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The most obvious health benefit from gardening is the hard labour. One hour of hard gardening can burn up to 300 calories, and can help reduce heart disease and strengthen muscles. The fresh air is great for you, and you can also get some sunlight, which will boost your vitamin D levels.

But it’s not all about the physical benefits. Gardening has been proven to help mental health too, as the work can reduce stress. You can also get social benefits, if you can talk to your neighbours while you garden, or if other members of your family work with you.

Teaching a child to garden can teach them alot of responsibility, not to forget the reward of seeing something grow.

If you grow your own vegetables, then this will encourage you to eat healthier, and you can save lots of money from not having to buy groceries. It’s also great to grow herbs, as these can be used to flavour meals, meaning less need for salt.

Ask at your local garden centre for help starting your garden growing process, and you’ll soon be feeling fitter and healthier.


You can trap fleas by placing a dish of soapy water under a night light near where your pet sleeps. Fleas are attracted to warm light and will drown in the soapy water. This works for adult fleas only, but with diligence, can be effective reducing the flea population. Fleas already residing on your pet aren’t likely to leave, so you will still need to flea comb and/or bathe them in a mild shampoo (even a baby shampoo will work as fleas don’t survive well in soapy water).

Also have a look a Natural Tick and flea spray for dogs.

Make-a-Flea-Trap


After reading a post on facebook.com about household water tasting like chlorine due to a friends poor husband maybe having a  heavy hand on the bottle. Below is a picture of our main water resource the Kowie River, it supplies local towns with majority of its water until the new Amatola Water Project kicks in the next 5 years. Water from the Fish river, and major boreholes will be piped the whole way down the  eastern coast (150km ) to hopefully solve the water crisis in the area.

With only a small percentage of  our total water being drinkable water, its a very delicate natural resource. We catch every raindrop possible since we only run on rain water, and water stands for a month or two without being used in large 2500, 5000 litre tanks. Drinking water is filtered through a homemade system to remove larger particles from dust to rust. i do try and boil water, but I have survived quite fine on rain water for 9 months now.

i started looking at ways to purify the water being stored for later use and found a couple good tips about bleaching  your water that stands.

1 – Always allow long standing pipes/taps to drain for atleast 30 seconds before drinking from it.
2- 20 litres of water can be purified using ordinary household bleach ( 1 teaspoon ). Purify 5000 litres with about 200 ml of bleach.  It should smell of chlorine after adding the bleach, if it does not repeat the process. the smell should go away after a few days.
3- Store water in the dark, it prevents bacteria and germs growing.
4 - Bleach effectively kills bacteria and viruses, stops smells and then breaks down. It’s effective germ killing alkaline property is completely neutralized very quickly.

 Sodium hypochlorite solution, referred to as ” common household chlorine bleach”, is not a seriously poisonous substance to humans. It is an alkaline salt. It is not an “acid”.  However It very, very effectively kills bacteria and viruses upon contact. It is the world-wide chemical of choice for treating drinking water, or for effectively sterilizing everything from shower stalls to surgical instruments. Truthfully, very heavily chlorinated water may be more irritating to the lungs – if it is used for showers, than it is harmful to the intestinal tract if used for drinking purposes. Even drinking straight household bleach rarely results in death. The alkaline properties of undiluted bleach may cause painful chemical burns to the esophagus and stomach – but it is not deadly poisonous. Bleach must always be kept out of the reach of children – because not only might they drink it – they may get it in their eyes. Sauce

alkaline salt


After a bit of research on refurbishing Oregon pine wood it, not knowing much about, i have come to another interesting story with possibly alot of truth. The Anglo-Boer war was manifested by the taxes of transport on Oregon pine being shipped from the United States to South Africa during the late 1800′s and early 1900′s.

Flooring with one coat of varnish and sealer. 

Ramblers rest farmhouse has Oregon flooring, skirting, doors and kitchen counters. It took about 5 days to sand it all down to the raw pinewood. Alot of the original pine has been replaced due to wood borer and rotting due to neglect. The wood has been fumigated, washed, and dried many times. I have hand painted the first coat on the floors and kitchen counters. This is quite a time consuming process as it needs to be done a further 3 times, with light sanding inbetween to get the best sealed finish.

The Douglas-Fir tree is often referred to as Oregon Pine, and possibly gets its name Oregon from the slang name used by older shippies in Canada as Irish Pine :”O’Regan”. It was used quite extensively by the settlers and still used today to make furniture. This is possibly a reason for the name Oregon Pine instead of calling it Douglas Fir ( DF ) wood.

Oregon Pine comes from the floorboards and roofing trusses recovered from houses and buildings constructed in South Africa in the early 1900′s. Oregon imported from Canada and North America was used in this era because a suitable structural timber was required for floors and roofing, and there were insufficient South African indigenous hardwoods, like yellowwood, to meet the demand without destroying our natural forests. Recovered Oregon is hard, durable, seasoned for the decades it was in use and has a lustre and grain that suits the cottage style of furnishing – warm, homely, cozy and with a sense of timelessness.
Sauce

Hallway 

Kitchen counters and doors


Perhaps an activity of a forgotten era is pine cone collecting. Only a few decades ago families used to go to our many pine trees around the country to collect pine cones to dress and use for Christmas. Perhaps just simply to use in a fire to add a pine smell, or different colour to flames or used as a piece to dress your christmas tree.

I have been collecting pine cones as we have about 15 pine trees on the farm. They are nice to use as fire starters and add a lovely pine smell to the room when starting a fire. I remember someone telling me how they can change the colours of a flame if you use different ingredients on the pine cone. After researching Oregon pine, I came across a website with quite a few craft projects one can use as a great alternative to our commercial  Christmases of today. Below is one recipe form the website
oregonpinecones.com ).

