July has been a busy month and I feel as though I’m running just to keep a nose length ahead of all that’s been happening and is due to happen. There was the Quilt Festival in Stellenbosch, visitors, two big rainstorms, three market weekends and we are still working on the Wall. Our goats are due to deliver their first babies in two weeks and are looking in peak condition so I would like to get on top of all the outside work before the little ones arrive. But…. I’m getting ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning.
I was fortunate enough to be able to spend four days at the Quilt Festival and attend one class with Marilyn Pretorius, basically learning embellishing techniques, and a lecture by Pam Holland which was fascinating. Her workmanship and creativity are incredible plus she is an easy and entertaining speaker – google her. The standard of quilts on show was high and, as usual, very inspiring. I couldn’t wait to get home to be let loose in my sewing room and have spent any spare time I have sewing up a storm. It was also lovely to catch up with quilting friends from around the country and most nights were spent squashed into someone’s bedroom in the hostel, whilst the wine and sherry flowed and stories were told amid much laughter.(Picture from Marilyn's class under Arts and Crafts)
In August and September I’ll be doing a few speaking/teaching engagements and then in September/October I’ll be teaching two classes at the Pinkhaus- the first one is on how to create flowers in textiles and the second one is a more formal class on a log cabin Christmas wreath so I’ve been preparing all that I need for those two classes.
When I returned from the Festival (I came back on the Langeberg Bus which I can highly recommend) one of our daughters and her children came to visit for the school holidays. The kids spent time playing and doing some crafts, we visited the beach and, of course, we had to go to Harrods. I had a pile of stuff to dump after working in the garden and having built a greenhouse – when we arrived at Harrods there was a pair of mannequin legs peeping out of a pile of rubbish and upon closer inspection we found a nearly complete mannequin as well. The children were delighted, we popped the mannequin bits into the car, bought them home and the girls spent an afternoon painting the legs and then playing with them. The legs were called Fred and Daniel and spent the rest of the holiday being dragged around the garden or ‘playing’ in the toy room. Fred is the right leg and was named after the band ‘Right Said Fred’ and Daniel after Daniel Day-Lewis of ‘My Left Foot’ fame. One day I found the spiral staircase draped in scarves with Fred and Daniel positioned on the steps and the girls deeply involved in a game. Upon enquiry I was informed that they were all on a pirate ship and Daniel was the Captain. I love to see children using their imaginations. The incomplete mannequin has been placed in my vegetable garden as a scarecrow and I’ve planted lavender in his torso – he’s called Adonis and he seems to be doing his job because the guinea fowl have stayed well away from him and my vegetable seedlings!
Andre feels we should change the name of our house to the Pinkhaus WildLife Feeding Scheme. After losing Lola and Speckles to some or other predator last month we’ve had to contend with a cormorant and a black headed heron pinching the tilapia, the mongoose pinching our eggs, the guinea fowl virtually everything that isn’t nailed down and the vervets after the naartjies. I find it hard to get cross with them though – the heron is so elegant when it comes into land and stands poised over the water for hours on end, the cormorant is rather endearing the way it suns it’s wings next to the dam after its gorged itself and the mongoose is delightful as it strolls through the fields and occasionally sits on a rock in the sun. We do have a catty with which we shoot rocks (rather half heartedly) around our intended victims – they don’t budge, just look mildly interested as the pebbles land around them and continue preening or grooming themselves. The vervets I did throw a rock at – much to my friend’s amusement because I throw like a real girl. They moved away a little and looked at me as though I’d lost my marbles. We were delighted to see that the rheboks were back this week. A male and two females were walking quietly along the fence and grazing.
After all the rain we’ve had (another 83mm this week) the veld is just glorious. Whereas last year the different fynbos plants seemed to flower one after another this year everything is flowering all at once. There are lime green leucadendrons, tall veld tulips, red and white proteas, pink, red and orange ericas, pink and purple tea bushes, orange and yellow poprose and pokkiesblomme, dark blue lobelias, white leeubekkies and huge bitou bushes covered in their yellow daisy like flowers. There is also the loveliest bush flowering- apparently it is called agathosma glentana- which didn’t flower last year. The leaves are almost like an Erica, it smells like buchu and has spikes of tiny pink and purple flowers. At night when I walk the goats up to their shelter there is a tiny white flower that opens in the top pasture and has a heady perfume – I can’t identify it because I can’t see it properly in the dwindling light and in the daylight it appears to be non existent. At present there are fields of yellow and pale blue flowers along the highways – very pretty.
Yesterday Andre and I took a ride out to our friend’s farm in the Karoo – to say it was refreshing is an understatement. There was snow on the Swartberg and with the wind chill factor on the bike it felt like the temp was about -27C – we were frozen solid! For a change we didn’t go whooping up the mountain passes – the conditions were dodgy; riding into the sun and icy water streaming across the roads, but the sky was crystal clear and the views were awesome. The last time we went that far into the Karoo was when we were still looking at a farm to buy and at that stage the whole area was in the grip of a terrible drought. Not so anymore – around Kykoe the terraces on the hillsides looked like rice paddies and water was flowing everywhere. One of the farms we’d looked at was completely cut off – the bridge and road were washed away. The Langkloof was looking so green and fertile – last time I’d seen it it was dead and grey. We stopped in Uniondale for fuel and the town was buzzing, lots of people out shopping and a few building projects underway. Between Uniondale and Willowmore there was an abundance of purple and orange vygies brightening up the veld and there seemed to be a lake in every low lying field. After Willowmore it became dryer again but at least they’ve had some rain. They’ve also had some wicked cold snaps – apparently 5000 goats on farms in the district froze to death on one cold night this last week – awful. I couldn’t bear to lose my goats like that. We had a lovely visit with our dear friends even though they accused us of having ‘rocks in our heads’ for riding the bike in that cold – but that’s what friends are for, hey?
Hopefully , in about two weeks time our baby goats will be here
Till next time.