First Lamb Born on the Farm August 2018
  First day of a new month and the first day in the life of our first lamb born on our farm.

We heard some weird moaning sounds from the sheep shed and on further investigation found our smallest ewe laying down against the wall just starting to go into labour.

This was her first lamb and we quickly shuffled the rest of the sheep out to give her a little peace and checked on her progress every ten to fifteen minutes. Everything looked fine. We first saw the two little hooved feet peek out, then a head and then "pop" - out came the rest of the perfect little lamb.

We gave them both a few minutes to rest from their "ordeal" and then let the mommy drink some water and fed her some sheep supplement pellets. She was more hungry and thirsty than concerned about the little lamb but they eventually bonded and we saw the lamb was able to suckle successfully.

Great to have one little animal that we won't have to bring up. Hopefully it's real mommy will be able take care of all that for us.

    "Do you mind . . . I'm having a baby in here!"

    Brand new little lamb resting, mommy very hungry and thirsty

  Tea Garden Structure - Ablution Area Floor Slab
  Back to concrete again - time to cast the floor slabs and Leno arrived with three helpers, determined to get the first section done in a day.
 
Above left, digging in the waste pipes and on the right, a wee bit of rebuilding required here
 
Levelled again, plastic and reinforcing steel in and ready for concrete    

Casting our first concrete floor for this project    
But first, we forgot something. This being the bathroom and planning to have the washbasins along an inside wall, we were going to need waste pipes. A quick knocking down of part of the back wall and a bit of digging while I built up the pipes and after a quick bit of rebuilding, in no time the pipes were in.

Then after re-levelling the dug up strip, the plastic was layed down, then the steel reinforcing cut to size and the team got down to mixing some concrete.

I wasn't too happy with them using the freshly levelled floor next to the bathroom to mix the concrete but they assured me they will fix it just like it was before. And it was much easier (and less mess) bringing the materials up there and only having to wheelbarrow the wet concrete a few meters to pour it, instead of mixing it far away and having to wheelbarrow it
  for a distance. I had to agree with them because when they wheelbarrow wet concrete they always tend to overfill the wheelbarrow and lose an awful lot of concrete along the way, just making a big messy concrete path! Everyone put in a big effort and we had the bathroom section floor cast in a day.

  Tea Garden Structure - Starting the Main Area Floor Slab
  Not much time to stand back and admire the new level and smooth bathroom area concrete floor. We quickly moved on to the next stage. This would be much of the same - just a whole lot bigger. To finish off the rest of the floor we had 120 square meters (20 meters long by 6 meters wide) of concrete to cast.

While the building team were doing their final preparations by wetting, stamping and levelling the surface and then laying down the plastic and steel reinforcing, I did all my material calculations. We would be needing over 17 cubic meters of concrete! I phoned my order through to Shaheed at Jadas and they delivered two truck loads of sand and stone and countless bags of cement through the day.

Before leaving for home, the building team made sure everything was ready for mixing concrete the next day. They even prepared the mix - which they decided to do on the newly layed concrete floor of the bathroom section, again assuring me they would clean it all up afterwards. It was a practical solution to mix the concrete there as they then wouldn't have to push wheelbarrows of wet concrete up and over ground level walls and surrounding grass areas.

And a new building site visitor
    Wetting and stamping . . .

    . . . a bit of final levelling and clearing . . .

    . . . plastic and steel mesh down - and now ready for concrete


  Wood to Burn
  The beauty of having so much wood to burn is that you can have a bonfire every night - weather permitting of course.

We often just make a big fire early in the evening and when it's dinner time we use some of the hot coals to cook our meat and put a few veggies into tin foil with olive oil with some spices and put that on the braai grid as well. Real quick and easy dinners.


  Tea Garden Structure - Working on the Main Area Floor Slab
  Day two of casting the main section floor slab was pretty uneventful. Just mixing concrete, pouring and levelling it all day long.
 
