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In my Indiana Jones quest to clean out our garden so we can grow veggies, I came across this apartheid relic: Two coins from the 1950s.

 

South African coins from the apartheid era. Left: 3 Pence from 1951, and Right: Quarter Penny from 1953.

South African coins from the apartheid era. Left: 3 Pence from 1951, and Right: Quarter Penny from 1953.

 

Left: 3 Pence coin from 1951, Silver, King George VI third series (1951–52).

 

Right: Quarter Penny coin from 1953, Brass, Queen Elizabeth II series (1953–60).

 

Could this be a time reference? Was it maybe in the 1950s that The Broken Palace got destroyed? If you know more, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

 

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Aside from aesthetics, for practical reasons alone paint is the best wood finish.

For its long life expectancy alone paint is the best wood finish.

 

With hopefully some rain coming to Cape Town during winter we need gutters!

 

But before we can install gutters, we need to decide on the look of the fascia, the trim board on which the gutter sits on.

 

Paint is generally the longest lasting finish for wood, but we’d like to keep the natural wood look.

 

Apparently there’s a well kept secret for wood treatment: water repellent preservatives (WRP).

 

The U.S. Forest Service did some research on ‘Wood Finishing: Water Repellents and Water-Repellent Preservatives’, pointing out:

“Homeowners can avoid many exterior wood-finishing problems by first treating with a WR or WRP solution to guard against damage to the wood and paint caused by water and by decay and stain fungi (mildew).
WR or WRP treatment of wood is recommended both before painting and also as a natural finish for wood.”

and concludes in their PDF ‘Water Repellents and Water-Repellent Preservatives for Wood’:

“Water-repellent preservatives can be used as natural finishes and can greatly improve the durability and appearance of wood exposed outdoors.
They can also be used as pretreatments prior to the initial painting of wood. The water repellent improves the dimensional stability of the wood, and the preservative improves the mildew resistance of the paint. These properties work in concert to extend the service life of the paint.”

 

So as long as we’re using water repellent preservatives that are paintable, we can start with the WRP wood treatment, and still apply paint later.

 

While this still doesn’t answer the question for us, it gets us a step closer! 😛

 

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#MoopSwoop Find: Ornamental bead wire cross

#MoopSwoop Find: Ornamental bead wire cross

 

Doing my weekly #MoopSwoop, I found this ornamental bead wire cross.

I’m not Christian, so I was wondering what the meaning of the cross actually is, and came across this:

 

The Latin Cross

also called the Roman, Protestant, Western or Plain Cross

Latin Cross

The Latin cross (crux ordinaria) is a stipe (upright post) with a patibulum (horizontal beam) inserted at right-angles. It is a symbol of Christianity even though it was used as a Pagan symbol for millennia before the foundation of the Christian Church.

As a Pagan symbol it has been found in China and African countries. It appears on Scandinavian Bronze Age stones depicting the destructive hammer of Thor, their god of thunder and war. It is regarded a magical symbol, bringing good luck and diverting evil. Rock carvings of the cross have been interpreted as a solar symbol, or a symbol of earth with its points representing north, south, east, and west. 

To alchemists, the cross was a symbol of the four ‘classical elements’: air, earth, fire, water. Elsewhere, the cross variously symbolised health, fertility, life, immortality, the union of heaven and earth, spirit and matter, the sun and the stars.

 

That sounds good enough for me to keep it as a good omen and hang it up somewhere in our garden. 🙂

 

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Cement Burns right at the tip of my fingers... Ouch!

Cement Burns right at the tip of my fingers… Ouch!

 

There are still some snags around the house that we’re bit by bit attending to.

The other day we made good progress again, when plastering the remaining exposed brick work.

But when, after having asked already to finish the job nicely, I saw that there were still some gaps that had not been plastered shut, I took it upon myself to deal with it:

 

Being overly proactive, I thought: Let me just quickly smooth out the plaster and fill the corners properly.

Being highly perfectionist, it didn’t go as quickly as I had hoped.

Being totally absorbed by the task at hand, I did not feel any pain at first.

 

While dry cement is calcium oxide and relatively harmless to the touch, it turns toxic when wet:

The cement becomes calcium hydroxide, a highly alkaline substance with a pH level of 12 or higher. Natural skin surface pH is on average below 5, so any direct contact can result in serious chemical burns.

As the cement is eating through your skin, you only feel the real pain when the outer layer has breached. Now the cement reacts with the water coming out from your wounds. At this point it gets difficult to simply wash off the plaster, as the chemical reaction progresses:

First brush off any dry cement, then rinse the affected areas with clean water for 20 minutes.

 

Dry cement is also dangerous when inhaled as dust in large quantities: Prolonged or repeated exposure can lead to a disabling and often fatal lung disease called silicosis.

 

Stay clear from any health hazards caused by cement.

Always wear the correct safety gear:

– overalls with long sleeves and full-length trousers

– alkali-resistant gloves

– waterproof boots

– safety glasses

– dust mask

 

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Hello Mr Mouse! What you doing in our house?

Hello Mr Mouse! What you doing in our house?

 

We have mice in our house. They are not scared of us and run around the kitchen every now and then.

 

Our puppy Lola is of course intrigued but as we have pet rats, she must not chase rodents or any small animal.

 

But the mice are running across right in front of her!

 

And every time we cry out: “Mouse!”

 

So the other day she caught one.

 

I heard the tumult downstairs in the kitchen and then: “She caught it!”

 

I readied myself for the bad news of this poor mouse’s life.

 

“And she held it down with her paw, so I could pick it up. It’s in my hands now.”

 

Wow! Lola the Humane Mouse Trap! 😮

 

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This little mouse and his friends are unwanted guests in our house. But they're so cute, and almost tame!

This little mouse and his friends are unwanted guests in our house. But they’re so cute, and almost tame!

 

We have some unwanted guests living right under our nose: Mice.

 

They’re super cute, and almost tame, at least in the sense that we don’t seem to bother them at all.

 

One of them got caught in a net bag when he was stealing chestnuts.

 

Lola found him and licked him all over, so that he was sogging wet.

 

I detangled him and put him in a fruit punnet with food and water to relax.

The fruit punnet makes a perfect mouse house.

The fruit punnet makes a perfect mouse house.

 

What a cutie! Somehow not really afraid of us.

 

But alas, he had to return to the wild, we set him free at a field. 🙂

 

All his friends however are still having a party at our house, every single night! 😮

 

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#MoopSwoop Find: Seed packets that flew into our courtyard. Thanks for that, this will grow nicely in our garden. :)

#MoopSwoop Find: Seed packets that flew into our courtyard. Thanks for that, this will grow nicely in our garden. 🙂

 

This was odd: I didn’t realise at first these seed packets were #MoopSwoop finds, because my husband had just been given some by his brother and I thought the Woodstock wind had somehow gotten hold of and dispersed them.

 

But when I showed my husband the salvaged seed packets, he said they were not his.

 

So, whoever lost or dumped these seed packets: They made it safe and sound into our courtyard and will surely be of good use in our urban garden.

 

And thanks to the Woodstock wind for bringing them to us. 🙂

 

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