December 8, 2008 in Uncategorized
Friday lunch time saw hubs & I loading the car and heading out of town for a weekend of R&R. As mentioned before I have wanted to do the cherry picking thing for a number of years now but every year I get caught on the hop, too much to do, too little time, such a short cherry season etc, etc. So, before the Christmas season started in earnest we decided that last weekend was the time for us to do get cherry picking. So off we headed to Ceres and a little cabin in the forest at Dennebos. We thought we would never get there, the traffic was crazy (hello, the schools had just closed a few hours earlier so that was to be expected Belinda) but the road works……oh the road works!!! I have never been able to figure out how the powers that be can fall so short in their planning as to be doing massive road works bang on holiday time when the roads are so busy. It took us a lot longer to get there than we had planned but we managed to get there before dusk and got ourselves well ensconced for the weekend. It was hot but bearable. We braaied, we slacked out, we read, we walked and just generally started to unwind. No tv, no computer, no blogs….:o(….I was worried that I might not make it for a while there hehe……no oven, no cooking pots, no work…..in other words bliss!!!
Saturday dawned a bright, clear and windless day!! That was something we discovered we would miss later….that cooling south easterly wind that we always complain about!! We woke early as planned, had an al fresco breakfast then headed out onto the
Swaarmoed Pass I call this a hartseer huisie, abandoned & sad
We took our time, looked at all the lovely sights en route and then WOW!!! The cherry trees….what a stunning sight to see all those trees laden with bright red to purple fruit!! We paid our entrance fees, got our little containers, parked under the trees, donned our hats and headed off to the orchard. We were some of the first visitors so had our pick of which trees to attack first ) We had such fun filling our containers. We chose some of the lighter yellow skinned and fleshed cherries with the most gorgeous blushing cheeks and also some of those magnificent dark red to purple cherries that are so sweet. We had the most marvelous time there. Klondyke also has quite a large lovely treed area for camping (as well as some self catering bungalows that book up way in advance) and it looked like it was going to be a busy weekend for them by the time we sauntered back from the orchard with our treasure. The general air was extremely festive with smoke from braais drifting straight up…did I mention there was NO WIND????
I was very glad that we had gone early as the day was heating up quite quickly as the sun journeyed on its daily westward grind. We got our cherries weighed and paid for and then started our journey back to our cabin in the woods…..hmmmm we did feel a bit like Hansel & Gretel with our basket of goodies ) All I can say is thank goodness for the air conditioner in the car……….the day was a cooker…. We spent the afternoon lying in a heat induced somnambulous (is that a word??) stupor while the white hot heat shimmered around us and bounced off the rocks on the mountain…too hot to do anything, even my eyeballs felt as though they were melting and I couldn’t read much. I had 3 almost cold showers that day ) Not a needle on the pine trees moved…only the crack of an occasional pine cone breaking and bouncing off the branches on its earthbound journey. In the distance we could hear the mournful, eerie cry of peacocks, the only other sound on earth it seemed, other than those pine cones and the lazy buzzing of an insect. Where oh where was that little south easter that teased the leaves and danced around the eaves of our house back home??? That cursed gale that lifted the tiles and twirled and twisted the laundry round and round the washline??? Nothing!!! Ceres – that wonderful valley of fruitfulness – is surrounded by mountains and THERE IS NO WIND there!!!!!! The mercury reached 43 degrees and by 8.30 that night it had plummeted to 36!!! My oh my we struggled with sleep that night. The frogs at the dam loved it….they had the most raucous chorus going all night )
Sunday morning we stumbled out of bed, feeling tired before we even started the day. We packed up, cleaned up, loaded the car and headed out of Ceres. We took a slow drive, popping into dusty sleepy dorpies shimmering in the heat of the new day and taking some photos. The Jacaranda trees were magnificent and in Wolseley near Ceres we came across the most stunning sight…….an Australian Flame tree in full bloom, it took me straight back a lot of years as we had one of those and a jacaranda tree next to my childhood home.
We stopped at Florida Farmstall near Wellington as browniegirl, now that she had the cherries in the bag, was still looking for some nice yellow cling peaches for jam making for a customer who is waiting impatiently to get her knife stuck into a bottle of home made peach jam. OH MY WORD!!!!!!! We instantly wilted and caught our breath as we tumbled out of the car, hubs jumped straight back in to check the thermometer and it was 50degrees….I kid you not!!! No wonder the daddy pig was lying in the dam with just the top of his head sticking out and mommy pig was burying herself and two gorgeous little piglets in the gloopy mud!! We couldn’t even hang around and watch them, it was way too hot.
We went into the farm stall, browniegirl deliberately walking under the sprinkler on the way ). The poor woman in the stalletjie looked really bad tempered (sweet daughter has 2 words to describe that particular look but this is a family blog after all) and could hardly manage a greeting….cannot say I blamed her at all. I think I would’ve closed up shop and gone home!! Alas no peaches but I did buy some yummy, ice cold homemade ginger beer that went a long way towards satisfying my great thirst. We were really glad to get back into the car and head out of there fast with the aircon on full blast!!! We found some peaches along the roadside at the next intersection, made a fast buy through the window and hit the road for the coast!
When we finally got onto Baden Powell Drive, traveling next to the ocean at Strandfontein, hubs looked at the temp guage and commented that it was 25deg and there was a monstrous wind whipping the spume off the waves, driving the sand against the kiddies and fishermens legs, sandblasting the car and almost halting the seagulls in mid-flight. My response???? Sheesh, its winter HAHA!!! We finally got home and embraced wind, cooler temperatures and a very excited and happy hound. The house, thank goodness, was spotless despite our parental fears……gorgeous son had house sat and looked after pooch and bird and we knew he was planning on having a lot of friends around for a braai on Saturday night!!
All in all, despite the amazing heat, we had a wonderful time and came home relaxed and ready to face the onslaught of the season in full, visiting MIL, stepson, weddings et al. Today was spent pitting cherries and making jam and cherries in brandy. Tomorrow???? Its time to stone those peaches and hit the jam pot again baby ) What can I say??? I love it!!
Have a wonderful week everyone,