...to the ever-unfolding story of Braamekraal Farm - one family's adventure in self-sufficient living, Earth care and smallholding-scale Permaculture design.
Braamekraal Farm is a 1.7hA (4 acre) smallholding in the South Cape region of South Africa, nestling in the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains. When we bought the land in 1994 it was overworked, eroded, neglected pastureland, worn out from too many years of cow hoofprints crushing the soil, too many years of plough-furrows straight down the hill.
We had to design and build the house and all the supporting infrastructure. We did most of the work ourselves. Our homestead and garden was designed using permaculture principles, and work goes on day by day, year by year, to add more to the design, to improve it, and to fix our mistakes and integrate and extend our lessons. Is it really work when you're having fun?
Our "ultimate" goal - our yardstick of self-sufficiency - is to enjoy Pizza Dinner entirely from homegrown ingredients, including flour for the pizza-base, oven for cooking it, and beer. We still have some way to go :-)
This is our journey; we welcome fellow travellers.
We would especially like to help and encourage others who, perhaps, dream of Taking The Big Leap Of Faith that is required to start on such a journey. Exiting the fake-wealth, race-to-keep-up-with-the-neighbours economy of suburban existence takes a bunch of courage, so we would like to offer our on-going encouragement. So welcome to the dreamers of reality, and to the beginners who will teach us new tricks. Contact us directly or through the blog and tell us how we can help, how we can improve this website-story.
A Note About the Name "Braamekraal"#
Lest I be charged with theft, let me be clear: The name "Braamekraal" is really the name of the entire neighbourhood, and goes all the way back to the Woodcutter days. We've borrowed the name for our tiny farm, too, since, with the influx of townies over the past 5 or 6 years, the history is in grave danger of dying through neglect. Almost no descendants of the Woodcutter families remain in the area, and we'd hate to see the old names lost.
The name "Braamekraal" means literally "Bramble kraal". "Blackberry Village" might substitute, since Wiktionary defines a "kraal" as "A rural village of huts surrounded by a stockade" or "An enclosure for livestock." The word "kraal" shares the same Portugese roots as the American word "corral". Parts of our farm, along with many others, are infested with ancient tangles of bramble, and bramble bushes line parts of the road, giving us a nice source of Blackberry Jam each Summer.