Blinkers

When I was a child I watched a movie where a man was released from prison after many years.  It was not like prison is these days with TV. He had no idea about how the world had changed while he was in jail.  I remember wondering what that must have been like for him.  I think I am finding out in a small way.

I never realized how sheltered I have been over the past 5 years living on the farm without TV and no interest in following the news and hardly ever going to the city.

Living in the city now I point out new marvels to B who frowns at me strangely and says I have been hiding under a rock :)

Things I have not seen.

Really cute looking cars like this Nissan Juke

Over dressed trees

I was kindly told about yarn bombing by a friend  – never heard of it!

Bent TV’s

well I never!

Another thing is the parkrun.  These have apparently been around for 10 years (worldwide).

B and I have joined up and do our parkrun through a farm nearby every Saturday morning (I walk for now).  Our aim is to get a lot fitter than we are.  I am surprised that I am really enjoying it and look forward to each outing.

For those of you who don’t know much about them, you just register online (for free) – print out your barcode and then go running (or walking) at a parkrun venue. It’s always 5 km at 8 am.  You will, in the course of Saturday, get an email giving you your time, information about the field you ran in and where you placed within your age group and overall so it’s a nice easy way to work on improving your time each week.  For more information see www.parkrun.com

Picture of the Hall’s Parkrun in Mbombela from http://nedbank-lvccrunning.blogspot.com/ crossing the Crocodile river

Is there anything you have missed out on and never knew existed?

Trick or Treat?

I absolutely adore this rocking chair that B inherited from his Grandmother.

It has a feature spot in our bedroom in Tiny House.

If you are wondering why it is wearing socks, it has a nasty habit of sticking its feet out and trying to trip me when I am on my way to the loo in the middle of the night. After a few incidents of losing the skin off the top of my right foot I decided to donate a pair of soft comfortable socks to the old girl :)

How big is your baby?

Spring time is a time of rebirth and renewal and much focus is given to cute bouncing bundles of joy like this one

 

and in our area, babies like these…

(picture of a local postcard)

 

Yesterday I was out looking at other babies.  Subtropical fruit babies.

This is an avocado pear

 

and some baby mangoes

 a litchi

and some oranges (not on the farm we live on)

So here is what I am pondering…………

All of the above fruit trees blossom and start bearing fruit around the same time (spring)

We will be eating the mangoes and litchis by the end of this year  (3-4 months to mature ripe fruit depending on cultivar) yet the avocados and oranges will only be ripe and ready in 6-11 months time (winter fruit for us).

Why would some fruit be able to ripen and mature so fast and others take so long?

Not so Nutty.

In front of Tiny House there is a pecan nut orchard.  When I got here at the beginning of the month they looked like this

and today they look like this

I just love watch everything come to life in springtime.

Today I realized that I know very little about them so I asked B lots of questions as he showed me around the trees.  On the dryer trees I spotted clusters of growth quite high up like the picture below.

These clumps of growth are mistletoe.  I didn’t even know that we had mistletoe in this country and really have only seen plastic kissy ones at Christmas time.  These unfortunately are not so friendly and are semi-parasitic weeds which cause loss of nut yield and make the tree sickly. Mistletoe has to be cut out of the trees.

The trees will flower near the end of spring and then as the flower wilts the nut begins to grow.  It is not a true nut but actually a “drupe”.

(picture of pecan from Wikipedia)

Health benefits of Pecans

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Antioxidants present protect against cancer and infections
  • Pecan nuts are rich source of vitamin E and are therefore great for skin health
  • The nuts are very rich sources of several important B-complex groups of vitamins
  • The nuts are also rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

I will definitely be making pecan nut pie soon and I also enjoy putting them in my banana bread and salads. Do you have any favorite pecan nut recipes to share?

Honey hunny

While I was away at the iNyoka Gallery opening B gave me a call to see how things were going and mentioned that he had a present for me. Now that in itself is quite unusual (not in a nasty way) as we are not big gift givers and tend to stick to birthdays for that kind of thing.  My mind rushed in two different directions.  Firstly a few flashbacks to hideous gifts I have received from beaus in the past like garish plastic gold earrings when I don’t ever wear gold, or a dress two sizes too big or a kitchen pot :) Then secondly I got really excited because I am a girl after all and I LOVE surprises and thoughtful gifts.

By the time I got home he seemed to have forgotten though so I just kept quiet hoping that something would just pop up.

On opening the fridge to prepare dinner I spotted a large tub of margarine. Now I really can’t stand margarine and believe in the goodness of butter and had thought that I had brainwashed  trained B enough to get him off the darn stuff.  I opened my big mouth and started my “margarine is plastic” speech when he gently told me that the tub was my gift.  What???  Really??  I gingerly opened the tub hoping against hope that it did not contain margarine.

