Sunday, December 27, 2015

Farewell to the Kammanassie and 2015!

It is not only the end of one of the most amazing and unexpected seasons ever in our lives, but also the end of 2015!! Tomorrow we are leaving St. Ancothesa farm and the stunning Kammanassie valley behind, with sadness but also peace of heart, knowing it is time to move on and that there is much still to come.

We love this place, and we love the people too - thanks and thoughts to all the neighbors; the Burgers, the Keysers, Hannes and his mom, the Esterhuizens, and the Minnies, de Jagers and Van Roon-Giffords in George as well as Apools and co.

Places in the valley...

Driving to Uniondale. 

Sunrise on our 'stoep'....

....and the view. 

The swimming spring dam. 

We took so many pictures when going on walks...

Uniondale's unique liquor store. 

Goodbye Kammanassie, and happy New Year!!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Friends and Explorations

We've had a lovely time recently as we had visitors - old friends from Potchefstroom stayed with us on the farm for a few days, and we showed them the Garden Route, with relaxed days on the farm in between.

The day after they arrived, we went to Victoria Bay - me and my friend got fried while swimming and were bonded by mutual redness the remainder of their stay. It was a proper hot beach day though, ice cream included. On the way back via Montagu Pass, we stopped for a relieving cold swim in the spring dam and a group photo. 

The Outeniqua Mountains. 

Cool off. 

A background doesn't get better. 

We showed them the little town of Uniondale, and visited people living on a very isolated farm near Haarlem. We also drove Prince Alfred Pass in the mist, and through the stunning Knysna Forest (we did this once before). 

Uniondale's church. 

Prince Alfred Pass in the mist.

Excellent marketing through curiosity. 

Pit stop. 


We stopped at the 'Dal van Varings' (Valley of Ferns) and two big yellowwood trees. Cool, wet, misty and mysterious, the Peterse loved the forest.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Potchefstroom and Back - An Exciting Two Weeks

As we are nearing the end of 2015, things we had to do in Potchefstroom has 'piled up' quite a lot since we've last been there (14 whole months ago), and so the inevitable trip has been made at the end of our school year. Departing November 21st, we stayed over at friends near Hertzogville in the Freestate. We visited the Owl House as said in the previous post, witnessing snow in Nieu-Bethesda and a giant dust storm in the drought-stricken Freestate on the same day.

Through the Big Karoo...

Into the desert-like Freestate. Instead of huge 'mielie lande' (cornfields), we were greeted by a desert...

...and sandstorms. 

The friends we visited have exotic game on their farm. Besides having a baby Springbok and hedgehog in their house, they have 'Gemsbok', white 'Blesbok', and golden wildebeest. They also have horses, which the boys enjoyed enormously. Video of Maarten's horse riding skills (and a crazy Springbok). 

In Potchefstroom, mom and dad had a lot of work to do and thus weren't seen too often. TG Kr├╝ger Real Estate Agency, a 70 year old family business run by my grandpa, dad and uncle was closed down, and it's been quite emotional. The business building was sold, and a lot of stuff stored there had to be driven away and sorted out.

We also had to (literally) fish out our 2016 schoolbooks from the storeroom in our own house, which was quite a mission since it was not planned to turn out this way...

Mom stood outside shouting instructions and titles.... 

....while we wriggled/climbed to where the bookshelves stood and searched for the books. 

We stayed at both of our grandparents, visited friends, helped 'ouma' Elna (who recently had a neck operation) in and around the house, spent a night in Pretoria, had family dinners, a family dentist appointment, got new swimsuits, delivered one of Nassie's kittens to his new owner, and a host of other little things. Mom also had a homeschool talk on home education in Pretoria.

A lovely breakfast with a work associate of my mom's to celebrate the finish of one of their projects - an Afrikaans learning program.  

Temporarily named Borris the Animal, this kitten was safely delivered to his new owner. 

We love you ouma and oupa Venter. 

On the way back, we put on our tourist hats in Bloemfontein. We drove to the top of Naval Hill, saw the Christiaan Rudolph De Wet statue at the Council Buildings, and visited the National Women's Memorial ('Vroue Monument') and Anglo-Boer War Museum.

View from Naval Hill. I could almost feel the ghosts of English and Boer soldiers there. 

Christiaan De Wet with the Raadsaal behind the bushes. 

The Women's Memorial, dedicated to the thousands of women, children and elderly people who died in British concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902).

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

An Outsider and Exhibition Concerning Light

On the way to and in Potchefstroom (for a two week stay during which a lot is happening), we've recently had some interesting and quite beautiful experiences connecting light and the nearing festive season in an unique way. 

The first was at the Owl House by Helen Elizabeth Martins in Nieu-Bethesda (a quaint little village lost in time, near Graaff Reinet). Helen Martins is what's called an outsider artist, as her artwork does not conform to any normal art standards or categories. The story goes that one day, sick, old and alone in bed, watching the moon through the grayness, she decided she'd had enough of her boring life. So started a personal obsession with light and color that inspired Miss Helen to recreate her entire house and garden into one vastly different-from-the-norm work of art. It is now a museum and unique in style and atmosphere. 

She loved owls (thus the name Owl House), and beautiful colored-glass owls were everywhere. Helen grounded glass in a coffee grinder, washed and sorted it, and stored it in bottles in her pantry. She splattered sun faces, owls, stars and moons with the glass on ceilings, doors and walls. 

Inside the house - abstract colors and mirrors placed strategically around the house create light effects. At night she lit many candles and lamps, whose light then reflected on the mirrors and glass. 

In the yard (named the Camel Yard) there were strange little 'hideaways' made from bottles and cement... well as many statues. 

I was taller than (some of) the giraffes (ha). 

Mom outside the yard at the supposed (but rather dangerous) welcome arc. The reason we're all wearing winter jackets is because on the way to the Owl House we drove through rain and snow (in November). So much for summer. 

Pulling back time...

The second event was in Potch itself – a Christmas Light Festival ('Liggie Fees') hosted by the Abraham Kriel Children's Home. They really put in a lot of effort and the result was worth a look. 

Trees, and statues and structures made from wire were decorated. 

We went with 'ouma' and 'oupa' Kruger. Photo booth!