Tag Archives: nature

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Horizon. The space or line where the sky meets the earth.

Sometimes, the horizon defines the end of vision – we can’t see beyond it.  How often do we then decide the horizon is too far, the obstacles too large and the distance too far…and then stop dreaming about what lies beyond?


The limiting factor isn’t that thin line between the earth and the sky. We simply can’t see beyond the line because our dreams are too small.


But…should we dare to take that dream-path to explore the end of our vision, the hardship of the journey can be harrowing.


For the brave, however, this serves as encouragement. For somewhere, somehow, the landscape must change and the horizon has to fulfill its promise.


And then, only then, can our dreams become a reality to live in. There is great peace in that knowledge…


The Long Weekend

The patrons in Boggel’s Place is settling in for a lo-o-o-ng weekend. Time to reminisce, think back and plan ahead.

Read about Servaas and his little adventure with a shapely nurse; or go on safari, while we wait to hear what  – in heaven’s name – they’re up to next.


Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap – The Hell

Now, not many people choose The Hell as a favourite Holiday destination – not the real one, anyway. But nestled in the Swartberg (Black Mountain range) a deep valley used to be the refuge of those who wanted an isolated life. These included a few farmers, rebels, criminals and deserters.

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Named The Hell because of its utter isolation, everything had to be taken in (or out) on foot; that is, until 1963 when the road to The Hell was finally paved with good intentions by the government.

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Although it is nowadays called Gamkaskloof, getting there is still not easy. In contrast to its namesake, driving there isn’t necessarily a pleasure

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Down in the valley, one family has established a shop, a small and rather exquisite restaurant, and a camping ground

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Named after Grandma Sannie, the shop offers locally baked bread and jam, as well as other essentials. One can only guess what life must have been like here in the 1800’s

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But it is the camping here that draws me. A babbling brook, towering cliffs in the background, and shady trees invite you to spend the days around the glowing embers of the camp fire. It is here you can enjoy the peace and tranquillity that has lured people over the centuries. The abundant birds provide the background music and an occasional antelope will peek at the intruders from behind the dense screen of leaves. This is where you realise the place is much more like Heaven.

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When – sadly – you leave the valley to its memories and ghosts, a little of its peace accompanies you back to the hectic life of modern-day living. Even before you start unpacking, you realise how inappropriate the name of the valley is.

Hell…I’d like to go back!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love


I’ll have to think about this one. Carefully. I’m sure a million posts will go up about the wonder and the magic and the beauty of love, and I wish each photographer and writer well when they do so.

But, much like a photographer behind his camera, I’ve been more of an observer of love – and never quite in picture itself.

These Bushmen children in the Kalahari understand more about love than most people. They share everything without expecting anything in return. That is love…

This is Rosie, the game ranger in Damaraland. She watches over a small family of desert-elephants in Namibia. She knows them all by name and interacts with them. She’ll do anything to protect them. That is love…

When I was younger, I thought I knew a lot about love – and was quite outspoken on the subject.

I ended up digging quite a hole for myself.

In my case, the perfect sunset has always been an illusive dream. Like this spotted hyena in the Serengeti, I’ll just have to get used to looking the other way.

Sooo…my message to all you young lovers out there? Have joy. Have fun. Have a season in the sun. And look after each other with care and compassion. May your season last forever.

Daily Prompt: Free Association

The writing challenge is free association with these three words…


Rolbos, naturally. Isolated, unique and warm. Maybe the only place on earth where a hunch-backed bartender will listen to your woes and then ask Gertruida to come to your rescue. Watch out for Vrede:


He’s not aggressive, just hungry.


The red Kalahari sands, part of a sandbelt that stretches from the Congo to the Cape. Here you’ll find rare minerals and some diamonds . The sand dunes of the Namib and Kalahari teems with beetles, bugs and snakes, while larger animals have adapted to the dry environment. Despite the desert-like appearance, rain transforms the area into a green savannah.

The sand also offers a hiding place for the Bushmen to bury their ostrich eggshells, filled with water. Please remember: it is well-guarded….


A rare blessing, which brings life to the desert and fills up aquifers below the surface. It’ll cause floods  and unwary travellers may be surprised to find roads turned into roaring rivers.

