Monday, May 26, 2008

Not For the Faint Hearted...or Those of Faint Stomach

So many of my memories have been made whilst living on the farm that it is hard for me to find a beginning or an end. One point (there are some people that know me well enough to realise my points never normally stand still long enough to be made or to be put across) that constant comes to mind is that of our drinking water, or rather, the lack of it.

We are constant having problems with the drinking water on the farm because the reservoir/dam that the water is held in isn't closed up and so it's constantly dirty. Now, before I carry on let me just say that things have become better but not drastically so. also, when the reservoir runs out, the farm workers will sometimes pump through water from the big dam at the far side of the farm. The water from that dam most CERTAINLY isn't clean and not really fit for drinking, no matter how many time you purify it.

The little reservoir/dam where the drinking water is kept has only recently been closed up whereas before it used to stand open. This is where we picked up a lot of very big and smelly problems - baboons.
The local baboon tribe took to using our water reservoir as some sort of "punishing" routine for their young ones. When they didn't come if called they were dunked in and out of the water and then tossed aside.
Unfortunately, arguments frequently arose as to whose young ones were to blame for which crime and one day the wrong baby got dunked by a baboon NOT it's mother and the result was that within 20 minutes there were eight grown baboons left inside the reservoir whilst all the other ran off to get help. Problem is, they got rather distracted along the way and ended up forgetting all about their buddies who were left to drawn.
The worst of it is...we only found out 8 days later! By this time......oh, first of all, before I go further I should say that if you get squeamish easily you shouldn't read further.

Right, by this time the 8 baboons had effectively started to decompose and the first we knew about it was when we all got a serious case of stomach flu. My dad suggested we go and check the water reservoir and, when we did, it was all I could do not to cast up the accounts right there! It was very, very gross and so I left my dad and younger sister to delve deeper into the matter whilst I trotted home to a sweeter smelling environment.

It took a week or more to get proper water tanks in but at least they're there now and they are a definite improvement to baboon-flavored water!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Spooky Ghosts - A figment of imagination

When we first moved up to the farm, we stayed on one of the other farms whilst we waited for our house to be emptied. It was a lot of fun and we made a few casual friends over there with some of the other kids.

There was a lovely little pond in the back garden which is where we spent a lot of our time, monitoring the tadpoles and other little wrigglies. It kept us occupied for many a long afternoon and time always seemed to stand still for us there.

My younger sister and I would make a mad dash through our schoolwork so that we could go outside and play. I’ve never done algebra that quickly before ~chuckle~ I daresay I have never done it more incorrectly either! Being outside was so much more important to me that learning why x+y would equal z. To be frank, since graduating I have never used it again anyway, so I figure it was all a waste of time. Spelling, basic mathematics and home economics…now THAT has been useful to me all the time.

I digress, once again. Its becoming a habit, I am sure of it. Maybe I have digressional disease! Now that would be something. However, before I go into the wonderful impracticalities of such a disease, I shall carry on with the story. Now, where was I? Oh yes…play time.

My sister and I would do our schoolwork, finish our chores and then haul our bicycles out the shed, take identical running leaps onto them and pedal madly down the road. Halfway down the road we’d meet up with two of the neighbours’ children and from there we would go cycling around the whole farm. It was lovely to be hopping rocks, trying to wheelie down a straight stretch or just going as fast as was possible for our legs to go. Often times we would split up and see how long it would take us to relay around the farm. We’d spend about three hours cycling around and then out of mutual consensus we would stop at the creepy looking house down the road.

This house was really old and the gate creaked as you opened it. The latch was broken and so it was tied shut with a piece of rusty old wire. This was creepy and scary all on its own to a bunch of little kids, never mind that as you progressed down the pathway it became quieter and even the birds stopped singing.

On this particular day we had decided to play truth, dare or command. Unfailingly, we all chose dare and the big dare was that we were to go into the house and prove that we were brave and that there were no ghosts there. Popular rumour had it that the house was haunted by a girl and her grandfather who were supposed to have died there.

So, the four of us plucked up our courage, sucked in our breath and very bravely, knees knocking and hearts beating wildly, we walked through the little squeaky gate and crept up the pathway to the house. When we got to the front door it was touch and go but we decided we’d come this far already so we went inside.

It was extremely dark until our eyes got used to the murky darkness. In the first room we walked into (and the only room we walked into) there was a huge hole in the floor where someone had made a fire on the floorboards. Dumb or what?! The windows were mostly broken and boarded up with planks, which was why it was so dark inside. I was examining the fireplace and the strange white powder that was all around it, when a loud shriek was heard, followed by a grunt and in no time at all we were all outside trying to calm our rattled nerves and vowing never to go in there again.

We got on our bicycles and sped off, leaving a trail of dust and pine cones behind us.

Turns out that one of the guys thought it would be hilarious to let drape a reed over one of the girls and then let out a moan. It was enough to send her into shrieking hysterics which gave the rest of us a huge fright. Hilarious! Well, it wasn’t then but it is now. It’s amazing what sort of silly stories one believes when you’re young. The house never was haunted, obviously, it was just old. Also, we could have been seriously injured had we ventured into the next room because all the floor boards were rotten and if we had stood on them they would have collapsed and we would have fallen through into the basement, which had a lot of broken glass in it. So, just as well we got scared off!