Friday, April 22, 2016

Our reservoir starts to fill

We're using a hose and gravity to move water from our Jojo rainwater tank to our reservoir, so it's taking a lot of time (this is almost 24 hours' worth of water in the picture), but with the waterproofing paint it seems to be staying in rather than leaking out. Now to add plants.

Our boys trying out their boats on this freezing cold day. We had a fire indoors, the wind was fierce enough that our roof started to come apart (that story is for another day, when the crisis feels less fresh!), yet they were in the reservoir playing...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Reeds and revelations

So these people were looking for a place to dump reeds. Like, 8ft long reeds. I said sure, thinking it would be maybe a bakkie load. No. So far, 3 (smallish) truckloads. Maybe more coming. Each load must contain at least a ton of reads. They can't just be dumped near where we need them, because you can't just drive across our plot. I can carry about 25kg across the plot at a time, and so I've been carrying about 20 loads across our plot every evening for the past few evenings, somewhere between evening cleanup and sun set, while Eug puts the ducks and chickens to bed.

In the beginning, I was thinking about writing about how great it is that we're willing to do what nobody does. Like, nobody else wanted three tons of reeds. How awesome is it that we did, because now we have all this free biomass and our trees are mulched. And I'm no doubt glad we do have this biomass, but I'm also a bit more cautious about how we go about our homesteading mission.

I'm talking about this because I saw Eug sitting drinking coffee and drawing out on the verandah while the boys were nearby playing with water and the ducks. It was beautiful. My first response, to my shame, was not, "LIFE IS AWESOME ISN'T IT!" I noticed in my gut my first reaction was "WHY IS EUG DRAWING WHEN THERE IS DRY LAUNDRY RIGHT NEXT TO HIM CAN'T HE SEE THE DRY LAUNDRY THAT NEEDS TO BE FOLDED AND THE NEW LOAD THAT NEEDS TO GO IN THE WASHING MACHINE." Yes, I was thinking in caps. Because, see, if there's a moment when the boys are playing happily and Hana is sleeping and Eug is working, you can be pretty sure I'm rushing around trying to clean or cook the next meal or somehow feel like I'm ahead.

We're super into this lifestyle because we say it gives us time: we get to choose our time and so on, we're not slave to our employer or to schools or something like that. Right now, the truth is our lifestyle doesn't really give us time. I think we are very productive with our days, and our current lifestyle gives us many good things, but the choices over how to spend each moment are still there, and the choices of how to be in that moment-- how to spend time with the kids, how to do our work, and how to navigate the seemingly infinite work that is before us. The orientation I have towards my time is still pretty frantic. So I guess my point is, I'll haul reeds when I enjoy it, and recognise that some other stuff might not get done if I do. Our life is not all work, and that time spent with my kids and doing chores can be fun and enjoyable and not part of the endless list of things that we need to accomplish.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Ok, so we thought we'd go away for a couple of days. Originally it was so that my dad could have a retreat at our house, but then he didn't have house guests so he didn't really need a retreat. And last time he had a "retreat" at our house we didn't have 2 guinea pigs, 6 ducks and 6 chickens. So mainly we were just grateful. Anyway, there were several reasons that this holiday was not the greatest idea: #1 When we go away, we usually do some work. #2 Our oldest child hates change. #3 Our youngest child hates sitting in a car and is in that stage where we think we may have turned all of our kids into non-sleepers. #4 It costs money. So Eug said we shouldn't say we're going on holiday. We should call it something else, or stay home. Better the farm you know than the farm you don't.

On the other hand, I scored 12 fruit trees, 3 blackberries, and 1 banana palm-- AND I managed to fit them all in the boot of our car. Yeah. We only go to a farm that is in the town of the best garden nursery in the Western Cape. I'm a bit too strategic.

My dad managed to get the chickens to lay some eggs-- literally hours after we left the farm. 11 eggs, 3 days.

We (Eug) managed to take some pictures that remind us (me) that the kids have changed and grown a lot in the past few months, and not to be too grumpy about being needed.

have my book so I don't go off script on my tree purchases. Trying to figure out how to fit trees given boys taking up space...