Home Sweet Home

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I’m back! After almost a month away from the farm I arrived home in time to enjoy a lovely weekend with my love, the dogs and Poepsie cat. I received a very warm welcome from everyone so it’s nice to know that one is missed! Having not blogged about the farm in ages I am completely unable to decide what to show you first, so I’ve decided to just do everything… not that there is terribly much to show. It is very dry and hot. There have only been splatterings of rain since January, not nearly enough to counter the extreme heat. It’s as if winter has arrived prematurely with the veld already turning brown and brittle. We are praying that we’ll get some showers soon to replenish the dams and rejuvenate the veld before the growing season ends.

Sheep, cattle egrets, sacred ibis and wilting sunflowers.

Sheep, cattle egrets, sacred ibis, brown grass and wilting sunflowers.

Sheep hanging out with cattle egret on the dam wall.

Sheep hanging out with cattle egret on the dam wall.

I spent the weekend reacquainting myself with the garden and getting organised in the kitchen. The garden is holding up okay, but we’ve had water-supply issues so Tsidiso has had a terrible time keeping things well watered. The borehole that supplies Vastrap is situated about 2 kilometers away from the house and the electricity supply to the pump is broken. It’s a very big and expensive job to replace the cable so in the meantime we’ve been relying on a diesel engine to pump water to the house. The diesel has to be refilled often and the pump sometimes does not start, which is not ideal. The old windmill has been newly renovated so life will be a lot easier once it’s up and running.

Quentin refilling the engine and exerting a lot of energy trying to get it started!

Quentin refilling the engine and exerting a lot of energy trying to get it started!

Renovated windmill.

Renovated windmill.

On the fruit front, the quinces in our backyard are all gone so I’ll have to wait until next year to learn how to cook them. The pomegranates are just about ready though which is super exciting! The gooseberries are delicious and there are a few raspberries, but only enough to eat straight off the bushes. The farm horses, Sonny and Beauty are hanging out in the camp behind our house and they came to say hello when I went to inspect the trees. I treated them with carrots from the garden and some old apples. The chickens are breeding like crazy, but they are also digging up everything in the garden so I’m going to have to work on a strategy to cope with the population explosion and make better use of them. There are limits to the benefits of free range, especially since we don’t ever eat the chickens and their egg supply is very unreliable. I’m definitely doing something wrong, somebody please help!

Gooseberry harvest.

Gooseberry harvest.

Ripening pomegranates.

Ripening pomegranates.

Curious Sonny and Beauty.

Curious Sonny and Beauty.

Colourful Zinnias.

Colourful Zinnias.

Flowering clematis in the courtyard, a gift from my sister.

Flowering clematis in the courtyard on a dead-looking bush – a gift from my sister.

Clucking hen with eight chicks!

Clucking hen with eight chicks – look at that dead grass!

More chicks!

More chicks!

5 thoughts on “Home Sweet Home

  1. Eat the chickens! Or at worst make soup or stock out of them: totally delicious and completely different from shop chicken. But if unreliable egg supply is a prob build them a coop (if you don’t have one already) and keep them fenced in (even temporary fence will do) for at least a few weeks to get them properly trained to lay their eggs in their coop in the nesting boxes. After that let them free range (although you may have to do something to protect the veggie garden as they will trash it) and every time egg supply dwindles again close them up again. The problem is they lay in the garden and because you can’t find the eggs they keep getting broody when they have a nest full of eggs resulting in way too many chickens and not nearly enough eggs.

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  2. Hey Maris, I agree with Ena. We keep our chickens in a coop from Monday – Friday and then they are let out over the weekend to enjoy the garden and dig everything up :). They are so used to their coop that they even return there to sleep over the weekends and lay. Every now and again we do find the odd egg under a bush etc, but our egg supply is more than enough!

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    • Thanks Caz. I’m setting to work on the coup which we rebuilt last year but we didn’t set up proper nesting boxes. Also need to fence it off. Like the idea of letting them out 2 days a week only – at the moment we have the opposite! We also need to mark eggs that we leave behind for the hens.

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