Mixing on the new bathroom area floor slab   
   Starting furthest from the "mixing station"
 
6 Meter square steel tube for levelling wall to wall   
   Late afternoon big concrete spillage mess
 
    Then walking down the driveway to the house, we are confronted with a really big pile of sand.
Now we start carting it all slowly back up to the building site as bui;lding sand and fill.

  Interschool Cross Country Run
  Nearly always something happening here on the farm. If it's not wild animal sightings, it's our own farm animal activities. But this Friday afternoon we had something really different. One of the junior schools in town organised an interschool cross country run at the Montessori school on Che's farm.

The organisers visited us a week before when they were measuring out the different courses and we arranged the longest course actually came through our property, down the driveway through the forest to the front gate and then back across to the school. We put the dogs away for the afternoon as we watched hundreds of puffing and panting kids pass by while working on the building site.

 

  Out and About
  Only a few days old and our new little lamb was let out with the flock. It's a little ram. But sheep are peculiar animals. The mother doesn't care much for the lamb, except to let it drink when it
  finds the teat. Otherwise, it's up to the lamb to follow and keep up with the mother wherever she goes.

Although they now all spend their days in the pen together and even go out to graze together, we keep the new lamb and it's mommy separated in the chicken coop at night as we're a bit scared the bigger sheep may trample or squash the little one in the main sheep shed at night.


 

  Tea Garden Structure - Finishing the Main Area Floor Slab
 
    From the kitchen side . . .

    . . . and from the toilet and bathroom side
Three days to cast that 120 square meters of concrete floor slab. The building team put in some seriously hard work and although I continually complain about the mess they make, they certainly get the job done and they seem clean up and fix up whatever they mess up or break reasonably well.

We all took the next two days off on the building site, the building team to recover from their hard labour (and to try and get their bakkie going again) and me to plan the next steps of the project.

The next phase was the brickwork and I would have to work very closely with them all the time as the structure would be very "open" with only a few full height walls and lots of serving counters and hatches. The toilets and bathrooms would also be tricky, as well as all the pillars that will support the beams, which in turn will support the roof trusses. They will need to be built carefully to get everything lined up nicely.


  Peak of our Veldfire Season
  Our August winds started promptly on the first day of August this year and despite some really blasty and gusty days, so far so good with veldfires in our immediate vicinity. But all around us they blaze away in the distance. And with really strong winds blowing, there's not much chance of putting them out. Best we can do is protect buildings and animals and try and steer them towards roads where they can burn themselves out. And sometimes preventing them from jumping the roads is a mammoth task with fire trucks wetting the pavements and on standby lining the road to put out any flame-ups that do jump over onto the other side of the road.
 
From our front gate, one of the more serious veldfires sweep across the farmlands driven by
very strong winds. The N3 highway had to be closed due to bad visibility from the smoke.

  Tea Garden Structure - First Brickwork Above Floor Level
  A new day and a new phase of the project. After a quick cleanup of the new concrete floor surface, Leno spent some time setting up building profiles on each corner of the bathroom
  structure. A lot quicker and easier when you have anice level floor base to work up from.

Then the dampcourse plastic was layed down and after the mortar was mixed, brickwork began. I just needed to be around from time to time to give instructions as to where face bricks and where the cement stock bricks were to be used.

Marking out the toilet cubicles
    Setting up profiles on each corner of the bathroom

   First bricks above floor level going down


  Flock Count = Five
  The new lamb is doing so well and is already really part of the flock. We've even let it and it's mommy back into the main sheep shed at night.

Often seen out in the field now are our flock of five sheep out grazing. We used to leave them out there on their own until one would decide (for no particular reason) to make a dash back
 
Shepherd Martie not letting that new lamb out of sight. And Puddles   
not letting Martie out of his sight. #6 on the right is sheepdog Charlie   
to the sheep shed - and the rest would follow - they are sheep after all!

