Kameel Stoepstorie: Details of a railway line

The Cape to Cairo Railway was a dream project to cross Africa from south to north by rail. 

Kameel Station is 805 miles from Cape Town.  It is 4449 ft above sea level 

In the words of Cecil John Rhodes 

” the railway will form the main trunk line connecting the markets of the Cape Colony with the British South Africa Company’s territory and, ultimately, on joining with the Beira Railway Company’s line to Salisbury, will afford through means of transport from Cape Town to Beira.”

The wooden sleepers has made way for concrete sleepers.

The way the sleepers are installed also changed over the years.

Details of the switch (wissel in Afrikaans).
A switch, turnout or points is a mechanical installation enabling trains to be guided from one track to another.
It could be at a railway junction or where a siding branches off. 

The distance meter to Warrenton in the Northern Cape
179.5 km to go to the next junction.
You will notice that there is more of these distance meters standing in a row.
The next one reads 179.6 and these are 100m apart.
After the 10th marker it change to 180.
It reminds of of the road makers.
One can say different ways of transport but sharing the same information.

Dates stamped on the bar of inspections carried out

Trains are part of our daily lives. Our cottage is only 15 meters from the railway line.

Till next time

Sandra

If you love to do trainspotting. Gives us a call on 0822642763 and book the Station Master House. It is fully self catering.

Kameel Stoepstorie: When the sheep come in for a manicure

September is the month in which the sheep are getting rid of their extra warm winter coats.

What is Shearing?
When the wool is cut off of a sheep is called shearing. Shearing doesn’t usually hurt a sheep. It’s just like getting a hair cut. However, shearing requires skill so that the sheep is shorn efficiently and quickly without causing cuts or injury to the sheep or shearer.

Sheep shearing is a practice for the health and hygiene of each animal. Unlike other animals, most sheep are unable to shed. If a sheep goes too long without being shorn, some problems occur. The excess wool impedes the ability of sheep to regulate their body temperature and if sheep are not shorn in the early spring flies hatch in the long winter coats.

Wool continues to grow if not shorn, making the sheep uncomfortable. The heavy wool begins to pull on the skin and can lead to skin sores. Those sores can attract flies, leading to possible flystrike.

Unshorn sheep become itchy in the heat and begin rubbing on hay racks, fences and each other. This can lead to the fleece to felt on the sheep’s body.

The dirty unshorn wool invites flies. Shearing the wool before the flies hatch, gets rid of the dirty soiled fleece. Any cuts or abrasions that occur during shearing will heal quickly before the fly season

Till next time

Sandra

Where to stay when visiting our area

Kameel Rust and Vrede 076054808035 There is different options of accommodation available. You can stay in the Bed and Breakfast, stay in a camper van or a cabin with self-catering facilities or you can camp.

Kameel Stoepstorie: A dove breeder changed into a crockery cupboard.

Things are never just straight forward in our home. There is always room for a twist or two.

On our arrival at KameelZA, we store some of our stuff in a shed, on my brother’s farm. Once a week we would dash over to collect some of our stuff. During one of this visit, I spotted an old dove breeder standing in the shed. This was fascinating. The little doors and little bars made it even more unusual.

My brother was kind enough to pass it on to us. We left it outside for a day or two before the big clean began. Except for being out of use for quite some time, it was also a bit flimsy, but it will be ideal for a crockery cupboard.

The restoration process took Hennie some time. He used my dad little workplace as a workshop. He took the breeder apart and copy some of the doors and beams. The sanding and fitting took some time. Every time he fixed something a new challenge popped up. Some of the planks were bent and had to be flattened.

Hennie had to search for the right size bars to replaced the missing once. Parts of the back were damaged and needed replacement. As we have moved with old tin ceilings, we decided that it will be ideal for the back and it will add some texture to the, now, crockery cupboard.

