Today Adrian Odgers and Ellie entertained and educated a fairly large group of Woodridge students while I started on preparing the site where the new bird hide will go.
Adrian stayed in the nursery and introduced the students to the wonderful world of orchids with some fascinating stories.
Ellie in the meantime took the groups on a walk to the arboretum showing the students the extent of the fire and the necessity of fire in fynbos.
Ellie also took the opportunity to show one of the victims of the fire and the rings on the shell of the tortoise.
Back at home the bird hide is really starting to take shape.
Time to enlist my painter
The picnic table which was concreted in still needed the sponsor’s sign on so that was the first order of the day. It was advised that drilling small holes and then pop riveting would be the most vandal proof so that was duly done.
With hindsight I could have made the font a little bigger, note to self for next time.
The rest of the day we spent in the arboretum, lots and lots to be cleaned up still after the fire especially with the “weeds” coming up in their thousands.
While doing that the bird bath was visited by quite a large flock of Cape siskins. So good to see it being used after all the weeks of keeping it filled but only sporadically seeing it used.
The new bird hide is taking shape at home, quite a puzzle to make sure that we will manage to use only the covering materials from the burnt one.
Last year the picnic bench at the Bridge Lookout disappeared and, thanks to Ellie’s efforts, the Botanical Society kindly agreed to donate one.
We asked for delivery on the day of our monthly meeting so we would have enough able bodies to mix some concrete to make this bench a little more difficult to remove.
The weather had been pretty miserable overnight, fortunately it cleared as we arrived and first everybody got stuck in to plant more trees in the newly cleared patch in the arboretum and then it was all hands on deck to put the bench in place.
Holes were dug, one spade wide, one spade deep and then the hard work of mixing the concrete, two big drums full.
Plenty of consultants and supervisors made sure Neil did a good job.
Time to put the securing bolts in the bottom.
Of course we made sure that things won’t roll off the table.
Clayton and Marieke, the Botanical Society’s representatives, checking that everything was up to standard.
Adriaan got his hands dirty but seemed to enjoy it.
All happy with a job well done!
And a special cake by a special masterchef to celebrate afterwards.
The monthly meeting is coming up and we need to make more space for trees so we tackled a stretch beyond the Cycad patch and, rather than piling the branches in heaps, we now use them as a perimeter barrier and that works better.
First though Neil came in to see if there is any possibility to get the sit-on mower going again so he needed to take some vital statistics.
Turns out that it will be about ten thousand Rand for a new motor, cough, cough, splutter so we’ll have to think about that one.
It was a combined effort again today, Rob clearing along the fence
Cathy pulling out alien seedlings by the bundle
and Ellie and I doing the heavy stuff of deforestation
In the afternoon we still managed to replace burnt signs along the Nymph Trail and also the peeling Forest Exit sign.