We’ve also revamped the chicken’s enclosure in anticipation of the arrival of our new cockerel and hens at the end of September. Fernando has gone to my neighbour’s as a stud (lucky Fernando) and we will be getting some fertile eggs from his new hens to incubate. The whole idea was to get some new blood into the three flocks on the three adjoining farms. One neighbour is breeding for size, another is breeding for egg laying ability and hardiness. Fernando is an AmberLink and they are prime egg layers but not very good brooders.
The weather has been wonderful for working outside nearly all week – on Tuesday it rained lightly but that was perfect for potting out all my peppers and working in the vegetable garden. I love it when it rains because we let the tanks run down into the big dam – I don’t think people who live in areas of abundant water can ever really understand the joy of receiving rain. The drought in this area is the worst in 132 years so every drop of rain is precious.
Wednesday was quilting and is officially my day off! We walk the dogs every morning and were thrilled to see a huge V formation of large birds flying overhead towards the mountains – there were about seventy of them and I think they were cranes .What a spectacular sight they were. Thursday I was back in the garden but Andre went for a ride with two new biking friends he’s met locally. They decided that if the weather was good they’d leave at 7am and they did. I met them at 5pm down at our local pub on the beach, McNasty’s, and three happier gentlemen you couldn’t wish to see! They had done about 600kms – out to Ronnie’s Sex Shop, lunch in Barrydale, a draai in Swellendam, then up hill and down dale to get home. They did Robinson Pass, Garcia Pass, Tradouw Pass and one other as well as riding back along the beautiful coastal road. They couldn’t stop raving about the scenery, the roads they’d travelled and the great lunch they’d had in Barrydale.
Friday we took the dogs down to the beach and for the first time we managed to let Jack stay off the leash for the whole time. We praised him for being good when we got home and he was so happy. I can’t believe the change in him since we got him as a rescue dog a year and a half ago. It’s taken that long for him to really trust us but I suppose considering how badly he’d been abused it’s not surprising. The rest of the day and, in fact, the whole weekend has been spent in the garden. We have managed to totally clear the area around the pool of weeds – eight wheelbarrow loads! The garden has been so badly neglected but as the weeds came out the treasures underneath were revealed – beds of strawberries for one! Anyone suffering from arachnophobia wouldn’t have enjoyed it though as there were scores of spiders emerging from the undergrowth. Ben lay in the cool earth facing the wall close to where I was weeding and just licked them off the wall as they ran out of hiding. After weeding we gave everything a deep watering from our rain tanks and then mulched with pine shavings and compost.
I’m amazed actually at how well a lot of the plants in our garden have survived. They’ve been neglected really for a year and a half and had virtually no water and yet I find celery growing up through piles of rocks and my three rose bushes are flowering like there is no tomorrow. On the subject of plants the fynbos is entering yet another stage – for the last two weeks there are quite large dusty pink and white bushes flowering abundantly. The bitou are slowly losing their flowers but there are hundreds of yellow daisies on the hill sides. On the down side we’ve identified two more large black wattles and some small silver wattles growing in the ravine. I don’t even know how we’ll get to them as they are in virtually inaccessible areas. A young male vervet monkey has moved into the ravine area. He has obviously been thrown out of the large troop that normally moves through the area. He lives in the dense trees at the top of the ravine but during the day he walks along the top of the fence up to the driveway and then goes up to our neighbour’s farm. The mongoose who lives in the fynbos has also been very active this week – he is so quick though that I just never manage to get a photo of him but I’ve seen him on the verandah a few times.
Next week we will start work on revamping the swimming pool, plant mealies and on Wednesday we’re having a day of doing mosaics here with some friends. I also need to finish the spare bedroom in the cottage as we have guests at the end of September. On Saturday it’s the Outeniqua Quilters’ meeting in George – always a good outing. So – lots to look forward to!