The area around Klein Joostenberg has a lot to offer, and one of the more visually interesting ones is the slightly ramshackle Van den Berg Garden Village, the unusual plant nursery that greets you when you get out of your car in the car park at the Klein Joostenberg complex.
Just across the street from Ludwig’s Roses Winelands, and adjacent to the Joostenberg Deli and Butchery, Van den Berg Garden Village is the work of Dutch-born Toos van den Berg, who studied horticulture before travelling around Europe, arriving in Africa and marrying a man from the Cape.
After developing nurseries in Dieprivier, Durbanville and Kirstenbosch, she eventually moved to this spot, and the result is one of the most interesting nurseries that marries horticulture and art in sometimes quite the eccentric way.
It was the sound of free ranging chickens that pulled us in, and we spent a fair bit of time ducking and diving among all the shaded little pathways, discovering overrun pieces of art, beautiful flowering plants, and of course, chickens.
Around 80% of the plants in the nursery are indigenous, supplemented with some intriguing exotic plants from all over the planet. As Toos has remarked before, “The birds don’t know the difference”! ;)
An interesting little find for all the gardeners out there, that’s for sure.
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Related Link: Van den Berg Garden Village Nursery
I have already mentioned our morning spent frolicking on the lawns and eating from the deli at Klein Joostenberg the other day, but what I haven’t yet mentioned is the actual reason that the girls and I were there in the first place.
A cart horse.
I remembered that a couple of years back, you used to be able to purchase short little rides on a horse-drawn cart. Whether or not this was still the case, I didn’t know, but nevertheless, I was pretty sure that this would be something of a little adventure that both girls might enjoy.
As it turns out, the rickety old carriage is still very much there, and for a fee of R15 per passenger, you get a short ride past the pond, into a small glen of trees and then back the way you came.
(Oh, and the guys operating it now also have a standalone horse there, so if your kids prefer riding on an actual horse as opposed to just enjoying a cart ride – well, you’re sorted).
Emily wasn’t quite convinced that this was totally a fun idea in the beginning, so she remained seated on my lap for the journey (but did eventually get rather into it!). Jessica on the other hand was super excited and loved every minute of it – going even so far to “thank the nice horsie” at the end!)
So yes, definitely a pleasant morning distraction!
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Related Link: Klein Joostenberg
One big addition to the picnic lawns at Klein Joostenberg that we spotted on our visit there the other day is the hard to miss home of The Stellenbosch Brewing Company, the craft brewery behind the ‘Stellies’ beer label.
Known as “The Taproom on Klein Joostenberg”, this light lunch/pub venture is a collaboration between Joostenberg Picnics and The Stellenbosch Brewing Co (who actually brew from that very building).
Essentially it is billed as a family friendly space where the whole family can relax and children can run and play, all while one enjoys an al fresco meal, a chilled glass of organic Joostenberg wine, an ice-cold Stellies craft beer and the laid back farm setting.
Sounds good to me.
As I mentioned, the 2013 established craft brewery actually brews the beer on site and tastings and tours are offered. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to sit down and try some of their beer, so that just means I’ll need to head back that way the first chance that I get! ;)
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Founder brewer Bruce Collins and Taproom manager Karen Collins list five different Stellies beers currently on offer: (source)
Joostenberg is a diverse, 5th generation family business situated in the Muldersvlei district of Stellenbosch, known for their organic vineyard farming and boutique wine production, their small herd of grass fed free range cattle reared for beef, their pork specialist butchery, their seasonal cut flowers, herbs and vegetables, their popular deli, their events venue, and last but not least, their world class, family-friendly bistro.
Most of the actual work happens at the working farm of Joostenberg, but it is Klein Joostenberg, their retail outlet housing the deli, cellar door wine sales, butchery, bistro and a modern events venue that is the real attraction here.
Extremely family friendly with massive lawns and a welcoming atmosphere, we’ve enjoyed quite a number of picnics here in the past when Jessica was a lot younger – as well as one wedding come to think of it!
