Water Purification

We planned to install the water purification plant in August, together with all the peripheral pipework required.

For a change, things went according to plan and, with some help from a friend, the plant was installed and  commissioned on 9th  August!!!!!


Commissioning the Reverse Osmosis Plant

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but for a most impressive piece of reverse osmosis equipment, it’s  remarkably simple to operate.

Soon afterwards, we had an excess of water – the irrigation furrow was allowed to run too high. It hasn’t been maintained over the years, so there were many leaks which resulted in our new orchards being flooded in several places. We’ll just hope the trees don’t suffer from having their roots submerged. The mud is ankle deep, with water flowing all the way down to the bottom dam, so there’s nothing we can do about it until the water levels drop.

Laying out the orchard

July kept us occupied with laying out the pipework for irrigation and then planting the trees we’d ordered:

  • assorted citrus (lemons, limes, clementines and blood oranges)
  • almonds (12 each of three different varieties, for cross-pollination)
  • peaches (3 different varieties, one of which is Culemborg. After having eaten a white peach in France some years ago, I was determined to grow some white peaches)
  •  apricots
  •  nectarines
  •  walnuts
  •  figs
  • guavas
  • vines (3 different varieties)

    Newly planted vines and fruit trees

    Newly planted vines and fruit trees

They are so small, they’re hardly visible in this picture, but now it feels like we’ve really made a start at farming here.

Pining for Murrayfield

As yet another weekend goes by where Bill is off to Murrayfield & I stay behind, I wait with a sense of anticipation… Our bank loan has finally come through – after months – yes, months (4 to be precise) of to-ing and fro-ing and increasing mounds of paperwork. All this for less than the price of a second hand bakkie.
Be that as it may, Bill is now raring to go with contouring, lime spreading and the once-off rip that will allow the lime to penetrate. We had a worrying moment last night, as it started raining. While rain is always welcome in the Karoo, this time, it’s about two weeks too soon. Let’s hope he can get the earthworks completed before the soil is too sticky.
With a bit of luck, I’ll be up there soon, and will take some photos of the changed landscape.


We already have three dogs. The youngest, at 9 months, is still a pup herself, so the last thing we were considering was another dog. However, these things are not always our decisions to make. Last weekend, Bill found a sopping wet bundle of skin and bones hiding behind a piece of wood propped against a wall on the stoep. It was such a sorry sight he didn’t even recognise it as a pup at first. He dried it off and gave it some food and water. By the rate at which she devoured it, she hadn’t eaten for a very long time. Bill had to go up to Bloemfontein the next day to pick up a bakkie. He left more food & water, and a bucket on it’s side with a blanket for warmth, hoping she’d make it on her own for another couple of days. Here she is after three days.


Still too young to have left her mother, but definitely a survivor. She’s since been to the vet for a general check, deworming & innocculations. She’s also had a bath to remove the last of the mud clinging to her fur. Now that she’s clean, we can see that there’s a lot of sheepdog in her. How she will turn out we will have to wait and see.

We still have no idea how she came to be on our stoep, but she’s here to stay.

Water Storage (part two)

Bill has always had a great affinity for water and when we’re not at Murrayfield he swims almost daily.

Working through the hot Karoo summer of 2012, he sorely missed his daily swim, so easily convinced me that we needed do to something about increasing our water storage capacity. The first step was some earth moving: a small dam has been excavated at the bottom of the property, and a plinth prepared for a mesh reservoir closer to the house. Our nephew Anson assisted with the assembly of the reservoir. So, there you have it…. my birthday present for 2012!


Water storage

SONY DSCPart of our strategy to address our water challenges

Shade trees

The first shade trees

, was to  increase our storage capacity.

The most obvious step was to begin harvesting rainwater. Bill spent some time up on the roof installing gutters and an additional 2500l tank for  collection of rainwater and dew.

This was done in June 2012 – just in time for the first rain of the season, and to water the 10 newly planted shade trees (Rhus pendulina) around the house