Thursday, December 26, 2013


I came across an old tattered Bible bookmark from my youth. I see the date on it is 1972. I am going to toss the bookmark but feel reluctant to toss the writings on the back. It is in tiny, teenager font, in faded pencil, which I can barely read. The only way to free myself from this bookmark is to type up the writings .....(OCD!)

The Lord God: Gen 1: 1- 12; Ex 33: 12 - 23; Job 38: 1-13; Ps 86; Ps 97; Is 40: 10-31

The Holiness of God: Ex 3:1-6; Ps 99; Is 6:1-7; Eph 5: 1-18; Heb 12:14-29; 1 Peter 1: 13-25; Rev 1:8-18

The Wisdom of God: Ps 104: 1 - 24; Jer 10: 10-16; Job 28: 12-28; Prov 8: 10 - 36; Rom 11: 25-36; 1 Cor: 17-31; Eph 3: 1-12

The Power of God: Gen 1:24-31; Job 37:5-24; Ex 14:13-31; Ps 107: 21-43; Dan 3: 8-28; Nahum 1: 1-7

The Law of God: Ex 20:1 - 17; Deut 4:1 - 13; Mat 5:17-37; Luke 6:27-38; Luke 10:25-37; Luke 18:18-27

The Judgement of God: Gen 6:5-13; Gen 7:1-4, 11-24; 1 Kings 21: 1-20; Dan 5:1-9, 17-31: Acts 4:32 -5:11; Luke 13:1-9; Rev 20:11-15

The Mercy of God: Gen 9:8-17; Numb 14:11-20; Deut 30:1-9; Ps 103; Ps 106:32-48; Ps 136:1-12, 23-26; Jonah 3

The Love of God: John 15:4-21; Rom 5:1-11; Rom 8:28-39; 1 Cor13; Mat 6:25-34; 1 John 3:1-11; 1 John 4:7 - 21

The Grace of God: 2 Cor:9

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Champagne Days

After a few weeks of South Easter wind blowing the summer in, we have had two lovely days of sunshine and cool breezes - Champagne Days.

I strolled through the garden to see how things are growing.  
Agapanthus time has arrived and blue heads are nodding.

This is the third year that I have grown baby Agapanthus to sell. It will probably be the last year that I do it because sourcing soil to fill the pots is a problem and I don't want to pay for soil when I sell the plants so cheaply.

I have also grown some pomegranates from seed.  I had planned to plant them all along a fence up at our plot but recently we were told that we had planted too many trees on our ground up there, so we have decided to draw the line. These will just have to grow here to a decent size and then perhaps I will sell them too.

I have not seen a loquat tree for years but recently came across one in a garden and have grown a few from seed. Who knows where these trees will eventually end up. Certainly not in this garden as I don't think the leaves enjoy the salt air.

A friend grew two Elderberry trees for us from cuttings. 
I need a new, empty garden to fill!

Some plants to disguise an ugly neighbouring wall are starting to expand.

 The driftwood will hopefully support a creeper. We are just waiting to see whether the neighbour is going to plaster the wall as they have done on their side. Notice the Wild Camphor on the right which we transplanted when we moved the retaining blocks. It seemed to have died but after a couple of months, has decided to give it another go and sprouted some new tentative leaves.

Do you remember what this little archway looked like after the retaining blocks were re-positioned? This mint scented fine-leaved plant grows like a weed and as you brush past it....mmmm...

I have promised Roy that I will harvest the seed from this fennel so as not to allow it to take over the garden. We once lived for two years on top of Simon's Town mountain where the fennel had taken over completely and was like an impenetrable jungle.

Little Oak-leaf lettuce offspring are coming up all over the garden - super!

Our neighbour across the road had a disastrous side-walk for about three years while the neighbour in front was renovating. After final completion of  all the messy work  recently, we redesigned the side-walk for him as a surprise on his recent arrival for summer from his home in Europe. He was ecstatic! The soil is incredibly sandy and dry.  Once the plants expand over the rock mulch, it will look great. We planted easy growers like daisies, agapanthus, mint. 

These Dragon Fruit plants have been growing from seed for the last 2.5 years. I am going to sell them now because they need to be planted in a suitable garden or hothouse, I think. I usually have to bring them into our sunroom in the winter and it is becoming a nuisance due to size and prickles.

