For the last month I have been fascinated to watch the slow motion dance of the planets every morning. About a month ago a phenomenon arose where Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury were very close together – this apparently happens between every fifty to a hundred years. They are clearly visible in the Southern sky on the Eastern horizon for an hour or so before sun up and when they first started to rise together Jupiter was so bright that it woke me one morning. I watched for the next few mornings as these four planets rose in a slightly different position to one another but didn’t know what they were until I contacted an astronomical website and they told me. It’s felt like a very special privilege to be able to wake in the morning and watch them – as the month has progressed Jupiter and Mercury are moving further away from the two middle planets but they are still very clear.
My animals are all rising late and going to bed early which is lovely – it means I get to drink my tea at leisure in the morning and sit and sew at night, I’ve managed to make a dent in quite a few of my UFO’s (Unfinished objects to all you non-quilters) and am putting together a few classes for later in the year.
The market at Hartenbos went well and was quite an eye opener. It was held in conjunction with a Ladies’ Breakfast and each table had to be individually decorated by the hostesses. My goodness – keeping up with the Joneses had nothing on this lot (more like keeping up with the Kardashians), I don’t think I can even begin to describe the bling. My friend and I sat with slack jaws in a state of mild disbelief – it was a little weird. Either that or I move in entirely the wrong circles. Anyhoo – it was very entertaining and our stall did well. The exhibition at the Great Brak Museum also looked good - there are some more pictures under Arts and Crafts.
My little stall at the Great Brak market is fun and I have quite a few customers who come back every month looking for paprikas, eggs and whatever else I have from my garden – this month it was strawberry plants. From the end of this month I will have a stall at the Reebok Fresh Produce Market – my produce is growing and growing so I will try them as an outlet.
In September Melanie Brummer is planning on running a week long course at the Pinkhaus covering various aspects of dyeing, textile manipulation and printing on fabric so I’ve been motivated to try and finish ‘The Wall’ before everyone arrives. The Wall runs down the side of the guest cottage, is 13m long, 3m high and at present is a mess. When I first saw it I had visions of mosaicing the whole wall in a sort of Klimt ‘Tree of Life’ style but I’ve realized that that idea is a little ambitious! So- Andre and I go out once a week and chop down suitable black wattle trees, which are an invasive species, and trim them down till just the slender trunks are left. Nothing is wasted as the goats eat the branches and leaves and we will start making wooden frames to run along the base of the wall to cover the lower third. I’ve painted the top portion of the wall in the same colour as the Haus and will now start attaching all the treasures that have been found at Harrods (the local rubbish dump). First to go up will be a lovely rustic wooden shelf which my daughter painted blue and on which I’ll place some plants potted in teapots and enamel mugs. Then I have to make another thin shelf to put a mosaic pot on (I made that last week).
It’s such fun working my way along the Wall, further plans are for a framed smaller Tree of Life done in mosaic and a fake window and shutters looking out onto a painted scene. Behind the wall we are building up a deep bed of soil and manure in which we’ll plant grenadillas which can be trained up and over the top of the Wall. I can visualize it finished, hope it works! The idea is to eventually create an area at the side of the cottage where visitors can sit outside in a private and attractive space. As soon as that is done then we’ll start on the courtyard area which leads onto the deck – at present it is very uninspiring (except for the view of the mountains!)
The local Conservation Group in Great Brak recently organized a bird identification course in town which was run by Birding South Africa. Sadly I couldn’t attend although I believe it was excellent, what was interesting though was the article they wrote about birding in Great Brak – they believe it can become one of the prime birding spots in South Africa. The article and some beautiful photos can be viewed at www.westerncapebirding.co.za/overberg . Speaking of birds – the penguin I found on the beach last month was apparently a juvenile which had died of exhaustion- so sad, it was in beautiful condition otherwise. According to the Oceanic Research guys the penguins’ natural food supply is shifting due to global warming and they are having to swim further and further afield to find food. I found another dead penguin on the beach on Friday. I get so sad – we are destroying this beautiful world.
So as not to end on a sad note – all our farm animals are doing well- the goats are fat and flourishing and seem genuinely happy to see me in the morning, running down the hill, kicking their feet in the air and tossing their heads; they are gorgeous. About 40 guinea fowl, in two separate groups, have moved onto the property and wander around with the chickens. On Thursday I had to laugh as I watched one of the male Guinea fowl giving his distinctive call right next to Rodney, our rooster. Rodney stood watching him with head slightly cocked as though to say ‘And who do you think YOU are, crowing on my turf?”. All I can say is that if they decide to stay and eat all my food then one or two are going to end up in the pot – roast guinea fowl is delicious.
The fynbos is starting to come into flower – it feels earlier than last year but I suppose we have had good rains in the interim which must make a difference. Little oxalis and lobelias peep through the grasses, some of the bitou bushes are starting to show their yellow flowers, the ericas are flowering and some of the small tea bushes are turning a delicate pink – walking the dogs and goats every day always brings a new surprise.
The paprikas are still flourishing although not as prolifically as in the summer but I still sell them and use them for bartering and we are preparing a new area of vegetable beds in the orchard area. We have so much rocket that I made soup with it the other day – it was delicious with a blob of goat’s milk cheese stirred in. Otherwise, rocket makes a great green compost.
That’s about it for now – till next time.