By Terry and Michele Stewart
Welcome to our April Newsletter
It’s been a wet few days here at Bucklands, we just love Mother Nature and her magical powers of transformation! Approximately 75mm of rain was just what was required to fill all our waterholes and to give the veld a boost before winter.
As some of you may know, or have even tasted, Bucklands has our very own organic vegetable garden! Our garden is full of fresh, seasonal veggies and herbs that are lovingly cooked and served to our guests! This time of year is an especially busy one in the garden as our cherry peppers are ripe for the picking and bottling! Our cherry peppers are very popular served stuffed with cream cheese and our cherry pepper relish is a wonderful accompaniment to our Venison Wellington!
In a few weeks we begin our new project at the Luxury Tented Camp! We are thrilled to be adding in a lounge here, but while the building is under way, the Camp is closed. Our Bucklands Lodge is however still open to bookings throughout this time so with limited space available please book early to avoid disappointment.
Bucklands Game News...
By Iain Stewart
Three more Giraffe babies have been born at Bucklands since our New Year’s Day baby was spotted! We were all taken by surprise at this “baby boom” of sorts which has brought up or numbers of Giraffe up to 16 from an original herd of 8 in 2009!
It’s almost winter, and this means that it’s almost the start of the rutting season for our antelope species. The deep bellowing grunts from the bulls and rams alike can already be heard across parts of the reserve.
Our Buffalo herd is growing well, so, to generate some additional revenue we set out to capture a few cows and heifers last week in order to sell them. As capture days are very dependent on weather, and other variables, we did extremely well to capture seven females for sale and move one young bull from Graskop to Bucklands Main. All of this achieved before lunch time by a team of 30 staff including pilots, vet etc. utilising 2 choppers, 2 land cruisers and a truck! The 5 heifers have already been sold and the 2 cows will be auctioned at the Great Frontier Game Sale on the 25th of May. The Buffalo have been placed in our boma’s while they undergo their rather intense, and vitally important, testing procedure. This is to ensure that our Buffalo herd is free from all possible diseases which then enables them to be sold and transported to other reserves with disease free Buffalo.
Recent Guest Comments
“We love Bucklands! Unsurpassed hospitality and culinary experience. Thank you Yolande and Craig!”
Heather Tyson – Port Alfred
“I really, really enjoyed my time here! Thanks Yolande and Craig, it was really great! I will definitely come back one day.”
“We all had an amazing time, thank you to all the wonderful staff, especially Craig and Yolande for making this such a memorable experience. We are looking to come back and visit again with more of the family. Thank you again.”
Lapins Family – UK
“Great time had, quad biking was the highlight, thanks you all the staff.”
“A fantastic trip, wonderful food, accommodation and animals. Staff so friendly. Thank you.”
Biggins family – UK
“Thank you for the personal service and the family atmosphere. Also for the excellent food and interesting game drives. Thank you”
Wessoly Family - Germany
5 Tips for Living Greener
1 – Make your own cleaning supplies, with a few basic ingredients such as lime soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products. This saves on plastic packaging that inevitably land up in landfills.
2 – Don’t throw out your old electronic goods, batteries and light bulbs into the municipal waste. Keep these aside and throw into recycling bays, this reduces landfill space and reduces chemicals and toxins from seeping into ground water.
3 – Keep a worm farm. A worm farm is a fantastic way to minimise food waste by turning your organic kitchen waste into nutrient-rich fertiliser for your plants and soils. Worms eat organic waste and turn it into liquid fertiliser and worm castings (the organic material that has been digested by the worms). Both of these products can be used on your garden and on your pot plants to keep them thriving.
4 – Drive Smarter. Simple changes in our existing driving habits can improve fuel efficiency by up to 25 percent. Drive at or near the speed limit, keep your tires inflated, make sure oil and air filters are clean, and step on the gas and the brakes carefully. Driving like a drag racer may be fun, but it has a substantial environmental cost.
5 – Install a solar geyser. This will cut down your homes electricity bill substantially because geysers are one of the homes’ most energy-hungry appliances.
6 large beetroots, grated (tip - use a food processor to grate the beets)
2 brown onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar*
Approximately 1 cup water**
4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper to taste
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup caster sugar
3 teaspoon horseradish relish
5 – 6 large strips orange rind
*Weigh the beetroot before grating. Make sure that the amount of vinegar used is at least a third of the weight of the beets, to ensure preservation. I’m always liberal with the vinegars, just in case.
**As an alternative to water you can uses a cup or so of freshly squeezed orange juice to top up the liquid as the relish cooks.
Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy based saucepan, adding the mustard seeds and stirring until they pop.
Add the onions and cook until translucent.
Add the remaining spices and cook until fragrant.
Then add the sugars and stir over low to medium heat until dissolved.
Add the beetroot, horseradish and orange peel, stirring to combine.
Pour in the vinegars and water (I rarely use water, preferring more vinegar instead), covering the beetroot mix.
Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for up to two hours, stirring regularly. To avoid burning, use a stove mat under the saucepan.
In the meantime, sterilise your jars in a 150 degree oven. Depending on the size of the beetroots, you’ll get between 5 – 8 jars. Two and a half kilos of beetroot, for example, makes about 10 x 250ml jars, and you can multiply the other ingredients accordingly.
You’ll know when the relish is done, as it will have reduced to a glorious, dark purple colour and most of the liquid will have cooked off. I always leave a bit of liquid; again, to ensure there’s enough vinegar for preservation.
Remove the strips of orange peel, pour the relish into the sterilised jars, then seal.
Did you know...?
Springbok can meet their water needs from
the food they eat, and survive without drinking water through dry season, or even over years. Reportedly, in extreme cases, they do not drink any water over the course of their lives. Springbok may accomplish this by selecting flowers, seeds, and leaves of shrubs before dawn, when these foods are most succulent.