This past week I saw my first Oystercatcher down at Great Brak beach, a young eagle trying to pinch my neighbour’s hens, the first butterflies of the season and numerous new flowers. It seems as though all the wild bulbs are coming into flower and we have swathes of long stemmed and short stemmed white and short stemmed yellow and blue flowers all over the pastures. I also found what I think was a fungus of sorts – it looked like a big open orange flower with a black sticky centre lying flat in the grass, I thought it was a piece of plastic at first as it looked artificial. The top pastures are full of purple flowering weeds – I hesitate to call them that because they are so lovely. If we lived in town I’d feel obliged to pull them out but here they have free rein and they bring us great pleasure. The bees love them too.
Last week Tuesday started with a bang! I was getting ready to go to my glass etching class when my neighbour called to inform me that she’d got eight hens and a rooster for me and I could fetch them straight away. I’d sort of given up on getting chickens from her so was surprised and delighted when she called. Thank heavens the coops were all in order. I went to my class which was great fun (made a mirror for my granddaughter for Christmas) then on the way home collected the chickens. They are lovely – a very mixed bunch, which is what I’d wanted. They are also a lot more adventuresome than the Amber Links – every morning when I go to ‘let them out’ and give them their first breakfast they come tearing down the enclosure towards me having already let themselves out. They are also a lot easier to feed as they graze all the time – eating long grass like spaghetti. Their combs are just starting to show. I had to cancel the black rooster who was going to come on the weekend as he would have been too big for the hens so he is probably going to end up in the pot after all. I have already started preparing the large enclosure for the chickens to move to when they’re a little bigger. At the same time I’ve found a very good secondary use for my quilting safety pins – I use them for pinning old feed bags to the fence so the chickens can’t get out and so that the dogs can’t see them.
Andre spent Tuesday morning draining and cleaning the pool so after the chickens were settled I joined him. We took nearly the whole of Wednesday to finish the job – what a huge task. The gunk in the bottom of the pool was primordial, I felt that if it was hit by lightning we’d have been able to create life down there. After a day of scrubbing and scraping and removing bucket loads of goo we were eventually done and the pool looks so much better. For anyone who has a similar job to do we used something called Spirits of Salt which is a mild acid and worked absolute wonders on the old algae stuck to the walls. After we’d finished cleaning Andre removed all the old pipes jutting into the pool with an angle grinder and covered them over then we started to run the water back which we’d pumped out. It’s covered up to the steps but now we need some serious rain to finish the job. Just before we started to fill the pool a huge black tok-tokkie landed on the bottom and proceeded to thump out a tattoo on the fiberglass, it was very effective noisewise so I hope he found a mate! I was very tired when I went to my quilting group so just sat sewing my little hexagons and listened to all the conversations going on around me.
Thursday we prepared the cottage for our daughter and her family who were coming for the weekend and also did one of Andre’s favourite jobs –‘weeding the veld’. For a man who has done very little gardening in his life he now laughs at the fact that we spend time removing alien species from the fynbos so that it can grow unimpeded. There is canola which has spread from the pastures into the ‘wild’ areas so we had to remove it before it went to seed – I think we could start our own bio fuel plant with the amount of canola we have here!
I felt rude when our family arrived on Friday – they were here for a quarter of an hour then I had to vamos down to the Museum for my stint as a waitress in the tea garden for the Heritage day celebrations. Managed to do that without breaking anything, kids came down for a wander around the Museum then we headed home and just relaxed. I had my stall at Great Brak Market on Saturday early and it was cold but fun – I sold better than my first time there and there were quite a few tourists in town. It’s a very sociable market – everyone wanders around ‘visiting’ their friends at all the different stalls whilst stocking up on meat, veggies, eggs, plants, antiques and clothes. I had the pleasure of being next to the cheese lady who plied me with her wares the whole morning (can strongly recommend her extra mature cheddar – it won an award in its class at a world cheese fair). In the afternoon we went down to Mcnasty’s to meet up with some biking friends and spent a couple of hours on the verandah listening to some of the longest yarns I’ve ever heard, related to us with a totally dead pan face by our local ostrich butcher. We were in hysterics – he is truly a gifted man when it comes to making up stories. One involved a whale with mastitis and a state vet delivering ice packs by helicopter, don’t ask – it was ridiculous! The children tore around playing with their new puppy Leah and generally it was a very happy afternoon. We rounded off the day with fresh oysters and Andre’s famous Chicken Peri Peri.
Sunday morning early the cold front really started to move in so we took all the dogs to the beach for an early run – they all managed to get completely dunked, including Leah. She was shivering like crazy so was wrapped in someone’s journey for the rest of the walk but the other dogs thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I love to watch Jack run on the beach – he lopes along on three legs and drops his short leg every third stride. Even with his slight disability he covers ground at a rate of knots and enjoys it so much.
This week we will continue weeding and feeding the beds along the driveway and make a mobile chicken house that we can move from pasture to pasture. Tomorrow I go to my monthly Art group in George and Friday I’ll be mosaicing and visiting a local dairy farm to buy fresh milk, Saturday is Market Day again and Auction day too – can’t wait!