Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Farm Life

The Karoo, an arid semi-desert in the middle of South Africa

South African Journal: Day Thirteen – Drove from Port St. Johns to Mile's family farm just outside of Colesberg. We left the lush, green rolling hills of the Wild Coast to the flat, arid, semi-desert which they call the Karoo. We reached the farm just before sunset.

The main farm house. Hard to imagine this is in the middle of a desert

It felt like a Merchant Ivory film meets the Dukes of Hazard; the proper 'British' aristocrats meets the unrefined, redneck Americans. This is what I felt in the first night at the farm but like most things I've assumed in this country, I was soon to find that I was mostly wrong (The Osler family are not snobby aristocrats and though I do know how to shoot a compound bow, none of us Paars have Confederate flags painted on our car hoods).

My mother, Kathryn, and Miles father, Maeder (yes, the sky really is that blue)

Miles father, Maeder, is an incredible man. One of those rare people overflowing with geographical information, historical anecdotes, facts and figures on flora and fauna and the dry type of witty humor that sneaks up on you and leaves you laughing inside for quite a while. Miles stepmother, Les, started a local school/adult education/health clinic for the poor farm labors (mostly black). She had some amazing stories. Miles brother and sister were there with their spouses and young kids. Miles grandmother, who I think was hitting on me (we were the only two single ones over six years old in the house, aside from my mother), was the matriarchic of the house.

We got to the farm a bit late because of a problem with the Land Rover. Drank some sundowners, ate an amazing dinner and had a great sleep in the fresh, cool, Karoo night.

Windmills pump the water, not gas powered pumps like we would have


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