A hot, dry season

I am not going to say much about my garden right now.  The weather is so hot and dry, and water restrictions have been imposed in our area.  I have mulched with wood shavings which really makes a big difference, but on the whole my garden is looking like an old person with sagging skin and wrinkles.  Everything seems slightly droopy and tired.  The temperatures are going up to 39ºC. We all go through different seasons in our lives and the hot dry seasons build resilience and perseverance in our lives.  Just like the plants we learn to overcome the drought, often with a little bit of help from our friends.  Just like mulching and carrying water in a watering can instead of using a hosepipe, a little TLC goes a long way. The apple trees are looking great and that’s wonderful because they are long term.  They have to be able to withstand all kinds of weather conditions.  We just have to remember, in our own lives, that no matter what happens to us it says in the bible in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

This little basil plant doesn’t seem to mind the heat.

This Copia tomato plant appreciated the mulch which keeps its roots cool – this is one if my heirloom tomatoes

Gluten Free Bisquick Mix
2 cups white rice flour (500 ml)

1 ¼ cup coconut flour (325 ml)

1 cup milk powder (250 ml) (Nespray)

¼ – ½ cup white sugar (75 – 125 ml) (I’m sure Xylitol or a sugar substitute will also work)

½ cup cornstarch (125 ml) (Maizena)

1 TBSP Baking Powder (15 ml)

1 tsp Baking Soda (5 ml) (Bicarbonate of Soda)

½ tsp salt (2,5 ml)

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
I made the pizza crust and even though it was sweet it was a really nice contrast to the savoury topping.  Here is my pizza recipe:
2 cups pre-mix (500 ml)

1 tsp Xanthan gum (5ml)

3 eggs

¼ cup of oil ( 75 ml)

1 cup water (250 ml)
Add the Xanthan gum to the flour and combine.  Beat the eggs and add together with the oil and water to the flour.  The consistency is like mashed potatoes.  I used two rectangular foil of which the inner measurements are 24cm x 14cm.  Spread the dough into the bottom of the containers. 

1 sachet Tomato paste





Spread the tomato paste on the dough and top with the rest of the ingredients.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC for 20 minutes.

The dough must be the consistency of mashed potatoes

These ingredients are only a guide.  Use what you like to eat and as much as you need.  The dough rises and make a soft crust.  I usually prefer a thin crisp pizza crust but this was so good.  
Enjoy trying this recipe and feel free to share your thoughts and your own recipes in the comment section.

The finished product – delicious!


I purchased a bluetooth keyboard for the sole purpose of blogging. The salesman told me that it would work with a tablet but not with my smartphone.  When I asked him what the difference between a tablet and a smartphone were the look he gave me was “Really? You don’t know?”  Then one of the girls at the back of the shop said, “A tablet is big and a phone is small.”

I decided  to buy the keyboard anyway because although I’m 50-something and I  don’t hide my grey hair, I don’t think I’m completely clueless when it comes to technology.  Well, as it turns out I’m  using the bluettooth keyboard (with my phone) to type right now and I didn’t need to ask a teenager to set it up for me. 

Why do younger people automaticlly think that when you reach a certain age you loose your mind and any ability to use technology? I do realise that a lot of young people do know more than I do, and I respect that knowledge.  I also hope that in their quest to learn about new things they will not neglect learning about old things too.  I always thought that History was the most boring school subject.  I know that it had a lot to do with the lack of enthusiasm on the part of the teacher.  I recently read the book ‘Assegaai’ by Wilbur Smith and suddenly I had a revelation about people and their loyalties. This book is historical fiction but a lot of it is historically correct. After the Anglo Boer War the Afrikaners were very upset with England.  Their women and children had been kept in concentration camps and a lot of them had lost their lives as a result of disease. When the First World War was imminent most Afrikaners were more than willing to side with Germany –  because they hated England and not necessarily because they approved of what Germany stood for. The same thing is happening today.  A lot of people vote for political parties based on what happened during the last 20 years and not on what the current situation is. 

The other book I read is a by Dr Peter Hammond called ‘Sketches from South African History’ which I found absolutely fascinating.  To learn more about Dr Hammond and his ministry go to http://www.frontline.org.za.

On a lighter note – my apple tree is growing – its so small, I wonder if I could call it a treelet?


I wrote about Spinach and Clover a while ago, and how clover wasn’t growing around the spinach, and it wasn’t.  My theory was that something in the spinach stopped the clover from growing near them.  Well, it rained again and I had a brand new crop of weeds, and my theory is busted!  There is clover growing right next to and around the spinach.


There’s the proof!!

