2 Chronicles 3 :1
Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David.
1 Chronicles 29: 17
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willing your people who are here have given to you.
I have been wrestling with my thoughts for the past month. Time is passing so quickly especially this year. I have hardly sent out one feedback and now the next one needs to be written. Where did this month go and what have we achieved at the CradleArk to glorify the Lord? It is only when I look back I realise that we are still going in the direction we planned despite ourselves. (Thank you Lord) I re-did a submission to a seed company on Friday night and it was great being able to update it. Where we planned to build a hoop-house, a year later we do have one.
The truck back- home at last
I am thrilled that pastor Matthew is in his new home. He is out of the hut and into the truck back. We need to remember that with God on your side nothing can stand in your way for long. What seemed to be such a massive task just suddenly happened! The truck back is spotless. Matthew has painted it and decorated it beautifully. A small space but insulated! Cool in summer and it will be warm in winter.
Next to the container is a gaping space where the ramshackle church once stood. I know the church is “not the building” but in my heart I feel that the congregation need a dry and warm place to worship.
Another container ?
I have discussed my feelings with my own pastor and he suggested that the Gospel is more important than any building. I still feel compelled to tackle this challenge. When I walk into the beautiful venue (which the Lord provided) for the Family Church and slump into my comfortable seat, with music and screens and everything else that is laid on, I feel that I need to help the CradleArk congregation with a venue. I opened my bible this morning and the two verses above jumped out at me. Maybe by having better facilities more people will attend and hear the Gospel?
If anyone reading this has any connections in the shipping container world, please contact me off -line. I have watched the prices spike during Covid but they seem to have pulled back now and we all know the Lord’s timing is perfect! Even if I cannot get another container I feel like I have to start? Maybe just a steel frame with a corrugated iron roof. We can always build in the walls later.
We continue to improve on our hoop house and the surrounding area. I delivered a few hundred spinach seedlings and in excess of 50 peppadew and chilli seedlings. (It seems to be what I have a knack for- Basil and chilli and tomato)
The spinach has been planted and I have asked Samson to plant the chillies which he has been holding back on.
We have been blessed with a new younger enthusiastic helper named Juliam. There is a noticeable improvement around the field as he is helping Samson. Samson is a hard task master so we pray that Juliam is resilient. He seems like a suitable candidate for the seedling venture.
The pump is back in for repairs currently. I hope to get it back this week and drop it off on the weekend. We have bought 14 types of Garlic and will be planting these to see what suits our soil the best. We hope to make this part of what the field can produce on a regular basis.
Samson has been selling potatoes, some okra and a melon that is used as animal feed, so he is seeing some returns on his investment. The potatoes are chip potatoes and they are big and really tasty!
The sweet potatoes are looking fantastic. The sugar cane is very good and the sunflowers are really coming along nicely. We are hoping that with Juliam to assist him Samson can be more proactive in the harvesting.
We have continued removing the black wattle between the irrigation dam and the intermittent borehole. This will allow us to run our solar test on the borehole soon. It also makes it more difficult for anyone wanting to steal from the field to approach it unnoticed.
Bright Star continues to operate pretty independently and the braiding is going well.
We have subsequently bought a rechargeable set of clippers that will facilitate cutting as these skills develop.
I collected nail glue and various odds and ends. The initial idea was to supplement Bright Star but we have approached another lady who has shown good initiative. She seems to be the right candidate but we will speak to her directly to make sure before launching that business.
A donor was kind enough to supply a large quantity of colourful new shirts. These were very well received amongst the children of the community. There were big smiles all around! Thank you so much. These little extras do so much in the everyday lives of these children.
Recycling and the glass cutter
One of the more negative aspects of the CradleArk is the amount of litter. This is particularly noticeable around month end. Matthew does his utmost to keep the container and church area clean and the grass cut but it is a battle. To try to encourage the collecting of bottles and to minimize broken glass in the area I have made a glass cutter. Items like glasses, vases , candlestick holders etc can be made with this cutter and we hope to create another small business out of it.
We plan to encourage a pottery business in the future as we have a supply of clay. This would fit together well with the glass business.
A car wash business
I have bought a 24v pressure cleaner and am busy testing it to see the effectiveness and how robust it is. So far it seems like a very adequate tool. If we combine it with a concreted area with a drain where the water used can go into a sump and be used further, I think it could create another small business opportunity.
A meal worm farm
I could not wait any longer. After various unsuccessful attempts I sourced live mealworms and Black soldier fly larvae from the Silkworm shop It was a pleasure dealing with this entity.
I built a meal worm farm which I will run through the life cycle of the beetle as a learning curve. If successful I will hand this over to Matthew as a way to supplement the chicken feed. If he expands it, it could become a business in its own right
We already have had great success with the Estinae fetidae (red wrigglers) at home in my back yard. It is easy to look after but still requires dedication and discipline. I haven’t established a venture at CradleArk yet as it could detract from more pressing requirements because of the limited number of dedicated helpers.
Even more exciting is that I bought some Black Soldier Fly Larvae.
Once more I will be dabbling at home but these have always been an integral part of the plan to develop and assist at the CradleArk. I will let you all know how things progress. They have a very short lifespan so I will have to get moving to take the pupa back to egg laying flies! A quick build is required.
Another business opportunity that stands out in my mind is “Pop corn” All that is required is the pop corn a little oil and a hot pot. Then different size bags and maybe some salt butter and flavourants and a business is created. Each small business may not provide a massive income but it does provide a lot of hope and helps the community by meeting a need. We have grown strawberry popcorn before but it was quite small and didn’t pop all that well but maybe its time to try a new batch.
The new tank
I managed to speak to the councilor who put me in touch with Thembi. I had a conversation with Thembi on the Wednesday and by Saturday the new tank had been filled. Praise the Lord! Thank you to both of these gentlemen. You have made a positive contribution to this community!
We need to finalise the last side with some more pegs and then add a more formal entrance with a door but it is already functional. We have already delivered seedlings and supplied water sprayers. It really just means that the team has to now try to run it and learn as they go. Samson is talking about using some of the pallets we have stored to build tables inside for the seedlings. I like his initiative and have left this to see what develops.
The new second compost
After waiting for feedback from a local farm who was going to dump waste lettuce I have told Matthew we need to go ahead anyway, even without this continuous supply.
The original compost is definitely composting and the height has probably halved. I keep stressing that all grass cuttings should be added instead of burned. Also all waste from the field should be added. I hope with time when the benefit is properly perceived (and we buy some of the compost) that the support for this initiative will pick up and not have to be driven from our side.
The general appearance of the environment deteriorates significantly during summer as the grass grows rapidly. We have approached Juliam to start cutting around the main entrance as someone will always set fire to the dry grass at a later stage. This alleviates some of the danger of the fire getting out of control.