If I had to count, it must have been at least 978. Maybe even 1475. No, at least 2690. The weather report promised three days of rain and this farm is going to make full use of every drop of it! Packets of flower seeds have been laying next to the back door for over a month, waiting for the right day. Seizing it, I grabbed the packets, my hand spade and a hat and enthusiastically scattered promises of pink and yellow and red and orange, purple and blue and mauve and white along our gravelly driveway. 2690 promises to be exact After saying goodnight to our chickens, I found Petrus frenetically shovelling baby tomato plants into our kitchen garden. This is after I also poked some into the ground earlier the day! Such sweet joy, spring and rain together! I can't wait, I'm sure I'm more excited about seeing the flowers than opening my Christmas gifts. Come and share in the joy!
We are experiencing such abundance without it even being spring yet! I randomly picked viagra sans ordonnance a few things for our lunch on my way back from pruning the vineyard. Three lush tomatoes growing next to our mountain rooms, heirloom peas, radish and lettuce from the greenhouse and wild herbs along the steps. We are so blessed to live in this piece of heaven!
There is a well-known saying: "a farmer's work is never done", or is it rather "a mother's work is never done"? Either way, both apply to our farm! You can imagine our joy when an energetic, inspired, humble, clever and skilled young lady volunteered to come help us out with our never-ending to-do lists. In exhange for her time, we would give her a room and healthy food. More than a fair exchange me thinks! Fi Smit arrived end July. I've known her for a few years now. She first entered my Landscape Architecture course at UP as a sprightly and spirited young lady; an inquisitive and creative mind if you've ever seen one! We remained friends and after a surprise visit on the farm, we chatted about her plans before going back to complete her Masters degree in LA at UCT. We both were thrilled at the prospect of her spending a month or two on the farm. If you've read the previous post, you can picture how her little hands were appreciated! She not only helped with preparing the produce and their packaging for the market, but also busied herself with no less than three huge items on our list. The grey water drainage problem of the guest house was tackled, the pomegranate trees pruned and the damara sheep dosed with some vitamens for spring. This week, Fi sorted out our overgrown greenhouse and prepared numerous seedling trays for the spring crops. She made some lavender cuttings and moved the many indigenous herbs to the beds close to the mountain border gardens. At this very moment, she is helping Petrus with the huge compost bed. For the past two [...]
Today we are revelling in the fact that it's a public holiday and also the end of our busiest week since we opened the guesthouse. During the week we hosted participants attending the Fynbos Forum. We had numerous exciting discussions around the breakfast table with members of SANPARKS and Cape Nature and other private consultants like Barry Low. We also prepared for the Robertson Slow Regional Food Market. I juiced around 150 lemons and made Passion Fruit and Lemon Pelargonium cordials and lemonade infused with Rose Geranium, Lavender. We made amazing tapenade from this year's olive harvest and my husband packaged the most beautiful selection of heirloom seeds. The premium olive, lavender and fynbos soaps that we provide in our rooms were also specially packaged for sale at the market. Yesterday, our stall creaked under the bountiful produce! We sold almost all of the stock and am so grateful for each and every happy customer. A word of thanks must also go out to our very first volunteer on the farm, Fi, who worked tirelessly to help make this week a success. But her contribution is enough for a separate post, to follow soon!
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)
In week 38, Petrus told me that we’re going to be in a magazine. The Rapport magazine, My Tyd, wants to do a feature on modern-day farmers or people living in the ‘platteland’. Since we are passionate about our life on the farm and the benefits of living a simpler life, we would like to share it with as many people as possible. We expected the photographer on a Friday morning. The brief was to get a few shots of the heavily pregnant wife and her dashing farmer husband on the farm. The evening before, Petrus and I had to attend the first rehearsal for our local “Mime Time” charity show. Petrus was playing Danny, the character of John Travolta in Grease. I was a milkshake drinking shoo-wop girl “Like, does he have car, a ha, a ha?”. Nothing in the world would ever deter me from wanting to dance, not even being 39 weeks pregnant. So all evening this heavy girl was hopping and bopping on stage. At 01:00, the contractions started. Our little boy wanted in on the action and decided he would rather be early than miss his dad play the star role in the show. At 04:00 we left for hospital (in Worcester) and 18 hours later, Anno was in our arms. The most precious gift. Our lives were changed forever (a bleary eyed and tired mom now writes…). The first thing I thought when the contractions started, was that My Tyd will now lose their heavily pregnant wife photo, but at least gain a little baby. Two weeks later, the photographer and art director arrived on the farm to complete their mission. What fun we had! All the animals were [...]
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)