The Eastern Free State, a Quiet Healing Getaway - Reconnect to your Wild Self.
Amohela ho Spitskop Country Retreat & Conservancy in the beautiful Highlands of the Eastern Free State is a place of remembering, a place from the world of doing into the world of being, where you enter the Quiet, Healing Wellness, the still core of your wild self.
In 2002 when Allen and I returned to this small farm adjacent to the original farm, and that wonderful mountain, we were aghast at the destruction that over farming and present day farming methods had done.
It was a quiet sad place, in the evenings sitting outside on what was then a crumbling “veranda” the nights were still, no crickets, no frogs, just……silence….and uncomfortable nothingness kind of stillness.
And so the healing began.
The “Old lands” were left untouched, unsprayed, no chemical fertilizers were used, left to heal and recover. Many fences were taken down, hundreds of snares removed from fences and the mountain, overgrazed fields were left untouched to slowly recover.
At first the pioneer and invasive species came tearing in, khakibos and blackjacks proliferated, alien previously planted grasses grew strong, but slowly - slowly, beautiful wild flowers started to peep out here and there, the matted old grasses died off and fertilized the arid soil, NATURALLY, the wild shrubs started to appear, beautiful native plants like rhus dentata and others, almost as if sensing they were safe and protected, started to grow strong with beautiful foliage, wild white stinkwood, chopped almost to extinction over the years, with a good root stock appeared all over the mountain, today these can be seen all over the warmer side of the mountain, beautiful, tall, strong and magnificent.
Then came the wild beautiful healing indigenous herbs, helichchrysums now cover whole areas, we don’t need to plant this magnificent healer, they are planting themselves into nice big areas, so much so that we can start to think of foraging and wild harvesting imphepo, wild rosemary, wormwood, creeping wild sage.
We bought one Sutherlandia plant years ago and spread seeds around and these too are popping up all over the place, and we harvested over a kilogram of beautiful wild-grown seed this year, and have at least another kilogram not yet “podded” as the seeds come in their own natural non plastic bags.
Amohela ho Spitskop Conservancy is now coming into its own, and our knowledge is expanding with these beautiful wild and native plants.
For these wild grown beautiful indigenous and native plants now feed wild pollinators, butterflies are simply all over the fields, small wasps, wonderful wild bees that live in huge holes in the mountain, safe and protected in the sanctuary that is Amohela ho Spitskop proliferate, and mornings you can walk into the fields where the wild things grow, and literally hear the fields “hum” with wild pollinators.
We also have a bee-feeding station, started some years back in a drought, and in the ongoing drought conditions this has proved to be incredibly successful, with hundreds and hundreds of bees flying in from their mountain hideaways in the Spitskop Mountain to feed and drink clean clear water every day. Sadly we cannot vouch for the food we are giving them in our world of "The Second Silent Spring" and GM foods. ( Ref: Silent Spring-1 Rachel Carson)
Different plants flower and provide pollen at different times of the year, Sutherlandia Fructescens in mid-winter is covered in the most magnificent blood red flowers, and are simply bursting with wild bees busy – busy – busy - from flower to flower, the many Kareeboom we have planted these too flower in winter and are alive with wild pollinators for weeks during the cold Free State winters.
Artemisia Afra - wild wormwood, helichrysums of all sizes - imphepo, Eriocephalus Africanus - wild rosemary, Saliva repens - wild creeping sage, all picked with love and lightly dried, wonderful in fire pots, spiritual and beautiful healing smudge sticks - when time allows we go foraging and gathering these awesome healing herbs that grow all over the re-wilded Highland Retreat of Amohela ho Spitskop.
Spiders, wonderful names like nursery-web spiders, crab spiders, those wonderful ancient inhabitants of planet earth, that work so hard for mankind only to be killed at every corner.
Here, in this small scrap of the planet, these too are precious, for The Spider Man lives here and loves them greatly and has been honoured by the spider fraternity of planet earth by having a small tiny spider named after him, the Heriaeus allenjonesi antoni.