MEETINGS AND MORE

 

Home baked bread, part of lunch.

The meeting was great; there are only seven people here at the moment. The get together was sort of a very informal meeting around a meal, just discussing future plans.

 

 

Ole, Tim and Zanile at the meeting

The house needs paint, lots of it, or does it really? Green (not the color) paint is very expensive and I was telling you about the Bamboo we have, so why not cover the walls with Bamboo, it will look like a cabin on the inside and why not just plant Grinadellas along the outside wall and let them take over (obviously keeping the windows open) and no paint needed. Just some ideas Riaan and myself came up with, not sure how do-able these ideas are, we will have to do some research, maybe the treatment for bamboo is even more expensive than paint. Then there is the option of Lime, the problem with lime is that it does not last that long, but if you cook up some Aloe or any other Cactus type  plant and you add that to the lime, it makes it much more “flexible” and it goes onto the walls easier and stays  on much longer.

 

Grinadella flower

I though, when we left Vaalwater, we left the hunters behind. Not so, we heard the hunting dogs and we heard the gunshots today. It seems like you just cannot get away from these cavemen. It brought about a debate about when is it hunting and when is it poaching ? It seems like when you have big money and a big gun and you want to kill so that you can have the head of a dead animal on your wall, you are hunting, but when you hunt for food, you are generally seen as a poacher, but the line blurs,  because a lot of hunters claim they shoot primarily for the pot and some poachers (like Rhino poachers) does it for the money.

We will just have to create a save haven for the animals on this property, there was a Kudu amongst the cow’s the other day, obviously hiding from the hunters, clever chap. I have a feeling that hunting with dogs is actually illegal in this country, have to check up on that. That reminds me, Maxi must not chase the buck, she is chasing them back into hunter territory.

Seeing that it is Solstice and all, we are going to get together around the fire and Riaan is about to get his first Bongo drumming lesson, but he does not know this yet.

 

Drums

 

 

FOOD AND THE FERRIE

I just dropped Melissa and David off on the N2, they are hiking their way through to Coffee Bay.  It has actually been quite a blessing having them here with the bore hole pump on strike. David studied Civil Engineering, so this was “engineering” 101 for him, but a big blessing for us.  One of the problems was the fact that there was no converter on the connection from the solar to the pump, big problem because you get fluctuating currencies, which can cause major headaches and broken pumps. Well, problem solved, thank you David. We also had a very American dish last night, called Chilli’s and corn bread, good stuff, we all ate too much.

 

Melissa and David cooking up a storm

Melissa seem to have a big interest on all sort of herbal teas and the remedies associated with them, we have had Oregano, Lemongrass, Geranium, Stinging Nettle, and a whole list of other teas being brewed, tested and tried.  Luckily there is a book here about the subject, so we managed not to poison ourselves.

I am busy developing a serious passion for gardening, maybe my nurturing instincts are finally kicking in, bit late. The fact is I love planting and caring for plants and it is quite special to see how they grow from a little seed into something totally different and something you can eat and all you really have to do is to stick it in the ground and give it a blanket of mulch and lots of love. We need a bird bath or a pond in the garden, but I not sure where yet, I am sure the birds will tell me soon.

 

Progress in the garden, Spinach is doing very well

I am all alone here today, Riaan went off with Tim to go and meet Tim’s cousin, regarding the walking trail. All the sudden quiet is quite strange, but at least I have some time to write again, but my head is not really here, it is in the garden, where there is 101 things I still want to do.

The cooking experiments are also in full swing, Riaan used to do most of the cooking, now I insist on having my fun.  Fennel root, quite nice stuff, I made a Fennel and Bean Stew, which came out great. You actually use the bulb (just above the ground) of the fennel plant. It is great fun to go into the garden, see what you have and go find a recipe for it or just create a new dish.

Although I have been vegetarian for about 12 years, you could still buy a lot of convenience products, like the Fry’s range (that has just become very pricey by the way, gram to gram, more expensive than meat). Now we make our own burger patties. Riaan is the patty King, we call them Riaans Nut Burgers. I will share some recipes later.

Also very interesting to note that it is just past the middle of winter and not a single soul that has been here, since we arrived, including ourselves, where sick (colds, flu, etc.), maybe that is because we are not reminded by TV ads that we are suppose to get sick and run off and buy medicine, or it could just be our diet or a combination of the two.

We went to Kei Mouth last weekend, we have been  here for three months now and this was our first opportunity the get away for a day. The only pond (ferrie) left in the country is at Kei Mouth, it used to link the old Transkei to South Africa, still does, but now it is all South Africa, although you can still see the difference, Kei Mouth looks like a typical small coastal resort town, but on the other side it is wild, even the sea that side seems to be wilder.  Got myself all muddies up trying to take some good photo, ended up in mud up to my knees.

 

 

The ferrie at Kei Mouth

 

SOLAR COOKING

 

 

 

Solar Cooker (no stick needed)

 

Solar cooker, first encounter

Well we have a lot of sun, why not use it. The one great advantage of the solar cooker is that you cannot burn your food or let’s rather say, I haven’t managed yet and that says a lot.

We bunch of bunny hugger eat a lot of beans and lentils and other stuff that sometimes takes a long time to cook. If it takes a long time to cook, it can use a lot of gas or electricity. Here is the solution, put it in a pot (not a silver one, somehow reflects back of something, but it does not work so well) with water and spices or herbs, put on solar cooker, face cooker to the sun and do as I do, forget about it until you get hungry. It does help if you occasionally move the cooker a bit so that it always faces the sun, but that is not absolutely necessary.