As you might imagine, the girls had an absolute ball. We enjoyed a ride on the horse carriage, ate some yummy treats from the deli, ran around on the lawn, explored the grounds, chased chickens, and played on the jungle gym – the only thing we didn’t end up doing was grabbing a table and enjoying a bite to eat at the bistro!
It is worth noting that there has been one big change to the grounds since we last visited – a lot of the kids’ play equipment have been removed to make space for the Stellenbosch Brewing Company, whose tasting room/restaurant now sits squarely on the picnic lawn space, which is a welcome addition to the experience as a whole.
Sadly, I didn’t get around to trying their beer out either (an oversight on my part), but now that I know that they are there, I’ll definitely be visiting again sooner rather than later!
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If you are looking for a polished family friendly space with a good outdoors feel to it, then you definitely can’t go wrong with a visit to the charming experience that is Klein Joostenberg.
Related Link: Joostenberg
We popped out for an impromptu picnic on the Klein Joostenberg grounds, where we tucked into some delicious deli offerings, rolled around on the grass, played on the swings and slides, and even took a ride on the horse cart!
(And by we I mean Jessica and myself. Heavily pregnant Chantelle was far more content with taking a meaningful nap on the grass…)
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Come to think of it, I haven’t really kept everyone here in blog land up to date with my movements over the last couple of weekends, though looking back I’m guessing that no one really missed all that much anyway.
Three weekends ago, the weekend was pretty much a write off as I spent 90% of the entire weekend holed up in my study, furiously banging out PHP code for work (i.e. the infamous Project 161 incentivised project). Other than a delightful Saturday evening of braai and rugby with the Montgomery Clan in Bellville, I was pretty much tied to my house and my keyboard from Friday right through to the wee hours of Monday morning – In fact, I was so busy that I shipped Chantelle and Jessica off to go and sleep over at her folks’ place and spend Sunday with them so that I could be afforded the peace and quiet I needed for my work environment!
(Still, the hard work paid off as it led to a very successful Monday afternoon final demo of a project that I’ve been working on for the last while, which in turn resulted in a decent little bonus that will allow me to purchase some new and much needed kitchen appliances now that Chantelle is going to be doing her Cookies & Cakes venture as a full time business starting December!)
Moving on from that, two weekends ago I opted to lengthen the weekend every so slightly for myself by rewarding myself with a day’s leave put in for the Friday – which I optimally used to muck about the house as well as see an optometrist. The optometrist experience was a pretty rewarding in that a) I’ve found a really nice optometrist I happen to like, b) a practice which is much closer than the one I last used in Kenridge, and c) gave me good news in that she successfully weakened my prescription such that I no longer strain my eyes during long work days behind the PC monitor. Score! :)
Saturday was dominated by another Willowbridge Market that I did with Mom-in-law Cheryl (Chantelle was working the weekend), whilst young Jessica spent the day with Mom and Dad, enjoying an unexpected visit from the Great Grandmothers as well as a visit to the Sonstraal Dams to see all the ducks and geese! Unfortunately the market wasn’t particularly good, but we still did more than enough to cover the table and our expenses, meaning that it wasn’t a complete loss.
Sunday we were gifted with on the other hand a perfect day in terms of the weather, which made for an awesome Michelle Oosthuizen organised “Spring Day” (technically we missed it by a fair bit) picnic experience with the friends out at Klein Joostenberg, the photos from which can be viewed here. Needless to say, much relaxing on the grass and under the sun was to be had by all! :)
Finally, last weekend was yet another long weekend for me, and it started off on a high note, with a joint Touchwork and Hypenica afternoon braai that went down rather well. As for Saturday, with the Chantelle and the rest of the Montgomery clan handling the Willowbridge Market, I was free to go on a bit of a shopping trip with young Jessica, ending up with a couple of new books for my girl to destroy, as well as a new chipped credit card (my first chipped card) which I managed to pick up in the process as well.
