"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

Saturday 15 November 2014

The scars recede

I have always felt guilty about the scars we have caused on our land.  Scars from earth moving, creating our dam, planting our trees and, most of all, the scars caused during our building process.

Google Earth has finally updated the images they capture in our part of this planet.  Being out in the sticks (and therefore unimportant) they only do so every three years, but - it was worth waiting for :)

This is what our piece of land looked like when we purchased it back in March 2008:
Our plot of land in March 2008 when
we purchased it.
The path that crosses it is the footpath
caused by our one neighbour - a shortcut
across the field to shorten the trip to the
main road 4.5 kms away.
Also interesting is the plough line
which transgresses both our plot
and the neighbouring one.  I can tell
you that the fence that divides the two
plots is old and rusty - so the
scars of that plough have lingered...
It was completely overgrazed by the locals cows and sheep.  And full of renosterbos - all those little individual dots are visible on the Google Earth screen print. Signs of ploughing from yonks ago - and who knows when that last happened. Certainly long before 1996 when the smallholdings first started being sold off and inhabited by "newcomers" because the oldest resident has no memory of that fence not being in place.
Our plot of land with phase 1
of our build - one large room
(consisting of the lounge / dining /
kitchen) and the white shiny IBR roofed
bathroom to the right side - Aug 2010
Then, we got involved and scarred the land with our personal requirements. The driveway round the (dryer side of the) perimeter,  The dam.  The grape vine area.  The vegetable patch and the underground cellar which we never completed / built.  And the house build.

Ugly, nasty scars.
Our plot - October 2013
But, this is what our smallholding looks like from "space" in October 2013.
Our plot with markers.
You can even see the solar
panels n the garage roof :)
(Still enough space to
triple up on that if we had to
/ wanted to)
To give you some idea of what lies where, I have labelled the various area's I mention in this blog.
Our home November 2014 :)
I am strangely comforted by the latest Google Earth images (even if they are over a year old), because I finally realise that no matter how we bend our smallholding to our requirements, if we were to leave it, permanently, and no one was to occupy it ever again, all the buildings would collapse, the rubble would become overgrown, and it would revert back to what it was originally.  It would no longer be scarred by the mark of man.

In the meantime though, we are trying to treat it gently.  We are trying to be good custodians.  And we are aware of our impact - even if it is only on 2.2hA of land.


  1. Certainly looks neat from up there.
    I hate the thought that there is NO privacy anymore-even from above. But, it is interesting, nonetheless!

    1. Ah, Sue - Big Brother is watching us - in ways which we cannot even conceive LOL

      Nope - not as neat as I'd like - but, hopefully, we're getting there :)

  2. Great to see it from above - really lets me get a feel for the place. I keep meaning to do some plans of this place as it's hard to get a picture in your mind otherwise. I think the scars on the land in the Uk go back a long long way!

    1. Kev - Google Earth is a wonderful programme for being able to get a bird's eye view. But, LOL, I'm not sure that's all it's enabling... ;)

  3. Great to see the progress and yes,nature repairing our damage!

    1. Linda - Nature always will - as long as humans aren't invovled...

  4. Dani,

    It will always come back if there is no human involvement. But, aren't we allowed to live here too? Your 'damage (& I wouldn't even call it that)' is what makes your lives better. We can't all live in a jungle. At least not here in the Southeast US. We would be eaten alive by murderous insects if that were the case. You guys have done a lovely job with your land.

    1. DFW - Exaclty! Yes, we are allowed to co-habit but I think that being aware of our impact allows us to tread more gently, and be considerate of our impact - both short and long term.

  5. What a fascinating post, and lovely to see the land healing

    1. Chickpea - My sentiment entirely. I hated seeing that scared image on Google Earth. I know that the land will heal, but I needed proof that our contribution was on the mend :)


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