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Lonesome Wednesday

It could have been lonely out there today as no-one of the usual Wednesday crew turned up except the two stalwarts but thankfully first  Noxolo and Samantha lent a hand in the shade house and later Tony did the same in the Arboretum.

What started out as a simple weeding session in the shade house turned into a significant makeover when we decided to replace the pallets with the dug out slabs.

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Not before its time so to see. As we were busy in that corner we also dug out another tire for Samantha’s veggie garden.

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What looked like a weed infested mess a few days ago now at least looks semi professional.

After a late an quick teatime we turned our attention to the arboretum to carry on with what had been started on Saturday. Team Ellie mulched/composted all trees Keith had prepared and then put “dykes” around more trees and also mulched those. In the meantime team Rudi got stuck into cleaning up all the branches and trees Neil had cut down and made another boundary with them.

Not even a persistent drizzle could dampen the enthusiasm and this resulted again in a late lunch.

After lunch Tony joined us, initially to pick up some easy firewood and I inspired him somehow to lend us a hand. In no time at all most of the branches were cleared and we even had time to pull out Podalyrias, Chrysanthemoides, Keurboom and some other unwanted “weeds”

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In the middle of the job, some have been cleared.

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As we left it.

At the start of the River Walk the Protea seedlings are like hairs on a dogs back so we dug some up in the middle of the path and back in the nursery Ellie potted them up only to find that those few amounted to over a hundred!

To our horror we found evidence of slugs again in the misting house, hopefully the snail bait will do its job.

Lastly, it was also good to see three of the staff spending the afternoon in the nursery weeding, I’m starting to wonder if someone read my “Issues” blog of a few days ago.

Monthly meeting

As the first meeting of the year was billed as a work party there was a very low turnout, the more so because Jenny had car trouble and Rob was out somewhere trying out his new camper.

We discussed the issues I have highlighted in the previous posting at length and the main decision taken was that we will replace some of the picnic tables provided they will be concreted in. All the other things that need fixing or painting were noted but remain firmly in the camp of the usual few.

I also ranted about the state of the arboretum so after the meeting all seven of us went there and pulled weeds, made dams around the new trees and Neil cut down some more burnt trees. At teatime we had made good progress even though there is still a lot for the Wednesday workers left to do.

After the usual coffee and delicious cake we were all prepared to stay on a while longer and tackle some of the outstanding jobs in the nursery, the main ones being the re-bagging of the Strelizia nicolai and the weeding of the trees in the shade house.

Again, a fair amount of work was done just to make it clear that without a few extra willing workers we do not have a hope to stay on top of everything the Friends are tackling especially because we are volunteers who are supposed to do this for fun.

Some fun was had though later in the day when Keith and Cathy had a braai and we had our lunch at Rob’s Roost followed by a short walk where we spotted this little feller.

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The Tilapia dam’s level is getting alarmingly low just when we have spotted quite a few fingerlings. The float just doesn’t seem to cope with the hot weather and very little rain so for a few days we let the water run in straight from the pipe from the “lui dam” just to keep the level at an acceptable level.


Issues

When one goes to the Reserve as often as the core group does one gets used to what the place looks like so I thought it might be useful to highlight a few places where there might be room for improvement.

Let’s start with the “furniture”, the picnic benches and an idea to salvage something from the burnt rondavel in the arboretum:

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Not exactly an inviting picture, the benches are so far gone that they need replacing.

Looking at the burnt rondavel, with some imagination it could be fixed up with a new roof and some benches to be used as a picnic site when it rains.

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Turning to the nursery there are some pressing maintenance items:

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The rot truly has set in here, shade cloth needs replacing, shelves need to be covered and secured, rotted wood needs to be replaced.

In the nursery itself there is also lots to be done, planting, weeding, re-bagging, pruning, sorting, levelling.

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The arboretum needs lots of work to make it presentable to visitors. After the fire there are still lots of dead trees to be cut down, newly planted trees to be looked after, unwanted plants removed and a roster of regular mowing established.

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The signage still leaves a lot to be desired with fire damaged signs, sun bleached signs, out-dated maps and uninspiring notice boards.

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Then there are numerous other places where improvements can be made, water supply issues, seed collection, trails etc., unfortunately way too many for the small group of active participants to tackle so we need a plan. Your input is welcome!