From there the two of us headed out to the Strand/Somerset West duck pond, where despite a rather dead duck floating out in front of us, Jessica thoroughly enjoyed sitting on my lap and throwing out pieces of bread for the ducks to chase. She did get a little nervous when the big geese joined in the fray, but outside of that she really seemed to enjoy the outing.
Next on our to-do list was a stop in at the Gordon’s Bay primary school to drop in on the Funakoshi Karate South Africa tournament taking place there, and I must say it was great to show off little Jessica and catch up on all that has been happening over the last year on the karate scene. The visit was thoroughly enjoyable, but I must admit that it was also a little difficult because I’m seriously, seriously missing my karate as well as my training family at the moment!
The rest of the day was pretty much playing around at home, watching loads of Shaun the Sheep, before a final bedtime routine and then a Chantelle returning from Bellville, just in time to launch into making home-made pizzas and watching the enjoyable Iron Man 2 on DVD.
Sunday was all hands on deck as Chantelle and I woke up early and started tidying up, in preparation for the afternoon arrival of both the Montgomery Clan and the Lotter Clan, who descended upon us to partake in our one day too early Braai Day (Heritage Day) braai. Combining awesome food, entertainment from Jessica and good conversation, with a few competitive rounds of 30 Seconds turned out to be a masterpiece, as we blazed through a fantastic fun day of family.
Chantelle opted to post Jessica off with Oupa and Ouma as they left, leaving the two of us plenty of time to snuggle up, watching some movies and then heading straight to bed, for some rather relaxing and rejuvenating uninterrupted sleep sessions! And with public holiday Monday still to come, I can’t say that my last weekend was bad at all! :)
Jessica is madly in love with slides, so whenever I get an opportunity or find an unused slide, I make it my mission to let her have a little bit of fun. (Sadly, this means the employees at Reggies probably don’t love me all that much). She’s developed a habit of going down them head first, meaning you have to be pretty quick between getting her to the top of the structure and then hurrying back to the bottom of the slide in order to catch her as she throws herself down.
This particular video was captured at this weekend’s fun picnic event at Klein Joostenberg Farm on a glorious Sunday afternoon, and features Ryan and Jessica, making the most of the sliding opportunity!
Funnily enough, this also happens to be the first time Jessica ever had a nose bleed that I can remember. Unfortunately that kind of spoiled this video ever so slightly…
(P.S. for more photos of the day, check out that photo gallery)
We were forced to cancel our Spring picnic two weeks ago, on account of all the friends being sick never mind the slightly miserable weather, but in the end this worked out for the best, because jump two weeks forward and we are blessed with a hot, sunshine-filled day, the perfect weather for a Spring picnic with the friends at Klein Joostenberg Farm! :)
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Another weekend, another Cookies & Cakes Willowbridge Market, though this weekend was my weekend off, leaving Chantelle and Cheryl to man the stall on Saturday morning. (Of course, this means that Friday evening was dominated by market preparation, capped off with Chantelle exercising her chocolate creativity by putting together a fake glamour cake for presentation at the stall – which worked mind you, bringing in three new cake orders!)
Saturday was of course an early start for Chantelle as she up and packed, and left for Bellville in the wee hours of the morning, where she and Cheryl proceeded to man the Cookies & Cakes stall on what turned out to be a very profitable outing.
Jessica and I on the other hand enjoyed a much more relaxed Saturday morning, going through the normal weekend routine and picking up a household chore here and there. However, come 11:00 and it was action stations, as I finished packing all the weekend bags for Chantelle, Jess and I, loaded up the car (which includes getting Jessie in her seat), and drove off through Stellenbosch, successfully navigating all the way through to Klein Joostenberg Farm without getting lost (it’s the same venue where we attended Saret’s wedding a while back).
There we met up with Ryan, Karl-Heinz, Trish and a whole lot of their friends for a bit of a relaxed, celebratory picnic in honour of Karl and two of his other friends’ recent birthdays. Although a bit gloomy at times, the rain stayed away and the sun did shine through every now and then, making for a great afternoon of lazing about, snacking and playing with the seemingly horde of toddlers on the blankets.
