Greener pastures The Langeberg is the perfect r egion for a st ay on a f arm – close enough to Cape Town for easy ac cess, but far enough to be authent ic platteland. The farmers here are an enterprising bunc h, offering plenty of rust ic getaways with inspiring stories . By James Bainbridge The extract featuring us: "From when you first arrive, Kogman & Keisie’s driveway sets the tone of this organic farm: you pass a windmill, solar panels, a natural swimming pool with a water-plant bio-filter, and a tortoisecrossing road sign. On the brow of the hill stand the farmhouse – newly opened as a five-room guest house with Victorian baths and hobbitesque turrets – and two self-catering cottages. If possible, angle for the Mountain View Cottage with its window above the bath for superb watery stargazing. The views from up here are incredible: in one direction are the wrinkly cliffs of Kogmanskloof, with its hiking trails and climbing routes; in the other, Montagu’s rooftops. ‘Our back gate leads into the nature reserve. We’re a working organic farm, and town is a short stroll away – it’s everything you want from rural life,’ says owner Petrus Jansen. Petrus, along with his wife Liana, won a sustainability gong at this year’s Cape Winelands District Municipality Mayoral Tourism Awards. But it has been a long road: having studied business management and psychology (surprisingly useful on a farm, apparently), Pretoria boy Petrus bought his three hectares of paradise and ‘roughed it like a mountain man’. He worked the land all alone for five years before persuading Liana, a landscape architect and anthropologist, to join him. The farm is certainly a fascinating place to tour with Petrus. From the farmhouse, a path winds down along the riverbank, past a swimming pool, braai terrace and hens’ retirement home; to a vineyard and orchard, groves of olive and pomegranate shrubs, and nurseries of indigenous and heirloom [...]
I harvested our first ripe blood orange the other day, oh boy was that good! I planted three trees three years ago and I'm sure they will provide plenty fruit in the years to come. Here is some more information about blood oranges: What is a blood orange? As its name suggests, this orange is red in color, sometimes in splotches on the outside but definitely on the inside. The concentration of the red inside depends on the particular type of orange and growing conditions. When you squeeze it, you really get a glimpse of the blood reference as the juice will resemble more that of a cranberry than an orange. Where does the red color come from? Blood oranges are “bloody” from a pigment called anthocyanin, which is widely found in the plant kingdom and can appear red as in cherries and red cabbage to blue as in blueberries and cornflowers or even purple as in pansies and eggplants (aubergines). Anthocyanin is reported to have many health benefits as it is a powerful antioxidant that can slow or prevent the growth of cancer cells–and even kill them. Moreover blood oranges contain high amounts of Vitamin C (up to 130% of recommended daily amount), potassium, Vitamin A, iron, calcium, and even fiber. Oranges and their juice can also help prevent the build-up of bad cholesterol as well as lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cataracts. Where do blood oranges come from? The blood orange originated in Sicily and Spain and varieties include Tarocco, Moro (or Morro), and Sanguinello (or Sanguigno). In fact you may hear the term “Sicilian Blood Oranges” even though they are grown in other parts of the [...]
Went to a talk by Jonathan Deal on 'Fracking in the Karoo' last night. This is not only a Karoo concern or South African, it's global. The vastness of the negative impact of fracking is very disturbing. It's important that we stand up together to oppose fracking and rather give our support to more renewable energy initiatives. In my opinion there is just nothing sustainable about fracking... Shale gas mining is a process that applies the technique of high-volume, horizontal, slick-water fracturing (‘fracking’ or ‘hydraulic fracturing’). It involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into horizontally drilled wells, under hydraulic pressure to fracture the underground shale layers and release gas. SHALE GAS MINING IS UNSUSTAINABLE • WATER THIRSTY • POSES DOCUMENTED ENVIRONMENTAL RISK" Shale gas mining (SGM), is presently banned or under some form of restriction or moratorium in a number of countries and states in different continents. In the United States, the American EPA, has extended the completion of what is now a six year investigation, by two years until May 2015.South Africa has conducted a cursory investigation into SGM under the auspices of the Department of Minerals. There has been no effective public participation in South Africa, despite a repeated undertaking by Minister Shabangu to do so.The economics of SGM, especially in America, are contested – also with regards to Energy Return on Investment (EROI) and sustainability. Jobs generated by SGM are also contested – in terms of actual numbers, local employment and so-called sustainability. Taking these facts into account, and acknowledging the lack of cohesive, broad and inclusive government consultation with the various stakeholders in South Africa, we stand in opposition to the licencing of shale gas exploration, or SGM in South [...]
