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Van Stadens 2013.06.12

Some great surprises today, as we entered the reserve we noticed that a lot of the proteas and ericas on the left had been cut down. Obviously Goodman has decided that this was better than taking a chance with a deliberate fire. There are a lot of seedlings coming up already so soon it will look good again. We then drove round the reserve on the other side of the N2 to see if Pottaman had kept his promise and yes, he has done a sterling job mowing the tracks, just right for cycling and too narrow for a car. The debris might make it a bit difficult to ride in the beginning but hat will soon rot.

On arriving at the arboretum the usual routine, connect the hose, switch on the water and check for a leak in the lower pipe. Surprise, no leak, more about that later.

Ellie planted a few things in ‘The Gem’ while I got some rocks out of the soil near the albizia to be used for a rockery some other time. They are rather large so a wheelbarrow might come in handy when we get to move them. Ellie also added some more rocks to the pond’s edge and we declared that finished.

We discovered that the bees nest has been robbed and whoever did it left quite a mess in ‘Neil’s nookie’

Not much to do further so we decided to cut down the dangerously leaning tree near the entrance. For that we needed the chainsaw so off to an early tea to collect it. I also loaded some poles in the trailer to cut bevels on them to take signs. Much easier at home. Also figured out how to put the saw blade on the bush cutter.

The tree went quite well, sharp chain and soft wood go well together and we quickly had a pile of firewood. Jenny arrived to nail more signs to the trees, soon there will be no more trees without signs the arboretum and Ellie showed her what we have done lately while I was off to the Fynbos ramble to try out the brush cutter. I was a bit disappointed that the new saw does not cope too well with the grass, perhaps too many small teeth?

After lunch resumed wielding the chainsaw, this time on the strelizias in the first circle, dying to cut some more down but I restrained myself and just cut the existing stumps shorter, quite tiring so we decided to call it a day after that and returned to the arboretum to clean the hosepipe up.

What? No water from the tap. Turns out that we had not closed the stopcock on Wednesday and Ellie had inadvertently closed it  in the morning. No wonder there were no leaks. We quickly connected everything again and it didn’t take long for Ellie to find the leak, quite a way from where we fixed it last time which makes me worried there might still be an intermediate surprise. Anyways, we dug it up and put a stopper on the pipe. We are now very close to finished.

Now it had gotten quite late so we swiftly returned all the equipment to the FOVS room, quick cuppa and off home.