farm, family, freezing

17 07 2012

We have successfully avoided Joburg winters for about two years. That is NOT the case for this year!  Ha HAA.  We arrived on the east rand just in time for the coldest snap of the winter.

Yes, Johannesburg DOES get cold in the winter.  Yes, we do feel it.  No, South Africans have not cornered the market on expert housewarming.

There were severe snow storms and floods across several parts of South Africa this past weekend.  The main highway linking Cape Town to Johannesburg had to be closed due to snow blockages.  The newspapers were full of pictures of snow: some places do get snow every year, but because it happens so seldom people do not know how to drive and there are several accidents as well as people who need to be pulled out of the snow. 

We did not get snow in Johannesburg, nor did we get rain, but the winds blowing in (and boy, did they blow!) brought very chilly weather to this part of SA.  Sunday’s temperature did not rise above 10C, and we reached freezing temperatures in the night.  This is very difficult for people used to around 20C on the average winter’s day!  We do not have double glazing, central heating and other clever systems to keep houses warm. Heaters and fireplaces are found in many homes, or perhaps under floor heating.  Deon’s Mom cannot use any form of heating because of severe asthma, so when we visit there we dress like eskimos and keep watch for the polar bears in the kitchen.    (Deon and I remain faithful followers of warmer climes!)

We spent a chill week at our Lissataba home before heading central again. (Although the Hoedspruit area is warmer than Johannesburg, we do not have glass in our windows, but only netting… it was chill, alright!)

It was great to be on the farm in the winter. The trees have almost all lost their leaves, vegetation is dry and sparse, and dull golden colours cover the landscape.

But there are bursts of colour to bling up the scenes: impala lilies and aloes are flowering and adorn drab, dry scenes with glorious hues.

The farm’s AGM was held while we were there, and the evening saw a lovely gathering.  First a talk about bush enjoyment, and then a delicious sheep-on-the-spit meal.  Bushveld evenings are crackling with character normally.  But put up a few lanterns, light the bonfire and there is an undeniable pull to sink low in the chair, pull the red wine closer and tell stories of wonder at bush life.

There is not much food around in the bush now, so we have not seen much game, but we enjoyed the birds gathering around our water supply.  What an amazing variety we get to enjoy everyday!  birds1 collage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The local hoodlums visited us too, one night.  Honey Badgers may be the closest object  of nature to a hoover.  These 2 gave the area a thorough working over, finding anything edible before moving on to the next home.  We ensure that anything palatable is locked in the kitchen: these tsotsis are known to take meat from off a braai! (for non- South Africans: these thugs take meat from a barbeque grill.)

Home and honeybadgers 229

Look at those nails and teeth!  EEK.

Home and honeybadgers 225

We are visiting with our family in Johannesburg at the moment.  Deon’s mom had an investigative procedure in hospital, my mom is on the mend, but is not good enough to move beyond the house yet. 

I had an amazing opportunity to visit with some special family, where family politics has complicated relationships so that two sisters have not seen each other in about 2 years.  How special to see them catching up with each other, and sharing the same breathing space for a while. 

There are several uncertainties still bugging us.  Uncertain job / home/ living circumstances plague our thoughts.

But I am filled with gladness and gratitude for so very much.  I also encourage others not to take for granted a long list of God’s mercies, if you have them.

Health

Warm houses

Family to be near enough to hug every day

Good relationship with spouse / siblings / friends.

 

There will always be challenges.  IT is not so important that you fly above each circumstance.  But what is important is knowing WHOSE you are and how He sustains in all uncertainties. 

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