Thursday, 22 December 2011

its my party and I'll cry if I want to

I can't believe we are mid-way through the Christmas holidays and I am surprisingly calm and actually feel like I am on holiday. I think it is the first time since the twins were born, on December 12, that I can honestly say I am enjoying the festive season. The first Christmas I spent with them passed in a blur of deranged sleeplessness and bleeding nipples; the second was pure damage control and no fun at all because I couldn't take them to the beach alone and each time we did venture down for a swim it was like arranging a overland African trek; and the last holidays I was in the thick of 3 year old tantrums and pure, unadulterated, resistance from two very headstrong fire-signs. But this year they are FOUR! And actually loads of fun to hang out with. I have not even yet made use of the holiday care option down the road - although I must say there are advantages to having my sister-in-law here to help in the entertainment department.

The build up to the twin's 4th birthday started at least 6 months ago. The theme and invitees changed daily, depending on their mood and disposition. They regularly disinvited each other - which proves a fundamental lack of understanding of their twinship, although I have drummed it in over the years that they were actually in mommy's tummy at the same time and therefore share a birthday along with everything else. Clearly they take their twinness completely for granted and its probably more of an incovenience at this stage than anything else. I'm hoping they will find the value of this karmic blessing later on in life when it could come in handy.
For some reason the year end is jammed packed with kid's parties and so by the time the girl's party came along I was sick to death of cake and party packs - and I have a sneaky feeling they may have been too.
I'm not one to try keep up with the Jonese's so we planned a very regular and small occasion with the highlight being the cake and a teasure hunt. Last year I did pony rides - its a hard one to beat and an exhausting one to repeat. Luckily no one noticed the pony stashed away behind the house.

Charlotte was on edge from the word go and all it took was for her sister to have the first birthday song and candles and that was it: she cried through her whole big moment and never really fully recovered after that. We all breathed a sigh of relief when the last of the guests left and we could go destress with a swim in the ocean.
On their actual birthday we took them dolphin watching, which was a huge success and could not have made them more excited as they saw and experienced schools of wild dolphins racing and jumping along side the boat.
So finally we are "completely" four years old and already in full swing of disinviting offensive people to party no. 5.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

the livin' is good, for some

Summer is officially upon us and life on the farm is heating up. Apart from a marked increase in our braaing (BBQ) and beach time, we seem to be pretty productive.
Our spring planting efforts are starting to pay off with our tunnels looking lush and fruitful. I now have marrows, butter lettuce, rocket, spinach and cabbage to sell, plus loads of herbs. And thanks also to my fellow organic growing neighbours, my little farm shop is starting to look quite full of yummy homegrown produce.
But most exciting of all: my hen house is finally complete! After months of nagging my husband, who is really good at any form of hammer and nail work, he finally, without much todo, whipped it up in one afternoon. Thank you!
Our run of youngster chickens, who because of a moody uptight aunty hen, have been ostracized from their mother since young and have had to do with our Magnolia tree as home, did not know what had hit them. After being completely free range since birth, they were suddenly chased, cornered and dive tackled by three grown men, before being deposited into a fresh clean, and enclosed, home. Clearly in shock by this instant change in fortune, they stood around uncomfortably in their new surroundings with beaks agape. And to add insult to injury two of their brothers had mysteriosly vanished...
I feel really bad about this but as Charles said, if I want to farm I'm going to need to toughen up about certain things like selling my first born roosters to our Malawian workers - for the pot. After promising our guys they could have their pick, I got a gleeful knock on the kitchen window one evening and a R20 note thrust into my hand, "For my rooster," said Pearson with a huge grin. I was totally unprepared and hadn't even yet had a moment to say to good bye to the doomed chicken before Pearson and Lusungu picked him out, ran helter, skelter around the garden and caught him. Ofcourse he was the most handsome of all the roosters - how this affects his taste I dont know? And had I offered Pearson a plucked, frozen, free range chicken for supper, I know he would not have felt nearly as rewarded. So a very chuffed Pearson  cycled home with my rooster tied in a plastic packet to his handlebars with only his confused little face peeking out, obviously unaware of the fate that awaited him. 
Next it was the little red rooster that went to Hariet, our nanny. When the girls found out, Anna, the animal lover, was not at all happy to hear of it and ran off to count the chickens only to come back confirming, very sadly, that yes there were two roosters missing, and why should this be? Charlotte's response was simply: "What a pity that Hariet had to eat the red rooster, he was so cute." I have to give it to them: they both, albeit in a vastly different ways, have a healthy approach to life.
Hariet later brought us a small taste of Red Rooster. I simply couldn't do it. I admit I'm a flake.
So there is one young rooster left which I plan to keep as I can't handle another death. I've put all of them: hens, big and small, maternal and not, plus two roosters, Big Daddy and his son, all in the one hen house. Once they have settled in they will go back to their routine of being let out at lunch time, but in the mean time we shall see what transpires. I'm half expecting a stand-off between the two males, but so far it seems quite peaceful.