"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, 10 February 2012

Other (small) farm improvements...

On those stifling days on the farm, when it is just too hot to work outside, I have to keep busy - well, after the snooze LOL

I don't have my pewter hobby bits and pieces at the farm yet, so I had to find something else to do.  This is one of the things that (albeit briefly) kept me busy.

I had a craving for some sprouts, but my sprouting tower was at the town house.  No matter - I grabbed the closest jar, filled it with dry seeds, damped them down, and using a plastic band, tied some recycled netting to the top.  It worked a treat :)
RMan decided that the outdoor furniture needed some maintenance so he pulled out the raw linseed oil.  It is applied neat to the wood with a soft brush and then allowed to become absorbed / dry for a week or so before using the furniture.  Ideally this should be done just prior to winter, but with the fierce sun and wind on the farm RMan decided the time had come.
Obviously, RMan has more patience than I do - getting to all those little nooks and crannies would drive me to distraction.
Raw linseed oil - the most eco-friendly method
of preserving wooden outdoor furniture
So, in the cooler part of the afternoon, whilst RMan was busy with that, I turned my attention to the front of the house.  In order for it not to remind me so vehemently that it is a construction site in progress (and will remain so until the world financial situation settles down or we finally sell our town house), I decided to start planting up the front.  Naturally, we will not be there to water whatever I planted, and I was hesitant to run irrigation to water non-productive plants - water is, in my book, far too precious a commodity for that.
I also had to ensure that whatever I planted could not be a hiding place for any wandering snake - I don't want to encourage them to take up residence so close to the house.  I want to view whatever wildlife there is from a distance, thank you.  So none of the plants that went into the ground should form a shady snake spot - hopefully.  If they do, well, they'll get ripped out, and I'll have to find another suitable spot for them.

We are planning on making the entrance stairs much wider, so I have left space for that...
Rose bushes waiting to be planted in front
of the grape vines made a brief statement
I laid some weedguard down where I want a path to be.  That got covered with the contents of our sandbags from the old "shower room" next to the caravan.  Definition was given to the path by using a few rocks that had to be relocated / collected when RMan was mowing.  And, violĂ , I have an entrance pathway :)

I have planted some Spekboom ("Portulacaria Afra" or Elephant Food) which is well-known for absorbing carbon dioxide from the air.  Also, some yellow aloes got a spot.  And some Cotyledon sp, Echeveria and Crassula.  But, for the other couple of indigenous plants that found a home in these two beds...  I have no idea what they are called. I just know they are water-wise.  And if they make for a prettier entrance, then they've done their job :)
Done and planted - I reckon it looks great.
Now it just needs to grow a little...
It will take a couple of years for the plants to add some substantial greenery, but at least that start has been made :)

And, finally, RMan constructed a very important piece of garden equipment for me.  Gone are the days of walking distances around the plot to find suitably large bushes on which I can hang wet clothing.  I now have a washing line :)
My homemade washing line
Such a simple thing.  And so necessary.  Wind and sun-dried laundry are now a definite on the farm.   Okay, so tell me RMan, when are we bringing the washing machine to the plot because I can't seem to find a scrubbing board from days of yore...?


  1. When we moved here, the very FIRST thing hubby had to do was string a clothesline. Can't be without that!
    I'm envious of your warmth....I'd so love to be digging in the dirt right now!

    1. Sue - I made do with the bushes - but not anymore LOL

  2. I just love the pictures you post of your home and the wide vistas around it. Such a beautiful place! Wanna trade places? (I think I'd get the better end of the deal though..;)

    1. Tami - That would be wonderful :) But I think you'd get the worse deal - don't forget, this is a house in progress (1 large room and bathroom.) Also - I'm a neurotic flyer LOL

  3. I too, love the pics of your farm. What is the advantages of raw vs. boiled linseed oil? I always ues boiled.

    1. Lou - I have no idea. I just know that raw linseed oil is best for outdoor wooden furniture.

  4. So many improvements!! I love how busy you are and that you share...as I love seeing how other farms are!

    Love your solar dryer!!

    And the snakes-oh we have to poke around our garden plants with a long stick before we harvest or weed, as rattlesnakes are heavy in the desert where I live.

    Have a lovely weekend.


    1. Jennifer - Now that's a good idea - poke around with a stick! That makes total sense - except if I find one LOL

      This will be my last rely to this posting for now - we're off to the farm for the weekend - spur of the moment decision. Enjoy yours too :)

  5. Enjoy the pics. Looks like you have things going good.

  6. Looks good. No washboards in your area? I bet one would be very easy to make with some tin. Another job for RMan ;)

  7. Good projects . .. and using the native plants should be fine if they get established. You have a good man putting up a clothes line for you. (you didn't have to nag:)?

  8. Lots of things going on at the farm! Enjoy your clothes line. I was so excited when hubby built me a clothesline here! I went a couple of years using a temporary one between two trees.

  9. wow looking good dani, with the washing line outside its starting to look really homely :) Btw you've been TAGGED, come see lol x

  10. John - Thanks :)

    Jane - Hmmm - RMan isn't soooo keen on DIY... Would need to find some tin an work my way round to it LOL

    Mrs Mac - Ahem - there was a bit of nagging involved...

    Linda - Nope - I wasn't going to settle for that - temporary tends to become permanent!

    Astra - Thanks :)

  11. I have a clothes line here to, but I screwed up by only having one line. One of these days I'm going to have to redo it and put at least another line on it. Just not enough room for the clothes I wash. Anymore I usually just wash and dry them at the laundry.

  12. Gosh Dani, you all have made some wonderful progress. I hear you about wild critter and especially snakes. I envy your clothes line too. It's a proper clothes line, not one of those silly umbrella models like I have. :)

  13. David - We don't have a laundry nearby, so a washing line was a necessity :)

    Leigh - I have one of those umbrella ones at the town house - they are useless LOL


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