Our first task was to help with the Farmers Market held at Kruistementvlei Farm every month. With a live local band in the background, the setting is very relaxed and more about the 'kuier' than anything else. Mom had a stall for her books, I helped at tannie Riette's stall, and the boys very enthusiastically sold their own 'organic firelighters', made from 'slangbos' and kindling the previous day.
Happy girls are pretty girls.
The 'slangbos' contains a lot of oil, thus it makes a good fire starter.
We improved a short hiking trail around their farm, designed a new map and made signposts for the different cottages and features around the farm.
Dad learned to rout (here he's making a sign for the 'Hog House', a quaint open plan cottage where we stayed most of the time).
Varnishing the signboards.
Some of the boards also had to be painted.
I designed a new logo for the farm, which had to replace the current one on some boards. Here Maarten is putting the new logo up with the stapler gun.
We learned a lot from the Bryants, especially from oom Jeremy about soil and soil improvement. They not only walk their talk, but also involve visitors to the farm in the process. By using dry compost toilets, they make compost and return it to the soil instead of polluting their groundwater (which basically every other kind of toilet does, according to The Humanure Handbook, a very interesting read if you ever have time).
Words like 'permaculture', 'hugelkultur' and 'swales' feature here, and during our stay we even worked on artificial swales. We were made aware of movements like The Urban Farming Guys, and watched some very interesting documentaries such as The Man Who Stopped the Desert.
Oom Jeremy is also a big fan of mulching, and have multiple chippers (mulching machines) on the farm. The boys enjoyed it immensely.
Working on the swales. Swales are basically low tracts of land and are designed to manage water runoff, filter pollutants, and increase rainwater infiltration. We layered it with cardboard (to soak up water), and then filled it up with wood and organic material.
First time mulching with the small chipper.
The big chipper in action. It's literally chewing up the whole branch.