According to the moon…
Early in 2009 we met a friendly barefoot guy with a lovely wife and bunch of kids who opened an almanac, scribbled three dates on a piece of paper and declared: “You have to plant the olive trees on one of these three dates, but that day is the best.” Excuse me? Erm? Why? We can’t remember his exact answer, but it was something like, “That’s according to the moon [or the cosmos].” (We eventually managed to reverse our eye-rolls.)
Today, nine years after our first meeting, the very same ex-stockbroker, who nowadays almost never wears shoes, is one of only a handful of biodynamic farmers in South Africa – and probably one of the most successful. Angus McIntosh, his family and their staff have transformed a depleted, decimated piece of land outside Stellenbosch into one worthy of the word “dynamic” using biodynamic principles (and some peculiar “preparations”). Go have a look yourself if you want to see what happy cows, happy chickens, happy pigs, happy land, happy crops and, last but not least, happy, healthy people look like.
Creating this “perfect picture” has taken a lot of effort, commitment and intervention – and that’s why we asked Angus to explain to our readers as simply as possible what biodynamic farming is all about. Read about it on page 84.
If you think about it, for centuries some people have observed the cycles of the moon to determine when to sow, harvest, make cuttings – or even surf and get a haircut! And it won’t cost you anything to at least give it a try. (Out of curiosity, we planted those olive trees on the “best” date and later humbly admitted to Angus that within the first year they were twice the size of trees planted two months earlier.)
Another story in this issue that might give a couple of Platteland’s more scientific-minded readers the heebie-jeebies is the one about animal whisperers on page 74, where you’ll read that you can, over and above your beloved pets, “telepathically communicate” with almost anything under the sun – even with that exasperating fly.
Scoff if you like, but don’t blow your top. Read it with an open mind and write to us – agree, prove the contrary, tell your own story. This is your magazine, after all.