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In 1995 we moved from Namibia to a town called George on the Garden Route in South Africa – we found this wonderful property, first registered in 1861. The place was very neglected, but I undertook to start a guest house, so that the house could at least pay for its own upkeep after the restoration. That is the start of my life as a guest house owner and this is the story of a house and garden,lovingly restored and shared with our guests, with family and friends…

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Summer garden 2014

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in Garden | 3 comments

Summer garden 2014

After 20 years at Fairview  our garden can now be described as  a mature garden. It amazes me that Desmond still finds space for new plants and flowers. The latest being rare vegetables grown from seed given as a birthday present by our son Alex. We have candy striped beetroot, 3 different varieties of kale (also Russian curly kale) , coloured carrots and 12 different varieties of tomatoes. Desmond’s trellis for the broad beans and tomatoes are up and ready for the new season.     Share...

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Romance of the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam train

Posted by on Nov 30, 2014 in Reasons to stay a week! | 0 comments

Romance of the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam train

  As the Guest House closest to the Railway Museum and departure point of the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe train, we had many guests who stayed at Fairview Homestead because we are within walking distance to the Railway Museum. Hard to believe, but the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe had been steaming along for almost a century, when it was eventually stopped in its tracks by the devastating floods of 2006 which caused mudslides along the scenic route of Kaaimans Pass and rendered the tracks impassable. The estimated repair costs were so prohibitive that the...

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Open Garden 8 November 2014

Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 in Garden | 0 comments

Open Garden 8 November 2014

What an amazing Open Garden Festival 2014 – we collected just over R6000-for BADISA. We not only opened our garden, but had a pop-up   tea garden with delicious cakes and healthy lunches on offer.  Desmond was there to do the rounds of our garden with local gardening enthusiasts and Michelle van Heerden was not only photographer on duty, but supervised the third generation of best buddies – babies Amelie and Luella (Helen and Andries are our best friends and to our delight our friendship extended through our children and now the...

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Visit to our Garden by the British Royal Horticultural Society

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Accolades, Garden | 0 comments

Visit to our Garden by the British Royal Horticultural Society

It is countdown to the annual Garden Route Open Garden Festival this Saturday and Sunday. Desmond is gardening before work and I hardly get greeted before he is off into the garden again after work (he jokes that he actually goes to rest in his air conditioned medical practice during the day as the real work starts when he gets home!)All the hard work shows – our garden is looking spectacular. I am excited about a little collaboration with Of the Earth Catering  -  delicious French pastries and healthy lunches will be served at Fairview...

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Trees

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in Garden, Reasons to stay a week! | 0 comments

Trees

Our garden is graced by big trees – most were here when we bought the property 20 years ago, some were lost in storms over the years and some were planted by Desmond from small cuttings and now stand proudly and tall. Desmond’s father was a forester and their 6 Benkenstein boys grew up on Forestry stations and learning about trees and forests from their dad. Desmond’s brother Leon remembers life at the Jonkersberg plantation: “It was in the late fifties. Our nearest town was George, about 30 km away. Apart from life at...

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Owls at Fairview – a spring baby owl

Posted by on Oct 12, 2014 in about my B&B life | 1 comment

Owls at Fairview –  a spring baby owl

Much excitement – first when we realised that the owl house that the Benkenstein boys built last December  had occupants and this week the Fluff-Ball made his/her appearance:   Venturing out bravely into the world   Mommy owl just before she dive bombed Juno!   Mom and Dad both keeping an eye on us Share...

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Kale – super food

Posted by on Sep 27, 2014 in about my B&B life, Food & Feast, Garden | 1 comment

Kale – super food

In case you missed it -  1 Oct was officially National Kale Day     Lately I have been supplying our local Health Shop with leaves. Actually, most of the time I exchange it for organic plain yoghurt!  Apparently, they mostly sell it for people on a raw food diet.  It is known for anti-cancer properties  as Kale is  a source of ondole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Because we have familial high cholesterol I was particularly interested to read that Kale has...

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our new laundry room

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in about my B&B life | 0 comments

our new laundry room

When you have a guest house the laundry room is a very,very important area and after 20 years we are embarking on a major renovation of this important space. I chose a brown tile to match the quarry tiles in the kitchen. The walls will be painted in a lovely teal – inspiration for the colour comes from a painting that our son Eckart did when he was a little boy. Judging by the fact that my blog post http://fairviewhomestead.com/5-rules-for-a-tidy-linen-cupboard/  remains a very popular read, it is probably not just accommodation...

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It was a hoot to build the Fairview owl-house (Guest Blogger is our son Alex Benkenstein)

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in about my B&B life, Garden | 2 comments

It was a hoot to build the Fairview owl-house (Guest Blogger is our son  Alex Benkenstein)

We are so excited – the room with the best view (our owl box) is occupied!  During the day he sits on one particular branch. Spotted Eagle-Owls mate for life. The female lays two to four eggs and does the incubation. While our male keeps an eye on the cement owl that my brother brought from New Bethesda , our lady is on her post in the owl-box – the incubation period lasts approximately a month. I just have to re-post  the  post written by our son shortly after they finished building the owl-house.     This past December...

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Spring is in the air – a Spring Cleaning Checklist

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in about my B&B life | 0 comments

Spring is in the air – a Spring Cleaning Checklist

At Fairview we cannot wait for Spring to keep dust and dirt under control. I share my ultimate cleaning lists with you: KITCHEN The Basics to a clean kitchen – every day.  Open windows Dust light fixtures  Dust  blinds Clean windows and window sills. Shine micro, fridge and stove doors Wash walls, doors, trim and switch plates if needed. Clean sink. Shine taps Declutter work surfaces Empty garbage and compost bin Sweep and wash floors The Extras: Remove window screens Clean and reseal grout if necessary Tidy drawer with kitchen cloths...

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