"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

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Winter hits

The small cold front that hit us as we were moving was a teaser.  It was a tickle.  It was an inconvenience. Nothing more than that.

And it was nothing compared to what lay ahead.

We woke up last Friday morning (to quote, Derek Van Damm, our local weather forecaster) to a "substantial cold front".  Which deposited loads of snow on the mountains.  In July????!  It even closed national roads in the Karroo - and that seldom happens!
Snow on the mountains - peeping out below
the clouds
Building work on the garage, naturally, came to a standstill, which meant that that first morning RMan and I could take the time to lie in bed and look at the snow through the lounge window - warmly snuggled beneath the duvets with hot tea and coffee clutched in our cold hands.
Not just the mountain in front of us, but every
mountain top in sight was liberally sprinkled with snow 
Snow in winter has been known to fall in this country.  But not often.  Not every year.  And I think this year it is a little early.  We normally get it at the end of winter, in August / September - and even October.  And it does not normally fall within reach.  So, a snowfall literally becomes a national holiday here LOL  We decided that we would take a trip up the Tradouw Pass and see if we couldn't carefully 4X4 our way to it.  It looked like it was lying low enough on the mountains - low enough to reach out and touch it...
Could we reach it...?
The drive up the Tradouw Pass is spectacular, and even more so when such snowy excitement is in the air.
The view down the valley on the Tradouw Pass
This time even I learnt something.  I didn't know that Tradouw is a Khoisan word for 'the women's path" - and I wonder which path the men used?
I'm always amazed at how such mountain passes
were built using the antiquated tools of
Unfortunately, the snow was too high, and I wasn't keen to damage the flora by driving along mountain sides to get to it.  If it had been in reach of the tar road, or there had been a firebreak road which we could have driven along - well, that would have been a bonus.  But veering off the road - that's not my thing.  I have too much respect for what Mother Nature has created.
Buffeljags River - in full flow
We decided to drive through to the closest village of Buffeljags (trans. Buffalo Hunts). Driving over the bridge we saw that that river, normally a boulder strewn trickle in the ground, was full to capacity. 
A road towards the village of Buffeljags - underwater
from a rain formed dam to the right of the road
And, veering off the N2 down a side road, the road was submerged - rain water was forming puddles of water everywhere.  There is an old wooden railway bridge on that road which has seen too many floods, and which has been replaced with a new, higher, steel bridge.  But the road remains at ground level.  You would not believe the flood of water rushing over the road.
The older wooden bridge on the right,
and the newer steel bridge on the left,

with the "road" in the centre.
There is a movie (I can't remember the name of it) where two guys stand at the end of a runway and scream as a plane takes off.  The noise produced by these flood waters created just such a noise.  And I couldn't resist a good hearty scream myself.  You couldn't hear me above the noise.  Very therapeutic :)
A wonderful scene - the perfect end to a brilliant day :)
As we drove home along the muddy track we call a road, we came across a local herdsman moving sheep.  Big smiles all round - I guess even they were enjoying the bracing cold, and the magnificent views of the snow capped mountains.


Sue said...

I would LOVE to have some snow right now...........

FlowerLady said...

Your day trip sounds wonderful to me, bracing cold, snow on the mountains, a bit of flooding river scenes, sheep and shepherds. Wow!

I went out a few minutes ago (a little after 6 a.m.) and it is very warm, still and humid. UGH! There are some rain clouds in the vicinity too. Hopefully it will rain and make the air fresher and cooler. But, this is July in s.e. FL and we've still got hot August and September to get through before any real cooler weather gets here.

Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

tami said...

Lovely pics...especially the one with the sheep. What a treat!

Dani said...

Sue - LOL - your time will come. I'm just loving it... :)

FlowerLady - I LOVE winter - guess my (UK) roots are showing. Summer always makes me wilt.

tami - Thanks - yeah, I loved the sheep pic too - it really encapsulated the day for me :)

1st Man said...

That's so awesome. Well not the flooding, though the pics are stunning, but the snow, the sheep, it's just so cool. I can hear the happiness in your posting. Awesome. What a lot of us in the states wouldn't give for some cold weather right about now, ha.

Side note, the movie, if I recall correctly, is Wayne's World. :-)

Mrs. Mac said...

Just absolutely beautiful. Does your farm get snow during the winter? Enjoy the solitude and keep warm.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

It is amazing just how warm it stays for you year round. I admit that can have its advantages, but there is something really magical about snow. You never know, the way this year is going you may be getting inches at your house. Nothing would surprise me these days.

Dani said...

1st man - Your turn will come, and I'll be envying your cool weather whilst I'm roasting soon... :)

Mrs Mac - No - we're too low to get snow, but I live in hope... :)

Jane - Snow in the mountains is predicted AGAIN tomorrow - and that is unusual! Max temp predicted 5oC. Now, if it could just fall 12kms from the mountain, then we'd get some of the lovely white stuff1

DFW said...

Thank you for the pictures. Love the sheep, not so much the flooding. Also, the sunrise / sunset pictures in the last post are also wonderful.

Dani said...

DFW - Thank you :) Isn't the sheep pic priceless - love it too :)

kymber said...

Dani - i just caught up to you - your previous new posts weren't showing on my blog list? or i missed them? or something? and i was getting worried. i am so glad to hear from you again. lovely pics...sorry about the cold!

your friend,

Dani said...

kymber - I LOVE the cold - as long as I can go indoors and get warm LOL

I'm having such internet hassles - having difficulty posting (the last one (welcome / howdy) took 5 days and roughly 20 attempts), never mind commenting on other blogs - but, where possible I am trying to keep up to speed with you all. Please - bear with me...