Saturday, May 30, 2009

Winter arrives!

Finally, winter arrives with avengeance. After enjoying temps at night, of nothing less than 18 deg. and daytime temps of 26 deg+ and with veggy seedlings still sprouting left, right and centre... suddenly (literally overnight), temperatures have dropped to -1 deg at night and daytime temperatures are not getting much higher than 17 deg, with an icy wind to back it.

So today the whole family decided to get involved in a little wattle eradication, to feed our little black-belly woodstove through the cold nights ahead. This little stove serves directly and indirectly, a multitude of purposes. First of all, it is a good reason to go and do some alien vegetation control, it also warms the house up, providing a real "winter has come and it's time to get cosy" feeling, we also use it for cooking instead of gas and finally, we use the ash it produces in our garden. It even has a little water heating device on the side which we use for hotwater bottles, dishes, etc.

So, although it's so primitive and old fashioned, if used correctly, it is actually quite a "state-of-the-art" when it comes to rural living.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

48 already....???

On Tuesday morning, I was woken up with hugs and kisses from my daughters and a steaming cup of coffee from my (still) sexy husband. I lay there totally amazed that I was the ripe old age of 48... Last night my husband and I wondered, where has the time gone, suddenly we have teenage children, the oldest is already 20 and is supporting herself, the next one will be leaving home next year and then there'll just be one child left at home.... plus all their pets of course, which will remain behind!

I still think of myself as a kind of young and cool mom.... until I catch a glimpse of myself in a windows reflection or mirror and realise with a shock.... I'm middle aged and have (almost) grey hair and due to the fact that I don't buy magazines anymore, don't have a T.V. and don't even have a radio.... I'm now completely ignorant to the latest fashions and music and I'm definitely NOT so young and cool anymore!!!!

BUT.... what I do have at my ripe ol' age, is a husband that I still adore, 3 beautiful girls who still take the time to make me handmade birthday cards and phone me, a wonderful farm in the mountains and a job I adore, making soap....

So.... for now, I will settle for being a cool middle aged person, grey hair suits me better anyway and what freedom not to have to worry about colouring it anymore (so bad for you and the enviroment!) and maybe one of these days, I'll be a cool Granny........

Monday, May 25, 2009

making comfrey oil

This my friends will be a valuable lesson... so pay attention! Bare in mind that this is all based on our own wonderful experiences with this herb, which we decided to try after reading so much about it.
Firstly, you have got to start growing the stuff, not just for using in creams and oils but for the garden too, as it has stacks of nitrogin and piles of minerals in it that your plants will just love! As we live in a very hot and dry climate and not knowing what to do with our grey water, I decided to make a Comfrey bed at the outlet. It seems that Comfrey needs a lot of water to keep it lush in our semi-Karoo climate. Comfrey plants should be easily obtainable from any nursery. Before we get started, I must just tell you that I'm also planting it around my fuit trees as a living mulch that I constantly harvest by trimming off the new growth and chopping it into the ground, LIGHTLY, as well as leaving it on top and in and around my your flower beds. Perhaps you can even add it to your earthworm farm (incidently I have not done this and on second thoughts, don't do this, it's a stupid idea.....)


METHOD: 1. 750mls pure sunflower oil or olive oil
2. Harvest 500gms of comfrey fresh (or 250grm dried)
3. Put them all together in a double boiler( one pot standing in another with water)
4. Simmer on a low heat for 3 hours
5. Remove and once cooled, strain and store in dark bottle or jar

This you can use, in a 20% mix with almond oil, or aqueous cream, or more olive oil, for bruises scrapes and sprains. This ratio was given to me by the little old lady (who lives in a shooo?) from Krakeel, who introduced me to this wonderfull herb. I just use a 50/50 mixture and sometimes even neat, I guess it all depends on your skin, ie: you might have some odd skin sensitivity.

Here's a tip: Rather than (as I have discovered!) trying to shove 500grm of fresh leaves into a pot (stainless steel or glass) and trying to make it fit, it's easier to dry it first by threading the leaves together and hanging them up and then use.
Here is a photo of one of the many butternuts that came up in the same bed and were totally healthy, the seeds must have washed down our drain.... halellula, yummy, yummy!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Metal Bird by Rain Conterio (age 12)

We aboard the metal bird,
who's big and bold,
strap ourselves to our seat,
ready for a wild fleet,
we leave the ground,
as well as the city sound,
passing tall trees,
buzzing bees,
stretched seas,
we are surrounded by a mask of blue,
we dip and dive,
we look out from our metal dome,
to seas and skys,
that have been often flown,
but still unkown......

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Its a sign

Friends of ours, Nic and Gabi and their 40 thousand kids, love coming to visit us from Plett on a regular basis. This we thoroughly enjoy, as it is always a time to catch up on all the goings-on in our old home town. One Friday evening they arrived late, as they had to gather their 40 thousand kids after school, sort out the dogs, then... oops, one dog suddenly went down with bilary(tick bite fever), so off to the vet. So, to cut a long story short, they arrived and after a lovely supper, Nic and Gabi disappeared out the kitchen door and into the night... and I thought to myself, "Well, if the passion gets you, it gets you" and I grabbed my glass of wine and looked around at their 40 thousand kids and hoped that it would be quick, whatever it was that they were getting up to. Anyway, it was not long before I heard them bumping at the kitchen door... Oh my gosh, I opened the door slowly and saw their beaming faces, one behind the other and between them they were carrying a sign. Nic, being a signwriter, had made us an amazingly beautiful sign with the name of our soap business, which is also the name of our farm and the following day was spent marching up and down the perimeter of our garden, trying to find a suitable place to put it up. The sign incidently, did not go up until 4 months later.
Now the beautiful sign is up and our farm has its identity "AFRICAN BLISS". Helping me put it up was my brother-in-law John, my aunt Gwen and the rest of the family standing around putting in their two cents worth...