This month I am up to my elbows in other people’s business! Not by my choosing because firstly, it has nothing to do with me and secondly, I already have 3 full-time jobs! Farm living is not strictly about farm life. I ended up catering for a friend’s birthday picnic as the only other options were ridiculously expensive or grocery store platters of sausage rolls and oily samoosas.
I am not a caterer by a long shot, but I learnt plenty from my business neighbours in Jo’burg who are first class caterers. It took me a week of squeezing things between planting, mowing, doing school and all the other jobs, to prepare everything for the 50 guests.
For once, I was grateful when Casanova began crowing at 4.30am so I could cook everything fresh and deliver on time. We were half an hour late but since the birthday boy only rocked up an hour after us, we were on time! Next came a request for childcare because the single mom had over 2000 sheep to get to shearing over 2 days. It was interesting since we had only met the 6 year-old once and he doesn’t speak a word of English. It’s always amazing how little kids transcend the language barrier so much quicker than we awkward adults.
No natural docs in Riversdale
With her visit, she brought a cold and tonsillitis. Max and I both have tonsils and so are hit hard by this menace. He had freaky high temperatures, vomiting and all the cold symptoms for 3 days. No use going into town for help as antibiotics are the doctors’ only answer to everything. I always keep a stash of natural medicines on hand even though we are rarely ill. Still, aren’t there any alternative doctors out there looking for a better, quieter life for their families? Please move to Riversdale.
We need a Natropath/ Homeopath and a chiropractor very badly. The nearest are an hour away. So since Granny & I are also sick and husband is away fitting his most beautiful door commission, all that remained was for me to do a rain dance so I didn’t feel guilty staying close to the house with Max. And it worked! We had a little rain so Max and I planted out tomato and herb plants at out back door (the hens dug everything up of the last lot) and read the whole of Treasure Island. We collected dust bunnies (eish!), made strawberry sorbet for our sore throats and chicken soup for Granny who was sick a day behind us (thanks to Romeo for the stock).
Other than the solar geyser installers coming to the wrong farm, things are a little quiet around here. Right now, we don’t have any Woofers with us and so the pace is different. Things have to be done as they are done. Doesn’t make a stitch of difference whether I want them done quicker either. The last couple of volunteers helped fix our road a bit, filled a hole in the dam, cleared planting land, made compost and pulled lots of weeds. The next couple will be here during a maintenance week- mowing and collecting hay, cutting edges, collecting manure etc.
You only realise how essential these tasks are when you can’t see the night adder being pointed out to you by the cat, in the grass next to the path. We have had some nice wildlife encounters recently. We saw the baby owl at the dam twice- and that is really difficult as it is so well camouflaged. We caught a brown house snake, red-lipped herald, night adders and saw 2 skaapstekers. They are too fast to catch but so pretty with their stripe down their back. Kingfishers, blue cranes, Egyptian geese, spurwings, swallows and swifts, weavers, kori bustard, bateleur, hawks- just so many birds!
And did I mention both of the little hens have begun laying cute little eggs, albeit one of them has chosen to lay under the table saw instead of their plushy house? The onions and blue congo potatoes (pictured above) are doing very well in this weather. We are fending off the snails and have fenced everything in so the duiker and bushbuck don’t eat all the tops. Our strawberries have been wonderful. We pick around 3kgs every second day and 1kg in between.
Everything else is just taking too long to fruit for my liking. More Bach please! Obviously, my singing is not working. Our next “other people’s business” is our business too. There is a sweet little home industry/ craft shop in town – Kontrei Sisters- and they are having a Christmas market at the end of the month. We have been asked to have a stall and will be there promoting young yellowwood trees as living Christmas trees, our nursery products and lots of gardeners’ lotions and potions made with our herbs and fynbos. If you happen to be driving past Riversdale on the 30th or the 1st of December, come and say hi. The market is open until 9pm.
Apparently, the locals are notoriously bad at supporting local business. Could it be they are tired of being ripped off or maybe it’s because most public events are half-heartedly done? People here seem very hesitant to commit or show passion for anything, which is really sad since there is so much here to get excited about. So what if it turns out you are wrong? What’s a little egg on your face as you stand up for what is important?
Organic farmer Sue regularly writes for us on farm activities and challenges.