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!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Town Mouse, Country Mouse

The following story took place quite some time ago now, a few years, to be precise. I remember it as though it were yesterday and even now its still funny and I find myself chuckling away softly to myself so as not to disturb my colleagues who already think I am completely off my rocker.

My sisters and my mom and I were happily sitting in the sitting room knitting and listening to story tapes or reading when all of a sudden then was this little scrabbling noise and a medium sized mouse ran out from under one of the couches and across the room. This caused more than a little stir amongst us and before long we had cardboard boxes and all manner of things to try and catch the mouse.
We were trying to keep him from getting into any other part of the house but this attempt failed miserably when he put his little fuzzy head down, squeaked and ran as fast as his little tiny legs could carry him to the piece of cardboard my sister (older) was holding in front of the door. She, in turn, squeaked and jumped out the way and consequently the mouse made a bold and completely unchecked dash into her bedroom.

Now we had a problem because the room was very cluttered, the were loads of places to hide and how on earth were we ever going to get him out of there?? Never fear, we're a family of many bright talents and careful plans...we just trashed the room to find the mouse, and find the mouse we did...eventually. However, before this discovery occurred we did try two other options. We first let both cats into the room. The Siamese took a quick stroll and sniff around the room and assured us there wasn't anything to be afraid of and could he now please go and get something to eat?! Whilst my little tabby nearly had heart failure when said mouse ran right over her and into the cupboard. She was a complete quivering heap of fur and was quite embarrassed when I carried her out the room and discovered that she had had a little accident on the carpet. Poor little thing, she has never liked mice and rats and I don't blame her!

Then we tried the dogs but they weren't interested in the least and were in quite a hurry to get out the room and continue playing on their jungle gym. So much for that idea then. This left us with choice number three which was to trash the room in search of the little tyrant. So we did. And a struggle of life and death ensued.

After an hour we were in the winning position. Our places in the room were as follows: Me on the bed with all the drawers from the chest of drawers and various other articles, younger sister on the floor with a pillowcase in which the unfortunate mouse was captured, and older sister in the windowsill behind the curtain crying that we mustn't 'kill the poor thing!!!'. Uh huh....well, we weren't planning on killing it, we weren't murderers! However, fate took a hand and I slipped on the bed and consequently all the drawers took a tumble to the floor and landed on the pillowcase, on top of the mouse. Well there you go then, we were quite sure he was dead. I mean, what sort of a mouse could survive that load falling on him? What mouse indeed!
We took all the things off the pillowcase, held it up and there was the little blighter still doing a little war dance of disdain because we had failed in all our miserable efforts to kill him, or so he thought. Like I said before, we weren't ever planning to kill him, just get him out the house!

We took him out to one of the fields where we let him go and he hopped off into the long grass, no doubt to go and tell his mouse family what a bunch of suckers we were and also to have a drink to calm his rattled nerves after his close escape.
The end...


Not quite. A week later he was back...this time with his family!!! It took considerably longer to evict them this time and afterwards my dad put out mouse traps. This seemed to scare them off a bit and kept them all at bay for a few months.

Monday, January 29, 2007

All Creatures Great and Small....and Hairy and Wriggly

Once upon a time, a couple of years after Goosey Gander, my sister (younger) and I found a new hobby. A very interesting sort of hobby, really. One which kept us busy for hours every day.

Have you ever watched those little hairy worms in your back garden and wonder where they're going, what they're doing? Well, my sister and I did. We spent hours observing them, collecting them and feeding them on leaves and little flower petals. Now, my older sister is not at all fond of creepy crawlies and our little "hobby" totally did not appeal to her. She isn't so bad now, I must say, but then was quite a different story.

My younger sister and I used to have our little "meetings" on top of the courtyard wall. We'd bring our collections of worms, old and small alike, and then feed them and watch them roaming around. We'd watch them go into cocoons and then emerge a few days later as orange butterflies. The only problem with these worms was that they were rather smelly. Other than that we thought they were great!

One day we happened to discover something which led to some very profound thinking and scheming on our part. We found out quite per accident that if we sat up on the walls underneath the thick parts of the tree, we could throw some of our little comrades down upon unsuspecting older sisters. It was a few days before we were actually caught red handed. And then we were really in for it! We got such a talking to for being so insensitive and so on, which we really deserved, but it was just so funny to watch our older sister squeal and wriggle and perform the most entertaining moves whilst trying to get the worms out without squishing them. We nearly fell off the wall we were giggling so much!!