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These three words sum up what the Kalahari is like – the soil and rain provide home to man and beast alike. Like New York, it is as dangerous as it is inviting. Like London or Paris, it’ll take your breath away with it’s splendour. The peace you expect in Geneva is abundant here, despite this, the struggle to survive may equal Beijing or Khartoum any time.

But…it is the people – from ancient times till now – who help to make the Kalahari so special. There is no time for bluffing or grandstanding, The environment demands honesty and integrity. Promises are kept. Greetings are sincere. And a visit by a stranger; as rare as the rain; is seen as a blessing and an opportunity to find out why – exactly – people choose to live elsewhere.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

The very word conjures up many impressions. Delicate. One imagines the finest materials, the most superb of art, and utmost precision. Websters tell us: marked by fineness of structure, workmanship, or texture. No matter how hard we try to imitate Nature, we’ll never reach the level of delicacy we find there.

Small. shy, and perfect. A Roller displaying delicate colours

Small. shy, and perfect. A Roller displaying delicate colours

The lang, delicate hairs on this caterpillar is almost to frail to photgraph

The lang, delicate hairs on this caterpillar are almost too frail to photograph

Almost too small to notice, these butterflies have survived over many centuries - showing us that something small and delicate isn't something weak and insignificant.

Almost too small to notice, these butterflies have survived over many centuries – showing us that something small and delicate isn’t something weak and insignificant.

Sometimes, the delicate symmetry lasts a few seconds only

Sometimes, delicate symmetry lasts a moment only

..and sometimes it defies the odds like this plover nest in the Kalahari

..and sometimes it defies the odds like this plover nest in the Kalahari

Delicate? It's all around us - if we look carefully...

Delicate? It’s all around us – if we look carefully…

Living in a Chugga-chugga world


“It’s not the carburettor.” Vetfaan twists his long face into a scowl. “I’ve replaced the thing, and it still doesn’t want to start.”

“How old is that Massey Ferguson?” Boggel glances over while he polishes the glasses. Vetfaan’s tractor is a bit of a legend in the bar – whenever anybody wants to break an unwanted silence, he can just ask Vetfaan how the old machine is doing. That’ll ensure at least an hour’s tribute on the wonders of the ancient machine; much like the imbongi does with the president.

“It’s a ’57 MF 35, Boggel. And she’s been the most reliable machine I’ve ever had.” He launches into the narrative as if it’s all new to Boggel. The whole story: how he bought her as scrap at an auction, the endless task of restoring the tractor to be a regular work-horse and the faithful service over the years. By the time he pauses to signal for another beer, Boggel has cleaned the glasses, swept the floor, put on new tablecloths on the little tables and polished the counter top.

“But now she refuses to start. I’m quite confused, Boggel; she should be up and running. She simply stands there in the barn, all droopy-eyed and sad, and only goes chugga-chugga-chugga when I try to start her. I don’t understand it at all. She’s never done this before.”

Gertruida wanders in to sit down with a sigh. “You guys talking about Miss Massey again? How is she?”

This time Boggel cleans out the store room, replenishes the fridge and does the windows before Vetfaan is finished.

“Listen, I think it’s time for you to get a new one. Something that works, I mean. Over the last few years that tractor cost more in repairs than the deposit on a new one, I’m sure.” Gertruida has her wiser-than-thou look as she sips her beer. “Sometimes a thing is so broken, fixing it makes it worse, that’s all. The only thing you manage by fixing something on that tractor, is to encourage something else to break.” She shakes her head sadly, as if she really cares. “When you got it going last time, the fan-belt went. And when you fixed that, the radiator leaked. If I recall correctly, once you plugged that hole, the generator had to be replaced. It’s a never-ending series of calamities now, Vetfaan. Time to change.”

Behind the counter, Boggel stops dusting the shelves while he listens to Gertruida. She’s right, of course. Once you’ve fixed a thing too many times, even the fixes wear down to the point where the fixes need to be fixed.  He’s seen it happen. In the orphanage they had an old aluminium pot with several holes in the bottom. It was the only pot big enough for the morning-porridge, and it was his task to solder the leaks every week. Eventually, the bottom fell out and they used it for a discus competition.

