May – June 2017 update
We decided to combine all of our activities for winter into one post as there is not much action happening, but lots of thought, planning, and discussions.
Winter is a time of rest, of preparation, of dormancy before bursting forth. Our minds and bodies need this too. Days are shorter to allow us to naturally sleep more, rest more and give our minds and bodies some much needed quiet time. We have learnt so much by trying to keep ourselves in sync with how nature works. Everything is so perfectly timed in nature. Watching the leaves fall, that serve as mulch to protect the roots from the cold, and hold in moisture, forcing the plant to conserve its energy and turn inward to use central stores, as well as beginning to turn to compost to provide a nutrient rich source of energy for the plant to burst into growth again in Spring. Then the winds begin to blow, to scatter the remaining leaves and open up the soil again to receive the spring rains, for the warmth to reach the roots and signaling the time to wake up. The wind comes, and the rains come, in their own time. We cannot rush it. We cannot force it to happen. We cannot force natural growth during winter. In our modern world we don’t really function like that anymore. We don’t really allow our bodies (or land) the time to rest. We push, rush, force, to such an extent that we run in a totally unnatural way which obviously puts stress on us, and the environment. How beautiful and what peace it brings when one realises how truly blessed we are on those chilly Winter days to know that this too is a season that will pass, but at the same time a season of purpose and beauty of its own. All the unseen things happening. We should cherish that both in the natural world and the seasons of our lives.
Conserving our environment
Our impact on the environment has also thrown these beautifully timed natural processes out. This has made us even more determined to conserve and protect our environment.
In June we established a new hiking trail through the indigenous forest and onto the grassland, falling gently over the slopes of the mountain. As we walked this route, we truly felt the responsibility of conserving and protecting this land. We also realised how important it is to share this beauty with others so that they too may realise what is at stake with every environmental decision we make; why we should be acting to not only conserve our environment but regenerate it too. Living sustainably is one thing, and by all means very positive and necessary, but we are still making a negative impact on the environment – just more slowly. We should be aiming to reverse that damage and prevent further damage. The game guard visit this month revealed a multitude of buck, crane, porcupine, jackal and serval cats in the area, and specifically TWO secretary birds spotted on our mountain! That is worth protecting!
The little things:
We have spent a lot of time plotting and planning how we will realise our vision for Bramleigh during winter. Part of this has been identifying what our strengths are, and how we can conquer as individuals within a unit. We have learnt the value of the small things. On those days when everything seems an insurmountable challenge, when so much seems to go awry, when days on end are spent putting out fires (literally and figuratively!) and adapting to the forceful change of plans imposed by outside forces or even sometimes nature herself, we need to realign ourselves with our vision, our passion and notice the small things. We are so blessed to have a garden to walk in, a forest to explore, views across the valley. So often we tend to think of the rat race existing only in the cities but we have experienced how that can also happen in the country too. Weeks go by without leaving the office, days on end spent in front the computer, hours of phone calls… and before you realise it another day has passed without going for a walk, sitting outside, visiting the chickens… (As you can see – since this blog post was due to go up at the end of June!) We have to remember the little things. That brave little flower blooming with all its might between the rocks, the fresh breeze in the morning, the exquisite sunsets, the little things we take for granted. But this too is a season. The guesthouse has been very busy and we have met some lovely people, learnt a lot too! There has been much research and preparation happening in terms of the market garden and farm which you can read about next month. We have been blessed with this time of preparation and we look forward to what will spring forth in the next few months!