Thursday, 31st October 2019
After the dramas of Monday's driving experience I decided to call the garage early on Tuesday to see  if someone could check my fan belt (as you do).  I was thrilled when the garage answered at 7:45 am and said, "No problem, come straight down"! So that's how, just after 8 am we found ourselves staring into the open bonnet of "Bertha the Bakkie" with the mechanic doing the international mechanic response of... sucking air through the teeth, followed by the words "without even trying I can see six problems here"  Oh boy, the screeching was a result of damp air on a loose fanbelt, causing it to slip.  I also had a fuel leak, corroded alternator belt, frayed air con belt (this much I knew, we've had no aircon in the bakkie since 2018), oil leak and oh.... something else!  So we quickly progressed from having a R500 120 point "health check" to a R1495 full service (which includes the 120 health check).  I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.  The friendly mechanic explained to me that had the alternator belt snapped I would have had 5kms to drive then NADDA!  Trust me, if that had happened deep in the valley, I would have been in a state and whilst I may have been able to be picked up, when we went back for Bertha, she'd have been stripped to a chassis!

We had a courtesy lift back to the accommodation and spent an hour or so catching up on email until Debbie, our Girl Friday arrived to take us to 1000 Hills Community Helpers.  We spent the morning with Christian, who has been responsible for taking a good veggie patch and turning it into a massively productive vegetable and fruit market garden!  I tell you, move over Monty Don.... we have Christian.  He is so passionate about his horticulture, he attended agricultural college and as I told you in an earlier blog he is not only transforming the garden at 1000HCH he is also training as a facilitator for the CINDI HIV/Aids awareness initiative.  Christian explained to us about the methods for spacing each plant, spinach has to be two hands ✋✋, beetroot can be one hand , carrots can be two fingers ✌ and cabbage and cauliflower has to be a forearm 💪.  In this way, it is really clear to everyone who is involved in the planting how to space the seedlings.
Christian also told us about the methods employed for pest control (screens and snail traps) as well as fertilisation.  He demonstrated how some plants did not thrive because the soil had not been prepared correctly, there were still rocks and the roots could not shift them.  He showed how tilling the soil, to make it fine allowed the roots to spread.  He also taught us that potatoes had to be cut back to four growing points to ensure the correct balance between sufficient leaves to carry out photosynthesis but not so many that the plant used all it's energy on leaves and left nothing for the tuber growing beneath the soil. 

We have some great video footage of Christian but it won't load to this blog, so watch out for it on Facebook or our new website from mid November!!!