We went through a few years of drought…So bad, that we were all rationed. We still only get water,for 4 hours,alternative days.It was deadly this year,as the rain stayed away.Our town’s pipe system,is up to “it” and what angered all of us,was that the old,worn concrete pipes,were cracked and bursted easily and the broken ones,are only replaced where they burst.
During weekends,it’s usually a struggle,to get somebody to fix the leak.Thousands of litres,of precious water will literally,be running down the drain.
When we moved to Burgersdorp,we visited the town,to come look for houses and found one,stil in the “fixer upper” stage.It was the òne house,we all agreed on.We loved the big yard.At last,we could start a proper vegetable garden ànd there was more than enough space,for my youngest daughter and her friends to play and big enough,for the dogs to roam around in.I could also have,a beautiful flower beds all over and the greenest green lawn,was already settled and looked beautiful.
A FOUR DAY RUN….
I worked as a nurse,for just over 12 years,at the old age home in Steynsburg(Eastern Cape South Africa)and only had 4 days(over a “long” weekend)to move into the new house.The contractors,were still busy with the house and we moved from room to room,as they finished up.It was a wirlwind time,as I started my new nursing job, at the Dirk Postma old age home,on the Tuesday.The house took another 2 weeks to finish off.
I couldn’t wait for our first days off.We were too late,in the season,to start the vegetable garden,but we eagerly started out and the vegetable garden,was in full swing,the following year.
VEGGIES We bought a shade net,to cover the vegetable garden,against the scorching sun.I planted tomatoes….known as the Tree tomato/jam tomato and the Red Ox Heart. What is a garden,without Spinach,Beetroot,Lettuce, Onions,Garlic and Green beans.I got only 10 bean pits(beans)from an old “farm gardener” very stingy with it.I don’t know the name,but let me tell you…the stalks were covered,in beans.I had to harvest,at least every 4 days.I gave some to my neighbor and at some stage,even shè declined”my good intended gesture” because she had more than enough,to last her and her husband,for the next few months.
The tomato plants,were covered with small tomatoes and you could recognize,the differences between them.The spinach were strong and they had healthy,crinkled,green leaves and the lettuce had nice packed leaves.Then the onion,garlic and beetroot,were starting push out,from under the ground….
We planted fruit trees,of which 3 were from pits,I saved.Apricot,yellow clingstone peach and Eureka lemon.We planted a grape vine,as well.The one older Apricot tree is bearing fruit,but when he doesn’t wean and drop the fruit,because of the drought,the strong winds blew them off.
Stricts water restrictions were implemented and we weren’t allowed,to water our gardens.The neighbors had a borehole,but it was in a small pocket and just had a thin squirt of water,for about 15 minutes at a time. Then we had to wait,for that pocket to fill up,which took about half an hour.As they watered their garden too,we didn’t have much time,to water ours,between our everyday jobs and the daily household chores…. We saw our garden slowly dying,in front of our eyes.It was a very sad period,in my life….
ONE HORSE TOWN. We saved as much,of the different seeds and pits we could,for the next year,but the drought got worse,by the year.This is our 16th year,in this once prosperous town,which had enough shops and jobs.Like Steynsburg,when we left,this is now àlso a “one-horse-town” We haven’t been able,to make a vegetable garden again.I tried some flower beds,but it was useless as well.
We bought fruit trees,in East London South Africa, last year and I decided to grow them in containers.We brought it inside and put all of them,in front of the lounge window,for the last winter.We took them out,and put them on spots,we hoped would stimulate them to bear fruit….it did and I still have 2 mangos,hanging from the small,young tree and today,I’m going to cook some fig jam,from a very small fig tree,that bears fruit,like it’s going out of fashion.It’s the 3rd time,thìs young tree bears fruit.
DOGS… We’ve lost and saved quite a few dogs and the children left home….my youngest daughter was 14,when we moved in and she’s turning 30,in December.We never had the honor,to see a beautiful luscious garden again,like that first year’s start,of the spring and summers,of those first 2 years.
TOO LATE We’ve had wonderful rains,these last 4 weeks or so,but it’s too late….these rains now ònly,bring our winter in earlier….which means,our temperature already dropped drastically.We’re still on rationed water and the few tar roads are still being dug up,to fix the old pipes,constantly bursting.This town,is nòw as good as the next “one-horse-town” like Steynsburg,Venterstad, Molteno,Hofmeyr….
We’ve tried our best,thus far,to move away…..but it’s like the song by The Eagles:Hotel California…“You can check out any time of day or night, but you can never leave”
I include the lyrics(recognition to Google)but do yourself the favor and lister to the song….(stereo earphones)
Original Photos:Google and Pinterest
More on our quest to leave,in later posts to follow
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