For some reason – maybe the reminder of the days in the orphanage – his mind strays to Mary Mitchell. Ever since she came back from Upington, she’s been acting strange. Whenever he wanted to talk to her, she gave him a curt reply. And yesterday she sat at the bar talking to Lucinda, only to start crying. Out of the blue, the tears started rolling down her cheeks. Lucinda gave him an accusing look before she helped her out of the bar. And all this, because he said something about the world not ending on the 21st.  It was an innocent remark, yet Mary seemed to latch on to it as if it predicted the end of everything.

Then again, Lucinda hasn’t been a bag of laughs lately, either. She’s been treating him in an aloof sort of way, making wonder if he’d done anything wrong. Kleinpiet says women do that sometimes – he’s seen it with Precilla as well. When she doesn’t get her coffee in bed in the morning, she forgets to make his breakfast. Kleinpiet says women have domino-minds: if the first one topples, the rest come crashing down as well. You start with a misjudged little comment – say, about weight – and you end up in ICU with multiple fractures and a lawyer who’s keen to speak to you. Boggel didn’t quite get what Kleinpiet was on about, but smiled anyway, like a good barman should.

The door creaks open as Servaas shuffles in as well.

“Don’t ask him about Miss Massey,” Boggel whispers as the old man sits down, “he’s got trouble with her again.”

“No, man, I need something strong.” Servaas is dressed in black again. Something must be bothering him. “And I don’t want to talk about mechanical things I know nothing about. There are more important things in life, you know?” Clearly irritated, he orders a peach brandy. Tripple. Straight up. No ice. In a tall glass.

Gertruida escapes the Ferguson tragedy by turning to Servaas. “Somebody stole your biltong? Discovered some digging insects in your bread? Toilet won’t flush?”

Servaas ignores the taunt, but the fixed stare under the furrowed brow tells her it’s no time for jokes. Then he produces the newspaper clipping from a pocket.

“Here: see for yourself.”

It’s a short article, telling the world about the ruling party’s congress near Bloemfontein. “President probably to be elected again” the caption reads.

Boggel winks at Vetfaan and asks him what sound the tractor makes these days.

Chugga-chugga-chugga…” Vetfaan intones dutifully.

“It’s like dominoes, Servaas. The first one toppled long ago. The rest has no choice but to follow.” Boggel likes puzzling Servaas. “We’ve been talking about it all morning.”

They all laugh at that – dutifully – like when a barman says something passably funny. It’s Gertruida who has an idea of what Boggel is trying to say about politics, relationships and tractors. They all follow an ancient law about Life.

“It’s the age-old conflict between vice and virtue, gentlemen,” she says with her lecture voice,” and Cicero wrote about it before Christ was born. Life is a constant battle between Good and the many forces against it; and Cicero depicted it as a fight between vice and virtue. If vice is not tempered by virtue, chaos takes over. Take a tractor for instance: without petrol, Vetfaan isn’t going to get that engine running. Or love: it’ll die without hope. Again, when virtue lacks in government, vice will take over. When you analyse history, every broken heart, every stalled machine and every toppled empire followed that law. We can’t escape it. It’s the natural order of things.”

Of course the rest of them just gape at her.

“Where did that come from, Gertruida?” The annoyed expression on Servaas’ face says a lot more than his words. “We’re talking about having to face the future with a polygamous, probably corrupt and definitely devious leader for the country.”

And I’m worried about Mary and Lucinda, Boggel thinks, which has nothing to do with politics.

Vetfaan simply sits there with a blank expression.

“Oh for goodness’ sakes, guys,” Gertruida rolls her eyes in desperation. “Come on, Vetfaan, make that sound again? The one your tractor makes when it won’t start? It’s the same thing. And if you listen carefully, you’ll hear it coming from Zimbabwe, Congo, Egypt, Syria – many, many countries sound like that. Vice got to them, you see? And it gets to relationships when people take themselves too seriously, too – or when you forget to check the fuel pump while you’re fixing the carburettor. You’ve got to understand the analogy – Cicero was right.”

Vetfaan goes chugga-chugga-chugga? again – as a question and with a puzzled expression.

This time nobody laughs.

It’s just not funny any more.


“Don’t you lock the front door?” Small-girl voice from Precilla.

“With what?” Kleinpiet laughs at the absurdity of the question. Seeing her reaction, he back-pedals quickly: “In all the time I’ve lived here, that front door never had a key. I simply push it closed, move this brick against it, and we’re secure for the night.” He moves the brick – neatly covered in an old flour bag, against the door. “See?”

