From Diary 1
10/2. Wakes up to a weekend with some wind, some rain, some thunder and temperatures around 15C, just like a Danish summer when it is worse. Check the animals and start washing clothes. My working clothes from yesterday is still soaked, but I noticed a tumbler. Although the temperature raises to 19C, I'm a bit cold. Change my sandals with shoes, but can't get one on. Turns up a toad has taken residence in my right shoe! That is what it thought!
Take a walk through the nursery to photo the caudiciforms I can find. Quite a few, and a lot of bulbs! Along with the sun, some employees turns up. I seems to be able to find new beds and houses again and again, and stops when I have reach 100 photos. While I process them, the sun and the employees disappears together, and the temperature drops right away.
Spends the afternoon making pages for my internet site with the "new" plants I found. The silent summer rain are interrupted by short thunder rain falls. Feed my selves, the eight big animals and around 100 guineafowls, and due to lack of internet connection; spend the evening in front of the TV. Either I have overloaded the internet connection (got a limit of three gigabyte a month) or the internet provider are struck by lightning.
11/2. Pouring rain again, the internet still not working, and on top of that: The horses has broken out. Paul senior comes bye to ask for my help; they are enjoying his beautiful garden. After a lot of running around in the rain, we succeed to get them back. I'm ready to put my clothes and my selves in the tumbler!
Got a date with Andrea and her boyfriend to go for a walk in the forest nearby at ten, but the weather is not really for it. If this is summer, I defiantly have brought too little of my warm clothes, and I have to do some serious power shopping in the autumn! Lightens up a bit half past, and we head for the forest.
It is a wild area, big hills, wild ocean and this deep gorge, where we follows the creek. The huge invasive trees has been bark-ringed some years ago, and the indigenous plants and trees are coming back. Here are succulents, ferns, orchids, Asparticus and an abandons of other plants.
There should be cats, dears, waterbucks, monkeys, baboons and many other large animals, but we only see frogs, toads, crabs and insects. We end with a 20 meter waterfall, which can't be passed. While we go back, the sun peeks in, but not for long. Been walking for more than two hours, and at least it has keep almost dry. Take a scenic route back to George, and I finally get my very soaked shoos off. Can't figure how to dry them?
Work with the photos, feed the animals and watch a descent movie in the TV, before fainting.
12/2. Still rain! Starts with weeding, the repotting some nice soft Aloes, conferrable in the dry. Then a meeting with Nanna about the nurseries web-site for three hours. A tour to the city with Paul to buy working pans for me and draining pipes for him. Back for more weeding. The weather have improved, and I enjoy the sun's heat.
After supper, it starts to pour down again. Get a heater from Mandy, and if this weather continues, that will be my new best friend! Spend the evening checking up on which plants I have on my site, that NewPlant also have. Nanna ticked off on my Africa-list, and now I check my photos. Takes a long time, but this is a good opportunity to make some nice photos. Ends up with a list of 26 plants, but where exactly are they in the nursery?
13/2. Seems like the weather finally have improved. It is of cause the heater I got last night: Murphy's Law, but when you know it, you can use it! Still have to find a doorstep and tighten the door; too much wind and toads enter.
I start repotting more of the nice soft Aloes, and half past eleven, we have a team meeting. More talk about watering, weeding, ground grown plants, code of conduct, economy, problems, maintainers and work plans. Even though we are only Lungiswa, Nanna and me, somehow I end up being in charge of weeding. Ought to take me more people and languishes to get that confused. Then I go back to my Aloes, followed by shifting Crassulas in ten litter bags. Then it is time to get some room between some smaller Crassulas, and the days work ends with weeding.
I go down to the car workshop, to find some wood for a doorstep. Find the wood, but not a saw. End up hammering a piece of metal almost through. The ends are in the door poles anyway, and it turns out real nice: No cold winds or toads anymore! To celebrate; I sweep and wash the floor.
Spends the evening with finding errors on IPNI; the international plant name index. Reported a miner error the other day, and as usual they thanked for the help. Remembered something about havening found other errors before, and dog them up. Wonder if they thanks me for that list?
