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Van Stadens 2013.03.27

Strange weather today, not all that hot in the morning but very humid and in the afternoon extremely hot and not humid at all.

The aim was to plant our sign, first collected some rocks to put around the pole to prevent our keen friend with the tractor to mow our sign to oblivion, then dug a hole, mixed some concrete and that was that, perhaps we will get a few more walkers through the arboretum. We will keep an eye out for an increase in litter Smile

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We also tried out the new connection to the tap, still not happy, too leaky so back to the drawing board. I hung the spray in a tree and the birds loved it.

Of course we also had to play a bit and for no reason made a connection to the rest of the old irrigation system and concreted a leak a bit further on. We’ll switch it on next week and see where the next gusher will be.

Went early to lunch to collect the remaining cycads in the nursery, all 17 of them, shook the soil off them in the shade house and after lunch planted them in the cycad section of the arboretum. It is great to be able now to get a hosepipe there so we could water our plantlings, hopefully they’ll take and then we’ll have more than 30 cycads there.

Lastly we carried the pick and a pole 1km down the River Walk to plant the first of our distance markers. It was boiling hot between the proteas and even after such a short walk we were quite dehydrated so the cup of coffee back at the FOVS room was most welcome.

On the way out a quick check in the flower house showed that our pamphlets must be quite popular, again there were none left. The new labels there look good but the jury is still out whether the staff will make it work.

Van Stadens 2013.03.06

Pillar, bench and islands in the dam

We were keen to finally finish the water supply in the arboretum but, as we hadn’t managed on the previous two occasions, Ellie was keen to repaint the footsteps on the Link Trail so she did that first while I did some ‘gardening’ on the trail clearing some particularly overgrown stretches between the Proteas in the beginning and then an even more overgrown section on the far side of the bridge.

It took longer than anticipated so we had no time to do anything else before coffee time. After coffee though we made swift progress with the plumbing and the top section of our pillar housing the tap and finished by lunchtime.

After lunch, although very hot, we carried on with the bench and managed to collect suitably large rocks to make into a relatively comfortable seat.

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It may not look like much but we are very content with it.

The pesky stopper at the end of the pipe kept popping off so we plan to glue it on soon.

IMGP2168Rob and Jenny had planted the trees on the islands in the dam so I waded across to take a pic:

Van Stadens gorge hike–02-03-2013

A disappointing turnout meant that only eight stalwarts turned up. We drove down in two cars, parked at the lower bridge and soon found ourselves under the impressive upper bridge. There was plenty of water in the river and we saw some small fish.

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The alien infestation is quite bad with many wattles growing on the side of the river and seedlings in the riverbed so we were quite pleases to spot our first of quite a few Sterculias. There were lots of succulents and other small plants growing on the rockfaces.

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Neil and I couldn’t help ourselves and had a nice swim in this massive pool.

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Close to where the Van Stadens side kloof joins the main gorge Jenny, Rob and Merike decided to turn back whilst the rest of the party (Neil, Mark, Susan, Ellie took up my challenge to climb out on a ridge leading back into the reserve. Some found it quite steep but everyone enjoyed the fine views on the way up and definitely a route to be repeated. We were quite glad though to have arranged to be picked up at the lookout picnic site and returned to the office for some well deserved coffee and cake.

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Afterwards we still had enough energy to work on our new shade house, dig out poles and slabs, level the ground and move some plants from the greenhouse into the shade house. We also tested the new sprinkler arrangement and it worked very well.

Hike