"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, 16 June 2017

Wake up call

I seem to be quite negative in my postings lately - my apologies.  But I think when life hands you lemons you still need to gather the lemons together in order to make lemonade.
Image source: Digital Globe
Images collected on June 14th show the devastation from
 the unprecedented wildfires in Knysna, South Africa. The before
 and after comparison show near-infrared images displaying
 healthy vegetation in red, and burned areas in black/gray.
The recent catastrophes (storms and fires) in the Western Cape have been horrific to experience / watch.  300 kms of the picturesque Garden Route was completely obliterated.  Hundreds of thousands of people lost everything.  11 people are known to have perished in that fire, and who knows how many animals.  Thankfully, in anticipation of the storm, the provincial government closed schools on Wednesday 7th June.  Thankfully, because 135 schools were damaged...

 RMan and I are now hyper aware of how vulnerable we all are, and will, where possible, take measures to prevent a major calamity of this type from negatively impacting us - as far as we possibly can.

We are currently rectifying the damage that was done to our house by the gale force winds which we experienced - barge boards ripped off / destroyed and roof tiles blown off.  To say that the winds were scary is an understatement.  Add to that runaway fires...  We did have a fire spring up in the nearby village during last Saturday's gale force wind, but thankfully the fire department managed to sort that out - only God knows how they did it.  That fire damaged our Internet tower and we were without a connection for 5 days whilst the tower, wiring and the equipment was replaced.

My heart bleeds for those affected in the garden route - the 1 000's of homes and lifetime memories lost, the lives lost...  Just too terrible.

In our area we all received the Overberg Water Drought letter with our water accounts recently. Drought restrictions and penalties are now in force.

A link to Duivenhoks Dam which supplies us with water 
shows that the dam is still reflecting 62% (as of 2/6/2017) so personally, I have not been too perturbed.

However, on looking at my rainfall records, a different picture emerges. (see image below).
Rainfall records from Nov 2013 to June 2017
What this means for our summer season time will tell...

For those of us that grow our own vegetables / fruit bearing trees a tip I'd like to share is that Sutherland Sawmills in Swellendam sells wood mulch (fine and coarse) for +/- R50.00 a trailer load. We did this last summer and have found that placing a thick layer round our veggie beds / base of our trees helped them to conserve water during the hotter months thereby assisting in ensuring their survival and their intended function i.e. food production. As wood mulch apparently temporarily ties up nitrogen in the surface of soil against with which it has contact, ways of replenishing that nitrogen is through the addition of an organic nitrogen supplement e.g. alpaca, horse, cow, chicken manure and even human urine - even (non-seeding) weeds will fulfil this function for as they break down they return to the soil what they have taken from it in order to grow.  I know that very few of my readers live in our area, but I'm sure if you Google you'll find a sawmill or bulk mulch supplier close to you.

Helping each other helps all of us enjoy our individual patches of heaven 😀

Anyone have any other water saving / disaster avoiding tips that they'd care to share?

Note to Sol if you read this post:  Permission to view your blog is denied to me ;)  Maybe you need to send me another invite?  


possumqueensa said...

I think econoloos are great, but the parts are made of plastic and there's a built in redundancy, so if you lose one part, you have to replace the whole mechanism. I've seen lots of amazing ways to use grey water in an econoloo, but I'm not opening up that cistern for anything after my last experience with the local methhead plumber, and definitely not opening and closing it to pour in grey water. So, I'm throwing the grey water directly into the bowl. This only works for number one, but if you pour the water around the bowl and get a bit of swirl going, it pushes down the paper and you get a nice clean bowl. Better than leaving it to mellow, cos the smell is getting to me now. Sorry, this is a bit icky, but anyone in Western Cape knows what I'm talking about.

Dani said...

pqsa - I know exactly what you're talking about.

Have you considered splashing some bicarbonate and vinegar into the loo - it's fine for septic tanks too 😉

possumqueensa said...

I do this every now and then and also unclog the drains with it.

Dani said...

Ditto :)

Harry Flashman said...

I saw on the news this morning that there is a massive wildfire burning in Portugal. It's killed at least 60 people they know of. Spain and France have sent air tankers but they haven't gotten it under control yet.

I am a lot more cognizant of the forest fire problem after the dreadful summer we had here last year.

Dani said...

Harry - Yeah, I'm watching the news too - I have family in Portugal but am not sure if they are in this area.

I love the idea of living in a forest, with a stream running nearby - but would worry so about fires... :(

Diana Studer said...

Sorry to hear you had storm damage. Bergvliet school was one of the worst hit - but we were OK.

Dani said...

Diana - Our damage was minimal given the strength of the wind we experiences. Mainly damage at the roof apex (9 mtrs high) and, given RMan's dislike of extreme height, we had to wait for a repair company to rectify. All is sorted (and strengthened) now thankfully.