As I’m watching my nice little theory float out of the window, it seems to me that very often we think we know the answers.  We have the proof and we can solve the problems life throws at us.  Until our theories as busted and everything we thought was a certain way isn’t anymore.  Our very foundations are shaken because things that we took for granted or built our lives around fall apart.  It could be because of illness, financial crisis or emotional issues.  There is always something that won’t work the way we planned it to.  That’s when our faith gets tested.  What do we really and truly believe in and stand on.  Do we have foundations that are strong enough not to crack?  Because human beings are really very fragile we can’t rely on our own strength and intellect to sort out every crisis that’s going to come our way.  I believe in God.  I believe that He sent his one and only son, Jesus Christ to die for me so that I can have eternal life.  I also know that when things go crashing down around me, He will be the one I can rely on. The only one.  I am not perfect and I can panic and doubt with the best of them, but when push comes to shove, I know where my faith lies.

Anyway, I have killed some weeds (organically) by using a mixture of vinegar, salt and dishwashing liquid.  I got someone to dig over the section of ground next to the piece I’ve already planted on.  I allowed the weeds to grow and last week I decided they were really flourishing, but they hadn’t produced seed yet.  I waited for a warm day and sprayed them quite early.  By the middle of the day they had stared to wilt and by the end of the day the leaves were already turning yellow.  I removed a strip of weeds from the edge of that patch and dug it over again.  I divided it into 6 sections and make little mounds that I planted mealies (maize) on.  I’m going to plant beans around them so that they can climb up the mealie stalks and then I’m going to plant squash around them to keep the soil cool and free from weeds.  I read that the indigenous people in America did it that way and called them the Three Sisters.  So we’ll see if it works in Africa too.


I had some very over ripe bananas that I dropped into holes that I dug between the mounds the mealies are planted on.  This is where I’m going to plant the squash seeds.

The other thing I’m really excited about is the apple seed that germinated.  I can envision the beautiful tree full of lovely apples. I also sowed some nasturtium seeds next to my cabbages.  Hopefully they are going to attract the bugs that would normally attack the cabbages. Like a decoy.


My apple seed

This week I’ll try and get rid of the rest of the weeds and see if I can get some beetroot and carrot seeds sown.  Have faith and keep smiling!


Passion or not

We’ve just survived a 20 hour power outage at our shop.  Something about a cable that was leaking power – please forgive me if this is not possible, the technicalities of electricity are way above me.  We didn’t have any load shedding all winter and only occasional supply problems, so we’ve really become very complacent as far as relying on electricity for our everyday needs.

The night before last I decided that I wanted to make ice cream.  I googled some recipes that looked simple enough and didn’t require an ice cream machine.  I already visualised lovely creamy ice cream in multiple flavours.  I measured the ingredients, warmed, cooked, beat and froze.  The freezing part took longer than I thought but I was ready to give it a final whisk this morning, freeze it and enjoy the final product.

Last night at about 9 we were plunged into darkness, and this morning we had to do some deliveries before I could get to my ice cream.  Certain products enjoy priority when it comes to the freezers that get to run off our generator.  Needless to say my experimantal ice cream was not one of them.  By the time I got to it (after the power had been restored) there was a mass of ice in the one bowl and the other two were mush.  I had divided it into three flavours.  The question is do I try and salvage what is left, do I abandon the whole project, or do I save what I can and start all over again?

I think the answer to that all comes down to passion.  Am I passionate about making my own ice cream or was it just something that I was curious about?  How many times are we busy doing something and we get opposition?  The way we react to that opposition proves how serious we were about it in the first place.  I think the proof of our commitment doesn’t really have anything to do with what people are going to say when we give up (or don’t) but we need to determine what we feel really strongly about and what we do not.  Life is too short to be wasting time on things that we don’t have our hearts in. Is that sentence even grammatically correct?  I want to spend my time on things that make my heart beat faster. On things that are worth putting time and effort into.  What’s really wonderful is how something that I will get really excited about won’t make the next person even bat an eyelid and vice versa.  It’s just so good that every person is so unique and that there are enough passions to fill everyone’s heart.  Just like the sun shines on everyone and you can’t ever use up all the rays; no matter how many people are enjoying its warmth.

Just as a matter of interest, I planted my apple pips in a tin of vermiculite.  My husband dropped a coin into on of those machines where you can win a toy or whatever, and he got this sealed tin called a mini garden.  It turned out to contain Morning Glory seeds.  I found out that they are really classified as weeds in South Africa and you aren’t allowed to propagate them due to their invasive nature.  When I put the apple seeds into the growing medium I thought I had removed all the Morning Glory seeds.


Four days after the seeds received their first water.

From this picture you can see how fast these plants grow.  Within a month they would be mammoth.  I pulled them up and destroyed them.  They have vigorous tap roots.



The other interesting thing I saw today was a paw-paw without any pips.  I don’t know whether its a specific cultivar but I’ve never seen one before today.


My seedless fruit pawpaw – easy when I made the fruit salad, but really strange.

Now my apple seed have the vermiculite all to themselves and I see there’s a little green stem appearing.  I can’t wait to see if its really the beginnings of my first apple tree.  I hope you are all going to enjoy indulging in your passions.