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Forum meeting

The Van Stadens Forum met at the Reserve today. It eats into our working time but well worth it to keep contact with our neighbours and interested parties.

We delivered the refurbished benches to the school. It took a while because all the pupils in the class insisted on shaking my hand and giving Ellie a hug. The school has 165 pupils and the facilities are dreadful. We could get involved with uplifting the premises but with last Saturday’s experience that is a tad optimistic.

We also fitted the new valve in the misting house and managed to get ourselves thoroughly drenched in the process. No such thing as stopcocks at Van Stadens so everything must be done with the water running.

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Good to see though that it all worked again so we brought the seed trays back from the greenhouse, two by two.

Monthly meeting

Our fist meeting of the year midway February. As turnouts go it was quite good but a new worrying trend is developing. Some people are quite happy to attend but are not working so the few willing horses are rather overburdened. On top of that little interest in what has so far been done nor suggestions what we could do to make it more interesting.

In spite of this the hacking team did a great job cutting down a number of aliens on a fairly difficult to reach spot above the River Walk.

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I had busied myself in the meantime sorting out some things in the misting house and then moving lots of vygies from the shade house to the main nursery. This moving of plants between greenhouse, shade house and main nursery is really inefficient, the wheelbarrow still works the best even though the shape does not allow many bags in one go.

After tea we showed the rest of the group the new veggie garden. Amongst the comments were that it would be a great feeding ground for the wildlife in the Reserve, I don’t quite think that was the idea and time will tell.

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Lastly we noticed a leaking tap by the school, Neil and I couldn’t help ourselves and fixed it.

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When everybody had gone we still did a bit of blanket stitching by the shade house to keep the shade cloth from flapping, something I had hoped someone in the group would have done.

Irrigation and irritation

The usual trailer full of plants got taken but before we could organize the shade house we first needed to install an extra irrigation pipe in the “lean-to” section. This was duly done, complete with 180 degree nozzles so now we can utilize the full shade house and, more importantly, group like plants together.

It was quite a job carrying bags and pots to and fro in the meantime weeding as well but the result was quite satisfying, it almost looks like a “real” nursery now.

Whilst doing that Tony came up to me asking if I wouldn’t mind putting a few screws in some school benches as I am so much handier than he is and I fell for the flattery and agreed to take them home to sort out. As usual it ended up being a much bigger job than I had anticipated, the perfectionist’s curse.

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Some sanding, some gluing and some varnishing saw them as good as new.

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On arrival we had noticed a water pipe sticking out of the ground near the braai and connected to “our” water pipe. This was reason for concern so we followed the pipe and this led to a new veggie garden by the school.

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Turns out that the Van Stadens Wind Farm is doing a community project and spent quite a large budget on fencing, drip irrigation etc. We now knew why Goodman had asked if he could tap off water for a few trees near the school and realised we had been hoodwinked as this will be a major drain. Needless to say some harsh words were said when I saw him. Whether it made any impact I don’t know.

To round it all off I quickly had a look in the misting house only to find that the misting valve was stuck in the open position and our cuttings were drowning. No choice but to move all the seed boxes to the greenhouse and to dismantle the offending plumbing.

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It was a miracle that it has worked for so long, the metal joints were so corroded and clogged that there was only a pinprick left and the valve full of rust particles. No choice but to replace.

Working in the rain…

…and a bit of singing as well to keep the spirits up.

We knew there was a 100% chance of rain but we decided to brave it anyway as it was the only opportunity to go out this week. Had a chat to Goodman and Speelman, good to see they are enthusiastic again, the tractor is back and a lot of mowing has been done and they are also busy painting the manager’s house.

The Wednesday walkers were also out in force, tough lot they are. They ended up having their skottle lunch in the flower house out of the rain, quite cosy. We, on the other hand, put on our raincoats and rearranged the shade house. This meant moving numerous pots and bags about but at least everything is now more or less in groups such as trees, proteas, bulbs etc. It won’t be long before it is all ‘deurmekaar’ again as we bring  more plants but for now it looks really great.

After lunch the rain was just too much so we busied ourselves in the greenhouse where weeds have sprung up overnight. It still seems to be overwatered and it looks like there still is a problem with the timer program. I reset everything to only once a day for two minutes which is too little so it should be dried out by next week.

Still some time to kill so off to the main picnic site to spade some resprouts off the blue gums (will they ever give up?) and to get some Carissa cuttings. A quick stroll through the arboretum showed that the Bryophyllums by the Albiza are doing really well, perhaps Neil’s rant on FB will throw up a keen person to tackle those?