One morning he announced that he needs the paint for it. I have looked at pictures of paint colours on the internet and was still dreaming which colour would it be. We decided on a steel grey colour with the name Dust to Day.

On a clear day, the compressor started and it took two days to spray paint the cupboard in every crack and nook. Once this was completed, to Hennie’s satisfaction, it was time to select the tin ceilings and installing it as the backing.

With a lot of excitement, it was carried into our cottage. I could start with the unpacking of the crockery. The way to go was to create little displays in every box.

Hope you like the final result.

Till next time
Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Rovos Rail and Kameel Railway Station

When Rovos Rail – The Pride of Africa stops at Kameel it is always a special occasion.

For those that is still wondering Rovos Rail is a train-hotel.. The trains consist of restored coaches with lounges, dinning cars, private sleeping compartments, each with private ensuite facilities. Then there is the observation car which is like sitting on the stoep of the train.

The train has different types of accommodation on board. With names like Pullman. Delux and the Royal Suite, which is half a train car

The company was started in 1989 by Rohan Vos and is family owned and Rovos Rail has its private station at Capital Park in Pretoria.

The dining car reminds of  Edwardian train travel with beautiful pre-1940 and is characterized by the carved roof that is supported with pillars and arches. The button leather seating, cristal glass and branded cutlery is all enhanced with the beautiful light fittings. The fans add to the glamour. This car is referred to as the Pillars.

The lounge car is fitted with deep sofas and wing back chairs and seems like the ideal place for an afternoon snooze as the train makes its way over the plains of Africa. Even the train is air conditioned the windows can open and you can enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of Africa.

The Observation Car is like the stoep of Africa.

Till next time

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Stations and whistle-stop around Kameel

When the train leaves Vryburg station toward Mahikeng (Mafeking) there is a couple of stations and whistle stops en-route. Today there is not much going on, on this route as the trains that use this line is transporting loads to neighbouring countries of South Africa. We have travelled on the old service road between Paradise and Madibogo to have a look at the marker boards.

First stop is Paradise. There was not a station but the farmers would leave a parcel at the rail side for transportation to the next place. The marker telling us that Paradise is 781 miles from Cape Town and the 4013ft above sea level.

The next station is Devondale. There used to be water tanks for the steam locomotives. There used to be a little shop built of stone and we would travel on the passenger train from Kameel to Devondale for an outing. The Devondale marker reads 790 miles from Cape Town and 4129ft above sea level.

Next up is Mnyani only 5 miles from Devondale. This stop was used for passengers to get a way of transportation. It was also a popular stop for parcels. The maker reads 795 miles from Cape Town and the altitude is 4207ft. As you will notice there is a climb in the altitude of 194ft over 14 miles.

Curnow used to be a whistle-stop like Mnyani. It was a popular place for passengers to make use of the train to travel to Mahikeng on the passenger train. As children, we would call this the milk stop. Farmers would load the milk on the train to be transported to Vryburg to the diary. 797 miles from Cape Town 4267ft above sea level.

The next station is Kameel and it is the station we call home. Kameel used to be a busy station with lots of rail traffic. Today the old rail lines tell the stories of better times. It was the station where the grain from the silos was loaded for the next destination. It was extended with more rail tracks round 1980. The station was also equipped with yard lights. Unfortunately, like so many railway stations, the station building and other buildings were demolished. We still have some fun when the weekly train passes by and you feel the rumble of the train under your feet. It will never be the same again but we are trying our best to uplift the station houses and the community. Kameel is 805 miles from Cape Town 4449ft above sea level.

Still, en-route to Mahikeng is Doornbult. Doornbult is a crossing and between Kameel and Doornbult was the old trolley stop. When a train approached the trolley will have a place to park next to the main line. During the Anglo-Boer War, there was also a corrugated iron blockhouse from where the British troops would protect the railway line. Doornbult is 809 miles from Cape Town and the altitude is 4470ft. This is the highest point on the railway line.

