In 2016, The Husband did a bit of work for the friends of the local nature reserve, Vrolijkheid. He moved the visitor’s kiosk from one spot to another and generally refurbished it. During the course of the job, the concrete slab had to be damped down twice daily. One Saturday afternoon, I went along with him. Camera in hand.
The dry, hot summer had taken its toll. The veld was tinder dry and the mountains clear in the afternoon distance.
This magnificent Karee provides shade from the baking sun in the car park. Notwithstanding my fascination with all trees, the thorn trees in the shady picnic area attracted my particular attention that afternoon.
First, the lichen invited a closer inspection. Received understanding is that lichen is a good indicator of the prevailing winds because it grows on the leeward side of the trees. Not so, in the heart of this grove, where it grows on the inside of each nest of acacia tree trunks. Away from any weather.
Wandering between the trees, these acacias captured me.
Back to Vrolijkheid and Acacia Karroo. These trees are beautifully old and they drip with resin which, as children, we used to eat. As I recall, it had a tangy sort of pine flavour and was soft and sticky; a bit like toffee. Besides the acacia being a legume with all the benefits of nitrogen-fixing for the soil, it turns out that the Sweet Thorn does have nutritional and medicinal qualities (leaves and pods on which animals browse). The resin was at one point, exported as “Cape Gum” for use in confectionary.*
The colours of the dripping gum are beautiful. It forms the most magnificent stalactites that deposit resin onto mounds of wannabe stalagmites on the ground below. Unless you are looking for them, though, the gummy piles are well camouflaged.
The deep colour of the weeping bark contrasts with the silver-grey lichen and reminded me of amber. It made me wonder whether, perhaps, this oozing red gold might be how it starts out. It might be.
After The Husband had finished the job, he wanted to show me his handiwork, so late one blustery Sunday afternoon, we trundled down to have a look.
As we left, the sun was setting and the southeaster was pouring over the mountains.
* For more about Acacia Karro, growing habit and uses
Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa
- First posted in April 2016 and now with updated photographs.
- I’m participating in blogpal @tracyork’s April challenge of sharing a post every day during April – on the Hive blockchain. I succeeded last year – on Steemit from which the new blockchain “hived off”…
- It seems a good way to constructively use the time during a compulsory lock down, right? For more about this initiative, please check out Traci’s post.
- If you’d also like to both join the challenge and post from the WordPress platform to the Hive blockchain, sign up here.
- I’m still blogging on Steem and more recently share my burbling on Uptrennd.