Who goes camping in Winter… Well a few intrepid members set off on Friday afternoon to Bo-Piketberg, to a Eco farm with a quiet secluded campsite set in a beautiful rocky valley just right for big camp fires and peace and quiet.
By late evening all had arrived at the farm, the fire was lit and we settled in for a cool 3 degree night.
Been an eco farm, some things are done a little differently, like the ablutions, no running water in the toilets, just a bucket of saw dust….. so there was some amusement around ‘making your contribution’ to the farm. 🙂
Sat morning dawned beautiful and bright and so most took off for a walk / hike around the farm, despite requests to not cross any fences, Hilton and Mel ventured onto the neighbours farm…. some just do not listen.
The rest of the day was spent playing cards, reading in the sun and stoking the donkey to get some hot water for use in the open air shower. We also had a tour of the farm with Riette the owner, she explained :
We choose to farm with nature, because nature knows best. We try to observe our environment and be aware of what nature is telling us.
Our most important focus is the soil and everything else centres around this. The dry toilet systems are composted in a separate composting system to be used on the wood lot that will supply wood for the farm. Our pig is an attraction to the visitors, a supply of nutrients for the compost heap as well as meat for our table.
All organic matter is valuable – we recycle whatever is possible and it all goes back to the soil. Swales and Hügelkultur are both planting systems incorporating waste products.
A swale is a ditch dug along the contour and filled with organic matter, it retards water runoff, prevents soil erosion and stores water for slow release into the soil. Hügelkultur or hill culture, uses a composting process in which planting happens on raised beds of compost and wood litter to improve fertility and water retention. It also warms the soil to promote optimal natural plant growth.
Waste fruit from a fruit factory, cut offs from a toilet factory, saw dust from a saw mill, old woods and pallets are all products that we welcome in our systems : from our worm farms to our planting systems.
It was a lot of information to digest but left us all with an appreciation for what Riette and her family are doing on the farm as well as an awareness on how we can all be a lot more environmentally aware.
Sunday was another beautiful day and a few of the fitter and more adventurous were driven down to walk into the valley to the small town of Goedverwacht. This was about an 11km hike and all were glad to be collected once they reached the bottom as the road back up was rather steep.
On Monday, after purchasing some soft shell almonds sold on the farm the group headed for Org De Rac to taste some organic champagne and then on to Niewedrift for a much needed hamburger and some more champagne.
Then it was time for farewells and promises to see each other on the next adventure and we hit the road for home, having enjoyed the great outdoors and all it has to offer.