This season, I’m thinking blog posts will be short & sweet or not at all – since I’m hoping beyond hope that we are too busy with our happy campers for much else…  So I’m here to tell you we’re open for business in 2013 and have already had 2 sets of guests and 2 volunteers.

Our season has begun!

There was a load of stuff that had to be done before we were ready to open and we ran around like maniacs for a while trying to get everything done.  Here’s what we’ve been busy doing…

Maintenance of sewerage system: grey water baths dug out, cleaned out & mended – plug holes re-sealed, new pipe (for distributing the waste water more evenly around the bath to keep the plants moist) purchased & drilled (see photo below) – and each bath filled with fresh gravel & completely re-planted

Gardening: Steve had been nurturing veg & flower plants which had all outgrown their pots and were desperate to romp away in the ground.  Before we planted the tyre wall we first had to paint it:

The new cream colour blends in well with the stone surrounds but more importantly, the tyres don’t get so hot now they are painted a lighter colour. Aster, Sweet Pea, Snapdragon, Livingstone Daisy, Pot Marigolds, French Marigolds and Petunias have all been planted.  Waiting to join the flowery throng in the next few weeks are: Zinnia & Sunflowers (all self seeded and popped up in the compost) and Pansy & Lobelia which were sowed much later, are still growing on.

Flowers-to-be can also be found in the stream-side beds, the area just outside the building around the grease trap, my toilet garden (toilet bowls and sinks as planters in an area of shade below the main building) and, for the first time in hanging baskets.

In the beds we’ve planted out: the squashes & curcubits, tomatoes (5 varieties), capsicums, brassicas and aubergines.  Seeds for beans, peas, carrots & salad greens have all been sown and in some cases thinned and transplanted already…

The herb garden which was created last year but never used was planted with green manure over the winter.  This was dug in and left to rot down in situ and the soil was in pretty good condition.  It’s now been planted/ sowed with: coriander, basil (3 varieties), parsley (2 varieties), dill, marjoram, mint, lemon thyme, chives (2 varieties), tarragon and some edible flowers: Garland Chrysanthemum, wild pansy, borage and nasturtiums.

Cleaning and moving in: Floors, furniture, cupboards, shelves, showers, loos, sinks, tables & chairs were scrubbed clean in a 2-day marathon.  Bedding, tents, books, kitchen equipment, storage containers, towels, throws, games and loads of other stuff had to be carted down all the frigging steps at  our Topla house, loaded into the van and unpacked the other end.  We were pretty sick of walking up & down stairs & lugging stuff about.

Our first guest was supposed to arrive on May 1st.  The same Greek guy in his own tent booked to come last year and didn’t show up.  True to form, there was no sign of him this year either (next year we might just be fully booked when you enquire Mr Ionnis!) but mates Katie, Tim and their (& now our) friends Cath & Andy all the way from NZ turned up to more than compensate.  So did Jamie, our first volunteer.  He arrived late and we were all pretty wasted by the time he actually got to us and he had a great introduction to CFM – invited to share food, beer and a place round the fire, he joined the 6 of us in party mood.

Amazingly he did not surface until nearly 11.00 am the following morning and that was our first clue that he may not exactly be the greatest volunteer ever.  He was a harmless, but in many respects clueless, 21 year old, addicted to sugar and allergic to mornings – he even outdid Steve for the amount of time it took him to be ready to start work each day.  He provided the extra pair of hands needed to erect the gazebos and level the sofas and tables and he did a good job at strimming the grounds:

Our first guests arrived on May 2nd.  They had inquired but not booked, so we weren’t exactly expecting the 2 German bikers who turned up.  Timo & Katja were the perfect first guests – super people who fell in love with Daisy and the campsite and were fantastic company.

The day after they left, a Dutch couple arrived in their Landrover Defender with integral tent that had to be pitched in the only space for such vehicles, next to the workshop.  Not a pretty spot but they were glad of a place to make a base for the night as they travelled through Montenegro.  I wanted to take a picture of their South African designed tent, which enfolded from the top of the Landy but they were just too quick at de-camping…

And look who else has been visiting:

A Giant Peacock Moth!  This gives you a great idea of scale, as it’s perched on a full sized colander.  And right next to it, in complete contrast was this tiny moth – delicate and almost shell-like…

Jamie left us after a week and our next volunteer arrived.  Richard couldn’t be more different – he’s in his 60’s but fit and strong and very talented.  He’s a passionate naturist and spends as much time naked as possible.  He rises early and works late and doesn’t even eat us out of house & home.  So far he & Steve have: erected a new bookshelf in the basement & patched up the areas where water was seeping in (so hopefully we won’t lose any more books through water damage next year); dug out and concreted around a new drainage channel in front of the workshop; dismantled the boundary fence near the workshop (that was falling down due to weak posts and poor construction the first time around) and cemented in 4 new posts and as I left today he was drawing detailed plans of the new porch he’s going to build!  Thank goodness for his skill and experience – we are very lucky to be working with him.

It hasn’t been ALL work though – as well as the very pleasant diversion provided by mates on May 1st, we’ve also had an evening with Blazo, Dado and Vedran with much booze and food and laughter.  Maja, Keith, Charlie and Richard came armed with goodies for an evening picnic and we had a super time – it was wonderful seeing Maja visibly relax as she sipped her chilled Rose and wallowed in the loveliness of the evening.  And yesterday Fi & Dave came to visit after some 2 years absence and they brought Fi’s Mum to see the campsite for the first time.  Evelyn was totally enamoured by the place and as a naturist herself in years gone by she vowed to come back and camp another time.

Right, time to pack up and run back to site to make pizza for the hungry boys…  A month in review to follow at end of May, if you’re lucky.

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