"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

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Manna from Heaven required...

A widening chasm was developing where the
water enters the dam
After a 35mm downpour in November our dam entrance gully took a hammering.  When RMan plowed the fodder fields in order to remove the weeds a whole bunch of stones were exposed, so those have been used to fill in / support the ever widening / deepening gully. 
Stones / rocks will hopefully prevent the chasm
getting any worse...
All we need now is some rain to fill the dam again.

Some serious praying and rain dancing needs to take place.  The water situation here is quite dire.

Our 7 X 5 000lt rain water tanks are completely empty...
 our dam...
That looks like the bentonite layer peeping
through on the lower left hand edge of the
... is at it's lowest level since we added the bentonite to it.  We calculate that perhaps only 2 - 3 feet of water remains.  Not more than that.
The leaves of the trees are all curling
 up in an effort to try and conserve water
... the leaves of the trees, in self-preservation mode, are closing...

...and the local rivers and streams are drying up...
This weed inside
the duck enclosure
(under a shadecloth
"roof") is not a happy
 ... and even the weeds are wilting.

We are desperate for some manna from heaven.
Our weather report for the next 9 days
Today (Saturday 24th January) the temperature outside is a stinking, claustrophobic and stifflingly hot 37oC (+/- 99oF) and there is no rain predicted for the next 9 days.

Taking into account that our rainfall for the past winter and summer months was, and is, well below average, I am very grateful that we are not having to financially support ourselves on what we grow as other (commercial) farmers have to.

Thankfully, our municipal supplied water is keeping our summer veggies alive.

Just.  (I shudder to think what our water bill is going to be this month...)  I have to store up whatever I can harvest to get us through the upcoming winter.
My strawberries have taken some serious
Figuring that the oats for the alpacas was more important, we allocated the mulch to the fields and fruit trees, and we're letting everything else battle on on their own...

The rain is critical to planting, and successfully growing the oats for the alpaca fodder.

So - anyone care for a dance...?

Sunday 25 January 2015

Following and commenting on blogs...

If anyone is missing my visiting / commenting on their blog, it's not that I'm not interested - it's not my fault.


Well, I discovered the weirdest thing the other night.
Mum's blog is clearly
visible on my smartphone
My PC and laptop Blogger dashboard is not the same as the one that appears on my smartphone.  I was reading the prelude of blogs on my smartphone the other night whilst RMan was involved with his sport on TV and I noticed that Mum had done a blog posting.

I tend to use my smartphone to check / comment on blogs only occasionally - preferring the normal keyboard of the laptop to navigate my way round the blogosphere, and to post my comments.  (Why do they make smartphone keyboards so dang miniscule?  They're more suited to a three-year-olds fingers than mine lol)
Mum's blog doesn't show up on the dashboard
on my laptop
But that blog posting is not appearing on the dashboard of my pc or laptop...!?!

How many blogs / blog posts have I missed because of this??  I thought that the blogs I am trying to follow were very quiet.  I thought they had all stopped / grown tired of blogging.  That thought saddened me.

Now I think I know the reason...

Mum - just so you know.  I have deleted my following of your blog and have then added your blog to my reading list again.

For those who don't know how to do that, it is as follows.  Go to the blog you are following / want to follow and find their followers gadget:

If anyone knows that I follow your blog, and you would like to go through my blog list on my profile and check if your blog is there I'd appreciate it.  Please let me know if your blog doesn't appear...

Is this happening with anyone else's dashboard??

Saturday 24 January 2015

It's a drag

So - RMan managed to remove most of the weeds by plowing - the plan regarding sheep eating the weeds (and their seeds) never materialized.  No, not through a change of plan.  After asking the shepherd for the sixth time we gave up...!

We didn't want to wait any longer - as the oat seed has to be scattered by latest March, field preparation time was a-wasting.

It turns out it didn't happen because the neighbours shepherd, who moves the sheep here and there to graze, felt it was too far to bring the sheep down to our plot!?!
The new fence behind the fruit trees
And RMan and John went to all the effort of fencing off the fodder fields.  It is a stunning fence in the same style as the paddocks we made for the alpacas.  Continuity is key :)
View of the new fence from the fields / driveway
So - the weeds have been given some attention and we've certainly fed the soil with the 2 tons of lime which has been generously sprinkled everywhere.

How else could we feed the soil?

The neighbour at the end of our road had straw bales delivered last year and they have just been sitting there rotting.  We asked him if he had a plan for those bales and his reply was in the negative.  When we asked if we could relieve him of them, he was more than happy to get rid of a very large rotting pile which had become an enormous mouse (and therefore snake) straw bale nest.
Straw bales being deposited onto the fields
In the past when we have purchased the round bales for fodder, and they have been loaded onto RMan's trailer by the seller.  We didn't have that luxury this time.

And the big round straw bales are heavy.

And falling apart after standing out in the open for so long.