The evening had been a quite pleasant one. Kleinpiet tried to be the perfect host, burnt the Boerewors and had to ask help with the salad. The wine rescued the evening: a deep-red, aromatic Merlot with the perfect lingering aftertaste. They talked, listened to the old wind-up gramophone, and even said things to each other they never did before. When Precilla started yawning, Jock (the ancient Sheep Dog) flopped down in front of the fire. He kept on glancing at the two; they were interfering with his bed-time.

An awkward moment followed. Must he kiss her goodnight? Follow her to her bedroom? Make a move? Precilla saw the uncertainty and told him it’s way past her bedtime. Would he mind if she turned in? Kleinpiet – much relieved to be free of any further expectation – readily stood up and closed the front door.

He listens to Precilla in the bathroom. He has tied the bucket-shower up high after filling it with warm water; and now he imagines the trim body as the hands work the soap over the skin. Jock gives him a baleful stare. Humans are crazy – they complicate things too much. Kleinpiet smiles as he ruffles the hair around the dog’s neck. “As if you know anything,” he whispers.

Five minutes later, dressed in a shapeless tracksuit, Precilla waves goodnight and disappears into her room.


It’s way past midnight, and the two of them – each for his or her own reason – can’t drop off the slow slope that leads to sleep. Kleinpiet worries about the burnt wors; and then later, whether she’d ever like to stay on the farm. Then he turns around yet again, telling himself not to count his sheep before they are all in the kraal. Precilla, on the other hand, stares into the darkness, wondering what to do about Kleinpiet. He made it clear he wanted children, but after the incident with Richard, it is out of the question. She remembers that they chatted about their individual pasts a long time ago, but did she tell him everything? Or did he understand exactly what she told him?[i]

But the silence is the thing that gets to her the most. In Rolbos, Vrede will bark at something occasionally. The old alarm clock next to her bed ticks off the seconds.  The roof of her rondawel will sigh as the wind moves over it. But not here…here the silence is absolute. No crickets. Not even the cry of a jackal.  Nothing. It is as if the Kalahari is holding its breath in anticipation of …. what?  She wishes she had the nerve to creep in behind Kleinpiet’s back – just to be near another living, breathing person.

The radio crackles to life at exactly 2:07  – that’s what the luminous dial of her watch reads. Sitting bolt upright at the sudden intrusion, Precilla listens to the excited voice reporting over the network that ‘something strange’ is going on. She can’t hear everything – the radio is next to Kleinpiet’s bed – but the tone of the voice tells her more that the words would have. Straining to hear, she only makes out single words here and there: masses of them, and: try to divert the leaders. Later: broke through the fence near Bokkop. Nothing will stop them.

The broadcast lasts for maybe two minutes. Too frightened to light the candle next to her bed, Precilla draws the blankets close: what will Kleinpiet do? She hears him tumble from bed, then the rustle as he dresses in haste. His heavy footsteps rush towards the kitchen where he opens the creaking door of a cupboard.  Then she hears the sound that makes her cringe – the distinct clack of a bullet being rammed into the breech. Kleinpiet Is loading a gun to …. shoot? No! His footsteps rush back to her door, stops, he knocks softly.

“Precilla?” It’s a forced whisper. “I’m going out quickly. Don’t get up. Don’t leave your room…” With that, he’s gone – the slamming of the front door a terrible sound that tells her she’s all alone in the rickety house; the one with no locks in the isolation of the Kalahari.

The mind can act up a lot under such circumstances. It computes the possibilities, analyses the situation, comes to conclusions.  Precilla is no fool; if they are in mortal danger (Kleinpiet loaded the gun, for goodness’ sakes!), then she can’t just sit in the bed, waiting for the inevitable! But what to do? Going outside will put her in an environment she has little knowledge of. Hiding in the shed? Not a good idea. Maybe she should take Kleinpiet’s pickup and rush to Rolbos to get help? But … she might very well run into an ambush, and what good will that do? Even lighting the candle can make her a target.

The crash of a heavy calibre gun echoes off the low hills and cramps her fingers clutching the blankets to her chest. For a minute the silence is so intense that she forgets to breathe. Then another shot – and another. With rising panic, Precilla starts sobbing.