In fact that's why you'll notice we have cowbells around two of their necks (second one as a backup) - that's so we can hear them coming and guide them into their enclosure before they divert into the vegetable garden or fruit orchard!

But for now either Martie or Mandla stay with them out there for a few hours a day to make sure the lambs are ok and to get our Puddles used to being with the other sheep instead of his human mommy.


  Tea Garden Structure - Bathroom Outer Wall Toilet Oops
  When I'm not on site for a few hours there always seems to be a problem. Before leaving I take great pains to expalin what I want and how I want it done. But although the builders lay bricks well (and quite fast), they don't do much thinking.

This time I was off to Jadas to see if he had enough face bricks for our next delivery and to select and collect a toilet bowl unit so we could use it to set the outlet pipe holes in the brickwork. By the time I got back the entire back wall had been built with no regard for the pipe holes - or the toilet cubicle wall tie-ins - which were marked on the concrete floor and with bricks laying in their positions on the floor.

So after a brief discussion session we decided to just knock down the entire back wall down to two courses high and rebuild it with the outlet pipes in their places and with the toilet cubicle tie-in holes in it as well. I was able to spend a few hours with them so we were able to get it all right in the end.

I really wanted to have the toilet cubicle walls started and stepped back into the back wall but Leno likes to build to profiles and we didn't have enough of them for the extra five little walls, so I had to be happy with them being built up later. But it meant I had to keep a close eye on the building to make sure that holes were left for the tie-in bricks.

Once the pipes were in it would be straight forward brickwork up to windowsill height.

    Bathroom back wall built neatly four courses up, toilet in place
    for outlet pipe height measurement . . .

    . . . knocking it all down for outlet pipes and toilet cubicle tie-ins . . .

    . . . and a few hours later, all built up again.

  Water Issues
  It all started after one very cold winter morning when the water in all our pipes froze. It's not often it gets that cold in our little north facing alcove in the forest but it does happen from time
 
Blobs of algae flushed out of the white main feed pipe from the tanks    

New microfilter installed in the bathroom cold water input pipe    
to time. The water in the pipes didn't freeze enough to split any pipes or do damage to any fittings but froze enough to kill the algae that was growing on the inside of the big white pipe that joins the two 2500 litre JoJo water tanks and from which we feed our cold water to the pumphouse bathroom.

We realised very quickly we had a problem when after the sun had been up for a while and the water in the pipes had thawed out a bit, we went up to the pumphouse bathroom to do our early morning wash and brush teeth and the water just trickled out of all the cold water taps.

After checking the filters in the taps we discovered the bits of "green stuff" blocking it. I immediately got the toolbox out and disconnected the pipe that feeds into the bathroom, flushed the big white pipe and installed an inline microfilter before flushing the entire bathroom water system.

And that was pretty much job done for that problem, but I'm going to have to paint that white pipe a dark colour some time soon to prevent the algae growing around the inside of it again.

  We're not sure whether our next water problem was related or just coincidence, but a few days later we found our lovely clear clean borehole water was becoming murky and actually starting to smell kind of rotten.

I lifted the lintels covers from the borehole to see if I could see anything obvious. The cover cap was still secure over the casing pipe so no little animal could have fallen in and died down there, so I started looking a bit further to find the microfilter was all clogged up. Ants! Termites, actually - the filter was full of loose sand grains and bits of termite bodies. And millions of dead termite bodies could easily equal one big dead animal body - and it was smelling like one.

We don't really know what goes on down there under the ground - and in our case anything from 1 meter to 95 meters deep. Our problem was obviously caused but the termite colony system getting too close to the borehole casing pipe. The pipe is only about five years old so it's unlikely it had rusted through and collapsed, but the termite tunnel system and a fair bit of the ant pupulation down there was somehow getting washed into the actual borehole casing as it empties and refills as we pump it empty and let it refill as an almost daily routine now.

