by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
When the mains burst, we are prepared for no running water and Regular Service will resume shortly. I used nearly a litre of water to brush my teeth and wash my face. Focused my mind on Third World women or children (in Haiti for example) who may spend 8 hours a day fetching water.
|Malgas lilies near Moutonshoek in April 2012|
|Malgas lilies with Moutonshoek in the distance|
We live in Porterville, across the valley from Piketberg and Moutonshoek, where threats of a huge open-cast tungsten mine have materialised as the first exploratory drilling. This is where most of South Africa’s potatoes are grown – let them eat tungsten! Between agriculture and horse breeding there is a skilled labour force, which would be sidelined by mining. Destroying farm-land in a dry and hungry country, and leaving more local farm-workers unemployed. Contributing slime dams on dodgy geology and clouds of toxic dust. Tungsten for old-fashioned incandescent light-bulbs, guns and drill-bits. Moutonshoek is upstream from Ramsar Convention wetland Verlorenvlei and would reduce and contaminate that water supply for the migratory birds.
|Malgas lilies, he for the wide view, I for the details|
We each have a story to tell. Reinsurance adds up the figures to prove climate change, and insurance could no longer pay for climate damage to your home.
|Ammocharis longifolia in deep pink|
|Ammocharis longifolia barely pink|
Near Moutonshoek we stopped in April 2012 for a firework explosion of pink lilies! So spectacular when we were at the right place at the right time. When we passed there the other day, simply a dusty farm road and a rocky outcrop biding its time.
Malgas lilies. Ammocharis longifolia. (Ammocharis from the Greek meaning the delight of sandy soil. Formerly Cybistetes). They grow where the rock outcrops prevent ploughing. In profusion after fire, burning the stubble from last year’s wheat. When the flowers are done, the seedheads become tumbleweed. Trapped against barbed wire fences as they attempt to migrate across country.
|Malgas lily, a single flower|
Every so often the Ungardener gets cabin-fever. Then he has to Go Somewhere. I have pulled all our Somewheres together as South Africa. Mostly it is out for the day, sometimes we are in a National Park. During 2014 I am teasing apart posts which will remain here on Elephant's Eye as travelling from Porterville. Cape Town, False Bay and beyond I'm moving across to Elephant's Eye on False Bay.
|Gate to Moutonshoek|
Moutonshoek farmland is behind those hills. Taken from the Piketberg to Eland's Bay road.
|Crop circles at Moutonshoek|
This is the farmland. Weird crop circles are from pivot irrigation. Mostly potatoes. These four pictures are of Moutonshoek in December 2009. Across the wide valley to Piketberg, and around their mountain to Moutonshoek. From here the water feeds down to Verlorenvlei, a Ramsar wetland.
|A white flower at Moutonshoek in December 2009|
I couldn't identify this white flower. A nameless bulb stands as a token for wildflowers of Moutonshoek among a tapestry of colours and textures, quilted by nature.
|Tapestry of vegetation on the slopes of Moutonshoek|
Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer of Elephant's Eye
(in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa)
(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. Those are my links.
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