Greetings from the forest where the sun is rising earlier to greet us in the mornings and the flowers are delighting us in their abundance.
I am happy to report that we are all in good health and spirits (not counting the occasional midlife crisis!). We are without a wwoofer for the first time since the start of the World Cup though, so we are once again making intimate acquaintance with the dirty dishes!
The reign of Rob (our American volunteer from
Wyoming) ended with half a patio – which was completed by the next American (Eric from Illinois via ). Now we can have sundowners on the “stoep” like true South Africans! (Although my alcohol consumption is mostly reserved for book club.) Utah
Both blokes were a real gift from the Universe (or as I like to believe: angels sent to us by my mother). They were a great hit with the kids: playing Monopoly, Clue & Lego like experts, while building/digging/planting/fixing during the day and tending to those all important dishes in the evening. Bless them both!
Our international experience did not end there: Kevin spent a week in
for his niece’s wedding (his sister Debbie’s daughter, Talya). It sounded like a fairy tale affair… he also managed to shoot some fantastic cityscapes. London
He returned in time for Mila’s 7th birthday party: a “High School Musical” disco/sleepover party, complete with mirror ball and flashing lights (the office was converted into a dance hall). We had pitched a tent for the sleepover but the girls were too scared to sleep there and so we ended up camping in the tent for a few days as a family! Since moving to the farm and living the camping dream on a full time basis, we haven’t done much tent dwelling, so it was a great mini-holiday long weekend.
The long-weekend culminated in the much anticipated Women’s Day spa day at Pezula! Three wonderful friends and I spent the entire day being pampered, dipping in the heated indoor pool, lazing in the sauna, perspiring in the steam room and imagining that we’re the idle rich while sipping cappuccino’s. The decision was taken to make this an annual event and saving has already commenced…
Kevin’s birthday on the 12th was a quite sushi affair at home.
On a much sadder note, our dear friend and Kevin’s long-time biking partner,
Louis Rothschild died in his home the following week – another crime statistic. He joins the growing list of loved ones who have passed on since we left three short years ago: Johannesburg David Braun, Ananda, Melt vd Spuy & Trudy vd Spuy. We feel very blessed to have shared his birthday with him this year: he visited us on the farm with Aviva (the love of his life) and Levy (his son who turned 1 shortly before his passing). It was truly special to share in his happiness and new family and our thoughts and prayers are with them constantly.
Our 9 quails are surviving (although we’re still waiting for eggs) and they have been joined by our 2 baby rabbits (
Coco and Fuzzy) who are just the most delightful little creatures. Although the quail/rabbit cage is now dog proof (thanks towwoofer Rob), they spend much of their time in Mila’s underwear drawer where they get fed carrots. No-one is more in love with them than me, though – having been a big rabbit lover since I first encountered them many moons ago!
Our neighbour discovered a dead puff adder outside our farm - road kill left behind by unknown speeding tourists in shining cars. With an audience of neighbourhood kids (and a few trepid adults, including myself) Kevin expertly dissected and skinned it, then proceeded to photograph it (what else!), with some interesting results. The skin has not yet found a final resting place, so I am regularly freaked out when I stumble upon it unexpectedly.
On the garden front I am excited to report that I no longer have to buy packaged lettuce at the Pick ‘n Pay! We’re able to eat garden greens and fresh sprouts every day! We also enjoyed our first cauliflower and multiple beetroots – I was amazed to discover how much stronger the taste of home grown veggies are. Mushroom (the dog) is doing a fine job of keeping the baboons at bay, although the cows have been eating my primulas….
We’re also enjoying the additional electricity from the extra solar panels. For the first time in three years, we can pretty much watch DVDs whenever we want and Mila can even play computer games (Super Mario brothers, Pacman and Asteroids), although getting her off is rather challenging! I do sometimes miss the “no sun, no TV” excuse, but thanks to the World Cup playing soccer with their dad is now also a favoured option.
Luke (4 ½) is unbelievable cute and at that age where we just want to freeze him before he turns into a fully fledged boy. Lego is his first love, although he also thinks that anything to do with the Army is super cool (much to our dismay, of course). He loves catching tadpoles and fish in the dam and can spend hours hitting a golf ball around the farm with his golf club (a present from his golf pro-oupa Sybie). He has quite a mean swing and I often find him aiming at the cars and the buildings!
Mila’s love for ballet is starting to wane as she is discovering the internet, but horse riding and shopping are still high on the agenda, together with a certain boy (who I have been sworn to secrecy about). She has hit that unavoidable age where homework finds a place in the daily routine and I have also had to come to terms with the fact that I have to be involved in it once again. She’s also quite an avid soccer player, playing in her first official soccer match against another school this week and she now sports her own email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking of school, I am off to my 20 year matric reunion in
next month! How’s that for making one feel old…. Pretoria
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