Monday, February 21, 2011

A Spectacular End To A Hot Day

Star and Picasso
Today was one of the hottest and most humid days of the year, so far and I hate humidity! On days like this very little gets done around the "plaas". We do the bare essentials, such as watering the veggie garden, providing water for the horses and making soap, of course. The rest of the time is spent on the internet, reading in front of a fan and waiting for the temperature to drop to a manageable degree, so that we can venture out again. On days like this, one feels like a vampire, the moment you open the door and put your face out into the sun, you feel like cringing as it hits you! Anyway, the day never really got any cooler, until finally at about 5 pm, we got some cloud cover and I decided to take the dogs for their daily walk followed by a game of sticks.

 No matter how hot, or how cold and wet, they're always keen and for this reason I could never let them down. Come rain, hail, thunder and lightening, or some other kind of weather catastrophy, its as if their entire day  is spent lying around and biding their time, waiting for their walk. These pictures are of them at the end of todays walk.
Star, the only girl out of a litter of 7 puppies
So, I walked dogs and then put the horses into their field. Star never lets me out of her sight and is always sure to be there when I look around. If by chance I have not noticed her then she will let me know of her presence by giving me a gentle nudge with her nose.
The horses

Lulu long legs

Colonel ( alias: Gwho- Gwho )

The start of the show was with the clouds drawing in from the west.
Then we had some really majestic light illuminating the best parts of the clouds.
Star was also there, in fact the whole dog and human family to watch this display.
As you can see by the number of photos that I took, I was hoping to capture some of the beauty, I was obviously enjoying this and was in complete awe!

This is a close-up pic of a section of the clouds, just too beautiful.
Once the show was over, we sat on our stoep with a gas stove and fried some egg plant steaks, dipped in batter, with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice, accompanied by a salad and a lekker glass of red wine. Incidently, our entire meal was from the garden, including the lemon. Later, after supper, we experienced a short thunderstorm, just enough to cool the earth down for a good nights sleep.
The next day was another STINKER........

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Dig Potatoes..

When planting potatoes, you first have to get your moere! This is the Afrikaanse word for seed potato and is usually used as an insult, especially amongst the South African drunken fraternity, or very cross and angry South Africans!
You then put these "moere" in a black bag and place in a warm spot for about two to three weeks, in which time they will have sprouted some roots. They are then ready to plant. I also interplanted my potatoes with aubergines, as this is a good companion plant and I must say, this works like a bomb.

Plant them in holes about a hands width in depth, below the level of the soil. I also put comfrey leaves in the bottom of the holes (the holes must be about 60 cm apart), with a layer of soil above. I also dust my "moere" in ash and then cover with soil and water well. After about three weeks you will see a bit of life peeking above the soil. When your plant reaches about 15 to 20cm above the ground, you mound up the soil around the plant to about the 10 cm mark and as it grows, you keep on doing this until it starts to flower. I actually only did this "mounding-up" of soil twice and then waited... and watered... and watered!
 Once they flower, you then wait until the flowers start to wilt and the plant looks like it is in dire need of water. In my experience, this also the time to stop watering them (this is only my second potato crop, so maybe I am wrong) and wait for the plant to die off, then carefully dig them up, bearing in mind that all the potatoes stick close to the stem of the plant.  Our potato bed was about 7m long and 90cm wide and gave us 3 of the above boxes, full of potatoes. The aubergines are still growing in this bed and I am about to plant spinach with them as well. Once you have eaten your own home grown potatoes. you will be loathe to eat market potatoes again.
My next door neighbour, a farmer, Tienie Kritzinger, reckons that my veggie garden looks like the Garden of Eden, as everything is interplanted and weeds that get pulled out, I toss back into the bed as a mulch. But I love it, as once things start to grow and bear fruit, you have to walk around and search between the folliage for goodies! When you do come across some edibles, its a surprise and an adventure. Sometimes, I wish that for a moment, that I could shrink to just about 30cm tall and go clambering through our veggie garden, sniff my earthy smelling beetroots, give a ripe tomatoe a fat hug and sit under the shade of a pumpkin leaf and contemplate, maybe even have a well deserved snooze......