One Month Till Spring!


It’s August. One month to go until Spring! The Jasmine outside our kitchen has started to bloom bringing a whiff of sweetness to the air. Winter is still very much with us though and the weather forecast shows that we still have some very chilly nights ahead with temperatures between -6 and -4 degrees. From now on the day time temperatures will vary widely from 9 degrees to 21!

I have loved being at home this week.  Aside from being thrilled by South Africa’s great performance in the Olympics so far (3 Gold medals!) I’ve been in a spring cleaning mood. There are so many things to do in the garden and even more things to tidy up around the house. Tsidiso and I pruned and moved roses, made a new flower bed outside the new bathroom, and fertilised and pruned the fruit trees. I also started planning the design for the vegetable garden. At the moment it’s a great big patch of earth with no structure or charm so I am determined to do something to make it work better. We have such bad clay soil here so I think raised bed are the only way to go and I have decided to edge the beds in stone instead of wood because it is so abundant all around us on the mountain.

We have two “junk” rooms here at Vastrap that I just never get round to sorting out – partly because a lot of the stuff is not mine. It seems that things have piled up over generations and now I’ve been left to sort it out! I made a bit of progress cleaning out the “billiard room” this week, but the squash court is still sitting there gathering dust. I’m sure you will sympathise just a little bit with the job facing us…. If only it were as simple as piling it all on the back of a trailer and carting it off. Quentin wants to re-use a lot of the building material to improve the staff amenities at some stage and things need to be sorted through before we can give them away. In the bits of tidying I have done over the past few months I have found boxes full of books dating back to the early 1900s!

This is supposed to be a squash court, not a junk yard!

Since winter only has a month to go, I wanted to post these photos of a walk we did last weekend on the mountain behind Vastrap. We only seem to do this walk in winter because there isn’t a proper path so we have to bundu bash. I’m also not so keen to walk in long grass in the summer. The photos are pretty self-explanatory and give a good idea of the  topography and vegetation in our area. It was the most beautiful day with the trademark Free State winter blue sky. Paris walked all the way up and down with us, but she was pretty exhausted by the end (see How Paris “Sees” The World). Hope you enjoy!

Walking up the valley behind the mountain with Tumi and Paris.

Quent and his Tumi girl.

View back towards Westminster and Tweespruit.

Water stop for Paris.

View of the Vastrap “V”.

Vastrap homestead on the left and Maluti mountains in the distance on the right.

Walking down the mountain.

Paris taking a break.

The old stone staff cottages.