It hasn't been for lack of material that I've neglected you here on our blog. Quite the contrary.
Life has been chock-a-block (I learned that adjective here in S. Africa), and while I used to write all my blog postings late at night, nowadays, by 9:00 p.m. the only thing I'm generating is a lot of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs.
I haven't yet figured out how to get the blog writing done in between tending, feeding and spying on chickens (the last because one was sick, but I couldn't figure out which), making compost, chasing after Solo as he herds the neighbors' cows AND the wild blesbuck, designing my worm farm, establishing two businesses in a "foreign" country, researching sheep and Muscovy duck raising, and keeping up with the laundry and household messes that magically appear out here in the country.
Complaining? Well, maybe just a little bit, but as proof that we've been busy, here are
a few things we've learned without our computers
►Never wear "city flats" with shiny metal bits in the chicken yard. I nearly had heart failure when the chickens rushed at me and started pecking at my feet! (ditto decorative flip flops)
►Contrary to what I could've sworn I'd learned in elementary school (did you learn this, too?), if you cut a worm in half, you don't get two worms. You MIGHT get the head of the worm to grow back a tail, but you're just as likely to end up with two halves of a dead worm.
►When you live on a farm, there's NO hope of wearing the same pair of pants or shirt twice. A dog greets you = paw prints on your chest; you lean your elbows on a fence post = bird doo on your sleeves; you slide into the pick-up truck = dried dirt on your backside. Heck, this time of year when it's dry and windy, just lean against a piece of furniture that was just cleaned = you have a brown dusting. Browns and beige are my new fashion color choices.
►When tugging violently at a stubborn, invasive plant in squatting position, make sure there isn't a cow pattie directly behind you (see above).
►When you've got an important client meeting in the "big city", don't wear your suit, tie and fancy black shoes into the pick-up truck (see above).
►One of my favorite stress reducing exercises used to be using the paper shredder in my office. Pulverizing sheets of paper into teeny tiny flakes really helped to ease feelings of aggression or frustration. However, it doesn't begin to have the same impact as turning nice big tree branches into wood chips! Better than meditation!
►Everyone in South Africa has an opinion on how to do something; each one of the opinions is different.
►"It's Africa" is a phrase often said with a shrug and smirk when something goes awry or one's faced with incompetence. While we've had our share of both in South Africa, no more than anywhere else we've lived … France, Germany, Austria, England, the United States … there are problems and joys everywhere.
►When you have a dog, don't bother to clean the bottom two-feet of your sliding glass door. It's a losing battle.
►Sheep are "trunk-sized" ("boot-sized" in British English), which is one of the reasons why lamb is so outrageously expensive. We are going to try raising sheep nonetheless.
►If you're embarking on an adventure like ours, it's good to be married to a German engineer.
►Alpaca are perhaps the most adorable animals I've yet to encounter. I'm trying to justify the high investment required by claiming to use them as "guard alpacas" for our sheep.
And now, I can only recommend you get away from your computer too; you might learn something new.
During the building of an addition to our farm house (more on that later), we've decided for the sake of my personal sanity, and the safety of Solo and all the builders, to build a kennel run for Solo. We already have a large area on the property that's fenced in on three sides. We only have to add a fourth side and a gate.
Nils figured once he had all the materials, it would take him less than a day to get the fence up. "End of day Tuesday's a no-brainer."
Monday – Nils drives into town to buy wire mesh. steel posts, a pole and a gate. He returns with the mesh and steel posts. No store in town has the gate nor pole he needs.
Tuesday – Nils drives to the next furthest town and brings back the pole and gate. Yay! He unrolls the mesh, begins to install it, and discovers that it's poor quality. He takes apart the work he did.
Wednesday – Nils drives back to town, returns the mesh, and gets the right type. (and yes, he also complains!).
Thursday – Nils re-begins installing the new fencing, He discovers that they sold him only half the amount that he purchased! (I don't think I've seen Nils that close to tears). Corinne has a cold beer at the ready!
Friday – Nils drives back to town to get the rest of his mesh (and complain again). The store doesn't have any more in stock. Nils drives to the next furthest town and pays A LOT more for the same thing. It was a two-beer night!
Saturday – Nils sees the light at the end of the tunnel. He will finish this project today. He lifts the roll of mesh upright, unrolls it, and pulls a muscle in his back.
It's a double ibuprofen and Tylenol day.
Nils is in bed.