Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lazy Lotus Eaters

One of the advantages of living on the mountainside in a little seaside village is that you can be a very lazy gardener and then tell yourself that you are going for the natural look. 

I strolled around the garden today to admire all the new spring flowers.

I was pleased to see that last year's Earthworks are slowly being camouflaged.

Daisy bushes are just so precocious, pushing everyone else out of the way but they do look stunning at this time of the year.

Clivias are such terrific plants for the spots which never see the sun. I only have one particular colour. A friend has a brother who makes a living from growing Clivias and he donated 15 precious seeds of Yellow Clivias to me which I am trying to germinate at the moment.


They do well in sun too. Here they were planted in a circle at the base of my old Wild Camphor tree. During this past Winter, the tree was blown down by an exceptionally strong North Westerly, which blew for an hour and then moved on. So, the circle is looking a bit spare now. Once flowering is finished, I might rearrange these as I don't plan to replace the tree. The nearby Bay Laurel tree has developed into a monster and will probably undermine any new tree's efforts.

I am rather hopeless at remembering to take "before" photographs and so you will just have to believe me when I say how unsightly and what a nuisance the sidewalk was. There are no paved sidewalks in our village. I cannot complain because we are lucky enough to live on one of the very few roads which has a meanly thin coating of tar instead of gravel. The boundaries to the roads are either left unattended or residents might choose to extend their gardening efforts to that area. In our case, it was always a problem to keep the soil on a steep gradient from blowing or washing away. Ground cover was not too successful because the area was too dry and sandy in summer and too shaded in winter. 

We were inspired to do some gardening with rocks to hold it all together. 

Doesn't this look neat?  


We cannot cement in permanently to keep out weeds because of underlying municipal pipes and cables. My only regret is that we did not first lay down some shadecloth or hessian below the rocks and stones to cut down on the amount of awkward weeding ahead.

 Neighbours have planted a veritable jungle along our back fence and nothing will grow there anymore because of the excessive shade in winter from our house and now, their trees. The grass gave up and died. When we recycled some old bricks to deal with this problematic messy area, we remembered to use some old hessian below the bricks to discourage the weeds. Only white sand fill between the bricks for non-permanence. I wonder whether something like Penny Royal would enjoy growing between the bricks?

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I decided to experiment with a recently acquired Ostrich egg. Husband was called in to drill three little holes at the one end of the egg (I didnt want to break the egg). Three holes were gently persuaded to join each other to form one. A skewer was used to pierce and break up the yolk through the now single hole.


I shook the egg over a mixing bowl to force the inside to pass through the hole. Then beat it up with my faithful Kenwood whisk. Added in a bowl of cooked plain white porridge (Taystee Wheat) just to help it stiffen up in cooking. Seasoned with various herbs and spices, salt and pepper and then poured over an oiled casserole dish filled with sliced onion, baby marrow, broccoli bits and feta cheese.

I placed it in an oven of 180 degrees C for about an hour, placing the open casserole dish on top of a roasting pan to prevent the egg from catching at the bottom of the dish. 

We were blown away with the lovely rich yellow colour and taste. This could have provided eight complete meals or sixteen portions to accompany something else. 
From one egg!!

Friendly Flatter

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. My friends may consider themselves sincerely flattered. We have copied their Bokashi Project.

Instead of the round buckets, which admittedly do seem to be more sturdy, we chose square buckets for ease of installing the tap against a flat surface and the likelihood therefore of a perfect seal without using sealant. It worked. 


We had to make sure that when the inner bucket was in place, the hole for the tap on the outer bucket was positioned below the inner bucket. There is not much room for error. We used the plastic nut which turns onto the tap on the inside, to trace a circle on the inside wall of the outer bucket with a thin black marker. The tracing was visible from the outside and served as the guide for drilling the hole. 

We drilled the hole in the outer bucket and installed the tap. It was a perfect fit. 
(We did not use the superfluous outer threaded cap) 

The tap  and superfluous outer cap. Tap has two seals (one for each side of the bucket wall). Supplied with a plastic nut which screws onto it from the inside of the bucket.

After the tap was fitted into the lower bucket, holes were drilled through the bottom surface of the upper bucket. This bucket has a recessed channel around the perimeter so that is where we positioned the holes.
And Voila!!

Total costs
2 Plastic buckets from the Plastic shop = R90
1 Plastic lid = R9.95
1 Plastic tap = R35
Bokashi = I paid R70 at a hardware store but discovered that the Plastic shop sells it for R60.

If you are not able to create your own, Plastics for Africa sells the genuine smart plastic Bokashi unit for almost R400.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Animal Farm

We went up to the plot to plant some trees on Monday and Tuesday in the holes we had dug three weeks ago. Only two full days to do the deed yet we managed to finish before driving back to Cape Town. On this visit, I finally remembered to take  photographs of the pony we usually treat with carrots or apples during our stay. 

He lives a lonely life on a smallholding while the owner spends much time in Cape Town. He has a blue, blind eye which I think is called a "marble eye". 

He is a bit of a wild thing and when escaped and roaming, kicked in the door of a car as it drove by, causing the owner of the car to replace the entire door. The car insurance company probably paid for it with some amusement...or not!

Roy offered a local farmer, who was herding his sheep nearby, the use of our field for two days. His aim was for the sheep to graze the grass around our bungalow, building and gate, in anticipation of summer and fire hazards. The sheep entered onto our field and were seen skipping with delight at the smorgasbord on offer. Soon there was the soft whispering and ripping of grass. Two ewes gave birth to lambs overnight in this haven.

I was not keen on the idea and as per my predictions, the sheep did not understand the purpose of this excursion as they nibbled on Olive trees and the like, with us chasing them from one corner of the property to another whenever they approached our plants. 

Roy will be there for two weeks soon to do some minor building and I have threatened him with a dire fate should he attempt this experiment again. Even the lustrous Ostrich egg given by the appreciative farmer would not tempt me to this folly again.

 Near to Caledon

Yellow fields calling from far and wide,
 Spring awakening the sweet countryside.