Our Lucerne-Tree-Farm Business

When I started Practical Pages, I did not plan for it to be a personal blog.  And generally it isn’t … the names and faces of the innocent are protected , and some family members never feature. But as I’ve emailed, chatted to and met some of my readers (thank you so much for the visit),  I realized that it is personal. My passion is to inspire and encourage others, and that is personal.

Many of you may know these facts about me ~

  • We live in South Africa, on a farm in the Klein Karoo, Western Cape where fynbos & protea naturally grow.
  • We live on a very remote mountain farm, with fresh air and pure mountain water.
  • We organically farm fruit trees, Dorper sheep, black Angus cattle and some free range pigs and chickens.
  • We live simple, homestead lives, growing, harvesting, preserving and cooking much of our own organic food, hand-milking our Jersey cow which I use to make cheeses, yogurt and butter.
  • And we grow Lucerne Trees

20150423_141510Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “What is a lucerne tree?”

Tree Lucerne is also known as Tagasaste, (Chamaecytisuspalmensis), and originally came from the Canary Islands.  The Lucerne tree is a a member of the legume family, a highly nutritious plant, exactly like normal lucerne (alfalfa), except with no danger of bloat and it is a tree that grows for up to 40 – 60 years!

P1140783When our fields of lucerne trees flowered and yielded harvests of millions of seeds in pods, we officially launched our  business — the Lucerne Tree Farm. Our aim is to share our farming strategies and success with others so that farmers, bee-keepers, permaculturalists gardeners can also enjoy the wonderful benefits of these trees, 

1-20140531_163104-001We are all involved in our family business.  My hubby runs the farm, creates infra-structure and plants out thousands of trees, prunes and chips trees for fodder, and prepares trees to sell to clients.  We hand-pick, sift and package all our seeds.  We plant out thousands of seeds into seed-trays or potting bags and care for the seedlings. We cut and chip our trees for wet or dry feed.  I created our business blog and I do all the admin, marketing, orders and packaging and telephonically assist clients.

Please will you pop over for a quick tour of our little website. You can order, ask questions or request a quote on our contact form on the Prices & Orders page.

Thanks for letting me share a more personal peep into our farm life.

Blessings, Nadene

Spring Maple Tree Study for OHC

It was a beautiful spring day and we studied our very young maple tree.

Acer circinatum (Vine Maple) leaves showing th...

Image via Wikipedia

We planted the maple sapling last summer and it had made a lovely show in autumn.  Then it stood, small, bare and forgotten the entire winter.

Now, with the warmth and longer daylight, the leaves just budded and the tree looked tender and vulnerable in its spring awakening.

Before we went outside, we studied leaf shapes and terminology with biological terms, just to offer a richer vocabulary for accurate descriptions ~

leaf blade, leaf tip, veins, petioles,

shapes like palmate, ovate, lancelate,

leaf arrangements such as even, compound,pinnate

leaf edges such as serrated edge, scalloped, entire and so on.

Barb’s OHC Spring Maple Tree Challenge required us to carefully observe the leaves and blossoms.

So, with our indoor work done in just a few minutes, we took our notebook page, clipboards, pens and pencils and went outside.  We sat on the grass very close to the tree, looking, listening, quietening … and then journalled.

I love these sketches!

My middle-schooler journalled first.  Then she outlined the one little leaf I allowed the girls to pull off the tree and so she captured the exact size.  She drew in the veins in detail. Then she did a leaf rubbing.

When her younger sister saw the leaf juice made a mark on the paper, she also took the leaf to make a rubbing …

She drew around the edges of the leaf.

Then she made a rubbing, but her rubbing was different.   She placed the leaf on top of her page and rolled her pen firmly across the leaf blade.

Then she traced the marks the veins had left on the page.

Clever.I journalled and sketched in my nature journal.

I focused on the leaf edges, veins and leaf arrangements in detail.

Then I sketched the small tree as viewed from a distance.

I really love our time outdoors.

It is so important for me to appreciate nature with the kids.  If I don’t take part in this discovery, I become the teacher/ observer, taking photos and reading the study guides, which is partly why I think we stopped doing regular nature walks when we first started our homeschooling.  I have to admit that my best efforts in “making it educational” and “teaching the facts and details”  have caused more harm than good.  My over-zealous approach has often caused my older children to withdraw.

Now, trying it again with my younger children, I tell myself,

“Keep it simple, take it slow, enjoy and savour this time with them.”