 
Under the borehole lintels    
Hopefully the termites will realise they're losing family members daily bigtime and get going on sealing off the holes near the pipe, but other than getting the borehole drillers out to flush the borehole (big bucks and big mess) we're just going to make sure we empty the borehole every day. Hopefully in time we will be able to sort out this little problem.

Microfilter in the borehole output pipe full of sand and ant remains


  Tea Garden Structure - Bathroom Outer Walls Going Higher
  As mentioned in my last "Tea Garden Structure" posting, not much should be able to go wrong with the bathroom outer wall brickwork from here on up.

Just got to watch that the builders keep putting in the open brick tie-ins for the toilet cubicle walls and they keep the support pillars straight, as they're only using profiles for the straight walls. When they get to the pillars they build "free-hand" with the level.

Next tricky area will be the toilet cubicle window openings - we have to get each window centered in each cubicle - and preferable without having to use quarter, half or three quarter bricks for the brickwork between the window openings. I've already done some quick calculations there and even layed out a test course of bricks and it looks like all that will work out perfectly.

   Bathroom outer walls so far from the inside . . .

   . . . and the outside - bottom corner highest above the ground level

  Catching Some Early Morning Rays
    Cold early morning winter days are no fun for our short haired animals.

The collies don't seem to feel the cold at all but as soon as the sun is up high enough to come through the workshop kitchen windows, Tess and Biscuit settle down on their cushion to soak it all in for an hour or two. And even if the door is open, they prefer inside on the cushion as sometimes the wind out there is a bit chilly.


  Winter Cold Front Sunsets
  Even when we have single figure evening temperatures and the wind chill drops the temperature a few degrees lower, the sunsets always look warm. They're especially spectacular when there are high cirrus clouds about in the late afternoons. Here it looks like someone just quickly scribbled across the sky as the sun goes down between a gap in our forest trees.
 

  Sparrowhawks
  I have no doubt that those sparrowhawks I was keeping an eye on in the forest were Ovambo Sparrowhawks. They definitely had the banded chests and were about the right size for the Ovembo.

That's why it was so strange that Martie found this Black Sparrowhawk laying dead against our game fence when out walking the dogs one day. It had obviously flown into the fence at high speed and had broken it's neck. Also strange that I'd also not seen the Ovambo Sparrowhawks for a while, but unless it's mating season and they're flying around their nest calling, they're pretty stealth around the forest.

Perhaps the Black Sparrowhawks had moved in and chased the Ovambo Sparrowhawks off - I haven't had much time lately to sit and monitor the old Ovambo nest.

  But despite the demise of this one, there are still two Black Sparrowhawks around. I've seen them flying into the forest on more than one late afternoon. But I'm not sure where they're nesting yet.

Anyway, as the dead Sparrowhawk had only died the previous day, we've wrapped it nicely and put it in the freezer. I'm thinking of having it mounted but after consulting with a few taxidermists, it will have to stay frozen until I can afford it!

 
Top wing and body and bottom markings are typical of the Black Sparrowhawk   

  Tea Garden Structure - Bathroom Window Openings and Toilet Cubicle Walls
  Back on the building site, over the next few days of on and off attendance by the builders (yep, transport continues to be the big problem there), we still actually managed to make quite a bit
 
Toilet cubicle window openings working out well    

Toilet cubicle walls and start of main bathroom separator wall    
of building progress.

We got the bathroom outer walls up to windowsill height and put the first course of bricks on above that so that we could get a good idea of the window openings. Everything worked out perfectly there with one and a half bricks between each window opening - just enough to make a decent pillar and look good). It also worked out nicely that each window would be exactly in the middle of each toilet cubicle. We also included a small window on each side of the bathroom entrances and another just inside the bathrooms to allow light into the washbasin area.

Then profiles were set up for the toilet cubicle separtor walls and the main wall to separate the mens from the ladies sections. Those were built in a jiffy considering the limited space the guys had to work in.

Finally, the main face brick wall between the open area and the bathrooms was started. It had to tie in to the mens/ladies separator wall and was face brick, so it took a little longer.


