"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, 3 October 2015

Summer is on it's way...

Well, we certainly finished off September better than it started.

Rainfall figures for 2015 - with comparisons to previous year(s)
As you can see we have had record months of rain this year for June, July and September.

August's total was lower than last year - but because it wasn't hot, the garden didn't suffer.

But, now our rain tanks, and our dam, are all overflowing - again.

RMan managed to get the concrete base done for one of the two extra rainwater tanks we purchased a couple of weeks ago and we pumped water from the other overflowing tanks into the new one.  We have positioned those tanks near the fruit trees - that, together with the solar pump, will allow us to easily water the fruit trees / grape vines without too much hassle nor having to pull 100mtr inflexible hosepipes around.

All the tanks are now overflowing, and the dam too.
Two days after the rain the water is still flowing
into the dam :)
So, we're definitely set for summer.

We noticed that two bushes next to our front entrance steps, which normally get hit by the frost (i.e. the leaves go black/brown and shrivel up) in winter, are both fine.  Just shows you that we had no frost this winter.  Not too sure what that will mean for the fruit on our fruit trees...

The fruit is starting to appear on the fruit trees, and on the grape vines too, but will it set?  We'll just have to wait and see.

Watching the weather report on the news at nighttime, the northern part of South Africa are already being exposed to temperatures in excess of 33 - 34°C.  In mid-September???  That's crazy - what are the temperatures going to be like in the hotter months of summer (Jan - March)???

The chickens are doing well - DeeDee is producing an egg a day - which allowed me to take 6 to Cape Town with me to give to RSon.  He can't conceive how chickens can lay an egg every day - "does production of the next egg start as soon as she has laid one?"  I can't wait for him to cook one of those eggs so that he can see how "firm" and tight the white albumen is, and how incredibly yellowy-orange the yolk is.  What we have been eating as 'free-range' eggs before has no comparison.

Other than that, we are extremely busy with our business (with great gratitude) and that is consuming most of my time.  So much for retiring to our smallholding...  But, I'd rather we were busy than scratching to find work.

But, it does limit the news I have to share with you all.  And, it limits my visiting your blogs too.

Today, I am taking some time off work, and am planning to get into my veggie patches to do some very necessary weeding.  I have planted (and replanted) tomato seeds in various places but nothing seems to be coming up - or has it?  I have a sneaky feeling that DeeDee and DumDum are eating the "wrong" things i.e. luscious tomato seedlings.  So I have started yet more seedlings - but this time they are on my kitchen windowsill...  That should thwart the chickens :)

I'll be chatting to you later in the week - hopefully.  Until then, enjoy yourselves :)


  1. I'm glad things are going well, and your business is rolling along. It's good all your rain tanks are full. We are having a bad storm here, over a three day period. Too much of a good thing.

    1. Harry - We had too many quiet-ish years with the downturn in the economy. Thankfully, things are sorting themselves out, but it all takes effort, do you know what I mean. Sorta like being hungry empowers one to appreciate every meal, no matter how small.

      Hope you and the Missus are safe up there on your mountainside...?

  2. It's funny to hear they are considering water restrictions for the Western cape when it's chucking down outside.

    1. possumqueensa - I think the water restrictions are due to a larger quantity of people making demands on the limited dam capacity. Also, global warming is going to affect the WC causing more frequent, longer and more severe droughts. Anyone here who doesn't have a fresh / rainwater tank is shortsighted, I think. A month of no takeaways / restaurant meals will pay for that incredibly important water tank... ;)

      Would that anyone with thirsty lawns could rip them up and grow foodstuff with mulch in between the beds. Lawns are a luxury - the basic human right of water (to drink / cook with) is paramount - world wide. Keeping up (or beating) the Jones's flashy garden is completely pointless...

    2. I totally agree with you about lawn, golf courses full of sprinklers make me apoplectic with rage. Not only do they suck up water at a rate of knots, but the noise of mowers and weedeaters aaargh! Water is definitely going to be a trigger issue this summer. In my town, the tap water is a sort of beige and tastes terrible. I refuse to buy water in bottles, so I drink the rainwater out my tank and it's delicious. I've been told to boil it, but I grew up in the country eating and drinking all sorts of things and I'm still alive. A whole lot better than the trihalomethanes in the municipal supply.

    3. possumqueensa - Yeah - we don;t buy bottled water either, but thankfully, our municipal water (from Overberg) is OK to drink.

      Have you got a first flush on your drainpipe into the tank? Do you catch bird droppings before they enter the tank?

    4. Unfortunately the person who lived in this house took the big tank with them and left a 1000 liter concrete one which doesn't appear to have any kind of filtration, so I am drinking the bird droppings and roof runoff, which probably isn't too good. I've been doing it for six months and feel absolutely fine and the cats like it too. I have a wonderful location for my next tank, which is going to be double the size and I'll do it properly. Our municipal water is extremely dodgy, everyone has tummy problems, and a toilet cistern full of mud is a wonderful experience!

    5. possumqueensa - Are you sure it's a cement tank, and not an asbestos one?

      Don't forget to make a concrete base for your new tank. When it rains the ground gets soft, which can cause your tank to tilt and potentially fall over / develop a leak ;)

  3. Oops, I'm really not sure, but I'll check with my neighbours, they have the same kind. I have an existing base for my new tank, it's nice and high and very sturdy brick reinforced with metal strips, so it can take the weight. When I got here the municipal water was fine, but every time they switch the mains off to dig up a pipe or do a repair, it all goes wacky. Every tap has to be opened and cleared of mud and the water tastes terrible for weeks. Then it clears and all OK until the next repair. Very strange.

  4. Over here in California, people seem to have their heads in their backsides with regard to fresh water! Although the population numbers seem to increase exponentially, our fresh water sources are dwindling due to our ongoing drought, yet lawns, swimming pools and lush green golf courses seem to be everywhere! Rainwater collection? City folk seem to think that a rainwater tank would be ugly and detract from the beauty of their lawns!! Here at our homestead we have four 1,100 gallon tanks and one 500 gallon tank, all gathering rainwater during the winter to irrigate our fruit and nut trees in the summer. Unfortunately it wasn't enough this year and we had to pump some water from our well to water the trees. We will be buying a few more tanks in the next year or two so we can water our vegetable garden as well. I would like to actually make a concrete cistern so that the water stays cooler, and I have heard that unused septic tanks can be converted into underground cisterns. We may give this a try next year! Good luck with your tomatoes. Mine didn't do so well this year due to whitefly and spider mites! I have never had such a problem with those pests, and I think I will chalk it up to climate change - along with drought! Have a great day!

    1. Vicki - They won't think those tanks are ugly when they have no water... Yeah, new, unused septic tanks would make an excellent underground water storage unit :)

  5. I recall reading that a hen has every egg she's ever going to lay in her from day one. It's just a slow process as they develop. If you've ever processed a hen you know that there are a lot of eggs in there! Amazing stuff.
    It's interesting to notice how much more hens eat than roosters, despite roosters being the larger bird. I suppose that's to supply the energy to grow those eggs!
    Your weather pattern has sort of mirrored ours, even though we're in opposite seasons. We were in a drought until late September, then it rained over 10 inches in a week!

    1. Bill - That sounds like (human) females too. Apparently we are born with all the eggs we are ever going to have ;)

      I have also noticed that the hen eats more than the rooster - must be because she has such an important function - making all those yummy eggs... ;)


Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;) I try and reply as quickly as possible so please forgive me if sometimes my response is delayed.