14/2. The summer is really back, and I enjoy every minute. The day starts making new friends: Fertilizing! The flies love it, and 100 flies can't make a mistake: I am irresistible. They sit on me, not the fertilizer. Well, it is after all only 795 plants, which have to be watered afterwards. Reminds me of the experiment with Humac and none, little and much water: All plants are doing fine. An other urban legend have been brought to rest.
Can't find the boss; Lungiswa, so I decide the variegated Crassulas need oopmaak: More room in between them. Just when I'm through, she turns up, and tell me to prune them. Lungiswa made cuttings of the Crassulas in ten litter pots we shifted yesterday, and to day I plant them in new ten litters pots. That is heavy duty stuff!
Can't find her again, and decides to fill the gabs after sale. Then I'm asked to find ten of each of five different plants for sale. After lunch, the project is in the "kindergarten" department; the nine centimetres pots. Shifting and watering. And then the more exiting part: Watering Paul's collection and experiments. Days finish with weeding as usual, but then again; not that usual. We have really got to the button, I spend more time finding weed than weeding. We have four areas, and I go through three, and not just usual one row or bed. Cool!
IPNI took it nice, and implanted all of the things I send them. Now I just have to remove the notes from my site. Then I work on a plan to make the photos from the nursery, I can use for my site. Where are they, what time of year will they be ready for photo?
15/2. Day spend with filling gabs after sale, re-potting 323 Aloes from nine centimetres pots to four litre bags, and the usual weeding. I thought we would be through weeding to day, when we got the fourth part, but the Aloes I made went in to a fifth place. Dammed!
Ended the day with a heat stroke. Dizzy, sick and temperature going op and down. Took a cold bath and slept for thirteen hours. That helped, but I'm not peaking.
16/2. Get to work, it is after all the short day; eight hours. The day starts with filling out the Production Plan. Bit complicated: It is only in Afrikaans, some things are by rate, others by time. Sorted by weekday, starting with Friday. Then the math, and I end up with 60. Last week, I heard I had 70+, and a fair amount would be 41. This week, I have had quite some work by hour, and that draws down.
Still some Aloes left to be repottet. There is no soil, so I fill gabs after sale and tidiness up our place. The soil arrivals, and I start repotting. I got this bright idea yesterday: Oopmaak already now, and this painful process can be skipped next month. Save some time and pain! While I place the last 107 repotted plants, two workers turns up, and starts digging holes for big poles to support-lines for trees. Mandy comes bye, and I joke with: Got a be finish placing these before I have to move them to give room for trees. Turns up to be no joke! If I haven't mention it before: I HATE ALOES!
This new room we just weeded yesterday is given to Trees. We are getting one of their beds, but only after I have planted some big Portulacarias in the ground, and repotted 1000+ Cussonias. Do I have to mention: The area we are going to grow the Portulacarias (which are given to us) in, are heavily grown with weed?
The interesting part is, these Portulacarias is first part of an experience I hope to be involved in later. Because of all this confusion, I forget to take my first brake. After finishing the Aloes, I plant 60 Portulacarias in the ground. It is weeding time, and I suggest we do what the other groups apparently do: Don't. Then, when the bed it a total mess, we give it to an other department. Lungiswa does not buy it, but due to our lack of weed, we don't weed today.
After the traditional shower and coffee, I walk through the nursery with Paul and Mandy. I got some ideas of, what might be a good sale in Europe that they might not have thought of. Then Mandy, the dogs and me drive to the beach for a stroll. Endless fantastic sand beach, but a few blue sailors/jellyfish.
17/2. The day starts with a chase: The horses has gone renegade once again. This time it might be to the slaughterhouse, if they are unlucky. Finally we get them back into the enclosure, but does it end here?
It starting to be dark earlier, and I have a hard time getting my supper finish in daylight: I need a lamp for my dinner table. Have a spare bed lamp, but is is not that easy just to move it. In South Africa, there are two common plugs: The very small European one and a giant South African. The larger European can only be used few places. Tinkles a bit with that, while I wash some of my cloths.
