We had a good start to 2018, the reserve is recovering very well after the fire with many unusual plants and flowers to be discovered and admired.
There is now a spiffy new welcoming sign at the entrance circle and the ranch poles had a fresh coat of paint, looking great!
We asked for a long time to have the public toilets painted and, thanks to Mr. Speelman, they look as new, unbelievable.
The rest of the staff has taken extra care with the area between the two traffic circles, everything is mown and trimmed, well done.
We had three people coming in for a few hours during the holiday to give us a hand with weeding and hacking.
On Wednesday we marked the Link Trail again as it was getting very indistinct with the regrowth. The Wednesday after that we opened up a big section again that was rather overgrown, luckily it was drizzling so nice and cool to do that!
It was so good to meet up one weekend with a party of about 40 walkers who did the entire trail who were so appreciative of our efforts.
The Wednesday after that the “Wednesday walkers” which was another group of about 40 people did also the whole circle and enjoyed a braai afterwards at the braai place.
We have quite a task at hand to control all the wattle, rooikrans and other aliens that have come up. Rob, Cathy, Keith, Neil and Rudi have at different times been spraying various patches of aliens where they are like a big carpet. We also have been pulling out aliens at various areas but there is still so..o much to be done and they are growing faster than any other plant!!
In mean time we have had a donation of an old wendy house which Rudi has partly taken apart and is building a bird hide from adding a viewing section, window, different door, different roof etc. while Ellie is painting it.
We found electricity poles that were replaced as they were partly burned and we are looking at using them for a bridge as the bird hide is planned to go into the Lily pond.
In the Tilapia dam the Tilapia fish have been breeding so there is a good supply again for the birds.
Rob has reported a number of different duck on the lily pond which is great.
Our planted trees are looking good thanks to Jenny’s watering and us cleaning around them.
We had for the first time seeds on the Sterculia alexandri tree and have put them in seed trays. Also the Kigelia tree has a seed pod on for the first time.
The landslide in the forest needs to seen to as so many aliens have come up there as well as in the section of the reserve on the otherside of the river the alien plants are getting big…
Our water supply had two holes in on the neighbours property so they eventually reported it. With the drought we straight away went to fix it!
Growing of plants for the nursery and planting out is an ongoing job though the weeds are taking over after the holidays!!
We had to be at the Reserve early today because the Wednesday Walkers had told us they wanted to give us a donation as a thank you for laying out trails for them and what a generous donation it was.
They will probably make even more use of the Reserve now that other places such as Groendal and The Island Nature Reserve have pushed up their prices to a prohibitive level.
As a thank you I offered to guide them along the Boulder Trail which was much appreciated and they enjoyed the views even though it is very desolate after the fire and some sections of the path were a bit scary.
Further we busied ourselves with looking after the trees, trying to make the Aloe koppie a little more respectable and working in the nursery.
For various reasons most of the usual members could not make it today so we had a pathetic turnout I had a faint hope some of the recent new Facebook friends would show up but no such luck.
One advantage of that was though that no lengthy explanations were required and like a well oiled machine we took 3 lengths of pipe to the fence and attached them in preparation for the reroute of our water supply. By now we are quite expert at unrolling the big coils of pipe and dragging them up and down the slope.
We are getting used to the burnt trees and ashes but hopefully Thomas and the other neighbours will grab the opportunity to do some serious clearing of the still standing bluegums. One can only dream.
In the afternoon we went to the Boulder Trail armed with loppers and pruning saw to clear the path. It turned out to be a lot more work than envisaged and we only got away after five.
Whilst we could get by in the nursery using municipal water for the time being the community veggie garden is entirely dependant on our pipe so we decided to tackle that first.
It turned out to be quite a complicated affair as our next door neighbour, Thomas, is not keen to have our pipe across his land and suggested we use this opportunity to reroute it along his perimeter. This adds a considerable distance but at least it would run through a servitude and be accessible to us.
Thanks to the generosity of various people we managed to get the pipe donated as Ellie’s FB post shows:
A very big THANK YOU to Wesley Goddard from Ideal valves, to Andre Pietersen from Multi plastics and Kyle Trytsman from Astore, you all made this possible. If it wouldn’t have been for your generous donations we would never have been able to get this fixed already. The community vegi’s got water this afternoon and from what we heard they are already looking much happier. Just a thank you is far not powerful enough for the gift you have given!
We would not be able to finish the whole project in one go so Ellie used her considerable charms to talk Thomas into allowing us to do a temporary repair and just replace the burnt pipe across his land which we set out to do together with Cathy, Keith and Rob and also with David and Tony from the Farming God’s Way vegetable garden project.
Ellie checking out where we can attach the new pipe with the arboretum in the far distance.
The damaged pipe snaking through the burnt trees.
The new temporary pipe being laid.
Part of the new route where we attach the pipe to the fence.
Rob opened the stopcock on the far side and, after what felt like an eternity, the water is flowing again.
Tony is very happy he can water his plants again.