Got going early today because we needed to pick up Adrian Odgers. He is giving Jenny some advice on the inclusion of Proteas in the reprint of our tree booklet. As we arrived we just caught Goodman who was on his way to town with most of the staff and also at the same time Ruth, Cathy and Keith arrived so we had a full compliment today because Rob was already busy somewhere killing aliens.
Ellie and Ruth did an amazing job making the aloe koppie near the Dell visible again from under the grass and erica’s whilst Keith and myself went to the arboretum to cut down a dangerously leaning Widdringtonia with the sharpened chainsaw. Afterwards Keith attacked more S. nicolai, including the one on the island in the dam while I fixed the broken sign in front of the Flower House. Cathy, Jenny and Adrian drove around the reserve to photograph and identify the various Proteas, not the best time of the year as many are not flowering but at least they made a start.
After tea Ruth proceeded to weed in the nursery, Ellie continued with her koppie, Keith and Rob used the brush cutter to lay out the extended Fynbos Ramble and I installed the controller I refurbished in the misting house (I don’t know if we will ever use it again but it was fun figuring out the electronics).
Just before lunch we lost our helpers as Keith had to be back for afternoon shift and as we were going for lunch we met Rob of Working for Water and had great input on alien eradication and what their further plans are so we had a very late lunch.
What little was left of the afternoon we put to good use planting an Olea (kindly donated by Michelle Hatherley) on the main picnic site, planting bulbs donated by Adrian at various spots in the arboretum and entrance circle and planting a Cyclopia on the island out of fire harm’s way.
Finally we went down memory lane with Patrick who has worked at the Reserve for 30 years, he is doing a great job clearing in and around the main picnic area.
Woke up to the sound of rain pelting on the roof and rain forecast for most of the morning. In spite of that we still went on our merry way to a wet and soggy Van Stadens.
Whilst Ellie went in to to see if Goodman was there I went for a quick look to see if the big branch by the Xhosa huts had been cleaned up and was amazed at the transformation of the picnic area. The staff has done extensive pruning and cutting of the smaller trees and it looks a lot more open and cleaner. The branch was still there so a good opportunity to replenish our firewood pile.
The staff also finally has got the message that something must be done about the S. nicolai and cut quite a few around the nursery. Something wrong with the tractor so nothing has been carted away yet. Goodman says the work schedule we put together for him is a big help.
First though to the nursery to offload some more plants, Rob was already there and had replaced the broken toilet flush handle but it was overflowing, had a look, bent the float and problem solved. Also had a look at the misting house and was surprised that there is still power to the control board so decided against dismantling it and be electrocuted.
Then we had to take shelter in the fovs room from a massive shower and as soon as it cleared Rob and Ellie went to plant Cyclopias and Leucodendrons by the dam while I played with the chainsaw. Got back close to lunchtime to enthusiastic report backs how beautiful the fynbos looks around the other dams and plans to extend the Fynbos ramble whilst doing some weeding in the shade house. If we do some weeding every week it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep weeds under control.
After lunch Rob went off to plant another tree and Ellie and I went back to the Xhosa hut, Ellie to plant some trees in the open patch by the arboretum and me to cut some big logs to be used for seats in the arboretum. Jenny visited to discuss extensions to the tree book and give some rocks to Ellie to paint plant names on for the circle.
With the soft soil conditions where ideal for weeding so we weeded in and around the Gem, planted some more in the circle, traced our new pipe challenge a bit further and that was that.