Monday, 23 May 2011

November 2009 Harvest

The Moon Box
The season started out quite well, and we had sown all manner of things in the veg patch. Things were really looking neat and productive. A small haven in the making... ? Hmmmm maybe, but we really had put in a lot of work up until now to get it to look like this..

We still at this point had out two eco-circles in place, and had also carted a whole lot of old tyres into this garden to create areas for things... recycling once again. :-)  The eco-circles did ok, but weren't very productive so after the season was over we decided to rethink out strategies for the veg-patch. The whole point of having a veg garden out here in the stick is to be able to provide enough greens for your family to eat over the season, and with clever planning, throughout the year..
The fence garden

The fence garden close-up
I will still be keeping the fence garden, but using if for stuff like Nasturtiums, and Salad Burnett, as well as other "easy" herbs, and maybe even a couple of berry bushes. I would love to have some Blueberries, and  Rasperries. We have Strawberries... many and they do really well in our area. :-)

We also planted a Lemon tree, this has gone from strength to strength, and after someone told us to give it Epsom salts, it seems to finally have realised what it needs to do. We hope to get our first lemons in summer 2011.

Our rhubarb
 The rhubarb will return year after year, and hopefully just get stronger for each season.. Its kind of nice to have all the summer things right at your backdoor.. :-) I have never really been big on gardening, but somedays, when I get stuck in, I can work all day. And that really makes one realise how important having a relationship with the Earth is....

We grow beetroot for pickling mainly, though they are just as good as raw food.. I love beetroot, they are one of my favourite veg.. :-)


We also harvested red and white onions, and a few other things which I can't remember right now. We also experimented with mushroom growing, and had ordered a do-it-yourself box from Mycophiles with King Oysters in it. These did quite well and we harvested quite a few. But the most amazing this we have discovered while living here is that we actually have edible muchrooms in our field... and some other less edible ones. :-|

Red and white onions

That is great since we can now harvest some of these as well. The White Parasols have a nice flavour, and even more so when dried. They dry quite well and are easy to add to stews etc for added flavour... :-)
White Parasol mushroom
Our King Oysters

August 2009

Jan finishing off the new bookshelf
August started quite interestingly.. we have a local auction in Joubertina every now and again, and we always manage to find something useful, or something we can schooz up and make nice.. So the the auction we found an old kitchen shelf, which we promptly decided to make into a bookshelf seeing as we did not have anywhere to store all our books. :-|

So we sanded the shelf down and painted it with PearlGlo paint... thats wonderful stuff by the way.. and added the little shelves which were cut from an old scaffolding plank. We treated these with Timbafix from PowerFix. This protects raw wood from bugs etc, and gives the wood a very nice natural aged look.

Jan dusting it off before we place it inside
Being able to create something out of things that other people might not appreciate is pretty much what we strive to do in our whole house... creating much out of little, for as little money as possible, and recycling where we can. So keeping this in mind and also trying to create some sort of connection stylewise between what we have bought, and what we have added later is also a challenge sometimes, but even so I believe that we have managed quite well. :-)

The shed window - finally!
We also managed, with the help of our builder to finally get the window in the shed. Granted it still needs glass, but at least its there.

The wall was also neatly plastered and just has a very nice raw cement look now. We like it that way, and might not change it just yet, although Jan has mentioned wanting to paint the whole shed a rust red colour... so we will see what happens... we still have millions of ideas and plans for this place... :-)


Saturday, 21 May 2011

September 2009 - December 2009

I seem to have lost the photos for the rest of this year... how very sad. :-( I can't remember what we actually did at this time, if we did anything.. we may have put up some more fencing etc, and finished some small projects, but for the most of it if I don't have any photos to remind me of what we did, then its all lost... I will try and have a look on my FB to see if I did not by chance post some hotos there... *sigh*

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

July 2009 in the Veg Patch

The start of the hole for thr septic tank
We had by now also met a few of our neighbours, one of which was Anton. Being the same age as us, and having more or less similar interests, we quickly struck up a friendship, and of course when friends offer their help, then one does not decline.