She becomes aware of another sound – a soft whimpering noise outside her door. Jock, the old Sheep Dog! She pulls herself together, slips from bed and opens the door. A thankful bundle of canine gratitude bundles into her room; and jumps on her bed. It’s difficult to say who is the most relieved: woman or dog, but it doesn’t matter – two very frightened souls find solace in each other’s company as the shots keep on echoing across the veld.

“At least we know he’s still okay if we hear those shots, Jock,” she tells the panting dog.


The eastern sky shows the first hint of orange when at last Kleinpiet pushes open the front door again.

“They’ve gone,” he tells her while he pumps the Primus to make some coffee. “Can’t say how many there were, but the shots sure scared them off. They swerved to the north, towards Bitterbrak. I’ll have to let Ben know to be on the lookout.”

“Who were they?” Precilla is still shivering from shock.

“Not who, Precilla. What. Trekbokke. Thousands of them.”

It takes several mugs of strong Voortrekker coffee to explain it all. The last big Springbok migration happened early in the 20th century, but indiscriminate shooting and the erection of fences caused such a drop in wildlife numbers, that it eventually stopped. In recent years, farmers have started dropping fences and conserving game with the aim of providing wildlife with a more natural habitat.

“The guys wondered whether Nature would be able to restore the old instincts to migrate, and tonight we’ve seen it. That’s wonderful. The only problem is that we have to divert the herd from homesteads and places they can damage during their headlong rush. Such a migrating herd can cause mayhem in their wake – they trample everything. The only solution is to make a lot of noise, hoping they’d change their course a bit. They did. I must have shot up a whole box of ammunition, but it was worth it.”

“You fired those shots … in the air?”

“Sure did. Didn’t want to harm the herd, you know?”


Two miles away, in the lee of Bokkop, two men roast the chicken they stole the previous evening from the isolated farm where they watched the couple having dinner.

“Eish, that man – he is too ready. He was shooting all night.”

His companion glared at him. “I know, I’m not deaf.”

“We’ll have to report that to the others. Tell them to look for easier targets. Over here, these farmers shoot first, then ask questions.”

“They don’t have much to steal, anyway. I have a better house than that man. That’s what we’ll report.”

“Hai, Comrade, you’re burning that chicken. Turn it over, will you?”

“Always complaining! Too raw. Too burnt. Just like the politics – it’s never done exactly right.” He ignores the questioning look he gets as an answer.


Mass migration is a natural phenomenon. Springbok, Wildebeest, Zebra – they all obey the urge to seek greener pastures from time to time. Sadly, especially in Southern Africa, people will do the same. Striking, demanding, destroying property, the massive herd of people trample everything in their way in the quest to feed the hunger for power.  Maybe it is time to remind these men and women that, during the biggest migrations, it is said that the trekbokke just kept on running, running, until they reached the Atlantic Ocean – where they all drowned.

Hydroponics Sheep

The man takes off his shades when he walks in to Boggel’s Place. Despite the heat, he is dressed in a dark suit, and shoes with the longest points Boggel has ever seen.

“I, Miguel Francisco Santos D’Almeida. You call me Frankie. My father was sailor.”

Vetfaan has to concentrate to keep his mouth closed. He glances over to Kleinpiet, who shrugs his shoulders: no, he doesn’t know what this is all about either.

The rather short, handsome chap taps his broad forehead. “You don’t understand, I see. Me, I come from long and proud line of men who are not afraid of life. We get things done.” Accepting the beer Boggel pushes over the counter, he goes on: “I have bought farm.”

Gertruida snaps her fingers. Of course! Gert Beetge – the man who’s funeral turned out to be so weird[1] – stipulated in his will that his farm had to be sold. The money raised, he said, had to go to charity. This…Frankie… must have bought the farm.

“Yes, it is good farm.” Frankie spreads his short arms as wide as he can. “The ground perfect for Glaze Purple Stripe, if you know what you’re doing.”

“You want to grow garlic here? In the Kalahari? With this climate? Without water?” Now it’s Gertruida’s turn to be surprised.

“Frankie not afraid. The ground so fertile, only need water. And, because there are few weed to worry about, I save a fortune in production costs. The heat? That’s a bonus. Garlic grows faster in warm place. Also, I like to work in Kalahari. Nobody bother me, understand?”

