welcome :)


Firstly, continuing the introduction of new friends to old friends, welcome to Jody from Melbourne.
Jody, I reply to all comments (even those placed on old postings), but given the size of this planet, and the different time zones, it may not be today by your time, but will certainly be by tomorrow  LOL

Thank you for following my blog.  It's so nice to have you with us... :)

Tuesday 18 October 2011


... to Debora from Melbourne.

I believe that you have landed among friends, and trust you'll feel at home.

I reply to all comments (even those placed on old postings), but given the size of this planet, and the different time zones, it may not be today by your time, but will certainly be by tomorrow  LOL

Thank you for following my blog.  It's nice to have you with us... :)

Thanks Sprig - Lucky me :)

I follow a local blog called "Sprig" (a South African Gardening Blog)  "Sprig" was the winner of the News 24 / Old Mutual Best Green Blog in 2010 - a well deserved award!  (and I'm thrilled that my vote helped them win LOL)

Sprig is a gardening blog which details their interest in indigenous gardening, permaculture and growing their own food.  They also deal with subjects regarding other types of gardening, nature and environmental issues.  They welcome contributions to their blog - you just have to e-mail your contribution to them (including photo's) and, after moderation, it will, invariably, be posted on their blog.  They are also more than happy to post any gardening question you may have, for their readers to answer.  Now, how helpful is that :)

A couple of weeks ago they ran a competition in conjunction with Consol Glass (the major domestic glass jar / bottle producer in South Africa).

Well, I've just been notified that I won one of the two prizes!!  A ZAR500.00 ( US$ 64.00 / €46.00) gift voucher for glass goodies of my choice from Consol. Yipeeeee!  Thanks Sprig :)

These are some of the items which are available in the Consol shop in Stellenbosch:

Jars in all sorts of shapes and sizes...
... stunning bottles - for cordials?...
... and beautiful preserving jars...

Reckon I'm going to be very busy at the end of this summer - so much (hopefully) preserving to do, and such stunning jars I'm going to be preserving in... can't wait!  CGuy, I even have new jars to keep your honey in...  Hey, if they have the right containers, maybe I can even make my first batch of mead?

Now,with the small amount hat I produce in my town garden, I seriously need to get on with sorting out my veggie patch at the farm ... and planting more crops!  I've got jars and bottles to fill LOL

Monday 17 October 2011


I have always welcomed new commenters on my blog.

But I have been made to feel so welcome when I became a follower of John's blog... 

and of Stephen's blog,

that I have decided to take their example and to make the time to discover who my new followers are and to welcome them to my blog when their gravitar appears on my followers list.  After all, it is a friendly way of welcoming a newcomer into your midst.

And a little bit of friendliness in this world certainly wont go amiss :)

Nothing beats posting to my blog, and getting comments in return - a meeting of like minded people, a sharing of idea's and reactions.  A place of friendship, which brings great enjoyment to my day.

Therefore John and Stephen, consider yourselves warmly welcomed :)

And to all the other followers (public or anonymous) of Eco Footprint ~ South Africa - please know that you were, and are, as warmly welcomed -  I just didn't have this method of welcoming you back then... :)