In the midst of the tonnes of manure we are shoveling on a daily basis, productivity on the farm is, frustratingly, at an all time low. Low, but not stopped completely… We have begun cleaning up at the back of the dairy in preparation for a small greenhouse that D has agreed to construct for me.
You see, while we were away, some ‘helpful’ soul went and dug up all my vegetables (and a baby oak tree I was cultivating, as well as a precious leopard tree my sister and niece planted while here; Some people just lack appreciation for the finer things in life!). So since returning to South Africa I have been consuming veggies that have most probably been drowned numerous times in their lives with all manner of pesticides and poisons.
I find it strange, and if it did not affect me directly probably amusing, the fact that people here apparently have no fear of being poisoned. Our neighbour regularly, every 4 weeks or so, has her farm workers drive a tractor pulling a large tank on the back, to ensure a ‘healthy’ crop of tomatoes. While one lucky chap gets to drive the tractor, the other two unfortunate fellows walk happily along behind the tank, spray hoses in hand, delighted at the fact they have been given a reprieve of sorts from the hot African sun by the swirling, thick mist of pesticide that envelopes them. Its true. Happy faces smiling at me through the mist.
Now, this presents a bit of a problem when we are going for a hack down the road and its ‘spray day’. There is a particular procedure we have to follow. It involves such a degree of synchronization from the children, I can’t help but wear a big proud grin on my face watching them.
The procedure? Well, everyone must have their pony awake and listening, proper timing is essential; and in my booming voice (especially reserved for such occasions) I bellow:-
“1,2,3 Trot on everybody, remember to take a huge breath of air in an hold it until we are the other side of Aunty R’s gate”
And with that, the children snap into action; all the ponies are trotting in unison, children turning purple on top with the effort of holding their breath for what seems like an eternity, but is actually only about 150m. Afterwards we all congratulate ourselves on a job well done and begin planning our tactical maneuver to get back in the gate on returning home.
Ah, fun times in Africa folks :-)
Will keep you updated on the greenhouse.
Be Good xxx