Friday, June 29, 2012

Bot River Ramble

After several days of gale force wind and torrential rains, Saturday dawned sunny and crystal clear.  On these heaven-sent days in mid winter we make it a rule to get out the house and go on photography or winetasting trips and here was the opportunity to do both.  We're spoilt for choice when it comes to wine farms here on the Overberg region but up to now we haven't explored the Bot River wine route.  When you think about wine tasting the Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl wine routes come to mind but this time we wanted to visit somewhere a little off the beaten track and the Overberg region with its meandering hills of green winter wheat, the changing colors of the vineyards and white washed farms called to us.

On the way to the village of Bot River we had to stop to capture pix of the green and gold landscapes all  round us while wandering down a pretty farm road lined with bright yellow flowers.  I was so happy to have my daughter spending the weekend with us.  As well as being exceptionally good company and a fine cook, she's a knowledgeable and enthusiastic wine connoisseur and photographer.

Beaumont is family-run farm and winery just inside Bot River.  The farm dates back to the 1700s when it was an outpost of the Dutch East India company and a stopover for early travellers to water and rest their horses and oxen. Provisions for the next leg of the journey would be purchased from local farmers and the Khoisan inhabitants 

A canine escort waits in the parking area.

In the cool rustic cellar we met the young winemaker, Sebastian Beaumont, who explained the philosophy behind their handcrafted and classically styled ranges.  We left with a case or two of Raoul Shiraz Rose (my favorite) and several bottles from their Beaumont range, including a special bottle of Vetruvian Red.

After tasting and ordering we had time to walk around the sun dappled vineyards, enjoying the play of light through the golden oak and grapevine leaves.

An interactive metal heart shaped mobile dangles between the eucapyptus trees.

Next time, Gabrielskloof Winery ...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Walking Cassie

A Sunday afternoon saunter around Palmiet River Lagoon (outside Kleinmond) to try and walk off some of Cassie's pent up exuberance.

The tide was high so we had to pick our way around the base of the sand dunes to get on to the firm flat sand.

Grasses on the dune tops swaying and tumbling like freshly blow-dried hair

Cassie was in her element with sand, water and a red ball to chase.  Whenever she felt overheated she would wade into the lagoon to cool off.

Doggy pawprints ...

... people footprints ...

... and the delicate patterns left behind by wind and waves.

Wood, stone, wire, sand and water

A lone observer gazing thoughtfully out across the water.

We left reluctantly, feeling pleasantly tired.  As usual Cassie was revved up for more exercise.  I don't think I've ever seen her lie down and sleep after exercise.  So much for all the theories ...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hello Aloes

As the days shorten and become colder, in between bouts of driving rain and fierce wind, we sometimes have a perfect, almost summer like day.  This morning as I drove along Clarence Drive the orange spikes of  aloes lining the road stood out like flames against the blue sky. 

As always my G12 was in my handbag so I pulled off the road and cautiously crossed to try and get some pix.

The plants were taller than me so I had to balance precariously on tiptoe, while holding the camera in the air and trying to keep my arms steady enough to capture these beauties.  One of the really useful features of the G12 is the articulating LCD screen which can be moved and tilted so you can see what you're photographing even if you can't observe your subject directly.

The countryside is so green and lush at the moment that your eyes are immediately drawn to the aloes which in their own way are as eyecatching as the spring flowers.

The tubular  flowers produce abundant nectar beloved of iridescent sunbirds and Cape White-eyes.  In addition  the fresh leaf sap can be used for the alleviation of burns, bruises and abrasions.  The boiled and concentrated sap of Aloe ferox has been used and exported as a purgative medicine for more than two hundred years, according to Pitta Joffe's book "Creative Gardening with Indigenous Plants".  In addition the sap is used in a wide range of soothing and moisturising hair and skin care products.

So, in addition to brightening the spirits during the cold time of the year, the aloe is useful as well as beautiful.


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