Thursday, November 2, 2023
It is time for a change. Speekhout Farm is switching from a website to a BlogSpot
This I can manage, update and publish myself. Where I live, if you don't do it yourself, sorry ne. So ja, welcome to our farming life. By now we have realised we are not farmers in the true sense of the old way, but since we live on agricultural land (and are white, go figure), we are called boere. Not by choice but by default of where we live. No matter that we say we are not, we are.
Mark is a tree planter and loves to get into the dirt to plant especially seeds. He has pockets full of seeds, his eyes always catching those little beauties wherever we go. He loves seeds and is always ready to reach when the trees and plants are ripe to present their gifts to him. Seeds give Mark such joy. He is one of those collectors, and what a happy day when he happens to meet another collector! The most precious gift to Mark: seeds. There is always more no matter where we go.
And then the day those tiny little green spruces bumps the soil up.... he notices it hey. And then the finger pictures - I take snapshots with his finger pointing to that minute little teeny bit of life in the soil. He calls me to proudly show me the tiniest first new leaves. It is what we do here too. There is time to watch things grow.... okay only joking, on our farm the work turns out to be the activator of growth, and omyhat, how I have grown.
In the city I had the luxury of paying somebody to attend to our gardens while I attended to many other things. Here I am a make-shift garden boy of sorts. After the rains I pull weeds, the energy mass is super for compost. I water the collection of flower pots of joyful colors that fringes our karoo garden. Man, they are really so beautiful. Mark is also a lawn-guy. We have a multi-purpose lawn, mostly on the western side of the farm house. It keeps the ground cool and holds the sprinkler's moisture around the trees and bushes. This helps to cool the house down during those hell hot months. As the sprinkler rotates, it gracefully slows down the heat-up rate of the house. Each little water droplet from the wobbler has a microscopic change on each microbe of heat. I love the lawn here more than ever, and so do the dogs.
The trees together with the grasses create their own micro atmosphere. There came a day my sister sent us a photo of what it looked like here when she came to visit the first time. We cried because it is not what we saw when we came to view the farm. Honestly, it was horribly backwards but that’s not what we saw. In hind sight it was most probably the catch to think we can do it. The bait to fix and renew, the prospect of a promise not fulfilled. The chance to re-create something of meaningfulness and purpose. The chance to start something new and different while we still had time.
So, the next thing is watering the new beginnings. Mark planted a myriad of trees around the farm house and 6 years later we have our own cool shade. We brought saplings from our own variety of thorns trees Mark planted in Orange Grove, and came to the farm and re-planted the offspring. Yes, we transported as many of our plants with us as we could practically manage. We also brought the outdoor orchids which is a family heirloom from Mark’s parents’ days.
Mark was so inspired, he propagated indigenous cedar trees that once grew here in this very kloof. 1890 the last giant cedar tree was chopped down and hauled out of this kloof we read in the recorded writings.... We cried. We tell the story to guests who are all ears about the kloof. Mark harvested the seeds of the local cedars and embarked on a simulated process to germinate it. He then re-planted them everywhere where water can reach. They die as a still burnt-orange crackle, from a fungus we suspected. If they live, the sheep love to eat them kaal, and every now and again they grow green and tall. A real krismis tree of sorts. They are future giants we will never see tower above the humble landscape they once reigned.
Yes, the Living Water. Water works is another full time aspect of our farming life. When we weed-eat the bossies down, it looks like lawn too! MondayWednesdayFriday, our watering motto, every day could be Tuesday, there is no telling what day it is. Thus the drought gave us a new rhythm. In the beginning, GNT in the one hand and the hose in the other, I watered the groupings of bags and pots, sometime I watered just weeds in the black bags, but not the smoking stuff. (I smoked my last cigar 22 years ago on someone else's wedding right before our own.) I don't pull weeds out of the bags anymore, I flippen land up pulling those finger picture spruces as well. During the drought, even the quarts just couldn't keep up with the watering. Nor could I. There is simply not enough booze in the world to douse a drought.
So, I prayed. And watered the pots. When water is at a premium, you close the nozzle between the pots and the bags to save water. While the hose is open, I count. Close and open. Pray, twist and turn. The bags and pots and I survived the drought but just that. There was nothing left for me to do but pray. I have been praying for rain for more than 5 years now. I have also been praying for revival here for the same time. Revival-rain. The rain did come but not yet revival. It rained somewhere on the Kouga mountains again, funneling the gift down the slopes into the Baviaanskloof river, giving us a continues flow not seen here by us in 7 years. What a joy to drive through the water every single time. Endless pictures, stop before the river click. Once in the water windows down, click click both ways. Kill the engine so we can listen to the water flow.... The amazing veld flowers and the abundance of water, ‘n ware skouspel
Saturday, June 1, 2019
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Unpacking boxes. After the initial necessities made life functional, it didn’t much continue until we started looking for specifics. Things that we needed and we knew we had somewhere. Out comes the numbered box list, contents abbreviated in my great handwriting, accurate up to a point because we didn’t pack all the boxes ourselves, we also had helping hands. Thank goodness we had help to pack all of our stuff, stuff we have been cavorting, keeping safe, storing, hedging, hording in a sort of a way. We were hanging on to our good, valuable, practical, irreplaceable, good, and ordentelike inheritance plus our own accumulated stuff for as long as we can remember. Why, because one day we were going to need it on the farm, and here we are, one day has arrived.
Sunday was one of the bestest of days we have had since our arrival 2 years ago. We have never seen the farm so beautiful, carefree enjoying the quiet peace, the soft skies, our happy dogs, offering a most thankful prayer to our steady Cornerstone on the Crocodile’s second tail. The farm is my new-reality and my farm shoes enable me to be prepared for whatever is going to happen today. Not many non-eventful days I must say, in fact we are starting to enjoy the challenges, and the unthinkable things are somehow overcomeable as God makes a stand for us. For what can a man give as an exchange (a compensation, a ransom, in return) for his [blessed] life [in the eternal kingdom of God]? Mark 8:37
Friday, March 1, 2019
Nature is also forgiving. An ongoing drought and a most thankful sprouting response after the last rains, nearly a month ago. I have learned to live in a drought, unimaginable and hard to accept at first, but then I realised as long as Living Water flows out of our ravine fountain, we stay and farm according to what we receive daily
We are so fragile and our survival is dependent on so many different factors. A lot of balls to keep in the air, way more than what we bargained for or would have chosen for ourselves. But then we are here and there is no plan B
I have learnt not to look at the clouds and listen to what people say nature portrays about the coming rains. It rains when it does. I have washed our car, put the carpets out, packed books outside, all those things that you should not do in case it rains so that it can rain. I have prayed, cried, fasted, drank a lot, cried and prayed all over again, on my knees in the dust. Frantic, desperate, smothered in dryness. I don't know how to live in a drought. It is a force that takes me to shameful fist fights withe Creator God....
And then every now and again the unthinkable happens, it actually rains.....
The first time I laughed and cried deurmekaar, we ran after the sound of rushing water, overjoyed and bewildered. The last time I just sat down and savored the smell, the cool relief, tears mingling with big fat drops of Mercy and Grace. I have been reduced to a simpleton when it comes to rain. Everything stops and no price is too high for rain. Living Mercy and Grace.... my souls sings. I wish it would rain every day