On March 11 I had an operation on my shoulder, had tried to put it off for a few months but eventually the doctor gave me no choice. It’s healing well although the physio is painful but at least my mobility is much improved – before the op I couldn’t brush my hair, do my bra up etc. I’d reached the stage where I would dread visitors as I looked a permanent scruff, no underwear and my hair all over the place! (Some who know me well might ask – so what’s different?) Although I can move again I still don’t have much strength, also I haven’t been on the bike for a month – will try it this weekend.
The Buff was on in mid March and Andre spent some time down at the site looking up friends. There were a lot of bikers visiting our local pubs and restaurants – was good to see them all in town. Apparently numbers were down by about 2000 from last year – that’s a helluva lot but I think many people are still feeling the effects of the recession and, of course, the petrol price increases. My friends at the market who had stalls at the KKNK (Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees – that’s national Art festival for all you English speakers) in Oudsthoorn last week were also complaining that they had lost money as there were so few visitors to the Festival. There seem to be a reasonable amount of out of town visitors down here at present but I’m not sure what it’s normally like this time of year. The Rebel 4x4 challenge was held on the same weekend as the Buffalo – it’s right across the valley from us in an old quarry, so for one day of the year we get to hear the roar of engines and the cheers of the crowds. The local bikers and four wheelers are very keen on their off road sports in this area but that’s because there are just so many awesome dirt roads to travel on.
The Outeniqua Quilt Festival was lovely (Photos under Arts and Crafts). The quilts were hung in the hall of the beautiful old NG Moedergemeente and there were stalls selling quilting accessories and fabric as well as a tea garden. I had given some of Viola’s bags to be sold and they all went so I was very happy for her. A friend gave me a lift there on National Quilting Day and we spent a lovely day kuiering with the quilters and admiring the quilts. On that day I met a lady who lives across the valley from the Pinkhaus and she showed me her garden later on in the week – well, what an inspiration. I realized that I need to get some trees into the garden to establish some shady spots. Before we could put any more fruit trees in though, we had to get a fence up to stop Blossom and Lollipop decimating them, so we enlisted the help of our neighbour to put up a goat proof fence and gate. After that I went on a tree shopping spree and spent the next two weeks with Andre planting trees. If that seems a long time to plant some trees it is but, our soil is about two inches deep and then you hit almost solid rock. Andre has become adept at swinging a pick axe and I at mixing soils and compost and various other potions to help the trees grow – I feel like one of Macbeth’s witches. We’ve put in a selection of fruit and nut trees as well as a carob in the orchard. This was not before my desperate goats had climbed the goat proof gate to sample the tasty apricot and walnut tree. We managed to clear them out and Andre has had to make the gate even higher. In the garden we planted a fever tree, a coral tree and a leopard tree – they are very beautiful. Aren’t we strange sometimes – my trees are only as tall as my shoulder but I can already see us sitting in their shade!
I hope they grow as well as the paprikas I planted in November last year – since February I have picked over 50kgs of the most gorgeous paprikas which I sell at the market, to the vegetable shops and also give to friends. They have been a wonderful surprise and are still bearing fruit. I had to laugh at the market last week- three little boys were admiring them but insisted that they must be ’killer hot’ because they are such a deep red. I eventually convinced them to taste the (very sweet) paprikas which their father then bought for them. Jokingly I commented that they should take them to school in their lunch boxes to impress the other kids – they took me seriously and insisted on walking around the market eating them and looking ‘cool’. I couldn’t have thought up a better marketing strategy if I’d tried – for the rest of the morning a steady stream of under 10 year olds came to the stall asking for ‘daardie chillies’.
The paprikas also ‘paid’ for my goats to be covered. About three weeks ago the two of them started bawling up the hill to a boy goat on a neighbouring farm. I received a lovely text message purportedly from this goat asking if he could come and visit as my girls had invited him over and that he had put on some Eau de Cologne in anticipation of the visit. By this time my girls were frantic, howling all night long, (my neighbour described them as ‘tarts’) so we invited ‘Pottie’ down and he arrived, in all his smelly glory, and spent three days with my randy goats. After they’d had their way with him my sullied madams rebuffed him terribly and he became quite forlorn- bleating mournfully every time he saw me, I had to keep giving him head scratches to comfort him and then spend an hour trying to get the smell off my hands – my goodness he was funky. Hopefully we will have some little kids in August. I’ve put a picture of Pottie and the girls under ‘My animals and other friends’.
On the baby front – Honey hatched out eight fluffy chicks last week; I took some of the 21 eggs away from her. She is a fierce mummy and has all the other hens keeping a very safe distance from her. Poor Speckles tried to go for a drink of water the other day and obviously came too close to Honey’s bunch – Honey launched into the attack, grabbed Speckles by the wing and hauled her squawking out of the area. The babies are nameless at present – I’ll leave that up to the grandchildren who are visiting for Easter.
The tilapia have also hatched out two batches of fingerlings – that really surprised me because they were only fingerlings themselves in December. They seem to be thriving in the dam because I have done absolutely nothing to encourage them other than put them in there – I don’t even feed them. What I have done is plant some of the local blue water lilies in the pond –they are covering all the dams at present and are stunning. The proteas are starting to flower and the lobelias are STILL flowering, they haven’t stopped since we moved in – I do so love them, they make me smile every time I see their dark blue splashes against the brown rocks.
After quite a few requests to do so I started a quilting group which will meet here once a month – for the first meeting last month there were six of us, next week we meet again and I’m expecting two more ladies to join us. We range in experience from nil to very experienced so it will be fun to share ideas. Today was the meeting for Outeniqua quilters which is always inspiring – many of us have made quilts to send to Japan to the survivors of the earthquake. It’s wonderful as quilters all over South Africa have made quilts, a courier company has offered to send them to Cape Town for free where they will be sent by container, again for free, to Japan. All of this was organized by quilters and their families- that’s what I love about quilters, they are generous AND they don’t let anything stand in their way if they need to get something done! I’m glad we could do it – I always feel so helpless when I see people suffering so far away, so hopefully the quilts will help to keep some people warm and also let them know that others care for them.
On the wildlife front I saw a little striped weasel this week – so lovely, like a ferret, and the philistines who killed the rhino a while back have tried twice to get at the other rhinos- both times in broad daylight. Thank heavens everyone in the area is so alert to the fact that the rhino are in danger that both times the poachers were spotted and thwarted. As soon as anyone sees anything an alert goes out and the police, helicopter from the game lodge and anyone available within the area just descend on the spot where the poachers were sighted. They apparently operate with two way radios- the poachers, that is. We don’t have Neighbourhood Watch in this area – we have Rhino Watch.
Finally – I’ve put some pictures in the Arts and Crafts section of our last Textile Art Group meeting. We displayed our ‘Outa’ inspired work and what a lovely day it was, especially as Gudrun and Bodo from Prins Albert were there to share it with us. Our theme for this month’s work is ’In the Round’ so it will be exciting again to see what comes out of that. Till next time.
PS Next week is the Slow Festival in Sedgefield –their webpage is www.slowfestival.co.za