Friday, February 23, 2018

January and February 2018: sharks, salty water, waiting for rain

Thanks to donations of large amounts of water from farmer's dams and farmers being cut off, the water situation seems... better in Cape Town as a whole, with our day zero moved back substantially.

With two acres, now, and responsibility for 2 intensive school gardens, I feel more like a farmer-- in this drought, I sympathize with farmers more and more, the more my livelihood (or at least my actual day-to-day life) feels tied up with the experiences of farmers. (side note: we have a new president! Yay! And, on the empathizing with farmers note, I feel simultaneously happy and terrified about land expropriation without compensation. YES! Finally movement on land issues! Eeek! Wait! Not my land please!) Our nursery water has turned salty, so we're trying to figure out what to do-- our nursey stock is dying rapidly and we have to decide whether to water with salt water or not water at all-- which feels like no choice at all. Unlike iron, salty water is very hard to fix... so we're praying that it is seasonal and the salt content goes back down once there's been proper rain. I've learned that having a struggling nursery is intense, even if one goes in knowing it is struggling.

But otherwise, apart from some rats eating our ducklings, the animals are well, the vegetables are relatively ok (no thanks to you, MOLE RATS) and the trees are almost through the summer. Soon, things will cool down and I believe in my gut that next summer will be easier.

We only have one guinea pig, but he's living the good life-- we've finally found an option that works pretty well. Guinea pigs outside don't work because of predators. There's guinea pig poop everywhere, but he's a very happy guy.
Uncomfortable. Cat pretending to be interested in a spot on the floor. Guinea pigs knows from experience she's faking it. No, I don't know why there's bloody toilet paper in the corner. It's human blood though, if that helps.

Bubbles gets to eat the freshest produce in the family. He has his own farm-in-a-pot.
At rest.

We found the body of a small shark floating in the ocean, and brought it home for further examination.

Hana was convinced it was a doll for a while.

Noah did a dissection, with the help of Sam's dissection kit and a shark model that Meera sent us!

Our goose keeps nibbling everything because he's a bit blind and thinks everything is food. 
If you're on instagram (I'm not yet...) Eug is at 

Our first bunch of bananas is maturing. It has taken ages and we are extraordinarily grateful...

Noah remains the only person who can pick up Henry II when he ventures into illegal territory.

Our male goose seems to have had a stroke. He's doing ok, but we have to nurse him a fair bit-- he's like a very old man.

Sometimes people say how lovely it is that our kids play outside so much etc. But I think it's worth noting that they spend a ton of time doing various things on the iPad, also. I think there's plenty of time for both. 

Noah is really interested in photographing interesting creatures.

We have an area of our reservoir dedicated to the protection of frogs. Ok, it's just a pile of bricks. But it does the job. When we actually have water again, we'll have to figure out how to pile them up so that there's always something above the water

It can be hard to find things that bring together all our kids. Noah leading them in starting a fire for tea is one of those unicorn things. a 7yo, 5yo and 2yo Starting an outdoor fire during a drought. What could possibly go wrong. We were watching.

Mint tea.

The kids are really into minecraft legos... The countdown to getting minecraft is on, and I have an alert for whenever minecraft legos are being sold second hand on Gumtree.

This is our first watermelon of the season. I planted Sugar baby-- not sure if this is normal, but I planted 10 seeds, got 4 vines to transplant successfully, and will likely get 4 watermelons total. Which I guess is still cheaper than buying 4 at the shop, right? Right? right. What is cool is that I'm going to have a lot more seeds for next year.

My parents said they always used to store pumpkins on roofs, so I thought I'd store ours on our Jojo rainwater tank. They were too heavy, so now they're back on the table. 

We started out with a good pumpkin and butternut harvest, as well as really good amounts of zucchini, but sadly it's slowing down as disease starts to hit, and we're starting to get a lot of shield bugs laying their eggs in the zucchini and butternut. Here is where there are probably some important lessons to be learned about figuring out the best calculus between size of garden, the amount of labour available, the amount of composting materials available, and what we actually eat. I generally try to grow a lot of things that are expensive at the store (peppers, tomatoes) but these don't necessarily provide a lot of calories. Even though there's so much still to figure out, I'm so glad to be starting to actually harvesting stuff! 

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