Waiting

 

We are waiting. The whole Cape is waiting. We all look at the 10 day forecast and see only the odd sprinkling of rain here and there. Traditionally Easter is wet, but this year the forecast is for lovely sunny weather. The drought must break at some point; we hoped for early rains, soon they will be late.

We have water here, enough in the stream for the dogs to stop for a drink on a hot day. Given the dire state of drought in the province, it is a relief that this little stream continues to flow.

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Maebh and Maverick stop for a drink in the stream.

The farm used to be covered in wild proteas. Last year’s fires took most of them out. There are incredible, beautiful skeletons everywhere, jutting out against the skyline.

Then there is the miracle. On the south side of the farm the fire was coming straight for our house, heading straight for the olive groves right next to us. At the top of the grove is a row of Protea Repens, which flowers in the driest season, just before the first rains. Somehow that night, the blazing flames stopped just before those proteas; the wind must have shifted and the fire turned, blazing down into the valley, to our neighbours farms, leaving our grove, and these few proteas, in peace. It went on to burn 80 hectares of olives in a nearby farm. The proteas are flowering now, pink and white and gleaming in the morning light.

Meanwhile all over the farm are millions of baby proteas. They are everywhere and I am fascinated to see how long it will take for them to grow up. Maverick was very helpful here, to give you an idea of scale. You can see what little babies they are, when compared to a wolfhound’s paw.

The Leucadendron salignum recovers more swiftly phoenix-life from the burnt roots. The red you see here is the new growth. The effulgent green will be a glory on the mountain in winter mornings to come.

Little things are always a delight and I think this little flower may be Metalasia divergens.

There are many Metalasia subspecies in the fynbos kingdom. I don’t know which subspecies these are, but they are stunning at this time of year.

A February flower is Aspalanthus abietina, which has happily regenerated and covers the farm again.

Finally, this little iceplant flowers in the driest season and adds colour to the mountain. I believe it is Erepsia, but I am not sure of the subspecies.

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Despite the drought it has not been a hot summer and now there is an autumnal cool in the air. Every run is a delight. Even on those mornings when I feel lazy and struggle to get out, the joy of running in this unique, special place never leaves me.

 

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