It would have be impossible to get the complete ones onto our trailer, and the rotting ones were just falling apart when they were moved.

We had to make another plan.

After giving it some thought I came up with the suggestion of "sliding" them (with the aid of a rope and the tractor) onto an old piece of steel balustrade. Sometimes odd scraps of fencing / metal / wood come in handy and it is worth keeping them - even if you cannot imagine what use you can put them to at the time.  These scraps material of don't have to be an eyesore if they are kept in a neat pile.
The old piece of steel balustrade at work
moving part of a straw bale
RMan, his tractor, some steel chain, John and a piece of old balustrading got to work.
A strong chain is the key to a successful sled
Even the old broken bales were eased onto the makeshift sled with relative ease and schlepped up to road to our smallholding.
Where possible we unrolled the straw bale onto
the field prior to spreading the straw
The end result?

The top alpaca fodder field is now covered with a straw mulch  :)

That should help in preventing the surface residue lime from blowing away, the weeds from reappearing too quickly, and should help in retaining any much needed water which may fall from the heavens.

All we need now is some rain...

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Homemade gift idea's

I was looking for something and came across this site.  http://www.naturallivingideas.com/50-things-to-stop-buying.  And - on page 4 (I think it was) - there was an item entitled : 112-incredible-diy-gift-ideas  I had to click on it, didn't I :)

Last year I bottled up my glut of strawberries in vodka and, slipping the bottles into an inexpensive hessian bag I found at our co-op, we gave those out as Christmas gifts to our neighbours.  Given that there is more than three quarters of the year left before next Christmas, I reckon there is more than enough time to make all 112 listed items ;)

The page is summarized (with links) below:

DIY Beauty Gift Ideas

Make someone feel special by giving them a homemade beauty gift. From a ‘Spa in a Jar’ to Natural Lipstick, we have covered all areas…
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas

DIY Edible Gift Ideas

Treat your loved ones to some delicious homemade edible gifts, may that be a cookie mix for them to complete, some delectable chocolate truffles or flavored vodkas for adults only…
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas

DIY Gifts For The Home

Why not craft some beautiful DIY gifts that will look great in any home? We have DIY’s that will truly impress your friends and family…
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas

DIY Scented Gifts

Scents can be personalised to your special someone tastes and personality, here are 9 DIY scented gift ideas…
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas

DIY Gifts For The Kids

With seemingly endless birthday parties, giving gifts to kids can get really expensive! Why not make the effort and craft something that any child will love? These fun ideas will not only keep them happy but are a real treat to make…
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas

DIY Garden Gift Ideas

Gifts for your green fingered friends are really difficult to find, here we have collected 10 ideas that are inspired by the garden that any gardener will be pleased to receive. 
112 Incredible DIY Gift Ideas

Sunday 18 January 2015


As you all know from this post the ph balance of our soil is incorrect and lime is required to correct it if we want to grow oats with which to feed our alpacas.

We had previously purchased lime in 40kg bags, but that is the expensive way of doing it.

The storeman at our co-op suggested we purchase 500kgs bags.

That's more like it.

But, he couldn't source 500kg bags, so the next best was 1000 kgs.

Now, that is all well and good - they can load it onto the delivery truck with the proper equipment - but offloading it is another matter.

My boer (farmer) husband made a plan.
Even with the assistance of the driver and
his companion, 1000kgs is too heav
y for
RMan.  Tine to haul out the tractor...
Driving his tractor to where the truck was parked, one end of a strong rope was connected to the bag and the other to the tractor.  Slowly, slowing inching the tractor forwards resulted in the bag being carefully dragged off the truck bed...
With the help of the right equipment, the
1000kg of lime had no other option than
to slide off the truck bed and onto the field.
... and onto the ground.

Now, it's just a case of sprinkling the lime everywhere and working it into the soil... :)

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Free indoor games for winter

Do you like doing jigsaws?

Or are you looking for something to amuse the young'uns that is not going to cost you anything, and will / should keep them occupied for hours?

Or even a mother- or father-in-law... :)

Or a child sick in bed?

Did you know that you can fulfil your jigsaw urge without the necessity of the game having required the chopping down a single tree to make paper / cardboard, or by using 1ml of glue or printing ink?

And, an added bonus is that there are definitely no missing pieces lol

Almost 6 minutes into the jigsaw I have most of
the edges ;)
I chose to complete a winter scene - to try and cool down the temperatures we are currently wilting through...

There is something addictive (and very satisfying) when the sound of the correct pieces click together.

And, it didn't help cool anything down.

49 minutes later...

 Ah - the completed jigsaw.  If only it looked like that outside... :)


If you feel like whiling away some time, please click on the link below the above screen print photo.  There are plenty of free jigsaws on that site for all ages - from 4 pieces to 300+ pieces.

Something for everyone... :)

Update: the link from Jayne in her comment below: