PATTERNS: FENCES

This standard farm fence borders one of my favourite views seen from the Highlands road. The view changes according to the light and the seasons; the tall aloe is a landmark and the flowers too change with the seasons.

The height of this fence along with the many close strands indicate that it borders a game farm and is designed to keep most wild animals within its perimeters. We have, however, seen a kudu sail over such a fence with ease.

This very sturdy fence at the Doornhoek Lookout Point in the Karoo National Park is designed with the safety of visitors in mind: it is too high for children to reach over – yet allows them a view – and too sturdy to be pushed over by adults, yet is a comfortable height for photographs to be taken over it. It is situated right on the edge of a spectacular precipice that can be viewed in safety.

RUST OF AGES

It is common knowledge that rust – oxidation – is the result of iron, or metal alloys containing iron, being exposed to the elements – oxygen and water – over a period of time. From a distance the rich hues of this rusty fence post stands out in the veld. The snipped off wires a clear indication that it is no longer needed.

The pitted surface is clear in a closer view. Even this abandoned metal fence post has provided shelter for a creature.

The next four photographs were taken in our local cemetery. The first is from a railing surrounding a grave over two hundred years old.

Sadly, this twisted broken end tells an all too common tale of the vandalism of graves by scrap metal collectors. Not only has it caught a winged seed of a plant, but has clearly provided a useful perch for a bird.

This is one of very few remaining caps on what is left of rails around a different grave – most of the others have been twisted or sawn off.

Who can tell for how much longer these curled metal shapes will remain before they too are removed for a pittance.

The rust borne of ages past.

EARLY ONE MORNING …

… I was driving along what has become a very familiar country road when I stopped to admire the sun being blocked by these clouds:

It took a little while to break free and in the meanwhile the surrounding dips and valleys were still filled with the mist that had left tiny droplets on the vegetation in the veld.

By now the soft light of the early morning sun was highlighting the grass and the different hues of green leaves on the trees. The road ahead looked inviting:

The still low sun casting tree shadows right across the gravel road. Those early morning clouds quickly dissipate into the soft blueness of the sky. It feels good to stop along this road now and then to listen to the different sounds of the singing birds, the snort of blesbuck, the distant baaing of sheep or the deep bellowing of cattle. Some flowers peep through the grass, spiderwebs still glisten with drops of dew, and there is a mantle of peace that draws me back to thinking about the people who tamed this land as best they could with what little they had, and how many of those early farms no longer grow crops but have been amalgamated to provide enough grazing for cattle, sheep or game. This old fence post bears testimony to the past:

FENCES ALONG A COUNTRY ROAD

This country road winds through a variety of land-use areas that raise cattle, sheep and game. There are other farming activities too, all of which require fences along their perimeters at least. The first photograph is of dew drops caught on the game fence flanking the road I featured yesterday. It is sturdily constructed and has an electrified strand along the top.

Here is another multi-stranded game fence with an extra high strand. I have, nonetheless, watched a kudu bull jump over it and a black-backed jackal hop through it with ease.

This barbed wire fence in the foreground has been replaced by an electrified game fence – a sure sign of how differently the land has been utilised.

Here is an ordinary farm fence with old sneezewood poles in the background.

Another farm fence with a glorious view beyond.

Lastly, this one shows that not all fence posts remain upright, but wobble over time.