  Another Lamb
  In one month we have doubled the number of sheep in our little flock from 3 to 6!

First little orphan Puddles came along from the mother sheep tragedy from the farm down the road. Then our first lamb born on the farm from our smallest ewe and two weeks later our second lamb from our bigger ewe. It's like baby boom time here with our little goat kid Biscuit arriving as well.

Also the first lamb for this ewe (as far as we know) and we had a few problems getting the lamb to latch. But after about half an hour with the pair in the chicken coop we were able to teach the lamb where to look for the teat and how to grab hold of it. Our ram has done well and both the ewes should be fine with bringing up their own cute little lambs.


  Tea Garden Structure - Bathroom Separator Wall and Long Wall First Section
 
Bathroom separator wall and start of first section of ong wall inside     

. . . and from the outside    

Very cold and windy - fire in old wheelbarrow to keep hands warm     
Building brick and mortar structures is such a slow process. Here the builders have finished the batchroom to main section separator wall to the height of the bathroom outer walls (that's as high as Leno can work comfortably without having to erect scaffolding) and we've just started the first section of the long back wall.

There's only one pillar in that section of the long back wall and it ties in to the bathroom wall on the one side and ends short from the pillar on the other sides to allow for an opening for steps to get out onto the higher ground at the back.

The builders also chose probably the coldest day of the year to come out. They complained that their hands were so cold it was difficult to hold the bricks, so we got an old scrap wheelbarrow and made them a fire in it so they could warm their hands from time to time.

Spot, Martie & Biscuit - short visit


  Out and About with Biscuit and an Extra Lamb
  Biscuit is just the cutest of little animals (at the moment). She loves warmth and snuggles up to anybody who is prepared to have her close by and really loves a good scratch on the neck, on the back, on the sides. Well, anywhere. But just don't expect too much gratitude. Once you're done scratching her she just moves off, sniffing and tasting everything in reach.

And an acrobat of note. Always has to be up on something, the higher the better with superb balance. Yes, we have been warned that those all all the traits that are going to be driving us nuts through her teen and adult life. We may even have to eventually chuck het out with the sheep. But for now we're really enjoying her unique little character.
 

Out in the field Martie and Charlie now have their hands full herding six sheep. Each lamb seems to know it's mother and each ewe seems to know it's lamb and they don't tolerate the other lamb if it comes close - a quick head butt out of the way does it. Although the lambs grab every opportunity to get a few mouthfuls of milk while their mommies are grazing, they are already also starting to nibble on some of the dry grass.


    Biscuit always taking the more difficult route
 
Martie and Charlie out looking after our flock of six

  Tea Garden Structure - Starting on the Rest of the Back Long Wall
  That's one long wall! Over 20 meters long less the six odd meters bathroom and first section that has already been built. And with a lot of little complictions along the way. That entire back
 
Long wall first brick course down    
wall will have to built up to at least 900mm high as a retainer for the higher ground outside. And then there are support pillars every 3.5 meters, one section between two support pillars to be a full height wall and then the top corner ties into the kitchen structure full height walls. I'm going to have to work very closely with those builders there.

Once the first two courses were down with all the support pillar bases in their correct places, I could relax a little and organised any bodies just hanging around to mix up a bit of concrete to fill the mini foundation we dug as the base for the beginnings of our wood burning oven.

Here goes the bread and pizza oven


  Spoilt Rotten
  Our little Biscuit sure has landed with her bum in the butter here with us. Ok, so she lost her goat mommy at one day old but I don't think any goat should have it this easy.

Not only does she sleep in our bed cuddled up between us at night, but on cold mornings she's allowed to lay in for an extra hour or so while we get on with our early morning farm chores

out there in the cold.

And when Martie's on radio duty she gets even more snuggles while Martie works.

But, so cute. When she wants to sit on your lap she just scratches her front hoof up against you.



