After an unusually warm winter with temperatures not going below minus 9 degrees, we seem to be having an early spring, with blossoms appearing in the orchards, birds beginning to nest and the garden beginning to call for attention.


It has been a busy month with helping folk move fencing materials, poles for building, pieces of tin, and furniture almost every weekend and also during the week, time and available transport permitting. Numbers of residents are slowly dwindling in Modibate (“Die Stadt”), which means the local taxi doesn’t service the area daily anymore, the number of kids at the crèche are falling, and noisy drunken weekends are less common. This transporting of residences is taking a toll on our old, hardworking Toyota bakkie and trailer, which are continually needing repairs.
The Tirisano crèche activity is slowing down. Maria, the main helper, now has work in the Zeerust clinics twice a week, and Rebecca is soon to have her second child. The crèche has been open most days with a handful of children attending, and enjoying the activities and food.


The activity at Tikologo has been quiet as Coen and Megan have been away for a well-deserved holiday. Their goose, well protected by her aggressive partner, has been sitting on batches of eggs without resulting in a gosling. The Tikologo veggie and flower gardens are looking beautiful to welcome Coen and Megan home.

With Coen away I have had to be far more involved on the building site of my house, which may one day yet be finished, allowing me to move over the hill and Brenda, as main site manager, to move in to the straw bale house, which will give her more room and privacy than she has now in the old tobacco barn.

All is currently quiet on the larger environment front since the exciting declaration of this area as a Unesco Biosphere. Work is ongoing with trying to get a more locally recognized ‘protected area’ status. Unfortunately the mining threats are not over.


Winter maintenance has been ongoing with much time and energy going in to repairing a challenging section of fence between us and our neighbours. We have also been busy with felling large trees which were too close to buildings, growing in the foundations of old buildings, or about to fall down because of old age. This has given us piles of wood which now needs to be chopped into small pieces for our wood burning stoves.

Thanks to a generous donation, we will soon be embarking on installing a lime scale removal system in an old pump house in much need of restoration. Our wonderfully clean borehole water does have a lot of lime scale in it, which causes many ongoing problem for the water heating equipment such as the kettles, tea urns, and the geysers. Hopefully, once installed, and as all the existing water in the tanks is slowly replaced by “de-kalked” water, we will have fewer problems, and no more apologizing to visitors for cold showers!

Hope to see you at Tara Rokpa Centre soon!