 

The Solar cooker makes an excellent potjie (just add stick)

We are also making our anti insect chili ala garlic concoction on the cooker. This is also a long slow process and it would have been a killer on the gas bill.  It can just stand there all day, free and all and cook away and tonight you strain and use.

That funny piece of wood you can see on the cooker (above) is not originally part of the cooker, a cow stepped on the cooker and now we need the wood otherwise the angle is all wrong, but it still works 100 %, just add stick…

On a more serious note, there are some major benefits to Solar cooking –

◊No need for wood! ◊ Saves money on gas/electricity ◊ long lasting (up to ten years)

◊ Easy of use ◊ Smoke free

 




 

PIZZA AND PESTO


Pascal making his Pesto

It is interesting to see how people get all creative in the kitchen, pesto making (my favorite) and I make a mean one, although I must admit that my last attempt was not that good, a bit bitter, but Pascal made a rather spicy pesto that was really special.  The problem here is that you normally just throw together what you have and sometimes it does not work and when it works you can normally not remember exactly what the ingredients and quantities where. That is the case with me in any case.

I have also noticed that the Pizza oven is being used quite regularly lately, big bread baking business. At the moment it is Joy and Greg living in the house and it reminds me of our bread baking days, but we eventually decided to keep this for special occasions because it is a rather pricey business (well, the type of breads that Riaan like to built in any case) and it is also quite time consuming, never the less fun to experiment with.

Come to think of it, maybe I should be super nice and give you my Pesto recipe, but I will have to make it myself again, seeing that the last batch was not so good, but I think it was because the Basil has already flowered, lots of plants go bitter when and after flowering. Maybe we should rather ask Pacal for his recipe..

 

 

Geranium leaf

Riaan is still away and I am spending less and less time in the house and the garden, I have so many of my own thing to try and sort out. As much is this was mostly a fun learning experience we are right now in financial troubles, this lifestyle is not cheap, that we are finding out the hard way!

 

SPACE OF FEAR

 

Morgan Bay Beach, out of season

Hallelujah, Xmas is over and so is the insanity of New Year. Now live can go on as normal, whatever normal is.

By the way, we are at KD again, we did work in Morgan Bay over the peak season and stayed there, made some money and sorted our car. We can still stay at KD for two months and built a kitchen, but the fact remains, if we do that  we will  have to buy a different vehicle, like a bakkie (pick-up truck) or we will have to move to Kei Mouth. Morgan Bay is also not much of a permanent solution because the roads there are as bad as the roads here.

We simply cannot stay here and hope to survive, that is the bottom line. We can also not drive this road everyday and hope our car will survive.

The last few weeks have been a rough ride. Not all went quite as planned, but we got through it and maybe someday when I feel like totally depressing everybody, I will tell you this story.  When we made the decision to go and work at Yellowwood, we were thinking from a space of fear, we ran very short on money and then our car broke and we panicked, neither of us belongs or should go near the Restaurant business ever again. Been there, done that, time to burn the T-shirt.

I must admit Yellowwood Forest is a very beautiful spot, here are some photos:

 

 

Inside or outside?

 

The Tree Pot Restaurant Entrance

 

Feasting between the faeries

 

Dave, our partner in crime at Yellowwood, 

he is from England and volunteered for the summer

 

SPROUTING OUT


Donax Drive in Kei Mouth, where we are now living

It has been a while, but everything is very different now. Living in suburbia, although I do not think suburbia is quite the right words here. Kei Mouth is a small coastal town, probably about 1 000 permanent residents and all the houses are not hiding behind big wall and security fences. It lacks the fear factor of suburbia.

Now the challenge is this; how to stay as green as possible within these surroundings. One thing I have noticed is that each property is only allowed 3 bags of rubbish per week and there are two houses on the property where we live. Seriously they only take 3 and leave the rest. This forces you to watch the amount of rubbish you create, because if becomes a big pain to get rid of when you have too much.

Unfortunately none of the Restaurants or Shops are particularly vegetarian friendly, but nothing new there. Riaan caught a fish the other day, he always catch and release, but sometimes things go wrong and the fish die. He brought the fish home, cleaned it, cooked it and ate it. I could not eat it because it was whole and the eyes where looking at me! How do you eat something while it is looking at you, even if it is dead? Each one to their own, I guess.

We are still using the greener cleaning products and bathroom paraphernalia.

I still make sprouts, I have learned to love them and you can sprout allsorts. Quite a nice one is mustards seeds.

HOW TO MAKE SPROUTS:

Here is the quick and easy way to make sprouts, no fancy equipment needed. You basically need a glass bottle with a lid.

I am going to use lentil sprouts as an example but the process for the other sprouts are pretty much the same, some take two day and some three or more, that is the only difference. I found that Mung Dahl gives you fresh sprouts within two day. I assume that the warmer climate here does affect this; it might take a bit longer in colder climates.

Put the lentils in the bottle, not a lot; fill about 2/10th of the bottle. Add water, you cannot add to much, so fill the bottle if you want. Put on the led. Leave it to stand for one day, it does not have to be in a dark room or anything, just let it stand anywhere, next to the basin, whatever.

 

After one day..

 

Holes in the lid, for drainage

 

Leave upside down, to drain

The next day the water will probably be a brownish color; that is normal. Drain the water. Rinse the lentils once or twice with fresh water.

Now make holes in the lid and drain all the water. Place the bottle upside down (lid with wholes at the bottom) on something where access water will be able to drain, sometimes I use the cheese grater, ie NOT on a solid surface. Just let it stand.

Rinse and drain for a day or two or three, until you have sprouts. Eat and enjoy.