Easter bunnies!

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I find myself with less and less time for blogging. It used to be so easy to document all the wonderful things I saw and did on the farm. My head was brimming with ideas and inspiration and my camera was constantly at hand. Not so these days with two little children in the house! That doesn’t mean things are happening here at Vastrap. We seem to be busier than ever, but it’s hard to steal moments at the computer between taking care of the kids and trying to get some real work/admin done. The drought has also been a drain on our spirits and it’s been hard to see beauty around us with our gaze permanently turned to the sky.

We are well and truly into autumn now. The evening temperatures have dropped sharply and the afternoon light is soft and golden. We face the coming winter with a sense of trepidation as there’s so little food for the cattle and our dams are still horribly low. We just have to take it one day at a time and hope for a few more hot days so that the grass can keep growing and a few more good showers to replenish our water levels. Everyone is hoping that the frost comes late so that the late blooming sunflowers can yield a crop.

We’ve had some wonderful visits from family and friends this year and those are really the times to cherish and remember. Easter was a quiet, but colourful affair with my sister and her family with us for a few days. The first thing my sister did when she arrived was go out in the garden and pick as many flowers as she could to fill the house. It wasn’t the usual bountiful haul, but she managed far more than I have this whole summer! We cooked delicious comforting meals, drank G&Ts, played with the kids and stole some afternoon naps. And chocolate. Oh there was lots of chocolate! And a huge decadent chocolate brownie ice cream cake that I made specially for my niece, Sophia. My parents-in-law celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary on Easter Sunday, which added even more significance to the day.

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After everyone departed, Quentin and I took the kids for a walk down into the valley. As we walked we ended up surrounded by a mixed group of very old and very young cows, all curious to say hello, or maybe hoping we had some extra food for them. Livia absolutely loves cattle so this little moment of interaction was the perfect end to the perfect relaxing weekend.

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The Slow Life

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As predicted, our Easter weekend was luxuriously slow. The weather played its part, bringing soft, soothing rain and an autumn chill to warrant a small log fire. Some guests require a lot of entertainment with a schedule of activities planned around the farm, especially when there are lots of children visiting. Other people are happy to be left alone to rest and recuperate from their hectic city lives occasionally appearing for some nourishment and a good chat. There is no pressure to do anything. Just rest and enjoy. I love both kinds of guests, but the latter are certainly more relaxing for me! Quentin and Charles managed to get out on their mountain bikes twice, but the girls were not nearly as energetic. In fact, we only managed one walk in three days, one trip to town for lunch at Living Life, and a single short early evening outing on the farm to bond with our Boran cows.

Solar Consol light Easter nest.

Solar Consol light Easter nest.

Easter was celebrated with a lazy Sunday lunch of slow-cooked lamb shanks with polenta and green beans. Half way through our meal I realised that my favourite Consol solar glass jars would make a cute Easter table arrangement combined with some fallen pine needles and neon eggs. We spent the rest of lunch trying to capture the image on camera and a competition ensued between Apple, Samsung and our trusty Nikon D 7000 – not surprisingly the Nikon won hands down with Quentin behind the lens!

Early evening mountain drive.

Early evening mountain drive.

Sunset reflection.

Sunset reflections.

City ladies bonding with the beautiful Boran.

City girls bonding with the beautiful Boran.

Enjoying the quiet before sunset.

Charles and my mom enjoying the quiet before sunset.

After our guests left on Monday morning, we drove around the farm replenishing salt licks for the cattle. It was a moody, cloudy day and the cows were all very happy to see us. We took some time to pause with a group of Boran heifers who were weaned from their mothers a month ago. The Boran respond really well to some extra care and attention. If one makes a concerted effort to bond with them they can become very tame, which makes working with them an absolutely pleasure. For more information on Boran cattle and their origins see “The Boran: God’s Gift to Cattlemen.”

A moody autumn day.

Farm vista on a moody autumn day.

Paris passed out on the salt bags.

Paris napping on the salt bags.

Quentin with his beautiful Boran heifers.

Quentin bonding with a group of beautiful Boran heifers.