  Horses
  Grazing on the other side of the farm where the over 100 cows roam is not so good right now and Lee's horses were losing condition fast. So as the cows can't come over this side to graze (they get Kallie's bull too excited and break into our forest continually) Lee has brought four of her horses across to graze on our side until the rain comes to get the grass growing again.

They put down a salt lick block and we put out drinking facilities and the horses settled in nicely. Here they are at their drinking station waiting for us to fill with water. And wow, can these guys drink - we have to fill the trough with about 200 liters a day!

 
left to right, Apple, Bow, Arrow and Commanche

  Tea Garden Structure - Back Wall Gets Higher
 
Back wall from the bathroom side . . .    

. . . and from the kitchen side    
Another day on the building site. Nothing really exciting happening there now - just laying bricks from one side of the back wall to the other and then all the way back again.

And in the pictures on the left, not bad progress for one day - getting that back wall section's low walls up to full height. The full height wall sections at the kitchen end and one section between two pillars in the middle, will still have to go much higher - but later.

Next step here is to lay the roller course bricks on the lower walls and to then get the full height walls and pillars up to windowsill height on this section.

Then we can start on the kitchen walls. I see lots of complications there as we design as we build to incorporate the existing server into the new kitchen structure.


  Mini Phoenix Flies Again
  It's been a while in the workshop now as while being repaired, I gave it a bit a refurb as well. It had been doing a lot of flying before that FPV episode and there were a few stress cracks here and there and the covering was gettting a bit "tatty" in places.

The wing was broken near the centre, the nose section crushed and the canopy shattered. I still can't work out how it crash landed to do that damage, but not having found it myself to see how it was lying on the ground, I'll probably never know.

To repair the wing I stripped off the centre section covering, repaired and reinforced the main spar break and then rebuilt the wing sheeting and some ribs before covering it all up again. Very often the model is stronger after the repair, but additional weight is always added.

I just glued and reinforced the front section of the fuselage and repainted the yellow and purple there - also played around with some quite fancy pin striping while painting it.
 

But what probably took the most time was making the new canopy. I carved a foam block to fit, layered fibreglass cloth over it and then dug out the foam to hollow it. It's not the original smokey transparent any more but now I can glue mounts into it to secure the camera controller card and video transmitter to keep them out of the way of the rest of the workings in there.

The motor was thoroughly checked and fortunately didn't need replacing. I also upgraded the battery to a 3-cell LiPo - mainly to carry the bit of extra camera technology payload.

This little model always had a marginal climb rate on its old 2-cell battery. With the 3-cell battery the climb rate has increased dramatically but everything inside the fuselage had to be reshuffled due to the extra battery weight. After a few trimming flights we got it flying stable enough for aerial photography again.

On the video side of things I also upgraded the FPV camera to one that can now also record to an SD card. I'm a bit scared of FPV flying right now so this will allow me to fly line of sight, record video footage and then watch my flight on the computer afterwards to get familiar with how things look from the model, especially low level flying and landing.

And on the right, two clips from my first aerial video taken on a beautiful calm winter morning just as the sun was coming up. They can be seen fullscreen (recommended) on the YouTube links: Firstflight1and Firstflight2


   New canopy with all video equipment mounted into and onto it
   - here the camera and video transmitter aerial can be seen

   Launch, climb out over the forest and over the farm

   Some low passes, landing approach and landing

  Special Late Afternoon Evening Nature Extravaganza
  August and September are our worst months out on the farm. We do have a few lovely late autumn days but it's mostly strong dry winds blowing almost continually and with threats of runaway veldfires around constantly, there's not much time to relax and enjoy the few wonders of nature that present themselves from time to time.

And in amongst our almost every day beautiful sunrises, sunsets and moonrises, every now an then we get a really spectacular evening show. Like on the 26th when after being able to watch the sun set through some scattered clouds to the west, the full moon rose up over the hill through a gap in the trees over to the east.