Wirsing is a railroad siding and is located in Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, North-West, South Africa. The estimate terrain elevation above sea level is 1377 metres.

Next up is Rabatho. Rabatho is 819miles from Cape Town and the altitude 4325ft

At the end of our road is Madibogo. Like Kameel Madibogo was a busy station. 821 miles from Cape Town 4038ft above sea level. The water tank is still standing the station buildings has been utilized and forms part of the community.

Thank you to everyone whom made their photo’s available.

Till next time

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Kameeldoringbome

Soos julle weet het ‘n Kameeldoringboom yslike dorings. Vir ‘n klein dogtertjie is dit sommer allermintige dorings. Onthou tot vandag dat ‘n doring in die sagte deel van my voetsool gesteek het.  Dit het gereën en ons het in die water geloop. Die nagevolg was pynlik. Ma Floss het alles probeer maar die doring het vasgesuig vir dae. Vandag nog is die letsel onder my voet die bewys van die pyn en lyding.

n Kameeldoringboom of dan Vachellia Erioloba se dorings van naderby. 

In Suid-Afrika is die Kameeldoringboom is ‘n beskermde boom. Dit lewe vir baie jare. Van die bome op die plaas was daar toe ons as klein kinders daar kom woon het. Niks krap hulle omstandighede om nie. Nie droogte of baie reën nie. Die penwortel roei baie diep en die maksimum van so ‘n penwortel is 68m.

Die Doringboom verskaf kos, skuiling, plek vir die vee en voels. Dit het ook medisinale voordele vir die mens. Pierneef het graag die bome geskilder.

Groot erkenning word aan die webtuiste gegee vir die skildery naamlik die Dyman Gallery

Jare gelede wou Pa Gerald ‘n boom uithaal wat in die pad was van ‘n ontwikkelling. Die trekker – nogal met so ‘n dakkie – en kettings is ingespan. Die trekker het gekreun en gesteun, maar toe die ketting breek en amper vir Ouboet teen die kop tref  Pa oorgegee. Die boom staan nog vandag heel gemaklik op sy plek.

Die kameeldoringboom wat die stryd teen ‘n trekker en ‘n ketting gewen het.

Die boom dra die mooiste grys peule. As jy desperaat genoeg is kan jy die peul oopbreek en die swart sade uithaal en fyn maal en gebruik as ‘n plaasvervanger vir koffie. Die fyn gemaalde saadpoeier is ook glo goed vir oorinfeksie. Gebrande as van die bas van die boom is goed om ‘n hoofpyn te genees. Die sade word ook gebruik as ‘n voer vir die vee. Die gesegde lei dat ‘n Kameeldoringboom nie sal groei voordat dit deur die maag van ‘n bees gegaan het.

Die peule met hul sagte grys kleur.

Die bygelowe het ook nie die Kameeldoringboom verby gegaan nie. Daar word geglo dat weerlig eers ‘n doringboom sal slaan voordat dit anderbome sou raak slaan. Die storie glo ek swaar. In ons jong dae het die weer 14 van Ma Floss se beeste onder die Kareebome dood geslaan. Die Kameeldoringboom was ongeskonde.

Die Versamelvoëls maak maak masiewe neste in die Kameeldoringbome. Die nes lyk soos ‘n groot hoop gras wat in die boom sit.  Wanneer jy onder die “hooimied” staan sien jy die ingange na die verskillende kamers. Dit lyk nogal soos ‘n heuningkorf. Honderde families woon in so ‘n nes en dit is ‘n gesig om van nader te beskou. Hierdie neste word vir generasies van voëls bewoon.

Ons huis is natuurlik in die skadu van ‘n Kameeldoringboom gebou.

Tot volgende keer

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Kameel Rust and Vrede Accommodation

This accommodation on the edge of the Kalahari is situated in a garden that reminds of an oasis in the middle of red sand and thorn trees.

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A visitor relaxing in the sun.