After the talking to we were warned not to throw worms at her again or else we'd get a thrashing. This was enough to make us stop...or so you'd think! Well, it didn't. My younger sister and I had the best intentions, really we did, but there came a day when the older sister just really made us very angry and then we forgot all good intentions and flung our little hairy buddies at her in a rage.

The ensueing chaos and screaming brought my mother out to see what all the raucous was about and after she had calmed the older sister down enough to quiet the screams and threats being hurled our way, Mother turned her glare on us. We knew we were going to get it now! And we sure did...when my dad came home we got the promised thrashing and never again did we throw worms at the older sister.
I won't say that I never wanted to again but I didn't. One thrashing was enough for me.

The funny thing is, though, that now I wouldn't dream of even picking up those worms...they kind of gross me out :o) Who would ever have thought?

Well, time to hop it, I have another interview session coming up just now and my boss is here as well. So I better got before I get caught blogging instead of working :o)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Goosey Gander

Goosey goosey gander
Where shall I wander
Upstairs or downstairs
Or in my lady's chamber
There I met an old man
Who would not say his prayers
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs

There's a reason it was the left leg and not the right one? I always wandered about that when my mom told me this rhyme.

Anyways, I digress...

Waaaaaay back in the 80's when I was still a little kid, we were staying on a small holding in a farm community. We loved it and had a lot of friends and between us we would visit and be visited all the time. We'd tell my mom we were popping over to see so-and-so and then dash off laughing and picking blackberries along the way. The dirtier we got the fact, by the time we'd get to our destination we were filthy and we would then compare dirt smudges with our buddies. It was the greatest time and I'll never forget playing hide and seek in amongst the bramble bushes...snacking on brambles and getting red juice stains on my clothes, all over my face and on my hands and legs and arms. It was life at its best!
(bear with me, I do have a point, your honour)
On our little farm, as we called it, we had two geese. Their names, were Biddy and Buddy (I'll leave you to decide which was which though it shouldn't be too hard....cos I'm going to tell you now anyways). Biddy used to lay these huge eggs and my dad told my sister and I that we were in charge of collecting them. What fun! At least, we thought it was fun until our first expedition.

My younger sister and I gathered at the bottom of the garden to plan a strategy of how to get the eggs. We decided to go for the subtle approach. We nonchalently per-accidently walked past the nest a couple of times and counted how many eggs there were. There were two. Great!! One each. We walked past the nest a third time and then made a grab for an egg each and then it was full steam ahead. We ran hell-for-leather up to the house, but we weren't fast enough! Halfway up the hill, Biddy caught up to us, with Buddy in tow, and boy did we get a pecking for stealing her eggs!!! She was so upset that we had the audacity to even think about taking her eggs that she added a screeching squawk to the pecking and I think that frightened us more than the pecking did *giggle*

The next day we got to show our friends our magnificently blue and purple bruises (don't EVER let me hear you say that it couldn't possibly have caused a don't know our animals, they're sadists and delight in the impossible!) and brag about how we got them. Of course, come that afternoon we weren't bragging anymore...we were almost begging my mom not to make us go back out there and do it again. However, my dad had given us a job to do so we had to do it. Surely we could think of something to distract the geese? That was it! Yours truly got the job of distracting the irate Biddy and Buddy and my sister said she would grab the eggs and flee. So, that's what we did. I irritated the geese until they were ready to peck my eyes out and whilst I was so doing, my sister grabbed the eggs and sprinted as fast as her short little stubby legs could go up the hill. It wasn't fast enough though. Biddy gave an outraged shriek and off she shot like a bolt of lightning after my very unfortunate sister.

The next day, as I was gloating over the fact that I didn't have any bruises at all this time and that my old bruises were finally turning to a faded yellowish green color, my mother came in and said that today I would have to get the eggs on my own because she had to take my sister to the dentist.
Hoooooooboy....did I only regret the gloating!! That evening I showed my sister the three spectacularly purple/black bruises forming on my arm and leg. She gave a delighted chortle and after that I was forgiven for being so nasty the previous day.