October - Western Cape - South Africa Much the same as September except that you can now sow with much more confidence directly outside and transplant seedlings outside without the worry of frost. This is such a great month full of action in the garden! Artichoke, Asparagus Beans, Beetroot, Butternut Cardoon, Carrots, Celery, Chilis, Cucumber Eggplant Fennel Gooseberry Lettuce Melon Onion, Oriental Greens Pac Choy, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin Radish, Rocket Salsify, Spinach, Spring Onion, Squash, Swiss Chard Watermelon Zucchini (Marrows)
September - Western Cape - South Africa Artichoke, Asparagus Beans, Beetroot, Butternut Cardoon, Carrots, Celery, Chilis, Cucumber Eggplant Fennel Gooseberry Lettuce Melon Onion, Oriental Greens Pac Choy, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin Radish, Rocket Salsify, Spinach, Spring Onion, Squash, Swiss Chard Watermelon Zucchini (Marrows)
Western Cape: Winter rainfall areas Beetroot, Broad beans Cabbage, Carrots Dwarf spinach Endive Garlic Horseradish Kohlrabi Leek Lettuce Onion Parsley, Parsnip, Peas Radish Swede turnip Turnip
Hard work to pick and cure olives! It's been our best harvest in the past 5 years. Easy olive curing recipe: Ingredients 3 cups olives 2 cups cold water 2 cups hot water 1/4 cup canning salt Instructions Wash, pick over olives. Nick all olives deeply lengthwise along the olive. Put olives into container. Make up a brine in the proportions of 1/4 cup canning salt to 4 cups water. 2 cups cold water and 2 cup hot water is hot enough to dissolve salt, but cold enough not to cook the olives. Make enough brine to completely cover olives, weigh down the olives into the brine using a Ziploc bag of water. Cover the container of olives, set on top of a plate--the olive juice is brown and can stain your kitchen floor if you don't have protection. Soak olives in the brine for one week, then change brine completely and faithfully once/week, stir olives with a wooden spoon when you think about it . Start tasting olives after 3 weeks, keep changing brine until they are edible (not bitter). If you get mold, yeast, etc, it is harmless if the olives are covered in the brine. Just rinse your olives, pick out any rotten olives, scald the container, make up fresh brine and rebrine your olives. After the olives have been brined, can add garlic cloves, hot peppers, bay leaves, lemon, oregano, or almost anything. When you add flavorings, should store olives in refrigerator. Olives in the salt brine can be stored in their crock in a cool, dry place (the garage would work fine) If you are interested in buying fresh olives please contact us.
DAVID KRAMER was born in Worcester, South Africa in 1951, received his schooling in the same town and was awarded a bursary to study at Leeds University in the UK, where he graduated with Honours in 1974. He began his musical career as a singer/songwriter, performing at folk clubs and campus concerts across South Africa in the late 1970’s, singing satirical songs in English and Afrikaans. He portrayed himself as a rural everyman who travelled the dusty roads of small town South Africa with an old bicycle and a cheap guitar. When he released his first album in 1980, it was banned in its entirety by the SABC as it was considered too political and vulgar for the South African ear. Despite initial setbacks, he went on to be awarded 11 gold and one platinum record for sales of his albums. Today he works as a writer and theatre director. His interest and passion has, for almost thirty years been to explore South African identity. His work in South African musical theatre has focused primarily on the communities of the Cape. The thrust of the five musicals that he wrote with Taliep Petersen and one on his own, is in the retelling of a suppressed history. In 1985 he worked under the direction of the late Barney Simon, creative director of the Market Thetre in Johannesburg. As a result of this watershed experience, he started letting other actors interpret his songs, which led to his writing a musical. Four of these musical collaborations with Taliep Petersen, DISTRICT SIX, POISON AND KAT AND THE KINGS and GHOEMA have toured internationally. District Six was invited to the Edinburgh International Festival, POISON was performed in Malaysia [...]