Borrows one of the cars, and drive to the giant mall. Walk from one end to the other, but ends up with only one can for my pasta, some plugs for my lamp and the usual food. Spends only half a weeks pay, but my store have been filled during the last weeks.
Take a stroll down the road; one amassing view after the other between the large hills. Sometimes to a lake, sometimes to the sea or other hill. Could fill a memory card with it! Where the road ends with a large gate, there is a small hut. The owner comes out, and we chat for a couple of hours. Turns up we have the same view on a great variety of things, even though we are from two complete different cultures, and neither of us have the common view.
Get back around four, and it is time to start dinner: Chops of an ox, fried and cocked for about an hour with milk, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, HP sauce, garlic BBG and chilly-garlic spice and some soya, et ends up tasting of more than usual - great!
Do a little maintaining on my rondawel: The suns shines in my face at 6:00. Folded paper in the small window over the door, and a small list on the door. Then it is time to up-load the weeks photos, of which there are less and less, but still a few.
18/2. Starts the day in the large library, searching for caudiciforms not already on my site. Find more then 50 in the first book; I got more then I needed! Mandy rounds up a lot of people, and we go to the Pepsi Pools. We almost gets there, and suddenly the VW Caravelle fills up with white steam. A sensor has broken off the expansion tank.
The pools are in a deep gorge, cutting it's way through indigenous forest. The name originates from their colour; just like cola and as clear. The small track get more and more difficult, and I end alone where no one have been for a long time. The most easy access is blocked with very rotten branches, which turns in to dust when I pass them.
I could be shooting photos all day, both views and plants, while I jumps, climbs and fight my way up into the gorge. Go as fare I can without getting wet - and a few meters more. Just wanted a last shoot round the corner to the next pool, and ends in the one I'm at. Save the cell phone and camera by inches, and decides it is time to backtrack to the rest of the company. They have been swimming in the cold water, but claim it is great.
Paul has driven back in his car to fetch coffee and snacks, and we sit and enjoy at the fist pool. Try to block the hole in the expansion tank with a branch, and drive carefully home.
I go back to my rondawel to do some maintaining on the toilet, which have been leaving a stream on the floor. Then removing some visit-cards from geckoes on the walls, and cleaning the windows. An other weekend has passed in what feels like hours. Spends the evening finding more plants in the books and upload to days Pepsi-tour.
Throws out an other toad, which were peeking out from a hole in the wall. Should be the last one, after I got the doorstep fixed.
19/2. Wakes up to an other toad - or is it the same? Toads have their territories, but this one should look for a new! Nice warm day again, which is being used for planting the last large Portulacaria in the ground, filling gabs after sale, water an enormous amount of Portulacarias, find plants for sale, and planting 250 cuttings in four litre bags. Checks the first bed for weed, and it is back!
Spend the evening at the PC, working with the "new" names I have found. When I get home to my rondawel, one toad is sitting right inside, on the doorstep, facing out, an other tries to hide. Both finds them selves in the cold (17C), dark night, real fast. There are holes in the walls inside, but I can't find any outside. Trying not to fall a sleep before nine...
20/2. I starts the day planting cuttings of small succulents into four litre bags. Lungiswa tells me, the "planting bags fast or nice" contest will be on somewhere between eight and ten. They spend a lot of time turning the bags even, and I just throw them down, four by four. When they are watered, I can't tell the different! They claim it isn't slower, and it can be seen.
I continues planting plants while I wait for the other contestant. Then my wheelbarrow disappears. I try to find an other one, but they seems to be in use. Then I just fill bags on the table, where there is plenty of room.
One of the other workers ask me to place my plants on the floor; we are getting soil. Placing things on the floor, that are going to be removed real soon seems like completely waste of time to me, but what can I do? Start filling gabs after sale and weeding some pots. Lungiswa comes bye, and I get her wheelbarrow.
