The delight I get from seeing wildlife in my garden has never worn off, despite the havoc that many of them wreak. There’s something quite magical about living so close to this other world inhabited by creatures all going about their business, mostly unseen by human eyes. The enchantment comes partly perhaps from having grown up on Beatrix Potter, The Wind in the Willows and Bambi. But also, having lived in a city for most of my life (except for a stint in the Zululand bush) it is still all so wonderfully different from what I was used to as an urban dweller.
Mostly I’m surrounded by bird life and little critters – chameleons, skinks, field mice, frogs, insects and the occasional snake. Bushbuck, mongoose, hare and porcupine venture into the garden from time to time to eat the plants and veggies and of course, beyond the garden fence, there are jackal, serval, genet, more buck and who knows what else.
The other morning I marvelled at a cute baby hare (Peter Rabbit incarnate) hopping onto our veranda. But that was topped later in the day when we went to play bridge with neighbours who live on a wildlife estate. On their front lawn were two zebra munching away at the grass. What a pleasure to sit and play cards with these gorgeous animals right outside the window.
It’s been a busy time one way and another. Every year at this time we are legally obligated to burn firebreaks around the perimeter of our property. It is a nerve wracking activity at the best of times but even more so now when we have so little water to fight any runaway fire. We used to pay one of our neighbours to burn our breaks but for the past couple of years we’ve teamed up with 5 other neighbours who pool their resources (tractors, water tanks, equipment and labour) and burn each other’s breaks.
When the breaks are done, the employers throw a party for all the staff who carry out the burning. Our neighbours are incredibly generous to include us in this arrangement as we don’t have anywhere near the same amount of resources to contribute. To make up for this we offered to host the workers’ party, which of course included shisa nyama.
Water, or lack thereof, is a constant worry so I decided to do a bit of spring maintenance the other day. Believe it or not all you first worlders, this is where our drinking water comes from – straight out of the ground and into a muddy little dam before being siphoned into the JoJo tank. I did manage to get a slightly better flow of water just by clearing around the spring but it’s still not enough to fill the tank. I’m hoping that as the snow in the catchment area melts so our water supply will improve.
I’ve also been quite busy at school.
But it hasn’t been all work. A few weekends ago we went to a concert at Caversham Mill with friends who live in the Champagne Valley. We had a picnic lunch and were entertained by Arno Carstens, who I’ve never listened to before but we really enjoyed his music. And the Balgowan Brewery craft beer was also rather good.