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Quite a dry winter with almost no rain in the last few weeks. A couple extra guests on Ramblers I had to make a decision and focus on sealing and renovating the water reservoir next to the workshop. With an extra two hands this took just over 2 days to complete. The following week I will be pumping water from a natural spring about 1km away to fill my reservoir and a couple rain tanks. Problem solved. I hope.

Below is a makeshift water filter using a 2 litre milk bottle, 32mm PVC pipe, a clamp, filled with shade netting and LECA to filter the water as naturally as possible.

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Manage to catch the first leaf that fell onto the shade netting. The system is working!!!!

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I used a central treated old dropper to keep things stable. Added 2 x 5 metres treated pine poles and inbetween used some nylon rope that will keep the shade netting securely down with the high winds that come from the valley. Its had no problems for 3 days. Things are looking good.

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The dogs playing around while I was completing the days work.

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Have been slow on renovations in the last 12 months, but alot is coming together. The bigger picture.
I am planning on having the back stoep, front of the house living room up and running by the beginning of Spring 2013. The cottage is also under repair and priority one for guests and wwoofers.

Been hard at work on very cold winter nights and weekends, doing what I can with what I have. Managed to install the front door with the
help of an old carpenter a few weekends ago. Putting doors in is not easy work and this is about a 120 year old door frame.
frontdoor1 frontdoor
I removed a huge amount of plaster and concrete to get the bricks to dry out, resealed the roof and just last weekend plastered the walls.
Hopefully a lick of paint in the next weekend or two and a new room at Ramblers Rest.

This gallery contains 4 photos.


So I have just been maintaining and repairing in the last year. No real renovations have taken place. So this long weekend I decided to have a go at upgrading the outdoor braai area that I have used for the last 2 years. it has been leaking and cracking so its time for a little …

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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

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