Tea, toast and nature, from our "Stoep"

When we were offered the opportunity to live in a cabin on a farm, we were delighted to be leaving town and eager to pack for the move. The farm was located in the heart of the wheat lands of the Western Cape, South Africa. It was like an earthly paradise. 4 km of gravel road start from the National Highway to our new home. Driving through it we were greeted with the most majestic panoramic expanse of wheat fields, hills, sheep and cows.

The cabin turned out to be the size of a small townhouse, with three bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen, and living room. A sliding door that leads to a well proportioned step (covered veranda). This turned out to be ideal for casual dining and just sitting back, relaxing and just enjoying the picturesque natural surroundings. Most mornings, in summer and winter, we had breakfast there. In the winter months wrapped in warm clothing against the freezing air, we sat sipping hot chocolate or tea and marveling at the view of the nearby snow-capped peaks.

A favorite pastime was watching the sheep’s antics. Their grass was on a slope where they spent the day scattered nibbling the grassy slope. Suddenly, a leading sheep decided to trot up the hill. Being sheep they followed him in a straight line clamoring over each other to try to maintain a constant rhythm. This “train of sheep” would eventually reach the top of the hill, then turn around and quickly run back to the bottom as if they were being chased. Watching these embarrassing episodes never ceased to amuse us.

There were also deer on the farm whose habitat was a nearby bush. When they had children, we often saw the little “bambi” having fun. They ran at top speed on their slender legs and played catch and catch, chasing each other across the fields at fantastic speed. When they were tired, they quietly returned to the thicket and collapsed with their mother.

Among the other creatures often seen are porcupines, hares, guinea fowl, and of course the occasional snake, as well as a variety of spiders. Some of these occupants were welcome harmless beings, some of them poisonous, but still, all part of nature.

The many years spent on the farm were very happy times, but, like many things in life, all good things come to an end. My other half got pancreatic cancer. When he left life, my days came to an end as it was not considered safe for me to continue living there on my own.

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