Saturday, 26 April 2014

Flora kingdom of Rooshoek

At least once a week my mother and I go out to the veld to pick flowers for the house.
Every week the flowers are different. As the season changes so do the plants in our veld.
Every time we go on our flower expedition we find new bulb plants pushing their heads through the soil. It is such an exiting time for us to discover every small little plant and all the varieties of plants. With the help of " Field Guide to Fynbos" compiled  by John Manning, we have discovered and learned almost every time we go into the Veld, everything from beautiful different grasses and flowers to shrubs and succulent plants.
At the moment the pink Erica's and the new green of some of the other fynbos make a spectacular show.
The Veld looks and smells fresh and new.
 Here and there the Proteas are also coming into bloom. At the moment we see Protea repens and Protea longifolia.
Still, it is only the start of our flower season and I will update the blog as the season progress.
It remains a source of amazement to me that God has seen it fit to place me on this amazing farm, where every small flower is testament to His amazing work!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter at Rooshoek

With the falling leaves Easter has arrived!
We started Good Friday with a  family communion in the garden. Although it is always nice to celebrate a long weekend it is important that we never forget  exactly why we are having these holidays. A Friend this week told me that one must never forget that God looks after the "clear" of heart and not the perfect. For this I am thankful because every day I am confronted with just how imperfect I really am.  Thankfully because He died on the cross I am not expected to be perfect but I am forgiven!
On Easter Sunday we had a lovely family picnic in the Oak forest and being there, I can again only thank God for blessing me with the beautiful farm and supportive family. 

Hiding the eggs in the garden for the farm children is fun and oh, so exiting for them. My mom and all the ladies working in the house created a beautiful Easter show and lesson for the children before they were sent on a major Easter egg hunt. 
Misha and I ( because of the icing lessons) created the Easter eggs and I think we had more fun making it than they did hunting and eating it!
 My little mouse looks friendly... 
Misha's looks a bit scared as is appropriate in a house with six cats!

Easter is also a time for reflecting on one's life. We, during this weekend had friends visit us, whom we have not seen in years. Life has, in the six year since we last had a good get together, taken strange turns for all of us.  
My wish to all this Easter and for the rest of this year, is that they never forget that they are blessed by the love of friends and family and Our Savior, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross just for you. 
Be Blessed.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Olive harvesting

The time has finally arrived for us to harvest the olives... for me this is a totally new experience... because it is something I have never worked with before.
Luckily I have blessed with Jan, our foreman. He has harvested olives every year for the last twenty five years on Rooshoek... and also some neighbours who are very interested in our olives and gives a hand wherever they can.
Rooshoek olives are 100% organic. We have not been near them with any chemical sprays or fertilizer. We also sort of inherited the trees quite late  in the season so they are quite difficult to harvest.
The trees have not been pruned in years and as such we have problems to reach the fruit. In this process we use small rakes, like the ones Jan is holding in his hand on the photo. We are also cutting the trees so that with our next harvest we do not have the same problem of reaching the fruit again. Basically all that happens in our harvesting process is the fruit is shaken and raked from the trees and a team of woman picks it up from the nets on the ground.
The olives are then put in crates and taken to the press where the olives are being pressed for the oil. We pick everything not just the ones that are dark. For the oil it is not necessary to select the fruit according to color. We expect a yield of about 141 liters of oil from one ton of product. Will tell you later what the exact yield was. 

We have two different types of olives on the farm and we are picking the olives for laying into brine a little bit later. These olives will be picked into water so as to prevent any damage and excess bruising to them.

At the moment the excitement of our first olive harvest is causing a stir on the farm and we are enjoying every moment of it.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Autumn is in the air

This morning I was driving in from Stellenbosch and in a conversation with a friend about the beautiful days we are having I remarked that there is something different in the air... Autumn has arrived.
The leaves are slowly being painted yellow or red. The air has a crispness to it.
The mountains looks as if had been hand painted  on a piece of paper and then stuck on a canvass of amazing blue skies, the edges crisply reflecting the beautiful, beautiful shades of gray and green..
This coming week we will start with the harvest of the olives and I will write another blog  about this... however today on this beautiful Saturday I will just enjoy the rich autumn shades. Soon though we will complain about all the leaves that we have to sweep... but for now while they are still clinging to the branches... we will enjoy the kaleidoscope of color they are blessing us with.