When I'm done putting plants out in the bed from the floor, we have gone soil, but my bags and the pot I scoop soil with has gone. More wasted time. At ten, Evelyn cones bye, and starts counting my plants: The contest has been on! She were the other contester. Don't know the outcome, but in two hours I have only produced around 125 bags. In the next three, I make 325 more, and I even have to shift my operation to an other sheet. I were only supposed to make 35, and I later learn Evelyn is famous for making 50.
It has been time for the team meeting. Usual stuff, and back planting Portulacaria afra until weeding time. I fill out my Production Plan, which starts Friday. I have already produced over the 41 points, it is Wednesday, and should be able to take the rest of the week off, with good confidence. Actually, I have planed not to work in the nursery to morrow: Mandy, Paul and I are going on a fieldtrip.
Spends a long time trying to make a tasting supper - but fails. Then I try to concentrate on the "new" names for the site, but have to give up: Too tired.
21/2. ROAD TRIP! Mandy decides to stay home, but Paul and I hits the road about nine. It is 350 kilometres to Port Elizabeth, but it is a beautiful stretch, centre of the famous Garden Route. It is hill after hill, and in the distance, I can see the mountains. It all looks so fertile, but on all farmland, the sprinklers are going. Some of the original forest are still untouched, but much have been changed into extreme fast growing pine.
We passes the worlds biggest sanddune. It is huge! Hundred meters high or more, and it stretches for kilometres. The sea on one side, one of the very few natural freshwater lakes on the other. The level of the lake is below sea level, but it is seawater which have been filtered through the dune.
We are lucky to be the last car to pass a roadwork. On the other side, hundreds of care waits. It is a long stretch, and they only shift direction every half hour or so. We passes some larger town and large areas of townships. Many are "Mandela houses", water, electricity, toilet but very small concrete homes.
Some of the landscapes we drive through reminds me of Australia, Denmark, New Zealand and Germany. Round the corner, and you are on an other continent.
Here are amassing views, every time we pass a corner. The sea, the green hills, the dense natural forest and the fynbos with it's Porthea and red heather flowering. We passes the gorge with worlds tallest bumpy-jump, around 450 meters. Cost about the same as one on a marked in Denmark, in which you get 60 meters, but here you get a video as well.
On some remote hillsides, I see a few baboons, and a bit later there are some just next to the road. We enter the Western Cape, and more Aloes and Euphorbias turns up. I couple of ostrich on a fenced fields and a few gazelles on a other, but enormous hordes of milk cattle. We reaches Port Elizabeth and Linda. She have a large garden with several huge Ceibas from Argentina. One is two meters - in diameter! Lots of other exiting stuff to be found around, but we are invited for lunch.
Linda runs a rescue nursery, and there are plenty for her to do around here! Delicious lunch, but nature draws! On our way out to the Fockeas we are here to see, we passes the city dump. Seems like many don't bother to go the last couple of hundreds meters through the Aloe Reserve, but just dump out site the fence. We passes some large Aloes, without roots, and Paul decides to give them an other chance.
We finds the Fockea area and walks around for half an hour. The nature is amassing! The vegetation is only one and a half meters high, but here are a abandon of different species. The area that is picked out to be bulldozed is enormous, and here are millions of real cool plants, just waiting to be killed. At least there are some doing something, but the size of the area makes it impossible. And the animals?
Next stop, as for the lucky plants, are Linda's nursery. It is, no surprise, huge. Real well kept with nice grass paths and all kind of bulbs, Pachypodiums, Aloes, succulents and much more. All are placed in species groups, which are in approximately the same habitat as the came from. Beautiful.
Time to hit home, it is after all 350 kilometres. To me, it feel like 50 out, and the tour home as 100. So much to see - while it was light. On a small de-tour, we se a couple of storks. Arrives home at nine, and the supper get an other round of breakfast. Writes the diary, but the photos most wait.
Haven't seen any toads to day, and after having heard Linda's story, I'm glad it is only toads I got. She were living in the rondawel while it was brand new. The sealing wasn't fixed, and four or five boom-snakes stayed there every day, waiting for the nights hunts. I'll take toads any time!
And way more in Diary 3