The air was thick with the day's veldfire smoke from faraway fires and although the air was cold, everything in the sky looked so orange and warm.

But with the official start of spring a few days away, things look a bit bleak with no rain on the long term weather forecast until early October.

 

  Dakota 09-2003 - 27-08-2018
  I suppose every dog owner's dog is very special to them. Very special to me and my family was Dakota. She was a border collie pup that Niki chose from a litter sired by Josh, Che's border collie at the time, and a border collie mother owned by the previous owners of Che's farm. That was way back in 2003 just after Che had purchased the farm and before taking full occupation from the previous owners.

Dakota must have been about six weeks old when we took her away from the farm to our home in the suburbs (I even remember the car sickness episode on the way) and she lived at our Mulbarton home, growing up with our kids with our two staffies Hoover and Cleo for much of her early life.

Dakota was a dog of amazing intelligence and attitude. Never jealous when you patted other dogs - being just so confident of her place in the family. I remember taking her on a lead for walks down to our local shop - and people looking in awe as she would sit outside the shop with her lead loose waiting for me to finish shopping and walk her home. Swimming in our home pool was a special treat, but she wouldn't dare without permission - and would even dive in on command. Farm life came completely naturally, with not much teaching involved in getting her to help herding the cows and sensing snakes nearby.
 

Then so coincidentally three years ago we decided to eventually move out to the farm (only a kilometer from where she was born) to live. Having overcome her puppy car sickness problems, she was able to come out to the farm almost every weekend on our early farm development adventures and spent her last years living out here.

She got really old, being very physically active well into her old age. Her blindness and deafness must have been frightening for her, but she was still able to walk the farm around our garage workshop areas in her memorised patterns, and we kept her as protected as we could. It is so difficult to make decidions on behalf of an animal but our vet always advises that it's the quality of life that is most important for an animal. So after we suspect some kind of stroke where she couldn't keep her balance any more while walking, we decided it was time.

Fittingly, we brought her back to the farm where she was born to be buried in the forest close to us where she will always be remembered.


  Tea Garden Structure - Last Floor Slab
 
Taking a break from levelling with work on the bakkie ongoing    

Mixing concrete with all the plastic and steel already layed down     

Still mixing, with a good portion of the surface done and levelled    
This was one project I had been waiting to do for years, even though I would have liked to have finished all the rock work before it was done.

Over the years the area has been used for small scale dumping and shifting of sand and small building rubble, but after final planning of the new tea garden kitchen, the next step in the process there before we could build the walls for the kitchen was to do a final levelling and cast the concrete floor slab.

The decision was made to mix the concrete as close as possible to where we could safely get to where the floor slab needed to be poured.

Once the excess sand was removed and the surface nicely level and compacted, we layed down the plastic and steel (all bits of leftovers from the main floor) and the mixing began.

As we started quite late in the day the job wasn't able to be completed on the first day. We then had a break while the builders bakkie was out of action for the next two days before the job was completed.

Once done, all the concrete floor slabs were completed and the only messy concrete work still to be done wouldl be small mixes for the steps and bases for the wood oven and fireplace. That is until we start the big outside section that will run the entire length of the structure, but will just not be under roofing.


  Sheep Shearing
  Dorpers don't really need to be sheared. Their wool doesn't grow very long and when summer time comes along, they just shed their old coats (and look very "shaggy") and then grow a new coat for the next winter.

But seeing as Thea, our across the road neighbour, was getting the shearers in for her Merino's, and the shearers charge per callout and not per sheep, when they arrived at her farm she phoned us and we quickly put the canopy onto the bakkie, loaded our three sheep and took
  them across to where the sheep shearers had set up in her yard.

The whole sheep shearing thing was a new experience for us and it was surprising to see how well the handlers managed the sheep and how quickly they got the shearing job done.

Lambs are getting big quickly
    Sheep shearers in action

    All neatly sheared and back home in their enclosure

 
First day out without their nice warm jerseys