Surprise surprise guess what I got!  This man is so precious and knows me so well!

Organic litchi honey from the litchi orchards from one of the farms. Still in the comb.

Now most of you who follow my blog will know this is such a “me” gift.

I have spotted quite a few bee boxes on the farm that we stay on and B told me that one of the farm managers is very interested in bee keeping and that they have very many hives which they use on the farms.  Currently, they still have to bring in extra bees for all the pollination of 350 hectares of avocados and also about 100 hectares of litchis but they hope to eventually have enough of their own.

Because they are still splitting hives and multiplying their bees they do not harvest much honey at all so I was really lucky to get a bit.

Also, attached to this gift, was the promise of me going to learn how to split hives and do some beekeeping which I have been keen to learn.  I can’t wait!

I will most certainly take my camera and share with you all when I go.  Now I need to think of all the questions I want to ask the bee expert. Let me know if you have any bee questions you would like answered.

The Grand Opening of iNyoka Gallery

On Friday the 19th of September a long awaited dream became reality when our artists co-operative gallery was officially opened in Hoedspruit.

After years of planning and months of really hard work and renovations done by the steering committee, the artists themselves, their partners and sometimes even their children, we were finally ready.

There was a strong feeling of anticipation within the group and folk worked hard at getting invitations out and a couple of the steering committee worked night and day putting the final touches to the incredible space we had created.  All participating artists were asked to donate one piece for an art auction to raise funds for phase 2 and phase 3 of our project.

I was quite edgy about the auction and worried about the turnout. What if no one bid on my art? What if there was a poor turn-out for the grand opening?

I need not have worried.

The Grand Opening of iNyoka Gallery was the event of the year in this small town with over 300 people attending and our auction raised just under R140 000! What a buzz the evening was!

A HUGE thank you to all who attended.

(If you look carefully at the second picture, you can see my painting of a lions head hanging on the center pillar)

Special thanks to Kerry Simpson for the photos.

Connectivity

My apologies for disappearing again.  I have had a short glitch in getting internet sorted out at Tiny House.  Hopefully I am up and running now.

Tomorrow I am off to Hoedspruit again for the grand opening of the iNyoka Gallery. One of the few glitzy affairs I will have attended in the last 5 years (maybe the only one even :) )  I will take lots of pictures to show those of you who are not attending.  I am so excited to be involved in this project.

I will be back blogging on Monday 22 Sept.

I will leave you with two more pictures of the farm where Tiny House is located.

Welcome to iNoyka Gallery

For the past year, I, along with a few other Hoedspruit artists, have been busy setting up an artists co-operative and gallery in Hoedspruit. It has been a labour of love with everyone pitching in to paint, drill, weld, wash and waterproof an old building – converting it into an art gallery.

Before

After

Finally after months and months of preparation we are ready for our grand opening on the 19th September.  Art by member artists from the whole region will be displayed for sale and there will also be an art auction to raise funds for the gallery.  We are proud to have some well known local artists exhibiting in this amazing space.

Please make every effort to join us on the 19th just outside Hoedspruit for a wonderful evening of art, wine-tasting, live music and delicious snacks.

If you are a local artist who would be interested in joining our co-op, please contact us on info@inyokagallery.com  

 

 

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away

On Saturday we attended the Wild Horse Festival in the small arty town of Kaapsehoop which is about 15 minutes outside of Mbombela, perched on top of a mountain.

 This sleepy village boasts amazing views over the Lowveld as well as some beautiful wild horses that freely roam around town, over the hillsides and in the nearby forests of pine trees.

Gold was discovered here in 1882 but the deposit was poor and most miners moved off towards the richer areas of Pilgrims Rest and Barberton. This led to the decline of the small town until it was repopulated by artists and folk looking for a peaceful weekend retreat.

This weekend’s festival was held to raise money to take care of the horses as well as a road fund to repair their roads. It was very well attended and we had a wonderful day browsing the market stalls, watched horses getting shod by blacksmiths, eating a most delicious mutton curry and watching rugby before heading home.

There is a good choice of accommodation in Kaapsehoop as well as many things to do in the surrounding area including horse trails, hiking, a visit to the nearby Kruger National Park, or a trip along the Panorama Route to name a few.

If you are ever in the area it is well worth a visit.

 

Farm fresh veggies!!

One week in and I have found a source of fabulous farm fresh vegetables and fruit.  The system is run by a lass called Chene and she drops off your bag weekly. You can also order farm fresh duck and duck fat from her.  

This is what I got for R60!

I am now on the hunt for a source of good grass fed meat and farm milk.