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This establishment caters for everyone and offers en suite rooms, caravan stays and camping facilities. This Cape Wagtail booked in as a camper and build a camp next to the door to one of the guest rooms.

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This family will enjoy the stay in one of the re-purposed camper vans. It sits comfortable between the trees.

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The previous years the swallow moved into the family room. This year the swallows booked late and on arrival they found that the house sparrow family has booked early and were sitting cozy in their accommodation.

The garden offers a lot of interesting and quirky places to visit. This is enjoyed by all the guests. You can visit their Facebook page here

There is a variety of ways to enjoy the gardens and watch the feathered guests.

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Till next time

Sandra

#Kameelhuisetussenspore

Stoepstorie 8: Stuart Street Harrismith

Stuart Street Harrismith as Autumn sets in

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We are part of the street as much as we are part of the town.

Our house address is 17A Stuart Street.

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De Oude Huize Yard was built in 1860! You will find it in the little block right on the right hand side.

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First Title Deed of De Oude Huize Yard

The name Stuart relates to two possibilities.
*Major Warden named all his children after the Royal house of Stuart. Rumors were that he was an unofficial grandson of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
* Stuart Jacobus, 1803 – 1878, author, diplomatic agent and advocate of emigration, took part in the Sand River Convention in 1852.

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Stuart Street in 1904 with a Rickshaw left wide sidewalk right and a railway line. Horses pulled the wagons (or coco-pans “coco pans”).

After the Boer War in 1904, the British had a huge camp on Kings Hill. Here they broke many stones, cut and trimmed it to be used for building purposes. To get these stones in the town a track was laid from Kings Hill to the town. Some of these stones were used when the Town hall was built. This information probably also explains the existence of many houses and buildings in Stuart St, which were built of stone. There were also traces of the track in Vowe and Bester streets.

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The first public building in Harrismith was the Court house, serving the community as a venue for the school, public meetings, bazaars and entertainments. All church services were held in the Court house until 1879 when the first church, the Dutch Reformed Church, was built on the site of the present Moederkerk. (Hawkins 1982)

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Stuart street on a peaceful Sunday morning. The trafic light is situated on the corner of Stuart and Piet Retief Streets.

The early magistrates were Bester, Chauvin, Theron, D Cloete, J De Kock, Bramley, (that was accused of high treason), Canisius, J N Boshoff, J Z de Villiers, F W van der Riet, Charles Warden. (Steytler 1932)

Mr. Joseph De Kock resides at De Oude Huize Yard from 23 July 1861 till 23 April 1903 almost 42 years.

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The corner of Stuart and Retief streets. The Court House on the Left. The trees planted in a square at the foot of Platberg were planted by the “konsentrasiekampkinders” and the indication where the Concentration camp was. The people of the Camp were then transferred to “Tin Town” in Ladysmith

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Corner of Stuart and Piet Retief streets today. The Court House made room for the new Post Office. The trees has grown and where the Concentration Camp use to be is now the town goal.

An almost mad Kitchener was tormented by the Concentration Camp women and children when they did not show respect when the funeral procession of Dr Godfrey Reid pass them. Instead a hissing sound was made. Reid was killed during the Groenkop battle on Christmas day. The women and children were then moved to “Tin Town” close to Ladysmith. Some were transported in open train carriages and the luck ones in proper passenger car.

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This picture was taken on the morning of 8 August 1900. A very interesting photo with significant history. On this morning more than 200 burgers of the Harrismith Commando came into town by horse, by “kapkar” and even Spaaiders. They were ready to hand in their weapons and take the consequences. In front of the Court House the Boer’s were ready to sign neutralizing document. The horses were tied to the railings. The name hendsoppers was given to the Commando members. Some came to town in their best Sunday outfits and hard hats while some came in worn out cloths. One of them was the Member of Parlement – Commandant Piet Maree.

