The oddities of living on a farm


One of my previous posts are called “The Oddities of being a Mzungu in Dar”  – Mzungu being a white person.

Well, for a city girl now living on a farm, everyday life is full of oddities – things that we take for granted, that are not so easy to come by.

As we live a few kilometres out of town, there is no such thing as quickly running an errand to a nearby shop to buy milk, bread, toilet paper etc.  If you find that you are out of milk at 6 am in the morning, tough sh_t, you just drink that cuppa black!  Don’t even talk about running out of loo paper at night!

My Sunday treat is a to drive to town to get the Sunday Times or Rapport, so I can catch up on the weekly gossip in the world.

Yesterday I pulled out the most beautiful beetroot from my veggie patch, and got the fright of my life when I went to the loo in the early morning hours to wee, as of course the contents in the bowl afterwards looked at me all red and malicious, until I remembered through my half-asleep state that the beetroot was most delicious at supper time last night.

I sit and work in my study everyday, (blessed be the clients who have flocked back to me and therefore keep me busy), and I listen to at least a hundred small finches singing in the trees, and I keep a watchful eye on my injured owl that has lived with us now for almost 4 months, as the monkeys do come and bother him from time to time.

Another thing to get used to is that water is not on regular supply from the tap.  So it came that we barely managed to get enough water in the bath last night to rinse off, and brush teeth, before the last drops trickled out the taps.  The water tank on its high stilt sits outside the property, and to get to the pump switch means one has to wade through some grass, ominous in the dark as anything could hide in it.  Unfortunately for Kobus, he could not sleep in the early morning hours with work matters filling his mind, so he got up at 4.30 am, and then HAD to do the trip to the pump switch in the dark, so he could get ready for work.

As it is the end of autumn, and a cold, dry winter looms (unlike the wet Mediterranean climate winters I am used to in the Western Cape), my garden is starting to look rather yellow.  We get water pumped from the Vaal River to irrigate the crop lands with pivots, and only when these are started up, am I able to water my garden as well.  The big tap to open the water supply to my sprinkler system, also lies in a patch of tall grass, and as the pipes around the tap leak, the grass around it is always long and green.  So,  gumboots are donned and prayers sent upwards that no snake lurks in the area.

As I am sitting here now, 8.30 am, about 200 small birds are getting that early worm on the grass in front of my study window, as I watered yesterday, and the worms are easy prey now.  In the distance the machines are loading the newly cut mealies into the silage to ferment and make food for the cows.  The fields are now called “stoppel-lande”, meaning the mealies are now cut and all that has remained are short stumps.  Two days ago, some cattle were allowed to come and feed on the piece of land in front of my house, but of course the long, green stems of grass around the irrigation tap was far more appealing, and I had to keep the dogs indoors as all they wanted to do, was to chase the cows across the fields.

Some nights the jackal hunter drives around in the fields around the property, shining a green light across the land, apparently to find the jackal’s red eyes in the green light.  I feel so sorry for these creatures, as they are constantly hunted down, and I can hear them howling many a night.  However, in keeping their numbers down, we are also preserving other small wildlife, like steen buck – a small, shy buck.

I make the most delicious rusks, and bake the odd banana loaf or date balls.  All who know me well, should be mightily impressed!!

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About suletta

Fell in love again at age 50! And followed my man to Zanzibar, for him to set up a dairy farm. I managed to travel into Africa a few times in my life, always loving it and experience the "fever" that grips you on African soil - the one that especially the Europeans now and in years gone by, suffer from. Except I am an African by birth - a South African. A Mzungu.So I discovered at this late stage in my life (not that I feel old!) that some people find my babblings about life interesting, and I quote: "live their lives vicariously through me".
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4 Responses to The oddities of living on a farm

  1. denise schmidt says:

    Just love reading your interesting articles. You sound so happy and content. I yearn for the happiness you found. God will surely hear me and provide the lid for my pot. Go well friend xxx. Denise

    • suletta says:

      Thanks Denise, and I am so sure you will find that lid, as you are an attractive, lovely woman, worthy to get the best lid in the land! 🙂
      Look after yourself, and if you have time for a coffee, I am in C T next week,so F B me your ph number.

  2. Dannie Hill says:

    I’m back in America now– trying to find out why it’s so hard to purchase a house. I miss my little farm and you’ve appeased my heart for a bit with pictures and words. I must come and see SA. Thank you, Suletta

    • suletta says:

      Glad I could lift your spirit for a bit Dannie. As per all things new (by now it is new for you again!), it takes time to settle in again. I wish you luck.

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