Homestead Site Decision July 2012
 
The site where we would be building our home

  At this point we finally decided where our house was going to be built. The site selection took many important factors into account, but mainly it was secluded behind the forest with a great view of the hills and any wildlife activies out there. Thanks to our new road we had good access from the tarred road. And most importantly, this site allowed us to face the entire house to the north for our future energy requirements. We planned the rough layout and marked it out on the ground with pegs.

When planning the house we had two options. We could build a cozy little cottage using some green evironmentally friendly materials and have a minimalistic living style or we could build a conventional brick and mortar house using as much green technology as possible. We just had too much stuff for option one.

So the plan was to start with the garage block (5 garages plus attached workshop and store room) where we could store our cars, tractor, trailers and other farm stuff and use it to live in over weekends and if neccessary, while we build the main house.

A separate pump house and ablution block would be built up at the first borehole site so we could experiment with water pumping technology and toilet systems.

Towards the end of the month we met with Slappies, the building contractor who built a small weekend home at a very reasonable price for Johan and Marcel on my sister Che's farm. Johan stables his horse at Che's Farm and he and Marcel go out to the farm from Johannesburg almost every weekend to ride. They had a caravan parked near the horse paddock in which they stayed on weekends and decided it was time to spend their weekends a little more comfortably. The price was very reasonable because he built just a rectangular shell and covered veranda and carport with no finishings. He also built all the walls with single width maxi bricks.

Slappies took a good look at our proposed site, took some measurements and after we explained to him what we had in mind, he said he would go and work out some figures and get back to us. It was important to me that we get pricing for each construction stage: foundations to floor level, floor level to roof height, and roofiing. I also didn't feel comfortable signing a binding contract for the entire project with one contractor, mainly because I knew I didn't have enough liquid capital to build the entire house at the time, and when my capital ran out I would want to be able to stop contruction for a few months if necessary while I built up some capital reserves again. We waited with great anticipation for the figures.


  New Road Garden Herbivore Solution

New road garden fenced off

  We decided on fencing in the new road garden. We used a black plastic square mesh on the back attached to the log fence with staples and chicken wire around the front supported by a few uprights and the log fence on the sides.

Also installed a little solar panel and LED garden lights that I got on special from one of our suppliers.


  Beekeeping Course

On Saturday morning 14th we attended Peter Clark's introduction to his beekeeping course, where anyone interested in beekeeping can get an insight into what it's all about and make a decision on attending the entire course. The course is spread over 8 months, one Saturday morning every month, so that he can cover activities of the bees each month through the year.

We signed up, eager to learn all about these fascinating little hard working creatures. Our intention was not to become commercial beekeepers but we were aware that the bees would become an important part of our farm for pollination purposes. And if we do have the opportunity of harvesting a crop of honey or two, we would at least know how to do it.


  Firefighting

Another veldfire alert on Monday 23rd. This time coming in from the north.

We dashed out to the farm and helped the local farmers fight the fire. This was a difficult one because it was spreading over the hill where the firefighting vehicles were unable to get to. Beating it out in the grass between the rocks was the order of the day. We worked well into the night on this one with all the farmers from the surrounding farms partaking. Very interesting to see their variations in firefighting equipment, from simple water tanker trailers to old military vehicles.


  Wit Hout (Cape Holly) Trees

While browsing a nursery we found some reasonably sized Wit Hout trees on special and bought four of them. We planted them along the north fence. When they get big they will fill an open gap between us and our neighbours. Unfortunately they didn't last out the month - the eland herd visited again and chomped almost all the leaves and small branches off of them. We left them in place and continued watering them. Hopefully as soon as spring arrived they would shoot new leaves and branches.

We resigned ourselves to the fact that whatever we planted on the farm would have to be fenced in.