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The guns that was handed in was demolished and was loaded onto a “bokwa”. There it was transported to the courtyard of the Court House. Here the 5th Coy Royal Engineers destroyed the weapons with a 16 pond-hammer on a anvil and hit to pieces.

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The house on the left was the home of the Sieberts-family on the corner of Stuart and Mauritz streets. The building on the right was a private school.

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Further down Stuart street is the Harrismith Club. This is still standing but been looted.

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Sandstone curbs in Stuart Street

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Stuart street with 42nd Hill in the back

Thank you to Leon Strachan, Nico Moolman en Biebie de Vos for their contribution

Till next time

Hennie & Sandra

De Oude Huize Yard

Kameel Stoepstorie: Melktert

Hier by De Oude Huize het ons ons eie melktertstorie om te vertel.

Elke storie het ‘n begin en hierdie ene begin jare gelede toe ek in 1978 skoolgehou het in Port Elizabeth.

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Die Edward Hotel se binnehof, Die biblioteek, Duncanstraat huise, en weer die biblioteek.

Die pragtige St Georges park was net ‘n paar meter van my woonstel af en was ek bevoorreg om ‘n see uitsig te hê, maar so ook die baie bekende  Havelockstraat wat ‘n paar winkels gehad het onderandere ‘n tuisnywerheid.  So staan ek eendag in die einste winkel en kyk wat ek kan aankoop vir die tee by my  vriendin wat in Prospect Hillstraat gewoon het. Net so om die hoek van die pragtige St Mary’s Church.

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Terwyl ek nog so tussen die koeke en die terte dinge bespiegel kom ‘n Oompie nader geloop, maar ek gaan my gang en toe ek hand uitsteek in die rigting van die melkterte toe vertel hy my sy melktert storie.

“Niggie ek koop toe mos ook so ‘n melktertjie om huis toe te neem.  Die dametjie vra een of twee en ek is ‘n man wat gulhartig is so ek stem in vir twee.   Die ruilhandel vind plaas geld vir tert en daar stap ek uit.  Dit voel vir my al asof ek ‘n paar spoelklippe in die sak het, maar ek gaan vroulief beindruk.  Terwyl ek nou my motor se neus so in die rigting van die huis druk wonder ek darem oor die  tertjies wat nou saam met my oppad huis toe is.  Hulle roep my naam en nooi my om tog net so ‘n stukkie verleiding te proe voordat ek by die huis kom.  Ek het die pad langs die rivier gekies om my huis toe te vat dus was daar min verkeer.  Ek maak toe ‘n plan en proe so ‘n happie  . . . .  wat ‘n skok . . .  daar was geen verleiding in daardie terte nie.  Ek het die kar se deur oop gemaak en die tert laat rol en ek is oortuig hulle het tot binne in die Baakensrivier gerol sonder om enigsins vorm te verloor”.

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De Oude Huize se melktertstorie begin by tienuur vanoggend toe ons Nederlandse gaste vanaf die Drakensberg arriveer.  Nou moet julle besef die vorige nag se gaste borsel nog tande na ontbyt.  So doller dan ‘n afkop hoender hardloop ons rond en die Nederlanders soek ‘n badkamer – wil net noem daar is ses van hulle.

Uiteindelik is die vorige nag se gaste by die hek uit en die Nederlander koek vir ‘n wyle in een kamer terwyl ons die ander kamers poleer en suig en pof en tof om reg te kry.  Ek moet byvoeg ek floreer nie wanneer dinge bietjie vinnig gaan nie!.

In die proses vergeet ek om beskuit te bak, ek vergeet om ‘n happie vir 4 uur koffie te bak. Hennie bring uitkoms en gooi ons kar se wiele in trurat en jag SPAR toe.  Op TV sê die oompie mos hul bakery is so goed.  Ek stel voor hy kyk vir ‘n melktert – so een soos in die brosjure – ‘n outydse melktert van een of ander tannie.

