Oh well – it’s good working weather. Andre’s spent the last two weeks sanding and varnishing the decks and helping me attach my various creations to The Wall (I discovered that it’s not 13m long as I initially thought but 24m!). I’ve been on a roll with bottling, quilting and dyeing. A neighbour gave me a large fruit called a ‘pampelmoes’ out of which I made 4 jars of the most delicious marmalade. I found a recipe in a very old Afrikaans recipe book which starts all recipes with – ‘Light your fire…’. Researching the pampelmoes I see it’s called a pompelmousse or citron in other countries – I’ve been trying to source a tree but no-one knows what I’m talking about. I also ran into a bunch of gentlemen selling grapes at the garage of all places (they needed petrol money), bought an apple box full for R30 and made some wonderful grape jelly – the colour is divine, a deep claret.
Our herbs are abundant too so I’ve made some lovely herbal butters and herb soups – great for lunch on a cold day. One of the Friendship quilts which was started about three years ago in Pretoria is now finished, I’ve been working on that in the evenings. It’s funny because it’s really not my style, it’s very quaint and old fashioned and I tend to like strong colour and design, yet it is quite charming and everyone who sees it likes it. I found it quite a challenge to work on purely because it is so out of my normal comfort zone.( Picture under Arts and Crafts) I also had a day or two of dyeing and as usual got a little carried away. The initial plan had been to just dye a white summer dress so that I could wear it at the market (I cannot wear white- always manage to dribble gravy down my boobs or get dog/goat prints on my midriff). So… started with the dress and ended up dyeing jeans, shorts, tablecloths, T-Shirts and finally the driveway. Great fun although Andre says that his new peppermint green shorts look ‘gay’. Picture of the dress under Arts and Crafts.
Speaking of dyeing, Melanie Brummer emailed to let me know that the first firm bookings for the Retreat in September are in – that’s exciting, I can’t wait for her to get here! I was privileged to have been able to do a couple of short courses with her whilst I was in Pretoria and she is such an inspiration – really opened my eyes to what is around me that can be used in the printing process. I also did lino-cutting with her, a first for me, and enjoyed that immensely- went on to print and dye some of my own fabrics which I’m taking to the Quilt Festival in Stellenbosch and will use in one of the courses I’m doing. The Festival starts today and runs till next weekend, I’m travelling down tomorrow with some ladies from our quilting group and will come back on Tuesday night. It will be wonderful to see all my quilting friends from around the country again and, of course, the quilt exhibition. I’m looking forward to the drive as well because at the moment the veld is looking gorgeous after all the rain we had- cascades of wild orange honeysuckle, fiery orange aloes erupting from their spiky silver green bases, huge bushes of yellow bitou all interspersed with what looks like white baby’s breath – it’s breathtaking.
Things haven’t gone too well on the animal front. I sold some of my chicks, that was okay but two days later something broke into the chicken house at night and killed two of my favourite hens- Lola and Speckles, just bit their heads off. I was very sad about that but we’ve reinforced the enclosure with another interior gate and hope that will deter whatever it was- some of my neighbours suspect an otter – biting off heads just for the hell of it is apparently their modus operandi. Then this morning the people that live on top of the hill told me that they’d lost SIX hens last night – same thing, heads bitten off and discarded. In times like these I have the utmost respect for the pioneer farmers who came to Africa from Europe, my word they must have been mentally strong to be able to have persevered.
The goats are doing extremely well and are very evidently pregnant – big swollen bellies and they are now starting to develop little udders, they are so lovely. Blossom, for some inexplicable goaty reason, has decided that in the mornings she is the only one allowed to walk next to me. She and Lolly fight and head butt their way down the hill, it gets a little hairy at times and last week I was accidently caught in the crossfire and wiped out- I still have two horn shaped bruises on the back of my leg.
Lastly, I visited Beatrix Bosch’s exhibition at her home in Wilderness this week. She works in different types of leather, mainly elephant skin, and her work is absolutely unique as well as beautiful. There is a warmth, richness and depth to her work which comes from her medium of expression. She is also incredibly sharing about the techniques she uses – it was a fascinating visit. I will put some photos from my visit up later in the month but anyone interested can visit her website at www.beatrixbosch.co.za – I have to warn you though, pictures just do not do justice to the scale, colour and depth of her work. Try to visit her if you are in the Wilderness area, just call first.
Till next time.