Monday, 17 October 2011

The Fish....and the fish

As mentioned in the last posting, we had a great Fish River Canoe Marathon once again.  The valley was taken over by hoards of paddlers, partners, families, seconders and various hangers on.
Thousands of ‘foreigners’ here to enjoy the rushing water, beautiful scenery and Karoo hospitality. 
We really enjoyed having all our guests to stay and this was echoed by almost everyone I spoke to.  It was wonderful for us to share what we have with paddlers and their families who made a long weekend out of the occasion.  They children had a great time on the farm. So, every year we thoroughly look forward to sharing our beautiful valley with those not fortunate to live here.

Talking about fish................ well there is a jolly good reason why the Fish River in so named.  Have a look at the photo Kate took of the local fishermen who regularly catch fish in the river and sell them.  Not only are those living at the coast are lucky enough to go fishing!

Our guests were introduced to our lamb who started off life as ‘Snowy’, then became ‘Hansie’ and was called ‘Shaun’ by our little visitors.  Shaun (Shorn).......what an appropriate name for a sheep!!!
He is a Xhosa speaking (bleating?) sheep and responds to his “Dad” Vellie whom he loves and vice versa.

A sad update on my darling chicks – their wonderful mother died a few days ago – cause unknown.  We noticed her getting weaker and weaker over two days and less mobile and despite our valiant efforts to feed her and give her a boost, she expired, much to my sadness.  I did tell her repeatedly that she was a good and brave and kind mother, so hopefully she went off feeling good about herself!  I must be getting soft in the head!?  But she taught me quite a lot about matching, hatching and finally dispatching - a patient and fiercely protective mother.  And, considerately, she waited until her chicks were able to take care of themselves – poor little orphans!

A recipe I have been asked for is this:

1 packet       Tennis Biscuits
1 tin              Condensed milk
1 small tin    Crushed pineapple (440gr)
750ml           Custard
1/3 cup         Lemon juice
·       Make custard, medium thickness
·       Put a layer of Tennis Biscuits in a large glass dish
·       Pour over hot custard and repeat with another layer of biscuits and custard
·       Beat condensed milk with lemon juice and fold in pineapple
·       Pour over top of base
·       Decorate with dollops of whipped cream and crushed biscuits or as desired
This makes a large pudding and is lovely on its own or served with ice cream

Take care – from a sunny and bloomingly beautiful Karoo.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

We have just survived another Fish River Canoe Marathon once again when this area becomes alive with people, canoes and a great atmosphere.  Canoeists, seconders, family and friends descend on Fish River and Cradock and in between and the locals have to fit in or ......... oh, never mind  - we love it and enjoy the buzz.  More of this next time.
But this area doesn’t only come alive for the Fish.  We have been enjoying the brilliant variety of veld flowers and after the excessive rains this year it has been a particularly good season.  The Kapok bushes are snow white and we have noticed birds making use of the downy white fluff for their nests.  I went off in search of freesias last week which I remember with great fondness from my childhood.  There are certain areas where they grow in amongst the rocks and I wondered if they still did.  Well, to my absolute joy, there they were in profusion – creamy coloured with the edges of the older flowers turning mauve.  Kate and I picked a big bunch and we had them in a vase on the desk to enjoy  their simple beauty and strong scent.  Nature at it’s best!!  If only I could let you smell them somehow – the freesias we all know haven’t  a patch on their wild cousins (probably ancestors?)!  Walking through the veld looking for flowers is so rewarding as one misses so much driving along without seeing all the tiny plants nestling and hiding under rocks seeking shelter from the harshness.
The garden is starting to bloom with the irises, roses, mock orange and banksias showing off most beautifully.  The vegetable garden is beginning to look lush and I have been able to gather spinach, radishe, lettuce and soon peas will be podding and ready for picking.  The strawberries have started flowering and need to be protected soon from the birds plus all the fruit trees are looking healthy and are laden with the tiniest fruit.  Hopefully this year the hail will play ball and stay away or be kind if it has to fall.  It did so much damage last year, so we are holding thumbs.  Can’t wait to be able to bottle fruit and veg this year.
Sweetcorn, carrots, bringals, beetroot, butternut, pumpkins, onions  are amongst the crops planted and being planted plus a new herb garden is being born which is my pride and joy as I have always wanted to have one. 
Now and update on our darling chickens............ the nine babies were doing wonderfully well until last weekend when four disappeared mysteriously while we were away in Morgan Bay attending my nephew’s wedding. I was heartbroken on our return, but have now come to terms with the loss.  Actually the mother is able to cope far better with the remaining five and they are strong and happy and give endless pleasure to the little people who have visited us over the past two weeks.

We had 19 members of the DSG/St Andrews Prep Orchestra with us for two nights last week and it was such fun to be surrounded by such well behaved and enthusiastic young people.  They gave  performances in the Fish River Tennis Club Hall, the Moederkerk and Elizabeth Jordaan Old Age Home in Cradock and I am sure all who heard them were enchanted.

Until next time,