I’m typing this on a Friday… with a promise to myself that I AM going to get a decent amount of work done today!  The past couple of days have been a flurry of driving… meeting new people… eating way too much yummy food… and taking the kids on mini adventures wherever we can find them.

But, now…

The house is stocked with food.  The kids safely know the area around the house – and where they can (and can’t) play.  The art materials are out.  Morgan wants to make something with porcupine quills.  Joah wants to collect pebbles in the stream.

And… with that settled… I can hopefully spend the day developing my online courses for Beautiful Life Project… (remember that body-shaming post I wrote a while back?  Well, it has lots to do with that…)

My only plans for today is to go on the “Special Walk” this afternoon… and this evening, when Nick is home, we’re going to drive down to Prince Albert and check out the Olive Festival.

But, before I go… let me quickly tell you about yesterday…

In the morning, the kids and I headed back to Prince Albert.  The plan was to try some cheese-tasting at the dairy – but we arrived too late.  So… we settled down for pancakes (and cappuccino for me) at the Lazy Lizard… and then went to visit the Fransie Pienaar museum… (“a cultural and natural history museum that depicts the history of the town and of it’s environment”).

Morgan loved all the “old fashioned” stuff… there’s an impressive collection of every-day bits and pieces from the 1800’s and the early 1900’s.  There were endless streams of questions from the kids – especially Morgan.  “What’s that?”… “What’s this?”… “I know what that is!”…

They especially liked the children’s room – with a generous display of old dolls, delicate tea sets, tin cars, trains… and even an old, wooden walking ring.

Morgan was stunned to know that I learned to type on typewriters similar to these... (Sheesh! Am I THAT old??)

Morgan was stunned to know that I learned to type on typewriters similar to these… (Sheesh! Am I THAT old??)

Joah wasn't particularly enamoured with the typewriters...

Joah wasn’t particularly enamoured with the typewriters…

... but he did like all the interesting contraptions in the kitchen...

… but he did like all the interesting contraptions in the kitchen…

The kids exploring an old wagon outside the Fransie Pienaar Museum...

The kids exploring an old wagon outside the Fransie Pienaar Museum…

After exploring the museum, we inspected a few dinosaur fossils (which got Joah excited) – and them we sampled some local, home-made ice-cream (which none of us liked) – and then, we drove to Klaarstroom… delivered a parcel of ostrich biltong to Nick… drove through the picturesque, cliff-flanked pass to de Rust… picked up more ice-cream (yummy ones, this time)… and happened upon (oh joy!)… a beautiful waterfall with three deep, swimmable pools (and lots of safe areas for Joah to paddle too!).  Here are some pics…

This is the beautiful road that gets you from Klaarstroom to de Rust...

This is the beautiful road that gets you from Klaarstroom to de Rust…

A view of the road below - as we climbed up towards the waterfall...

A view of the road below – as we climbed up towards the waterfall…

Excited kids on their way up...

Excited kids on their way up…

My little fish (although she'd prefer to be known as "mermaid")...

My little fish (although she’d prefer to be known as “mermaid”)…

waterfall 5

waterfall 6

waterfall 7

At 5:30pm, we all drove back home.  Nick had a large bakkie (truck) that the film crew are renting… so we decided to go on a little family adventure and drive up the koppie (hill) on the farm… on roads usually reserved for 4×4’s or tractors.  (Note:  the bakkie we were attempting this with is not a 4×4!)…

I guess there’s just something about our family that HAS to try the fun stuff… and that winding, rocky road… heading up into the mountain-side was just too tempting for us to resist!

So… we packed the kids in the back… and drove through a river (which the bakkie managed)… and then through a stream and some mud (which the bakkie managed)… and then up a steep, rocky embankment (which the bakkie managed)… and then – we attempted to cross another (deeper) stream – which the bakkie did NOT manage!

It got stuck!  First – front wheels in the stream… but Nick managed to manoeuvre it out…  but then the back wheels got stuck in the stream… and even with all the revving, the wheels just churned water and the bakkie went nowhere.  So, Nick gallantly propped a bunch of rocks under the submerged back wheels while I barked orders and the kids (getting a bit bored with the whole stream-crossing thing) went to paddle in the gorgeous, hill-top dam.

Here’s some pics of the kids and the dam… (alas, no pics of the stuck bakkie)…

explore 1

explore 2

explore 3

Once we’d somehow managed to cross the stream (feeling all very Bear-Grylls-like) – we drove up what can only be described as a pile of rocks – definitely not a ‘road’ – and finally reached the top of the koppie where we switched off the engine and took in the most divine moon-rise (the photos can’t possibly do it justice!).

Nick snapped away with the camera… the kids chased mozzies… and I took a lone walk up the hill where I discovered what looked like a shallow grave (and was a bit disappointed that there were no bones… or treasure… or something…)

But I did frighten a large buck – which bolted out of the blue and took me by surprise as it scrabbled over the rocks in front of me.

In the distance you can see our little house... and me...

In the distance you can see our little house… and me…

Back at the house, I cooked spaghetti bolognaise.  Nick poured some wine and put on some music… and (now, here’s an epic first for the Costaras Family!):  we enjoyed a home-cooked meal with the 4 of us sitting around a proper, set dinner table!  An actual table!

(Back in Joburg, we don’t have a proper dining room table – and even if we did, we very seldom eat together as a family.  The kids usually eat first… and Nick eats on the run… and I’ll eat at the kitchen counter or in the lounge).

Nick and I sat grinning at each-other across the table.

“This doesn’t feel like our life!”, I said.

“I know”, he said, “but I’m really loving this”.

“Me too”.

After supper, Nick and the kids nuzzled in our bed and watched a movie on my laptop – while I stood at the front window and watched the comings and goings of a small bird (who surely should have been asleep?)

Movie and nuzzles...

Movie and nuzzles…

Later… as I lay in bed, I was struck by the silence.  Back in Joburg, I’m usually lulled to sleep by the sounds of traffic, barking dogs, house alarms and distant, thumping music.

Here, in the Karoo… there is… nothing.  The silence is, as they say, deafening… and I found it a bit unnerving.

I’m not used to this kind of life.

But I do like it.