Also knowing what back breaking work it would be to dig the hole for the septic tank, it certainly was a great offer in exchange for a beer ... or two. :)

So Jan and Anton dug, and I took photos... very nice spread of labour.. hehehe.. we chatted, and had beer, and generally solved all the problems of the world.

Anton and Jan digging
Little did they know that at some point they would hit clay, and this in itself was a nightmare to dig up.. after a long battle with the picks they hit bedrock... this hole just did not want to be dug. We compared the depth that they had managed to dig with the height of the tank, and decided that it would be fine to just submerge it 2/3 of the way... the drop from the spot where the pipe would be coming out the wall was enough, and the run off would also be fine. So they rested and had... a beer! :)

In the mean time the boys were carting up wheelbarrow loads of sand for the bottom of the hole.

Boys carting riversand
The septic tank was placed in the hole, and all the attachments attached according to the instructions. The trench for the run-off/overflow was dug also with Antons help, and we now had a functioning septic tank ready for a toilet..

July 2009

Field as seen from the garden
By this time we were deep into winter, and rather thankfull for the new ceiling that we had put in. This certainly helped us stay a little warmer. It is known that Avontuur has the lowest average temperature in the whole country... and as Haarlem is only 15km's from Avontuur, it gets really cold here too! As we were soom to find out in the following year.. :)

We actually only continued with the construction of the future chicken house at this stage, it was kind of cold to do any gardening, and we actually did not have a clue as to where to begin, or which crops we could put in at this time of year...

The chicken house
 Actually, in all honesty I think we were all pretty shell shocked still from actually having moved here, and what now kind of thing...?? So doing little things like this helped us to get some sort of an idea as to what we intended with this move, but for the most of it we were actually still pretty clueless!

The house as seem from the garden

June 2009

Garden June 2009
When June came around we decided that it would probably be a good didea to spend some time in the garden, and see what we could change and make better, or just add too.. I love a pretty garden and so does Jan, and looking back on what we started with only inspires us to do more.. We started by having a section of the field fenced off to provide a larger space to work in and with. Our neighbour Hannes came and built us a bridge and a small wood fence out of droppers.. We then removed the little gate and placed that further down where the new fence was. This was primarily to keep the horse out of the garden as well.

Jan then built a washing line, as we didn't have one and it was sorely needed. Two families with washing, and no line... well it could not go on like that. We have since moved the washing line to a better position, and changed the part of the garden where it used to be. :)

Washing line

Pig sty
There were so many other things that also needed doing, and we were kind of getting the feeling that we had bitten off more than we could chew. But we pushed on and made a ga-zillion mental notes of everthing that we wanted to change. The pig sty being one of them. This would be the start of our future piggie house. And just as importantly the beginning of our chicken house. So poles were planted, and some fencing attached. The end of the shed building was broken down and a wall built to close that up.

Shed end
 There used to be two toilets or showers there, but thankfully these were long out of function, and therefore no mess...hehe. the wall seperating them was broken down, and the whole area built up to be a room in a shed. The top was closed using scale planks. The chicken house was at this stage just a lean to at the end of the shed, with roofing poles etc in place. And essentially this would just have to be cladded now.

African Reed putting in ceiling
African Reed doing the other side of the ceiling
As for the inside of the house. We had African Reed come and put in our ceilings for us in the loft room, and the main room of the house. I was quite amazed at how quick they worked, and how efficient they were.. The offloaded the reeds, and equipment, and the three workers. That was it.. They completed the entire ceiling in the best part of a day. By the afternoon they were done, and had started to tidy up. Behind the reeds are insulation, a 50mm green Isotherm, which is made of recycled plastic. This was covered with hessian to help prevent dust, and keep bugs from falling onto the floor. The reeds are still green and fresh when they get ut into the ceiling, and as time passes they dry out and go yellowish. Its a very noisy process as the workers had saws to cut the reeds to length, and then the compression nail gun to nail the reeds in place. But the result is lovely, and we are glad that we had it done. :)

The completed ceiling