Binne 20 min is hy uit en tuis.  Hy het die laaste melktert gekry.

Die gaste sit aan vir koffie en koek en ek haal die tert van verleiding uit die dekseltjie bak  . .  glo vir my as die Baakensrivier naby was sou die ding ook gerol het.  Dis in ‘n tinfoelie pannetjie met baie deeg en min vulsel.  Die kalf is in die put ek kerm en verduidelik al die asprekte van ‘n ordentlike melktert en begin die affêre te sny.  Die kors splinter is fladers en die tert breek waar dit nie veronderstel is om te breek.  Ons lig die ding uit sy tinfoelie houer en sit dit in ‘n diepbord en probeer weer.  Groot genade kry ons ses stukkies uit die dingetjie.  Ons skarrel om tee en koffie te bedien en dan neem Hennie die bordjies met tert in en . . . .

Ek weet nou nie mooi wat gebeur het nie maar een stuk was seker so moeg vir my afbrekende kommentaar dat hy of dit mag ook ‘n sy wees besluit om uit die bordjie te spring en karplaks op die vloer te land.

Ons altwee staan verstom . .  daar was net 6 stukkies

Gelukkig onthou ek dat ons vroeër die dag so ‘n ou versnapperingtjie geëet het en daar ‘n stukkie “bêre vir later” oorgebly het.

Vandag bly ons op Kameel en die melktert is steeds ‘n gunsteling hier in die dorre Noordwes.

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Noodeloos om te sê ek is nou verantwoordelik vir enige tuisgebak!

Groetnis tot ‘n volgende keer

Hennie & Sandra

Stoepstorie 4: The abundance of pears

There is a pear tree in our neighbor’s garden but we are fortunate that a couple of branches arched into our driveway. On a windy day the pears would end-up on our driveway and were to bruised to eat or use. Every year we would safe some but end up with a bottle or two chutney or perhaps a starter of blushing poached pears.

This year there was a good crop of little Hood pears hanging over our driveway.

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A little research and we were ready for our harvest. Pears ripen from the inside out. Left to ripen on the tree, they may become mushy. They ripen quite nicely once harvested. The old trick of storing the pears in a cool, dry place and the add of bananas did the trick. I put the bananas on top of the pears—and the more bananas, the faster the pears ripen.

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Yesterday was Mulled Pear day.

We peeled and core the pears and let is sit in a bowl with salt water to prevent the pears to turn brown.

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First the oven needs to be preheat to 150oC.

Then it was time to make the Mulled syrup. I used crab apples to give the syrup a nice pink color. Once there was a nice pink color in the water. The crab apples were removed.

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Then cinnamon, star Aniseeds, gloves and allspice were added to the crab apple water.

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The water was put to a rapid boil and then sugar was added. The sugar was then added and once the sugar dissolved a good bottle of red wine was added. A Merlot is a fruity wine that add to the flavor. The smells from the big pot was divine. It reminded we of my Mom and the many bottles that she filled during the summer months. Her specialty was canned whole peaches. We called it cling peaches because the pip was left inside and when eating the whole peach you really have to cling on to it or it would flew over the dinning table.

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The syrup was then strained through a muslin cloth and I must say the color was looking just right.

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The pears pack into warm, sterilized jars. Pears are very bottom-heavy and I find that you have to fill the bottles with more pears than originally though. Heat the syrup to boil and pour into the jars.

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Cover the jars with lids, but do not tighten it properly. Place the jars about 5cm apart in the oven for about 2 hours. This will also depend on the size of the jars.

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Remove from the oven and seal properly and place on a wooden surface. Leave undisturbed until completely cool and check the seal the following day.

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It will last for about 12 months on the shelf of your canning cupboard.

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Proof is always in the tasting. For an early evening we had mulled pears, with Parma Ham and Goat’s Cheese Salad

Till next time

Hennie & Sandra

De Oude Huize Yard