December Reaping

2 Comments

This is what we are up to at Vastrap in December while everyone else is at the beach on holiday…. hard at work harvesting wheat and praying that it’ll rain soon so we can plant our sunflower crop. Ashley and my niece Sophia visited us for a few days last week, but they are now also at the beach! It’s just us and dogs left here for a very quiet Christmas. It’s Livia’s third birthday on 29 December so we still have a lot to look forward to before the new year.

Wishing everyone a very blessed and happy festive season! 🎄☀️🌻🌽🌾💦☔️

It’s been too long!

2 Comments

I’ve neglected my blog so badly over the past few months. I don’t know where the time goes, but there doesn’t seem to be time for any fun projects in the few moments I do manage to steal at my desk. Life seems to be a constant juggling act with an almost 3 year old and 15 month old in the house! I’ve become very adept at doing most things with one hand and child on hip, but photography and blogging aren’t amongst them! Instagram is a much easier option for quick updates and a rolling commentary on the kids who are a constant source of delight. Myles is a real farm boy – his eyes light up at the sight or sound of anything to do with wheels, water or balls. His favourite word at the moment is “tractor”, and he is always in the driving seat of the bakkie when Quentin takes him farming. Livvi is more passionate about people and animals and also loves farming with her daddy, but insists on sitting on the back of the bakkie like a real farm girl!

Sometimes Instagram just can’t give the whole picture, so I really wanted to share these photos taken by our friends Ryan and Caro who visited us with their son, Oscar this past weekend. Ryan was a friend of mine in high school, but he has been living overseas for the past 25 years. His wife, Caroline is French. They have been very active followers of the Vastrap Farm blog since it started five years ago. It was a huge pleasure to host them, especially since they are in the process of relocating to South Africa and we will hopefully see them more often in future. On their last evening we piled them in the back of the bakkie with the dogs (our boerboel, Duma now weighs almost 70kg so he is a real beast!) and took them up the mountain for sundowners. It was a beautifully still and clear evening with a gorgeous Free State sunset. I always love seeing the farm from above with all the contrasting colours of the contoured lands – dry wheat, newly planted maize and lands prepped for sunflower planting. We had really good early summer rain so the farm is looking green and beautiful, but it’s been very hot and dry in December so far. Full credits for the photos must go to Ryan and Caro – thank you for capturing our sundowner fun so perfectly and good luck for your new South African adventure. We are very glad to have you back!!

2016-12-20_00152016-12-20_0013 2016-12-20_0002 2016-12-20_0003 2016-12-20_0006 2016-12-20_00052016-12-20_0007 2016-12-20_0016 2016-12-20_0017 2016-12-20_0009 2016-12-20_0012 2016-12-20_0010 2016-12-20_0011

 

Sunday morning rounds

1 Comment

We’ve been flat out hectic here at Vastrap for the past month. In the two weeks leading up to our auction last Friday, we all got very bad flu so it was really just a case of digging deep and pushing through assisted by lots of medication! Fortunately the kids are all better now, but Quentin and I still have lingering coughs and stuffy noses, which was probably not helped by the cold wet weather on auction day! We literally collapsed on the couch this weekend after our last visitors left with every ounce of physical and emotional energy drained from us. We felt a little bit better by Sunday so all of us went with Quentin to check whether any new calves had been born overnight. One of the little ones also needed to be treated for a bad eye so we watched while Quentin patiently coaxed the mother into letting him get near the calf so that it could be injected. She was not very happy, but he eventually got it done. On the way home we noticed that all the willow trees have turned green, a sure sign that spring is near! The forecast is for a big cold snap this week, but after that it should start to warm up nicely. With all the lovely rain we’ve had this month the grass will hopefully start to grow as soon, which we really need for grazing. Next week we are off on holiday so by the time we get home it will be well into spring and only a few weeks until Myles’s first birthday. What a lovely prospect!

Anyone interested in reading more about the Vastrap Auction and seeing all the photos can click HERE for the post on our website.

2016-08-22_0003 2016-08-22_0004 2016-08-22_0005 2016-08-22_0006 2016-08-22_0007 2016-08-22_0008 2016-08-22_0009 2016-08-22_0010 2016-08-22_0001 2016-08-22_0011 2016-08-22_0012

Winter Blessing

Leave a comment

Last week we had a huge blessing of over 100mm of rain in 24 hours. After the massive drought we had in summer, it was simply incredible to see and hear so much water flowing!! Quentin can’t ever remember us getting this much rain in winter. It’s such a relief to see our dams full and to know that the ground water has been replenished. We’ll be able to graze cattle on areas of the farm that haven’t had a source of water for more than a year and we won’t have to worry about carting water to thirsty animals in the usually dry spring. In a month’s time when things start to warm up, the veld will erupt in a riot of colour and gratitude. Not to mention our wheat crop, which will hopefully do well after the rain! We are one of the very few farms in the area that still bother to plant wheat and our persistence will hopefully pay off this year. It has been freezing cold with lots of snow on the Maluti mountains, but we are definitely not complaining – only 17 days to go until the Vastrap Boran Auction and we are rearing to go!

