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'Pierre's 3' Six Hundred Years And Counting

I come from several generations of farmers. So a fascination with all things farm is in my blood

The most basic and fundamental development that takes us back toward the origins of our pastoral activities, is a fence

Such a structure, although generally quite simple in design and construction, is of utmost importance to a farmer. The lack of a fence or a fence in disrepair disrupts a farmer's efficiency, and so most farmers will go to great lengths to create and maintain effective fences

Behind Cannon Rocks, on the sides of the fields along the Golden Mile stand poles of character that weave a distant tale

Perhaps a sapling in 1421..a tree that could use five centuries to reach a towering height

Felled with sweat and ax, split with hammer and wedge and bored with chisel and mallet..then planted again to stand naked against weather for another hundred years

Ptaeroxylon obliquum, the colloquial Sneezewood

Around 1850, farmers here began to border and divide their land with these poles

What is changed is the wire, seldom the wood

Sneezewood is very dense, averaging 1040 kg per cubic meter air dried, and contains a natural oil which can kill insects. Despite a cause of respiratory complications in humans, the sawdust is still used as a headache relieving snuff by some of the local Xhosa people

The wood is reported to last longer than iron or brass when used as machine bearings. It has been used to fire kilns and as a fire fuel for Steam Tugboats

Understandably, due to its current scarce status, the tree is now protected in South Africa


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