Saturday, 02 July 2011

Official Friend of Van Stadens hack today. As I was in, let’s say, on of my more antisocial moods we ended up working mostly by ourselves but I think we still made a contribution. As we were driving towards the Reserve we discussed what we could do and didn’t really come up with anything specific we wanted to do but from there things just seemed to fall into place. We were the first ones to arrive and first looked how the pipe underneath the N2 had withstood the recent heavy rains and were not happy with how the pipe was exposed coming out of the culverts so decided, rather than joining the others popping Podylarias, to do something about that.

First we completed the job of putting the protective larger pipe around the section between the culverts and then decided to dig in the section between the road and the Reserve which was very exposed and also very tight because the Reserve’s workers had not left enough slack when they  did us a favour and dug in the pipe in the remaining section.

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In spite of rocks, rubble, pebbles and bush we managed to dig a reasonable trench and covered the pipe quite well, a short section remains on the other side of the fence where it is way too muddy right now so we will wait for dryer times.

After that we turned our attention to the other side of the N2 where next to the bridge there is a patch of thousands of “mother of millions” (Bryophyllum) just waiting to spread themselves into the reserve and in next to no time had a huge bag full of them while there are still plenty left.

Time for tea with the usual delicious eats and the group then moved into the keurbooms to clear space for all the Protea and other seedlings to get a chance to develop.

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Again, we made a big difference and, even though there is still lots to do, the place is starting to show potential as a botanical garden.

After that the committee drove to Gibson to present him with a token of appreciation for letting us work on his property so often. Pity he was not at home, we left it through an open window and hope he gets it.

The others had prior engagements and it was just us left so we stopped at the spot of last week’s concrete work to fix the crack and were pleased to find it all dry and gathered soil from mole heaps to cover the concrete, Pity to bury so much work and have nothing to show for it. Lunch was had in the car at the servitude looking out over the wonderful purple Erica fields. One of the locals came past on his way to Sunnyside, asked for a light for his cigarette and proceeded to chat for a while so we are up to date on the local news again. We seem to be quite a news item with the locals as well as they know exactly what we have been doing.

I am busy with a map for the reserve and needed some waypoints to calibrate it so next we drove around to fix some points and wondered what to do next. Pulling up some more “mothers of millions” seemed like a good idea so off we went to the old nursery where we had noted a few. Once we started looking though the few also turned out to be lots and one thing led to another and we started trimming and pruning to make the place more accessible.

That people do visit the old nursery was confirmed when a group of hikers joined us, unfortunately, in spite of some not so subtle hints from myself, they did not join in to help but rather picked Ellie’s brain about the reserve and what Fovs is doing, worthwhile in itself I suppose.

About 4 o’clock it looked rather threatening with rain and packing up seemed the sensible thing to do. We still drove around to the lookout point though and photographed these very pretty Leucodendrons on the way:

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