Eventually it was time to pack up, and after saying all the goodbyes, Jessica and I drove through to Bellville, after a quick detour thanks to me turning in the wrong direction as I exited the farm. There I met up with Chantelle at the Montgomery Clan Stronghold, and after hearing the great news about the exciting market, we packed Jessica back in the car and took her to visit my Mom and Pops (and Ryan who happened to drop by their place), where we enjoyed some delicious leftover from the market chocolate cake and plenty of catch up chatter. One of the highlights of the visit was Mom revealing a box of old toys and puzzles they had retrieved from the attic, including a wooden puzzle which still bore the birthday message to me on my fourth birthday – back in 1984!
From there it was back to the Montgomery Stronghold as I sat down to watch the epic Stormers versus Bulls rugby game with Monty, which pleasingly we won, thereby eliminating the possibility that my watching a game is a bad omen (the first and only game I watched this season resulted in the Stormers first loss of the season!).
Delicious pizza from Old Oak Diner rounded out the experience.
Because I had earlier in the week promised to pick up Robert’s car at the end of the wedding that he was attending, I had a couple of hours to kill before midnight, meaning the perfect opportunity to head out to Ryan’s pad where I partook in a number of FIFA 2011 battles on the XBOX 360, the result being me coming out comfortably on top!
Now pretty much at the end of Saturday night, it was time for Monty and myself to make the long drive out into the depths of Durbanville, were we located the remote venue and successfully retrieved Robert and his car. Apart from witnessing a brawl on the way there which turned into a full blown police and ambulance scene by the time we returned, the trip was fairly uneventful, meaning that I finally clambered into bed alongside a snoring Chantelle just after 01:00 in the morning.
Sunday kicked off with the arrival of Evan, Natasha and little Evalynne at the Montgomery pad, where they proceeded to check out our car seats in an attempt to help them choose which model to purchase now that Evalynne is finally ready for an upgrade.
One pleasant visit later, and it was time for Chantelle and myself to leave Jess in the capable hands of Oupa and Ouma (and a slightly fragile Robert), first heading out to Plastics Warehouse in Bellville to look for cupcake containers, followed by a drive out to Cape Town where we headed over to the Village Market at the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village in a mission to suss out a new Sunday market at which to market our goods.
Unfortunately it turns out that the Village Market is on far too small a scale to make it worth our while, and after sampling a few items on sale, we decided to make a turn at the Old Biscuit Mill, a market we’ve heard plenty about, but one we’ve never actually visited.
The GPS took us to a pretty rundown area of Woodstock, and because we didn’t know what we were looking for, we immediately assumed it was wrong, and then started biting one another’s head off as we got more and more lost as we aimlessly drove about. Eventually a phone call to Claire put us on the right track, and once again we ended up at the exact spot we dismissed the first time around.
Amusingly, we had never bothered to turn our heads and look at the wall next to us, because there, written in big bold white letters is written Old Biscuit Mill – which had we bothered looking around in the first place, would have saved us from plenty of rather unsexy vitriol thrown at one another. (Seriously, when we get lost then you would be forgiven for thinking that Chantelle and I are the most bitter of enemies!)
Now laughing at our silliness again (but disappointed that the Old Biscuit Mill doesn’t operate on Sundays), we headed back towards Bellville, taking a detour as we got to Century City, where we stopped in the hopes of locating another market which we heard operated in the area. Disappointingly, this too turned out to be a goose chase as that market only operates in Summer.
Finally back in Bellville and reunited with our daughter, it was time to tuck into the delicious pork roast which Robert and Monty had prepared for us on the Weber, complemented by coffee and the rest of remaining chocolate cake for desert!
Sadly, during all our playing in the afternoon, Jessica managed to slip and badly crack one of her teeth on the tiles, putting a bit of a blemish on Sunday afternoon, but outside of that, the rest of the day was pretty relaxed and quite enjoyable, leading to a lazy drive back home in the evening, followed by the normal Sunday bed time routine to cap off what had been a pretty eventful weekend after all! :)