The Approaching Storm

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We have been blessed with amazing rain this season. Over the past few years, it’s felt like every drop of rain we’ve had has been squeezed out of the sky with a lot of effort, but this year it’s falling easily and abundantly. The clouds build up and a beautiful shower follows, unlike in dry years when the clouds develop with great fanfare and then quickly blow away leaving a splattering of drops in the dust.

Earlier this week we took some guests up the mountain behind our house to show them the beautiful views. We’ve been wanting to go up for a while to check on the regrowth of veld after a fire burnt everything in early September. As we left home a storm started to brew and by the time we got to the top of the mountain a dark bank of clouds was approaching from the direction of Ladybrand where it was already raining. One feels so much closer to the clouds up there and we just loved seeing the storm develop. We only had time for a quick drink and some photos before it started to pour! Ah, the power of water to make a farmer’s heart sing. I have a very happy and content husband this season. Long may it last!

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Dinner with the Moo’s

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At this time of year when things are looking so beautiful and green on the farm, we try to make an effort to go out for a sundowner picnic as often as possible. The light is so beautiful and soft in the late afternoons, and the veld is looking spectacular after all the rain we’ve had since the start of November. When Quentin arrives home from work, we pack a cooler with some drinks, snacks and Livia’s supper and drive off in the bakkie with the dogs on the back. We have a couple of favourite spots, but on the day it usually depends on whether we have to check on progress with our crops or visit a particular herd of cattle. On Saturday evening when we took these photos, Livia ate her supper in front of an audience of inquisitive Angus cows giving a wonderful display of all different mooing sounds they make. You might be surprised to hear that one “moo” is very different to the next! After such a lively performance, I’ll be very surprised if “moo” is not one of the first animal sounds she learns, along with “woof-woof” “meh” and “baa”, the other sounds she hears often around the farm.

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Dahlia delight!


I simply can’t get enough of the dahlias in my garden. They never fail to delight and every day something new emerges in a different colour, shape and size. The neon yellow dinner plate dahlias are totally irresistible! It’s been a while since my dahlia patch looked this good so early in the season. Dahlias have been a staple in the Vastrap garden since Quentin’s grandmother lived here over 50 years ago. There weren’t any when I arrived, but it didn’t take long for me to revive the tradition, because they are so easy to grow and make wonderful picking flowers. Exactly the type I like, the more you pick the more they flower! Livia and I are loving summer, spending more and more time out in the garden. We’ve had such lovely rain followed by beautiful hot sunny days, exactly what one expects from a good summer season in the Eastern Free State. It’s the definition of delicious and exactly what’s needed to keep the farmer in our house content and happy over the planting and harvesting season.

Quentin's grandparents at Vastrap circa 1940s.

Quentin’s grandmother Berry’s dahlias. 

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