The next day, however, it was back to teamwork, but that evening my sister was even more bruised and pecked than any previous time. She went crying to my dad and he then gave her this very wise advice.
Sweetheart, when Biddy comes up to bite you, you must turn around, grab her by the neck, give her a good shaking and tell her not to chase you. She won't chase you or peck you again. Try it!

Well, the next day was no different to the other previous days. My sister and I went through our strategy, changed a few things and then made a dash for the nest. Biddy took off after my sister the moment she got her hands on the eggs but this time she was in for a surprise.
My sister heard Biddy gaining on her and all of a sudden she stopped short, turned around and grabbed the very surprised Biddy by her neck, shook her till her beak started making snapping noises, and yelled "Don't you bite me!!! Don't you bite me!!!" Buddy was so surprised to see his lady being shaken about like that, he couldn't manage more than an open-beaked stare. I was quite surprised myself but I didn't say a word, just watched.
My sister gave Biddy one more fierce shaking and then let her go. Biddy looked up, blinked, turned around and walked sedately away! Buddy stared for a moment and then walked after her.

My sister looked at their retreating backs, chortled delightfully and ran home to tell my dad that his advice had worked. My dad was caught quite off guard because he hadn't meant that she should really actually do it! Hahahaha...we had a good laugh about it and even now we still tell this story to people around a braai fire or family gathering.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow Cartoons

Hahaha....I am a Calvin and Hobbes fanatic and his snow creations are always the best! These gets me smiling for sure every time I see them!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Get Up and Win the Race

This is an inspirational poem that I read years ago and have typed up here for you!

Get Up and Win the Race!!

Quit, give up – you’re beaten
They shout out and plead
There’s just too much against you
This time you can’t succeed

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure’s face
My downward fall is broken
By the memory of a race

New hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being

A children’s race, young boys, young men
How I remember well
Excitement sure, but also fear
It wasn’t hard to tell

They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win that race
Or tie for first or if not that
At least take second place

And fathers watch from off the side
Each cheering for his son
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he would be the one

The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire
Toe win- to be the hero there
Was each young boy’s desire

And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd
Was running in the lead and thought
My dad will be so proud

But as he speeded down the field
Across the shallow dip
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped
He fell and with him hope
He couldn’t win it now
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished
To disappear somehow

But as he fell his dad stood up
And showed his anxious face
Which to the boy so clearly said
Get up and win the race

He quickly rose, no damage done
Behind a bit, that’s all
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for the fall

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win
His mind went faster than his legs
He slipped and fell again

He wished that he had quit before
With only one disgrace
I’m hopeless as a runner now
I shouldn’t try to race

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father’s face
That steady look which said again
Get up and win the race

So he jumped up to try again
Ten yards behind the last
If I’m to gain those yards he thought
I’ve got to move real fast

Exerting everything he had
He gained eight or ten
But trying so hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again

Defeat! He lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye
There’s no sense running anymore
Three strikes – I’m out, why try?

The will to rise had disappeared
All hope had fled away
So far behind, so error prone
A loser all the way

I’ve lost, so what’s the use, he thought
I’ll live with my disgrace
But then he thought about his dad
Who soon he’d have to face

Get up! An echo sounded low
Get up and take your place
You’re not meant for failure here
Get up! And win the race

With borrowed will, get up it said
You haven’t lost it all
For winning is not more than this
To rise each time you fall

So up he rose to win once more
And with a new commit
He resolved that win or lose
At least he wouldn’t quit

So far behind the others now
The most he’d ever been
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win

Three times he fell in stumbling
Three times he’d rose again
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end

They cheered the running winner
As he crossed the line first place
Head held high and proud and happy
No falling, no disgrace

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line last place
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race

And even though he’d come in last
His head bowed low unproud
You would’ve thought he’d won the race
To listen to the crowd

And to his dad he sadly said
“I didn’t do so well”
“To me you won”, his father said
“You rose each time you fell”

And when things deem dark and hard
And difficult to face
The memory of that little boy
Helps me in my race

For all of life is like that race
Ups and downs and all
And all you have to do to win
Is rise, each time you fall

Quit, give up, you’re beaten
They still shout in my face
But another voice within me says
Get up! And win the race!