Sunday, August 30, 2015

|| the pottery man ||

In our town, this man is known for his pottery.  Prior to my trips to the States, my sister-in-law and I stopped by his place.  I wanted to buy a few small gifts to take back home.  Unfortunately, Mr. Luckson had been busy for a while so he didn't have a huge selection.

However, Mr. Luckson gave us a tour of his studio!  My goodness.  What this man produces on so little.  It is truly humbling.  He also threw a bowl while we were there.  All of the clay is gathered locally.  Every step of the pottery making process is done by him right there.  The only product from outside sources is the glaze.   




And this is his kiln....

The kiln is completely handmade and heated by electrical coils inside (you can see them a bit to the left).  When he is ready to fire, he bricks up the front.

I was absolutely amazed by the limited resources he has yet he continues his craft.  Two of my favorite pieces of his are a mid-sized bowl that I use for fruit and a gorgeous pitcher that my sister-in-law designed.

Seeing Mr. Luckson throwing the pottery on the wheel really brought life to the verse Isaiah 64:8.

          But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are all the     work of thy hand.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

|| dailies no. 102 ||

Sometimes, I join Leon for his afternoon walk.  I think Monday nights will be my weekly walk because we have no power at that time every week.  Last week, I caught some beautiful snapshots of the afternoon.

It is so beautiful, so peaceful here on the farm.  When I'm out walking, I am overcome with the beauty in my life and I wonder why I don't go for a walk more often!!

Here is a classic picture of life here.  Yes, we have green grass.  BUT, you must irrigate.  :)  On the right is grass that we are letting rest for the winter.  Soon, the rye grass on the left will die and the star grass on the right will be fertilized and irrigated.  

These fields are for the night grazing for the cows.  The watchmen count out a specific distance and set up the electric fence.  The cows are put in there to graze after the afternoon milking.  They eat their fill, then are put in paddocks closer to the milking barn for the morning milking.  

One major thing Leon has completed this year was to lengthen the electric fence around the farm.  This has done several things.  First of all, it has made the paddocks in the picture above more organized and clear.  (I guess, this would be an improvement for me alone!!)  Now, it is very easy to see how the night paddocks are laid out.  Before, I struggled to understand where the cows were exactly and where they were going next.  Now, you can clearly see the two fields of rye grass and the two fields of star grass.  Also, he has managed to get at least one ant hill flattened and lots of rubbish trees removed because of installing the new fence.  Another benefit of the new fence is that the cows don't have to walk as far for night grazing and they are safer within the realm of the electric fence.  Lastly, having a wider electric fence has instantly created a very nice walk for me and Liesl within the farm.  Any time I talk of safety on the blog, I try to re-iterate that I am very safe here.  However, I don't necessarily feel too comfortable walking very far outside the fence by myself.  Yes, I will do it.  Yes, Leon would agree I'm fine, I just don't make a practice of it.  However, there's a very nice little walk out the back of the property to a little retention pond for me and Liesl and I quite enjoy it!  

Another peek into life here...

Saturday, August 8, 2015

|| baby talk ||

So here's a total "mom blog" post.  

While in the States, I received several surprised comments that Liesl feeds herself and eats whole food (no baby food - yay!).  

I thought it might be interesting to a mom or two to share my limited, one-child experience.  

Obviously, I've got to post the whole disclaimer:  This post is not medically sound or medically documented.  This post is not intended to replace the advice of your pediatrician or doctor or medical provider.  This post is simply the experience, not advice, of one mom.  Whew!  Hopefully, we are in the clear now.  :)

I first heard about self-feeding (technically called baby-led weaning) through another Christian girl's blog.  It got my interest and made sense and I did a little research (aka googling) about the topic.  One of the articles mentioned that Europeans adopt this method of feeding their baby.

Liesl began with avocado as you can see in the picture above.  That was probably the second or third time she'd eaten avo.  Also, I did feed her mashed veg (butternut squash with green beans) for a bit, especially when I was in a hurry for her to finish eating.  

But after a while, I quite enjoyed Liesl being able to feed herself.  The main reason is that it kept her occupied.  About 11-ish, Liesl would start to get cranky but I still had school to finish with the girls.  So, I'd put her in the high chair and begin to feed her one thing at a time.  Peas.  Then butternut.  Then chicken  (Meat wasn't until 8/9 months).  Also, baby biscuits (Americans call them cookies).  She also has eaten a lot of watermelon 9 - 10 months.  And currently, bananas are her favorite thing.   She even points and says, "nana".  :)

A huge disclaimer:  it is (very, very) very, very messy.  If you are a working mom, it probably won't work for you.  There's often times that Liesl gets a bath after lunch.  And I also have the luxury of calling the maid to clean up if I'm too busy (or tired!) to do so myself.  Also, I spoon feed her porridge and any soft or runny foods (creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, etc..).  Having said that, here's just a few more observations.

Liesl hasn't choked, yet.  I haven't had to administer the Himelech maneuver on her.  

Another reason I'm big thumbs up for self-feeding is that it is whole, natural food with no preservatives or added sugar.  Now I'm not a crunchy mom.  Yes, Liesl has sugar but I try to limit it.  (Although, she had a marshmallow today...I even feel guilty typing that.)  But the idea of limiting her sugar through self-feeding really appeals to me.  

I also feel (once again, I'm NOT a doctor) that the bigger the food, the better.  It's better for her to rub a slice of an apple up and down on her gums than for me to dice it up in small pieces.  Also, I don't feed her grapes or hot dogs.  And for the longest while, I cut her bananas in sixths (yes, I'm a new mom - hahah!).  Today, she ate half a banana; then, I gave her the other half.  

Also, I don't leave her to eat by herself.  If she were to choke, I'm very near.  

Another downside of self-feeding is travelling.  It took me a bit to find my groove when we were first in the States.  We ate out a lot and it is messy.  But soon, I got the hang of it.  We also discovered cheese sticks in the States!  Liesl loved those!!  I limited her to one a day but I know she'd have more if I let her.  As a side note, I met a Brit on our flight who also does self-feeding.  

So there you go.  A huge mommy post.  Has anyone else have experience with their baby self-feeding?  Love it?  Hate it?  Too nervous to try?  I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

|| dailies no. 101 ||

Loadshedding.  I'm sure most of you have the same reaction as Liesl up there.  ^^ (huh?!?!)

Well, let me explain.  

Since there's been below average rainfall for the past three years, our dams are very low.  We use the water in our dams to generate power.  Since the biggest dam of all is at the lowest it's been in a while, there is not enough water to generate power for the country to last us until the rainy season.  And also, once the rainy season begins, it still takes the water time to flow into the big dams.  

Therefore, the power company has put us on this lovely little exercise called loadshedding.  The power is shut off every day on a rotating 5-hour schedule. But we are "lucky" because we live on the farm.  The farm is on a daily 5-hour outage.  The big city is on 8-10 hours per day outage.  Ouch.

Today, our schedule is 10 am - 3 pm.  I was able to get several loads of laundry done.  Power is out now and I will continue in just a few hours.  Thursday is our nicest day with the power being out from midnight to 5 am.  

We are also going to have to look into another generator and possibly some type of solar power.  Solar panels are an expensive option and there's also solar powered hot water tanks.   We only run the generator if the milking needs to be done or if the milk still isn't chilled.  

I know those of you reading from a first-world country can't imagine being without power for 5 hours a day but it really isn't that bad.  We prepare each day for it and work around the schedule.  I'm only dreading the hot season because then the fans can't be on for five hours each day.  Count on me to be in the pool during that time.  :)

Another peek into our life here...