We are in a quandary about this Norfolk Pine tree that was given to us about 25 years ago. This was in the days when we were ignorant of indigenous plant concerns. We deliberately kept it starved of water so that it would not grow too quickly but it has finally breached what is left of our view of the sea and now, what do we do? To chop it down completly seems too heartless and besides, the donor passed away a few years ago, so there is that sentimental link. Trim it, and in the process, create a deformed shape? Or leave it to grow into a giant and then let it be somebody else's problem when we downsize from this house ? 

The Baboons have been kept out of our village so successfully recently that we dared to hang up a bird-feeder in the tree again. 

We await popular feathered patronage!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Homeward Bound...

Shortly after arriving in Laingsburg, I discovered that I had left my wallet 200 km behind at our plot. I agonised over the dilemma. Should we return via the plot on our return to Cape Town, which meant spending 6 to 7 hours on the road instead of 4, or should we leave it until we returned to the plot in six weeks time, in the meantime, coping without credit card, bank card and drivers lisence. In the end, prudence triumphed over lethargy and we decided to return via the Anysberg road, which we have used on two previous occasions to travel to Laingsburg. 

We set off early because temperatures of over 30 degrees were 
predicted for the day.


It is 30 km shorter than the Seweweekspoort route.

  At the beginning of the gravel road, we noticed that we could see the Seweweekspoort Peak from about 50 km distant. It is visibly the highest peak of the Swartberg range and pinpoints Ladismith from far and wide.

After the gravel road, which requires some degree of concentration and caution as it turns unexpectedly into corners, which drop away on the sides, we greeted the R62 with a feeling of Déjà vu.

The approach to Barrydale from this direction was very pretty.

As we crossed to the other side of the Tradouw Pass, 
we were within sight of our destination.


 Suurbraak also presented a lovely picture that day. 

To avoid the poor gravel road to our plot, we approached it from a different direction which meant a ten minute walk across the fields to fetch my wallet.

 The heat was unbearable.

My intrepid hero...who, you will notice, does not feel the heat!

Soon we were humming along the N2.

A coffee break at the spring just 10 km before Caledon provided a welcome break to stretch the legs and cool off from the heat of the car.

 Just after Caledon, something interesting is being built. Perhaps a wind turbine?

The Steenbras dam was looking good.

As we whizzed along the False Bay coastal road, I tried my best to capture the blooming fields of Arum lilies on camera.

At home at last, Midge immediately threw herself into a wiggling roll on the lawn....aaaaaah!

Its good to touch the green, green grass of home!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Karoo Kuier

After the drive through the Seweweekspoort, we settled into Laingsburg for the next two days. 

My friend's garden was humming with the birds and (bumble) bees.


The following day we drove out to her nephew's farm in the direction of Sutherland. 

The spring flowers were like jewels scattered across the veld of the farm.

We walked out to the fields of onions and artichokes. 

Apart from the usual sheep-farming, our farmer grows these crops for the overseas seed market.

The first year of growing artichokes is tedious and meticulous, which involves protecting the baby plants from frost. When the plants mature, the female plants have to be hand pollinated with pollen from the male plants. Whew, sounds like a big project to me!


On the return to the farmhouse, we were treated to the most delicious meal of a rare venison stew.

Before we left, we had to explore the wreck of an ancient Chev in a nearby field.

On our way back to Laingsburg, we stopped in at Matjiesfontein. 

We were last there about four years ago and we were astounded at the gardens that have been developed behind the hotel since then.


It seemed unbelievable to think that we were in the middle of the Karoo as we walked through the gentle vegetation.

Friday, October 18, 2013


We set off for Laingsburg at about 10:30 in the morning , and first drove through the Tradouw Pass to join up with the R62. 

"Twas a misty, moisty morning, cloudy was the weather" but the radiance of the mountainside blooms was not dimmed.

This peak hovering over Ladismith is the highest peak in the Swartberg Mountain Range and, a few days later, we were able to see it from about 40km away, as we traveled back via Anysberg, to retrieve a forgotten item.


As we drove through Ladismith I caught sight of this Coral Tree 
in front of a guesthouse. 
(I have become quite adept at snapping photos from a  moving car because neither Englishman nor Mad Dogs enjoy stopping for photo moments too often)

We reached the turn off to Seweweekspoort and approached the mountains
 with anticipation. 

We were well rewarded with the  most amazing rock formations and colours. 


The Pass is only about 18 km long and we felt that it came to an end far too soon. We will have to do this trip again.

The other side of the Swartberg Mountains

A puffadder was somewhat annoyed when we turned around to take this photo as it transversed the road. ( safely from the inside of our car, I might add.)