Coloured flame pine cones

Camp fire starter disks


I was donated thousands/s of worms from a local farmer who had too many in their bath tubs. They started from about 1KG of worms, just 2 years ago.

I collected bags of them and quickly transported them back to their new home that had been prepared with car tyres. I found this the most cost effective way to make enough space for all these worms as tyres are collected for free from the local tyre dealerships in town. This is a very effective way to turn your waste into nutrient rich vermicompost. I used layers of brown and green leaf matter, soil, grass cuttingsand damp newspaper matter for a couple days before the worms arrived.

What and what not to feed your worms.

Do Feed Worms:

  • Vegetable scraps
  • Fruit scraps and peels (mold/rot is fine)
  • Bread and grains
  • Teabags
  • Non-greasy leftovers
  • Coffee grounds (and filters)
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Napkins, paper towels, cardboard, newspaper

Don’t Feed

  • Citrus
  • Meats,fish, poultry
  • Greasy foods
  • Dairy products
  • Twigs and branches
  • Dog/cat feces, cat litter


For soaking: Add two cups of Epsom Salt to warm water in a standard-sized bathtub. Double the Epsom Salt for an oversized garden tub. For the added benefit of moisturizing your skin, add one-half cup olive oil or baby oil. Bathe three times weekly, soaking for at least 12 minutes. Popular for easing muscle pain and fading bruises.

  • Do not use soap as it will interfere with the action of the salts.
  • Try to rest for about two hours afterwards.
  • If you have arthritic joints move them as much as possible after an Epsom salts bath to prevent congestion in the joints, which will only aggravate the pain. Sauce

Been offline for awhile, almost through the whole of winter. Lots of updates coming. A fair amount of progress on the old farmhouse and lots of progress on the land.

 

My dogs have been fairly clean through winter, but recently had a nasty attack of fleas. Tic season is almost around the corner. So I want to try and get them ready with healthy coats and a strong immune system and recipe to help repel these nasties.. If you google  natural flea repellent, there are hundreds of listings of natural and harmless that you can prepare in your kitchen for your dog.

I chose to mix two ingredients that seemed good for them, rosemary and lemons.  I currently have a large amount of both. Below are the instructions and details of what you need:

What you will need:

  • 2 lemons
  • handful of rosemary
  • pot and lid
  • sieve or strainer
  • spray bottle or bowl

    Bring about 1 litre of water to boil on your stove.Strip the rosemary from the stems and slice the lemon into pieces. Place these ingredients into the boiling water and boil with the lid on for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat from the stove off, and allow the water to steep until cool. Once cool, sieve the natural repellent into a spray bottle or another pot.

You can spray your dogs and let the repellent to dry on the dog. Spray around the dogs kennels and baskets, also spraying the corners of the rooms in your house. I think a couple sprays each day over 5 days should make an uncomfortable place for tics and fleas.
I am on day 2 and have not seen the benefits of this. But I am sure it will work and rid the dogs of any pests. This comes with no warranty. I will post feedback when i see a difference.

 

 

 


This is a water resivour that has been suggested to use as a storage area, braai area or as a water resiviour. Well being a South Africa, I rate a braai area bru. It’s an eye sore. Its right in the middle of the back garden. Its green with rotted tin, rotted beams and cracked walls. It’s also a quick way to test my building skills and get going with the rest of the jobs. I have slowly started breaking down the walls. It’s quite hard work as the wall is brick solid, 3 layers of concrete, 2 rows of bricks and steel mesh to get through. The braai area idea was spotted at a guesthouse next door, Kingston Farm, and it was the perfect renovation in the perfect spot. This is the before pictures.

I am basically opening it up with the views to the pond and wild fig tree to the east, and open up to the sunset in the west. I am leaving the walls quite high to cover the strong winds, but breaking them down to open up the views. Building a great braai area with bick and concrete. My concept is scribbled below and coloured with GIMP.  The plus side we have 3 x 3metre pine beams, and enough tin roof to finish the chicken coop.

Behind the new braai area, will be the water tank and filtration area for the house and guest house. I will cover up the tanks with a pine fence wall surrounding them. In time will also extend the garden around, also hiding the water tanks, and blocking sound. I think this is a great idea and will extend the garden, create a bigger herb garden for the kitchen and braai area, and block most of the wall from the new braai area when driving through the gate.

Lots more to work on, and many things to get going. But this structure should be up and running fairly soon.


Putting it plain and simple. Etolling of our roads is absolute hogwash, especially the M1 in Johannesburg. Its illegal and all the corporate politics associated to make further money out of public is crap. Bullying tactics of SANRAL and our government have failed so far, and hopefully continue to fail for as long as possible. It’s inevitable that we will have to pay to sit in traffic soon though. However  E-tolling can be stopped, say experts.

It did however bring a clever idea to mind. Although we have good national roads, taxi services. Local residents still use private property to access other farms, water, picking of prickly pears and more. They are simply trespassing. When does trespassing become a crime, theft, break in, or even murder. Maintaining my servitude road, and general dirt roads on Ramblers Rest costs time, money and materials.No matter how many measures I put in place to stop this it seems to continue.

I have located three areas on our boundaries that are clearly used by pedestrians. I will be putting up more fencing, adding natural deterrents such as Acacia Trees and Lantana Plants. I have thought many times how to handle trespassers and do not want to resort to violence. So I have decided to etoll. Each pedestrian who insists on using the walkways and dirt roads will be charged monthly fees. This is good for many reasons. I will get a copy of their ID, therefore knowing who using my property. On top of that I will earn a monthly fee that has not been decided for maintaining the access points that are used.

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