Monday, January 4, 2010

Living the dream

News from the forest is that things are quietening down after quite a social festive season. One of the benefits of living where we do is that we get to see many of our loved ones when they come down for holidays – we catch them when they’re relaxed and get to spend quality time together. We end up squeezing a lot of social gatherings into a short holiday season, so December was not really a time of rest for us. It was utterly wonderful to share our new space with our dear friends and family.

It was also great to be officially on leave (a perk you miss when you’re self-employed). It was initially challenging without the busy-ness of the daily routine, but I did manage to do some painting, planting and domestic DIY, imagining myself as the subject of one of those reality shows on the Home Channel!

Christmas day was a strange one – the first Christmas without my mom’s physical presence (she was spiritually also rather busy with seasonal stuff). Being married to a Jew and having no family around on the day, I thought I would let it pass me by. Mila (now 6) had also figured out the Santa Claus scam a few weeks before and so the usual Christmas traditions had started to disintegrate.

We were having a pajama day, carting trash around the farm with the trailer until Mila called us inside at around 3 pm. She had decided that we should also have a Christmas lunch like all our neighbours and had set the table with fancy serviettes etc. She made a throne for herself at the head of the table, was dressed as the queen and so we ended up having Panatone cake for Christmas lunch, served by her highness….unusual but strangely good.

On the morning of the 31st, Kevin and Mila were (rather ungracefully) attempting to cut down 2 smallish wattle trees using a combination of blunt hand saws and axes, when our woodcutter neighbour heroically appeared wielding his chainsaw. He zapped the little trees in a flash in an act of good neighbourliness. We had intended on reciprocating with a bottle of wine and R50, but he asked whether I have a hair cutter. His brother (who used to cut his hair) died 2 years ago and he had no means of having a hair/beard trim and so I ended up giving him a hair cut and sending him proudly into 2010. A bizarre end to a rather challenging year!

The baboons have been circling the house on a daily basis over the past month. Mushroom and Fettucini (the dogs) have been doing a good job at keeping them at bay, assisted by us banging pots, shouting and shooting at them with Luke’s “kettie” (which recently broke). We’re contemplating a paint ball gun, but these tactics only help when we’re at home. A few days ago, the dogs were outwitted by an intrusion on a morning when there was no-one on the farm. The trespassing primate/s broke the kitchen window, ripped down the gutter and attempted to get into the kitchen (also breaking the liquidiser and a sprouting bottle) and ended up destroying the wormeries and numerous plants including ALL the lettuce, spinach and tomatoes. They also ran off with an ice cream container filled with a nasty concoction of whiskey, HOT chilli sauce and fruit/vegetable cuttings we left for them…take that! Another plan in process is the hanging of lion poo in onion bags all along the fence. “Where does one get lion poo from?” you might be asking yourself. Well, the Cango Zoo in Oudtshoorn sells them in jam jars at R20 a pop! And if that fails, we’ll have to figure out how and where to electrify.

Another fun (albeit less dramatic) project we’re undertaking this year is the establishment of chicken and rabbit accommodation…

Mila is off to Grade 1 next week (still at the marvellous Montesorri school with Luke) and we trust that 2010 will be a good one, filled with rainwater showers heated by the power of the sun! Living the dream…