Friday, February 26, 2010

More happenings on the Kouga farm

In our area we have group of people that have started growing a varity of plants for the production of essential oils, aswell as one guy that has built himself an essential oil distiller. So slowly but  surely a new industry is starting to grow inthe area. This is great as the main industry is fruit, which is all run by big farms as this is the only way to make money out of the fruit industry with the profit margin being so small on fruit unless you exsport. So now the guys with small holdings of 10h and less are growing crops for the essential oil market and are then forming a co-op to sell their oils thru. We already purchase some of our oils through them and knowing the induviduals involved I therefore know that no pesticides are used and  they only use EM( effective micro-orginisms) This improves the soil by giving it a kick start to replenish all the organisms in the soil that make food available to the plant and improve soil structure. This suits us down to the T as we prefer using plant material that has not been adulterated by pesticides and chemical fertilizer.
One of the growers grew a small area of german chamomile on their land and asked me to put it thru my small two kg still to test for azulene, this shows itself as a blue oil and has anti- inflamatory properties, analgesic and calming properties superior to normal camomile. This is therefore sort after by the cosmetic industry and they are prepared to pay good money for this oil. As you can see the tests were positive and they have now planted larger areas. Its actually quit interesting as chamomile oil has the same weight as water so therefore to seperate it in quantity, requires a far more specialised process than straight distilling.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I am back.

Well after a long hot and busy summer, what with endless soap orders (we are not complaining!), entertaining friends and family, I'm finally getting the time to sit down and write on our blog again. Now that things have calmed down and are a lot quieter, we are having the time to get back into the veggie garden once again! 

The last two days  have been the hottest we've had this season. Late this afternoon, when we finally felt brave enough to venture outside again, I went to inspect the state of things in our veggie garden. While walking around the mielies, I realised to my utter dismay, that while I thought I had been watering them sufficiently over the past two days, it hadn't been enough and we are going to loose quite a lot of plants, including some of the pumpkins, butternuts and melons that had been interplanted amongst the mielies. 

Oh well... it's a constant learning curve, this change of lifestyle we've chosen and we are all  healthy and happy and still harvesting and eating plenty from the garden!