2016-08-02_0001 2016-08-02_0002 2016-08-02_0003 2016-08-02_0004 2016-08-02_0006 2016-08-02_0007 2016-08-02_0008 2016-08-02_0009 2016-08-02_0010 2016-08-02_0011 2016-08-02_0012 2016-08-02_0013 2016-08-02_0014 2016-08-02_0015

Winter Walk

Leave a comment

We had a very chilled Father’s Day celebrated with a delicious breakfast at Living Life with Quentin’s parents and a lovely afternoon walk on the farm. It’s been a very mild winter so far aside from one really cold snap last week that even brought some welcome rain. The night time temperatures have been particularly warm compared to previous years. It’s still drops below zero degrees, but that’s mild for us. I remember the first week I ever spent on the farm in June 2010 when Quentin and I were still dating, the minimum temperature dropped to -17 C one night – and that still didn’t put me off marrying him and moving here!!

We are getting very busy organising our annual Vastrap Boran Auction, which will be held on 19 August. It takes a lot of work to select all the animals and to make sure they are tested and ready for sale. Then there is all the marketing material that has be designed and circulated, which I mainly take care of. A lot of people also visit us before the auction to view the animals so that takes up a lot of time and obviously closer to the auction there are other logistics to manage. It’s an exciting, albeit nerve-wracking time of year for us. You never know how things are going to turn out, but we can only try our best and hope for a good turnout on the day. It seems like the cattle take up all of Quentin’s time at the moment, but on the farm they are also busy reaping the sunflowers and getting ready to plant wheat. The recent rain will help a lot to get the wheat crop off to a good start, but we can only hope that there will be some early spring rain too. You can see from the photos below that grass and water are very scarce so there is still a long and gruelling winter ahead for the animals.

Anyone interested in seeing what we get up to with the cattle can visit our website www.vastrapboran.com. I have been focusing a lot more of my attention on our website blog to keep the information flow fresh and relevant. Sadly, with two small kids vying for my attention in the house this blog has become neglected. One day I will get back to cooking and gardening and taking photos of things other than children and cattle!

2016-06-21_0001

The generations: Quentin, Myles & Bill de Bruyn

2016-06-21_0002 2016-06-21_0003 2016-06-21_0004 2016-06-21_0005 2016-06-21_0006 2016-06-21_0007 2016-06-21_0008 2016-06-21_0009 2016-06-21_0010 2016-06-21_0011

Last days of Autumn

Leave a comment

We marked the end of Autumn with a breakfast picnic on top of the mountain this morning. I can’t believe we haven’t done this before! It was such a lovely way to spend our last morning with our friends from Cape Town, Saul and San-Marie, who visited for the weekend. They haven’t been to Vastrap for over a decade and things have changed quite a bit in that time, including the building of the road up the mountain. It was a beautiful  blue-sky day, but sadly too hazy to see the view of the Maluti mountains that we love so much. A lot of fires must be burning in Maseru and surrounds because there’s a big cloud of smog hanging over the mountains. I lit the Aga last week before our visitors arrived, but it was more to create atmosphere than a dire need for warmth. The days have actually been beautifully still and mild, but that will change soon when winter descends.

2016-05-29_0007 2016-05-29_0010 2016-05-29_0008 2016-05-29_0011 2016-05-29_0012 2016-05-29_0013 2016-05-29_0014

Precious moments

1 Comment

After the incredibly hot and harsh summer, the mellow autumn days are a real treat. We had a very cold snap a few weeks ago, but the days have been beautifully warm and golden of late. Last week I spent some time with the kids in the garden taking photos. Myles will be seven months next week and he is just too delicious for words! An early crawler with two little teeth already, it just seems like time is flying by too quickly. Sometimes I have to force myself to just stop all the busy-ness and savour the moment. Livia’s little friend Matseliso was also here for the day. She is 11 months older than Livia, but they are playing so nicely together and Livia gets so excited when she comes to visit. It’s lovely to see their little friendship develop. Such precious moments!

2016-04-18_0001 2016-04-18_0002 2016-04-18_0003 2016-04-18_0004 2016-04-18_0005 2016-04-18_0006