Tuesday, 19 April 2011

May 2009

Through the front door
So with the time having moved on to May of 2009, we were more or less unpacked, had managed to aquire a few pieces of furniture for the kitchen to help with the storage problem and so on. I had stripped the kitchen/front door with a hot-air gun, and found this lovely red underneath the numerous layers of paint that came off.. the door had been cream, and green and turquoise... lol...

Master bedroom

The Master bedroom was also a little more "spacious" after having bought some real cupboards. Nothing is built-in here, so one has to improvise. But the advantage of that is that one gradually aquires some lovely pieces, and you are able to collect things which really fit the house both in style and sometimes even in age..hehehe. We quickly learned that there was an auction now and again in Joubertina, so now we go everytime we get notice of one.. many of our added bits of furniture are either second hand, or from an auction. :)

Living room from Masterbed side

We were quite happy, and even though it was May, the weather was still glorious. Lots of sunshine days, and warm weather. I had managed to put up curtains in most of the spaces that needed them. The boys were happy up in the loft room, and things were generally looking great, save for a little paint here and there.. We were prepared for the renovation process though, and had lots of plans on how best to optimize the space we had.

Our chimenea
We had installed our chimenea in the living room area, and this was quite efficient at keeping the place warm on colder days. We have since replaced the chimenea with a cast-iron fireplace... :) The chimenea will go in the new sitting room..

So even though the weather was shifting and winter was wrapping its icy fingers around the trees and us, we still marvelled at the glorious sun rises and beauty of our surroundings as can be seen in the next couple of photos.

Sunrise in May

The reeds in the bottom of the field in bloom..

Thursday, 14 April 2011

April 2009 Garden

Front garden
 By now the little garden in the front of the house was taking shape, and we had lots of lettuce and a few other things. I found out that the ground here in this bit is quite stoney, so it does not work for root veg like Beetroot and Carrots..

I decided it might be nice to pretty things up a little, so I planted a few flowering shrubs, like Lavender and Daisies, and I also had a few Geranium/Pelargonium slips that Jan's mom gave me. These were put in and watered diligently.. soon we had a little colour in the front, and what has started out as a makeshift veg patch became a flowerbed.

Kitchen window garden
Under the kitchen window was another little stretch of earth, very poorly looked after, full of stones and so on. But here we planted a Hanepoort vine, and strawberries. Both of these took easily in the poor soil. Today this part is completely different, but more on that later in a different post. :)

The very beginning of the future veg patch
The future veg patch would be on the master bedroom side of the house as we had a nice piece of field there which was un-utilized. The previous owner had had a fruit orchard there, but sadly all of the trees had been chopped off at grass level, and there was nothing there now. A clean slate, or at least thats what we thought...

April 2009

Back of shed
 We needed a place to store the things that didn't fit into the house, so seeing as we had a couple of building ruins on the plot we figured it might be the best idea to fix them. We hired a local builder to come build the shed finished for us. The building used to be an old pig shed, there is still a feed crib inside, but it had to do.

Roof section
We had ordered 1000 bricks from the Kammanassie brick works, and when the lorry got here, I had to help ofload the bricks. Jan was still working in George during the week, so I was quite relieved when all the bricks had been off loaded and the lorry left..

We bought poles for the roof, and zinc. The shed is not insulated in any way, but at least it keeps everything dry. We still need to throw a concrete floor inside, but thats a job for another time.. getting the shed up was quite urgent!

The front side and door

February 2009

Clouds over the mountains
So nothing much happened in February 2009. We had some dramatic clouds over the mountains. The weather here is rather interesting though, and quite European.. We have longer winters than the rest of the country, and sometimes it stays cold until December. But the nice thing is that every morning here is different, and you can sit outside early in the morning and wake up with nature..

More clouds
The only thing that actually happened in Febraury 2009 was the putting up of a fence to seperate the garden from the veg patch.. Andreas was a fine helper for this job.

Andreas helping to dig holes for the fence posts.

December 2008

The right side of the field

So we had just moved down from Centurion to the Smallholding, and had to wait a couple of days for our stuff to arrive... It was just before Christmas too.

We took some time to get aquainted with our new surroundings, there was quite a bit to take in. The huge empty field, and the river at the bottom of the forest.

The river

The kids thought the river was just the best thing ever, and so they started to build a wall made of rocks and stones to create a dam. This in turn made for a very nice swimming hole. We have various types of river grasses, and Waterblommetjies, sand banks and Poplar and some Wattle.

Of course once the truck came and we offloaded alll the boxes, we had to kind of unpack what we could. But finding a place for everything was kind of hard, so we left most of it just where it was..we had no other choice really... :-|

Our kitchen

So this is what our kitchen looked like for a while before things got a little more organised. I can't believe, looking back, that we actually cooked and lived like that.

And below is the house from the master bedroom side. Doesn't look like much, I know..

House from Master bedroom side

And with all the boxes standing everywhere there really was not much room. But we had to make do with this for a while at least. There was just stuff everywhere you looked.. Even in the master bedroom!!

But at the end of the day one makes these choices in the hopes of getting a better, healthier life. I good place for kids to grow and develop into consciensous people. One that is more fullfilling, and meaningful in todays money and status focused society. We were lucky to be able to make this choice... and what an adventure it has become!

Andreas discovering a snail

January 2009 Harvest

Our veg at the time
Since our garden was only in the front of the house, we had very little going on at that time... but we had Radishes!! I don't think anything is as fast or easy to grow as radishes..

We also tried to grow lettuce, and a few herbs, some beetroot and just basic stuff.. but soon decided that we need to think big..

The first bundle of Radishes

January 2009

Front garden Jan 2009

Not much was going on this month. We were all still in the holiday spirit, and I think it was more a case of where do we start.. so I had sowed some seeds in December already just to get into the spirit of things... Jan had managed to put up a small fence to keep the dogs out of the front garden, and life was bliss. We were also still busy unpacking boxes and re-arranging furniture, there were a gazillion things that needed doing.

Gary and Ronalee's house
Then there was more to see. Like the house on the hill, which we found out belonged to Gary and Ronalee Olivier from Somerset West. They had already been here for a couple of years before we arrived, so they were pretty settled in at that point. Ronalee runs a B&B, and their place is called Afsaal. 
Hannes and Manda's house

And then there was Hannes and Manda Visser, who own a third of the smallholding. We also still at that stage owned a third, and the other third belonged to Irma du Preez, Jan's sister. Hannes is a Principal at a small farm school in George, and Manda is a teacher at the same school. They are lovely people, with whom we get along well with.

But overall we were quite happy, and the whole experience was still so new that we were relishing it. Taking stacks of photos for memories etc. It never crossed my mind back then to start a blog like this. I see the need for it now though with all that we have achieved and changed, and added and built, and grown..

Rainbow over the forest

We are just so lucky that we have this little spot in such a wonderful surrounding. I mean how many people can say that they live on a smallholding with a forest and a river, and lots of wildlife.. Idyllic? Yes to a large extent it probably is, but we came here with a purpose: To create a self-sufficient lifestyle which was as off the grid as possible.

Moon over the mountains