“Listen Mister Miguel, you can’t just come and farm here. Before you start planting anything, I suggest you stay on the farm for a week or so. Just to get the feel of the place, see? People don’t understand what drought is until they live here for a while. You stay, then you decide. Understand?” Vetfaan tries to look concerned. He doesn’t like overconfident people.

“No, I understand everything. I know my garlic. I plant. I have buyers who wait. No can stay and do nothing. Not Frankie Fingers. I plant.”

Over the next month, the lorry from Kalahari Vervoer brings in pipes, scaffolding and solar panels. Whatever else they can say about Frankie – he doesn’t seem to be poor. Huge fans, batteries, a massive roll of shade-net-like material and several electric engines get delivered, while Frankie supervises the construction.

“It’s a hydroponics tunnel,” Gertruida tells them. “The National Geographic had a whole series of articles about it a while back. During the day the fans will cool the plants, and at night he’ll use the batteries to provide light. Out here, those solar panels will work wonderfully well. That way, the plants grow faster, see? And he’ll most probably be able to recycle the water used for irrigating the plants, so the requirement for huge volumes of water falls away. My, my…this Frankie is quite an inventive guy. I’m impressed. Won’t be surprised if he starts using recycled waste as compost, either.”

“I still don’t like the idea. Plants need rest too, you know? It isn’t fair to keep them thinking its daytime, all the time. It sounds like slavery.” Kleinpiet draws a sleeping man on the counter with a couple of zzz’s above him.

And so, Gert Beetge’s farm undergoes a transformation. The long tunnel stretches from the borehole to the barn, shimmering in the midday heat. Frankie has invited the townsfolk to come and have a look, and Vetfaan cannot believe how cool it is with the fans on.

“You see, I grow garlic here.” Frankie shows them the neat rows of growth areas, the micro-irrigation system, and the storage area where the recycled water gets pumped back to the plants. Despite Kleinpiet’s doubts, he has to admit the set-up is extremely impressive. “Now I put up fence, and start planting. And now you’ve seen it, I no want many visitors. These plants, they grow better in quiet, understand? It’s part of secret to have good harvest.”

Vetfaan, whose farm is next door to the new enterprise, keeps the customers in Boggel’s Place up to date with developments. Frankie did, indeed, put up a fence. “But it’s not like our fences, Kleinpiet. It’s like you have around the prison in Upington – high, barbed and electrified. It’s strange…”

“Maybe he doesn’t want his equipment stolen. He must have spent a lot of money to get this far.”

“No, man…nobody steals stuff here. We may borrow the occasional tractor or drill without the owner knowing, but we always give it back, don’t we? Putting up a fence like that is a waste of time and money.”

“And I hear the gate to the farm is also padlocked these days. That’s weird, too. Maybe he’s paranoid.”

This leads to lengthy discussions. Maybe he’s in on fracking? What about medicinal plants for the pharmaceutical industry? Or is he simply producing garlic for a huge network of chain stores?  Even Oudoom adds his two cent’s worth by saying those who shelter behind locks, usually have something to hide.

Sammie, of course, cannot give a hoot. Frankie spends a lot of cash in his store, while Boggel’s turnover almost doubles when the garlic grower starts paying for the drinks in Boggel’s Place.

“That man has too much money,” Gertruida says on the last day of Frankie’s freedom. “Something is wrong with this picture.”

Kleinpiet looks around, doesn’t see any paintings, and coughs politely. “There is no picture, Gertruida. That’s what’s wrong.”

It’s Vrede, the ex-police dog, whose nose points them in the right direction. Whenever Frankie comes to town, Vrede starts barking. Angry barks, not his usual Grrr-arf that begs for a piece of biltong. Barks, that tell the Rolbossers something ominous is afoot. He recognises that scent from his training, many years ago. Gertruida talks to Sersant Dreyer about it. And it is the sergeant, who knows Vrede’s background, puts two and two together.[2]

Even the SABC reports on the swoop. They need a convoy of trucks to cart off the marijuana plants and equipment for evidence in the trial. The only reminder remaining of South Africa’s biggest hydroponics dagga farm, is the large, covered tunnel on Gert Beetge’s old place.

Vetfaan now keeps his sheep in there in the winter. When Woolworths hears he was the only supplier of free-range, organic, hydroponics sheep in the world, they make him an offer he cannot refuse.

After all, he has the fattest sheep in the country – if not the world…  Gertruida says so.