The holidays ended on Sunday, our last guests departed and an eerie silence has descended on the Pinkhaus. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself for a day or two – I’ve been so used to having children trailing around the farm with me that it felt quite strange without them. Even the animals miss all the extra visitors.
It didn’t take me long though to decide that I deserved a rest – we haven’t stopped for two months, so I’ve spent a lot of time swimming in the pool and generally floating around the garden and my sewing room doing little bits of weeding, planting and playing with fabric.
We drove to our favourite spot to look at game the other day and besides seeing all the usual suspects we came across a donkey family with a baby about five days old – I’ve never seen a baby donkey before – what a beautiful animal. We stayed for quite a while and chatted to it.
Our main lounge was plastered and painted in November and I’ve been itching to get stuck into decorating it so I’ve had fun ‘auditioning’ the different textiles I’ll be using- playing with fabric always soothes me.
It’s as though all the wildlife in the area has been waiting for the holidays to end because on Monday they were out in full force – the vervets were feeding in the black wattles, two rhebok- a big male and his mate- were grazing next to the washing line, two rooivalke, two eagles and four crows spent the day flying up and down the ravine and squabbling over territory. One rooivalk landed in the driveway and sat there for quite a while – he is magnificent. The owl is back on his fence post hunting at night and even our little house bat came back to check things out – he sweeps silently in and out of the rooms, does about five circuits of the house then leaves, always at dinner time. We were watching two toads hunting for insects outside our bedroom one evening and suddenly two monster beetles came out from under a log and chased them away – I couldn’t believe what I saw as the toads were as big as my fist.
Two of the hens are sitting on eggs, Tawny and Lola. I know they sound like exotic dancers but please remember that they were named by a committee of children. Tawny’s chicks are due next week and Lola’s in three weeks. I needed a frame to build an enclosure for them so went to Harrods (as the rubbish dump is referred to around here) and was delighted to find a complete wire enclosure on a frame with a sleeping box inside. I just have to make the door a bit bigger and cover the whole affair with shade cloth. Whilst at the dump we discovered another fishing vessel that had been dumped there – the Fargo out of Cape Town. It’s quite sad to see something with so much history discarded like that; I decided I wanted a piece of her so enlisted the help of my long suffering son-in-law and we carted a beautiful piece of wood that must have come from the engine room. It weighs a ton and is much thicker than a sleeper so I will find a special place for it in my garden. I wondered what someone who works with recycled wood could make with the wood from the boat – some pieces were huge and so beautiful and full of character. I can’t believe how much wood does get dumped here, maybe it’s because we are close to the forests. Whatever the reason it seems such a waste.
Since the beginning of the week I am not locking the goats up at night so they sleep where they want to. They look so sweet curled up on the hillside in the moonlight. I had to vaccinate them last week as there is Rift Valley Fever in the area – that was a new experience as I’ve only ever given humans injections. Lollipop was fine but Blossom bawled – I had to give her extra cabbage leaves so she would forgive me. She looks like Bionic Goat at the moment as we affixed two pieces of hose to her horns with jubilee clips. She will keep getting her head stuck in the fence and she is getting so big now that it’s getting harder and harder to release her every time. The headgear seems to have done the trick because she’s stopped trying to reach the ‘greener’ grass on the other side of the fence now. I read in Landbou Weekblad that goats are very intelligent and love to play and they had some suggestions for ‘toys’ for them. I had been wondering what to do with ‘Chitty Bang Bang’, the car that the children made from an old packing case, so I decided to turn it into a jungle gym for goats. With a couple of tyres and planks added it is now a source of entertainment for my two spoilt goats. A neighbour asked me if I would be having them mated in three months time and the thought horrified me! They seem like such babies still - I don’t want any teen pregnancies on my conscience. Apparently though this is the done thing, I’ll have to think very carefully about it.
My fish are growing, my pumpkins are harvested – they were huge, and all my vegetables are thriving, so all is well here. I think I’ll go and float in the pool.