All about tail bandages: The herringbone tail bandage is often used by professional horse riders. It has several applications: It can be used to prevent a horse from rubbing its tail hairs off on the crossbar in a float; it will keep the horse’s tail clean in muddy conditions; and it will help to keep a plaited tail tidy at a show. Although effective, the bandage has to be applied correctly. The herringbone pattern prevents excess pressure on the blood vessels in the dock of the tail, but, if attached too tightly, it can lead to damage or even loss of the tail. (For more information, visit or email Dr Mac at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Subject line: Horse Talk).

70 000 new computer viruses are found every day by antivirus companies (People Magazine, 19 September 2014).

Internet connection in Africa: A survey for a report entitled eLearning Africa, showed that lap tops were used by most African farmers (28%), followed by computers, smart phones and basic cell phones (each 15%). (Carien Kruger, Landbouweekblad, 10 July 2015).

In 2014, an Eskom study showed that the farming sector was responsible for 48% of all stolen electricity. This has probably increased since then. Syndicates work on a large scale across the country, and they entice farmers to tamper with their electricity installations (Farmer’s Weekly, 5 September 2014).

In 2014, the average South African consumes almost 38kg of chicken per year making it the most consumed protein in the country at that time (Farmer’s Weekly, 27 June 2014).

Stop blackening of banana peels by opening the plastic bag and by keeping them in the fridge drawer with tomatoes. (Marie Jonker, Mookgopong).

With herbs

Clean with sage: A combination of herbs, vinegar and water works! Sage has several antibacterial characteristics Crush some sage until it has a strong odour. Put in a glass container, mix with two cups white vinegar and leave standing for three weeks. Then mix the solution with an equal amount of water in a spray bottle, spray on a surface and wipe with a clean cloth (
Freeze fresh herbs in olive oil in small plastic containers. You can also freeze the herbs in small amounts of water (
Dark circles under the eye: Chop and crush a sprig of mint leaves. Apply to dark circles under the eyes, leave on for 20 minutes and then rinse. Do this twice a week (email, 19 May 2015).
Wash your hair in apple juice to get rid of dandruff (

Natural skin cures

Lavender works for all skin types – also sensitive skin. It is antibacterial, regulates the excretion of sebum (which causes skin rashes) and decreases inflammation and signs of blemishes.
Lemons help to soften blemishes and also act as an exfoliator.
Honey is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, soothing, decreases scars and moisturises the skin.
Tea tree oil is antibacterial and regulates the excretion of sebum (Chanté Daries, Rapport Beleef, 12 July 2015).

The wonder of lemons! Cut a lemon in half, squeeze out the juice in a small container with water, add the lemon halves, and microwave for five minutes. The fresh odour eliminates food smells and dislodges any old food rests in the microwave. Wipe away with a clean, damp cloth (Vrouekeur, 4 April 2014).

Mix one cup of olive oil with half a cup of lemon juice to clean your furniture. It works even better than furniture polish! (

Cure for taps: Rub your taps with a cut lemon and leave for a few minutes before rinsing. They will shine like never before! (

Best natural deodorant: Slice a lime and apply to the underarm – it’s simple, and it works great! (email, 19 May 2015).

Bathroom tips: Ban aerosol fresheners. Light a perfumed candle or put a container with potpourri somewhere in the bathroom. Plants in the bathroom will serve to filter the air. (Die groen strook, Michelle & Riaan Garforth-Venter).

For the rubbish bin: Recycle newspapers by covering the bottom of your rubbish bin with it. It will absorb bad smells and wetness (

Many of our members have had encounters with snakes recently, mainly with Rinkhals (Hamachtu haemachatus) and Mozambique Spitting Cobras (Naja mossambica). Both these species are very dangerous and are quite common to our area. A summary of contact details of snake handlers in our area follows below (a complete list was emailed to all our members during December). At all times, please be aware that snakes play an important role in our ecosystems, and that they should not be killed regardless, especially if no one’s life is in danger.

Gary & Rex Strydom (Hartbeespoort & Brits): 082 469 2979
Lee Jovanovic (Hartbeespoortdam & surrounds): 072 638 9250
Louis Trichard (Brits, Mooinooi & Hartbeespoort): 076 588 1082
Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park: 012 253 1162
Chameleon Village Reptile Park: 082 469 2979/012 253 5119
Bertus van Jaarsveld (Hartbeespoort & surrounds): 071 541 8206
Clinton Braun (Krugersdorp/Roodepoort): 083 556 1664

Summer is here, and that means that your garden should burst with colour! Some tips on how to achieve this, while using water sparingly, follow below.

An indigenous summer garden: Indigenous plants can survive on very little water. Nothing beats the impact of a yellow and blue border. The easiest way to achieve this is to combine blue agapanthus with yellow daisies (Euryops spp). A more adventurous idea would be to plant yellow red-hot pokers (Kniphofia spp) and gazanias (‘lemon shades’). Plant indigenous yellow and orange cat’s tail (Bulbine frutescens) or Barberton daisies (Gerbera Jamesonii) in dry spots.
Your herb garden: Just like you, your herbs need a ‘haircut’ every now and then. By cutting out dry leaves and flowers regularly, you encourage lush, healthy plants that will grow faster. Fast growing plants should be pruned more regularly, as they absorb space and vitamins of other plants in the container or bed. Mint is one such a boisterous grower – plant it separately (Vrouekeur, March 2014).
Bulbs: Like other bulbs, hardy irises should be watered for forty minutes every fourth day (Hadeco:
Attract birds to your garden: Diane Ward (Cooking for birds: Fun Recipes to Entice Birds into your Garden, Struik 2004) provides a nice recipe to keep our feathered friends happy. Many birds enjoy young, green sprouts or leaves. Fill egg shells, small pots or coconut halves with good potting soil. Pack egg shells in an egg box or put pots or shells next to each other on the kitchen window sill. Sow bird seed in these and water regularly till the seeds germinate. Put outside and let the birds enjoy the young, fresh shoots. Water regularly until all the seeds have germinated. Substitute the potting soil and repeat the process.
In praise of Epsom Salts: Just as many people add a little salt to their food, we should be adding a little Epsom Salts to our garden. Completely one of a kind with a chemical structure unlike any other, Epsom Salts, or Magnesium Sulphate, is also a wonderful facilitator to your garden, helping it reach its fullest potential and creating a lush and vibrant outdoor space. Unlike common fertilisers, Epsom Salts does not build up in the soil over time, so it is very safe to use. Before planting, sprinkle some Epsom Salts and mix well into the soil. During the growing season, sprinkle about a tablespoon around the base of plants and water. Epsom Salts can be used with all fruits, vegetables and herbs, except for sage. It is a natural, pesticide-free remedy for slugs, and because it is non-toxic, it is also child-friendly (Gauteng Smallholder, April 2015).