in HiveGarden10 months ago

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Smoke has filled the valley for two days. Across the mountains the fires are ripping through the farmlands. Its far enough away but I've seen how fast and far fires can travel. My mind travels back to my childhood and the fire raging across my parents homestead. It is a terrifying memory. Sleep evades me. Over the recent weeks sleep has been fitful due to the ongoing heat wave. We swim in our dam daily and have cold showers late at night but there is no break in the weather.

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In our area everyone has a two way radio on the hip, a hat on the head and heavy boots. My boots are a small comfort that I will be safe from the venomous snakes. At the moment the radios are very busy with chatter about the fires. We've offered to help should the crisis escalate. Our days continue as normal but the smoke hardly hides the reality of those fires that are destroying homes and farms. The gardens are beautiful early in the morning but then when the sun starts beating down again it is a sad, sad sight. The Jerusalem artichokes are a happy show as are the hardier herbs; my lavender, soapwort, rose geranium and the magnificent elder. I wonder how many will never see their gardens again.

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Friends parents are preparing to evacuate. I wonder what they are packing. What they are leaving. As I checked on all the animals early this evening I knew that; given time, most farmers would save their animals first. But their gardens? The fields and trees? Their homes so beautifully furnished with generations of memories?

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Our vines are dripping with grapes at the moment. It is wonderful gobbling up bunches of the sweet grapes while we toss handfuls to the turkeys and chickens. They also share the plums with us. The figs are just beginning to ripen and will be delish in smoothies.

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FarmerBuckaroo recently commented that he never imagined all our lucerne bales stored for winter would be used in summer. We simply cannot risk leaving our animals free roaming in the heat of the day. My beloved goats are quite happy for their bales. They lie in the shade of the overhanging pomegranate trees. And prune.

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Whenever the water opens on any of the trees our chickens immediately come to scratch. It is rather entertaining watching the mud fly as they attempt to cool themselves. I wonder how other South African gardeners are coping with the summer in their little pieces of paradise. How is your suburban garden @craigcryptoking? And way up north under your mango trees @breezin?


This time of year we are busy with pruning. There is so much to do despite the heat as we prepare for winter. But today there are many desperate for rain. I look across our olive trees at the waterfall. Soon it will flow again. Soon the life giving water will course through our homestead and refresh animals and gardens.

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 10 months ago  

This story is so familiar to me. There's been years when all we can talk about is the heat and the prospect of fire - we talk about when to leave and what to take, have bug out bags and a sense of trepidation fills the air. This year El Nina has brought more rain, which is great, but also more tinder, so when there is a dry spell it's a real worry. Saying that, in our area we haven't had the scorching temperature we can have some years that lead to disastrous fires, like the one in 2009 where we lost 200 people in a hell fire whose particular set of events led to it being impossible for people to escape. I'll never forget sitting under the gums in hammocks with an esky of ice and beer - all we could do was drink as we were living in the bus at teh time and it was 40 plus celsius, windy and dry - horrifying. The magpies were sitting up the trees with us which was insane... twas like they knew we could help. Luckily for us it wasn't in our area, although when I was a kid one fire did rip through that entire coast and we lost lots of homes and some people. Of cours the Australian fires - along with California - are famous, though nothing to brag of.

An evocative post, dear Buckaroo. May the rains come soon.

It's terrible @riverflows but when I think WILDFIRE, I think Australia. Its just something that happens there. I can't even imagine being living with a bug out and knowing that you may have to flee a fire. Life has settled here today finally. But it is wierd that fire would be a threat in our area, considering it is so desert like with the patches of green where the different farms are

 10 months ago  

That's why we live just on the outskirts of a town as they save those first. The forest is only 10 minutes away but we have more open farmland here which would protect us better. We nearly moved to a forest but the risk is too much. I don't know how people don't think about it.. fires DO and WILL come.. it's just a matter of time!!

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 10 months ago  

Are there strong winds that put you at risk. Up here, fires a re yearly and we prepare our firebreaks every year. It's also true that the land needs to burn every few years, the plants are fire-adapted and this reduces the fuel load and the danger to homes

Only yesterday morning. The evening and today there isn't a breeze. The fires are under control. When we lived in KZN there was regular burning of firebreaks. And serious consequences for those who didn't do their required firebreaks. But here in the Western Cape - firebreaks are only done by choice by very few. I don't understand it. Although perhaps it's a Karoo mindset because we're mostly desert mountains with shale and rock

 10 months ago  

I'm glad to hear that all is under control, to be honest, I never thought that fires would be a serious risk in the Karoo but I suppose if the conditions are right and the bush has grown enough...

 10 months ago  

Wild fires is a nightmare for homesteaders, I can feel your concern.
Definitely not the most usual garden journal. It reminded me of the Scottish shower and the alternation between hot -cold. Beautiful pictures - ominous news.
My best wishes for everything to turn out as good as possible.

Thank you for the kind words @fotostef. I like unusual. To write and to read. Although I wouldn't have chosen a life threatening wildfire as my preferred topic

Doing a rain dance for you all, as well as for Portugal, where we are experiencing an extremely dry Winter and people are already worrying about drought and possible fires next Summer.

We survived the long drought with only small fires but this year it's been bad with the heat wave

Crossing my fingers for you. Stay safe!

A hug,


 10 months ago  

Whoever has experienced fire can tell that it is a nightmare. The smell of smoke on its own, even if the fire is far away, can cause anxiety and stress. I hope that everything will end up well.
Your animals, your plants and fruits are so beautiful! Balancing the smoky news... I focus on the waterfall and I imagine the sound of the water when it will start flowing again!

Yes! That waterfall is the picture of hope!

 10 months ago  

I can't wait to see the water!!! I hope things there are better by now.

When the waterfall runs it is beautiful - in sound and sight

 10 months ago  

I can imagine! Dreamy!

we have so many things to worry about: Hurricanes, Blizzards and so much more, but Wildfire?

Oh, my... that is the worst. Please be safe.

Indeed. Considering the long drought we have been blessed to miss the wildfires - except for smaller ones. Now that the rains have returned there's fire....

to answer the original post's question:

I save people, pets, pictures, in that order


A wildfire in the midst of summer is really alarming. Hope everyone is safe...

Outside of yesterday's damage the fire is under control

 10 months ago (edited) 

My prayers go to you and for your loved ones to not get hurt by fire. By the way, I Love the grapes, I think I can eat all of them in one sitting.

They are such sweet and juicy grapes! We're gobbling them up

Fire is very scary! Drought can make life very rough. I hope rain comes...

Scary stuff, I hope the rain comes soon.

It is worrying those fires, hopefully it will rain soon and the temperature will improve so they can enjoy their crops without stress.

I can't help but look at that last photo and see the possibilities for water harvesting if that is your property. I would be very surprised if you have not heard of Geoff Lawton and all his work on Permaculture and water harvesting/retention strategies that hydrate the land and increase its resilience to drought and fires.

Well surprisingly I haven't heard of him - although my husband probably has. He reads and watches a lot of off grid and homesteading survival stuff. I am more the practical one that hates sitting in front of a screen. We'll need to look more into the water retention strategies though @cobaltum. Once our waterfall is running permanently again. We have the usual methods and have implemented basic permaculture techniques. So thank you for the tip