Your letters and tips
I cross the Sand and Leeu rivers to reach the farmyard at Losberg, my father’s land at the foot of the mountains north of Beaufort West. Our two sheep dogs, Jackie and Chip, charge towards the gate, always eager to offer a welcome. The greenery around the house is blooming beautifully, but it’s a constant struggle to keep out the goats. (A friend advises that one should throw a bucket of water at the fence around the goats’ enclosure. If the water lands on the other side of the fence, this means it still isn’t secure enough to keep them inside.) (Read our article on goats on page 120. – Eds.)
The kitchen floors creak when you step on them – as it should be. It’s a sound that confirms you are now on the farm. The heat of the old wood stove that burns through the night is like a grandmother who embraces you. And it isn’t long before I sit down to a bowl of hot bean soup, the sort that requires me eating the beans out from between the bones. Seated around the kitchen table, we feel happy and thankful, together and safe.
A few days in the Karoo set the tempo of life back to normal. One morning I drive the farm bakkie to Beaufort. In the first river course, a rabbit cuts in front of the bakkie, turns sharply, shoots over the sand bank and disappears into the yellow grass. Blue mountains north of me, and the golden plains of the Karoo, broken here and there by a red-yellow rocky ridge or green river course. I turn on the radio. It crackles… a traffic report… peak-hour chaos in Cape Town. Thousands of people are trapped in their cars in the city, and I am driving here, where a brush with a rabbit is the closest I will get to dealing with traffic.
The Karoo appears flat and bare, but she is brimming with surprises and secrets. The neatly packed stone kraals, the windmills and concrete dams, and the old farmsteads are like mementoes left here over time. The Lord has lent us a piece of it. He measured out and set aside the most beautiful area for us. This is Losberg, our farm in the Karoo.