Been a long time

Hello nobody !!
I am back.
I was really loving all that blog writing but felt it was senseless . Like talking to myself ( which I regularly do)
Things got crazy on the farm – built the Vleis Paleis -Story for another time . First farm to table lunch.
Heat waves followed closely by devastating hailstorms.
Eisch, who had time to talk to themselves??
But I am back .. Hello Janet!
Truth is , we are on holiday at our beach shack. Looking down at my fingers I know it’s time to get farming
No self respecting farmer has nails as clean as these

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Banking the harvest

We have finally had to pull out the last of the winter crop.
The early scorching Spring days largely had all the brassicas ( cauli, broccoli, Brussels , cabbage etc) bolting ( sending out flowers ) . We had some growing in shady spots which allowed them to last longer. Now we need space in the garden for summer vegetables , and in any case these veg are beyond their best – so out they come ! ( leaving just enough to harvest seed from)
So to the pickling pot we go!! Preserving is such a wonderful and ancient art . The key to safe preserving ( veg, meat , cheese) is the acidity of the preserve . The more acid the better , otherwise the toxin botulism can develop. Botox , as we all know is the latest and greatest way of looking younger. Botox is the use of botulism in the human body to render muscles inactive ( frown lines disappear as the facial muscles which cause them are frozen…. scarey hey ??) however Botox on the culinary menu can only lead to disaster .
Today we preserved cauliflower for Coobs . They will use it as a condiment to many menu items .
The satisfaction of bottling what you grow is fabulous – but so is sharing the bounty with our farm animals who scoff down the produce .

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Kohlrabi

Our first crop of kohlrabi.
Not a lot to blab about. Just what a beautiful lime green colour these above ground bulbs are. They are , my googling tells me , also known as the German Turnip.
Kohlrabi is a bi annual – meaning it takes two years to grow – quite something in these times of immediate gratification .
Love something new !

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So sad

No matter how hard we try to keep all our creatures safe the predators always seem to be one step ahead( no pun intended when you look at the pic).
Geese are terrible mothers . Not like turkeys who walk away from their babes, or the odd sheep who rejects her lamb, or a pig who unceremoniously throws a runt out of the nest to die, but because they are overprotective . They hiss and flap and go mad protecting their goslings – and generally stomp them to death in their over zealous goings on. So after 10 goslings hatched and 10 dead we decided to take the next ones away and raise them ourselves.
We rescued 9 , they thrived in the lovely enclosure we made – sun, shade , luscious grass to nibble on.
Fantastic ….yes?
Not so much when you find that yet again the predators win. Makes you sad.

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Duck Paradise

If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know we launched into ducks shortly after opening Coobs. The are flown in from Pietermaritzburg as fluffy yellows . We put them under lights to keep them warm for a couple of weeks , then we dry land free range them , then hallelujah they hit the ponds. Let me tell you , a duck likes water. No, a duck LOVES water. We get the odd non-swimmer, but generally it’s all day water sport. Getting pleasure out of raising these birds has led to me getting more and more and more. Close to a thousand , I think we might have to call ourselves Brightside Duck Farm. Luckily Christmas not too far off and I’m hoping that I am going to sell lots of duck – these buggers are eating us out of house and home!

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Farewell Clarisse

Many years ago I was driving along the road with a friend of mine, Nicole. A sophisticated town girl I was taking to her to the wrong side of the track – the Saturday morning Krugersdorp Auction
I LOVE this auction. On any given Saturday you could find anything from an old toilet seat to a beautiful old table. The pancakes are excellent and Derek the auctioneer an absolute card. But best of all , the auction goers themselves. From wiley dealers to the very roughest Krugersdorp has to offer.
Anyway we pass a place boasting every type of animal imaginable – from pigs to emus and everything in between. She pleads with me to go in , she absolutely loves pigs. At that stage we didn’t have any on the farm.
I agree on one condition, I am NOT buying a pig.
The place was unbelievable , animals everywhere . Running, crawling, crowing and yodeling . Pigs rolling in mud and cocks fighting.
Purely out of interest I inquire what a pig costs. R250 – R500 depending on size, I am informed, except THAT one, it’s not for sale- pointing at the most pathetic thin little piglet. Nicole and I both immediately demand to know why she’s not for sale.
‘ it’s gonna peg’ he says flatly.
‘how much for her? I want her’
‘Lady I told you, she’s as good as dead’
‘how much’
‘have to phone the Baas’
The call is made.
‘Baas says R50’
‘What?? You said she’s as good as dead- that’s a rip off’ says hard bargainer Nicole
‘tell you what, if she lives you can come back and I’ll give you a free chicken ‘
The deal is struck.the piglet is named Clarisse,
Incredibly she thrives. Nicole takes a picture of her and demands we go back and claim our free chicken!!
And that’s when the trouble really started.
Off we go to claim our chicken. The guys surprise at Clarisses’ survival was only outstripped by his reluctance to live up to his side of the bargain. Eventually he finds the smallest cockerel he could, immediately named Free Chicken ( what else) The cheekiest cockerel to have strutted this planet, announcing his particular rendition of joy at 4 am daily( on repeat).
But the real trouble was whilst getting our reward we stumbled across Hannibal . A frisky young boar who had been hand reared ( in the lounge of the dodgy owner is my guess) long story short, we bought him
‘ that’s a fine pig’ declared the owner
‘R900 and no free chickens!!’
So began our journey as pig farmers because in no time they bred … and bred ….. and bred.
Clarisse died of old age on Friday. I cried and cried. She was a hellava pig
Farewell and thank you Clarisse. Go gently into that big mud puddle in the sky.
As it happened I bought a new ram on Friday . We’ve named him Clarence in memory of her – and as Coobs commented , if he is as productive as Clarisse he will be world famous.
Here we put her to rest.

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