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Van Stadens 24.04.2013

Unseasonal, that’s the best word to describe the weather today. The heat got a bit unbearable at times and we did our best to stay out of the sun.

First thing we did was to check the pond, still full so all leaks were fixed and some buck spoor around it so we were happy about that. Then we connected the hosepipe to the irrigation system and located the next leak only 3 meters from the one we fixed last time. Not sure if we had caused it ourselves when we traced the pipe last year but it looked very much caused by a pick. Throughout the day we first dug around the leak, put a patch on and poured some concrete around it so next time we will be able to find the next leak.

It was shady around what we call ”Bob’s burial” so that was a good spot to work, something we wanted to do for quite a while already so rocks were dug up, plants trimmed and/or relocated and we are quite pleased with the result:

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Looks messy on the photo though, much better in real time. There are some lovely Boophane growing on that rockery.

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Next I walked the paths armed with secateurs to trim invading shrubs and branches, everything is nice and clear now, while Ellie attacked the remnants of the anthill on Merika’s Mound and I lent a hand digging up the rocks so that bit also got a make-over:

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Again, the photo does not do it justice. We need more specimens to plant there, time to raid the nursery.

We ended off in the arboretum by doing some weeding such as Bryophillums and other unwanted weeds before relocating to the circle by the entrance where we tackled a small section of flower bed totally overgrown with kikuya grass. It made a big difference but far from perfect yet.

Ended off with a chat to Goodman, important to keep keep good relations and also for him to keep track of what we are doing. Sounds like he is quite serious about the spring festival so watch this space.

Van Stadens 2013.04.17

Quite unusual today as we had no set plan of action, usually we know what we want to achieve on a particular day. On the way we got a mayday call from Jenny as both her an Rob did not have keys to the room so it was important that we opened up. This prompted us to stay around at the nursery and while Ellie dug up some more slabs I put another layer of plastic down and I am glad to say that the entire shade house floor is now covered.

After early tea we disappeared to the arboretum and proceeded to prepare for the “pond”, Ellie raking all potential leak hazards away while I had a final check of the plastic and still put some patches on suspicious looking spots. We then put it in place, filled it with water and voila:

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It was still the same level when we left and we already saw a robin visiting it so hopefully next time we will see some buck spoor.

We then proceeded with our pet hobby, fixing pipes but I was in too much of a hurry and did not prepare the pipes well enough so when it came to gluing the pipes did not line up and I could not move the join in place. During lunch I got another piece of pipe and this time it worked out ok, we’ll see next time where the next leak will be.

In the meantime Ellie collected some rocks to put around the Sterculia to discourage porcupines from chewing it again and also looked for more thorny creepers to be dug out. I think we will be at that for some time to come because every time when we think we had them all we discover another one. It was quite a job to dig out the stump of a major creeper, I managed just before lunch.

After a leisurely lunch at the Fovs room we returned, Jenny and Rob joined us to water the trees, Rob discovered a Bohemia which also had to be dug out and I removed some more stumps from the beginning of “Rudi’s Ramble”

Lastly we weeded the rockery by the bench which really meant digging up the rocks and make them more visible whilst taking some grass out. It got Ellie’s stamp of approval:

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It was good to still have a cup of coffee with the spray on watering the rockery while the cold front approached.

Van Stadens 10.04.2013

Cold and raining today, autumn is definitely here. We were in two minds whether to go or not but windguru showed that the rain would taper off so I thought it would be a good opportunity to retrieve a piece of old water pipe from Gibson’s farm.

On arrival Ellie went to see Goodman with her suggestions for improving the look of the entrance to the reserve (he liked them a lot) while I went on to the FOVS room to put the refurbished drawers back and deliver the petrol for the brush cutter. To my surprise Jenny and Rob were already busy in the potting shed re-potting stuff from the weekend.

Off we went, parked at the arboretum and walked along the pipe line to Gibson. We were very happy that the line looks in very good condition and our hard work earlier digging it in better has paid off. We found the pipe easily and, as luck had it, there was a loose piece just the right length so I didn’t even have to use my hacksaw and we carried it back between us.

It took longer though than we had thought so we were late for tea with the others but a hot cup of coffee was most welcome as we were quite wet.

We then decided rather than going to the arboretum to do some more levelling and digging out of vibracrete panels by the shade house. It took many more wheelbarrows of soil than I expected and ended up digging quite a hole to provide soil. The fun part though was using the car as a steamroller, low range 4×4 and up and down to compact the soil. Worked a treat.

After lunch Rob and Jenny left and we then filled the hole with soil from one of the compost bins behind the potting shed, not quite enough to fill the hole entirely but a good start.

Ended off with a walk through the arboretum where we found that the “pond’s” lining has a leak and removed some Bryophyllums and other nasty’s.

Van Stadens 2013.04.03

Busy busy today, not even time for pictures so a quick summary of what got done is in order.

On arrival Ellie noticed Goodman was in his office so she gate-crashed a meeting he had there with Tony and another to discuss a few things such as the cross, the arboretum, the specimen tags etc. while I went to the Fovs room to load up the brush cutter. Good to hear they really like the specimen name tags.

We then drove to the arboretum where Rob was busy clearing Bohemia’s by the Xhosa huts and. while Ellie went and said hello, I got going with mowing all the paths. Amazing how much better it looks with just a bit of grass cut.

We then connected the hosepipe to the rest of the old sprinkler network to locate the next leak which we found pretty quickly. Over time we want to fix it but absolutely low priority.

After the rains it was really lovely to do a bit of gardening in the moist soil so we cleared a lot of grass out of the rockery by the tap and did some replanting.

After tea we planted another pole with an arrow to indicate the path through the arboretum and Ellie removed a whole lot of Bryophyllum by the Albizia, apparently they also liked the rain, while I raked and trimmed the path through forest glade.

After lunch we stayed in the nursery to dig up more slabs by the shade house and do some levelling. We got quite far but not quite enough yet.

Lastly we returned to the arboretum to varnish the new sign