Welcome To Our August 2015 Newsletter

This newsletter is published monthly for your benefit.

Home Improvement:  Give your house a Facelift!
For the Ladies:  Cheese Pudding
The Garden:  Pruning


Home Improvement

August is traditionally “Change of Season” month in Namibia. Winter is history and we look forward to Summer.

Winter had it’s challenges this year, but summer always comes with a whole new set of challenges and, depending on the angle you look at it, also new opportunities. Our rainy season in Windhoek normally starts in December, and between now and then we have only 4 months left, so, let us see what can be done during this time. Also let us have a look at the order of things to be done.

If your house/building needs a facelift and you decide to have it painted, then the next 4 months pose the perfect opportunity, but before you jump in, consider the following:

- Had your roof been checked for leaks?

- Do you perhaps have a SOLAR Geyser or any other installations on top of your roof? Had it been inspected recently?

- Had your gutters and down pipes been cleaned and inspected for wear and tear?

- What is the condition of your roof trusses?

- Had the trees near the building been trimmed?

So why do I have to consider the abovementioned? Simple answer. To do a proper paint job nowadays is not cheap. Any contractor offering you a cheap paint job is either going to try and save on material costs or save on labour. Both of which will cost you dearly in the long run.

So after you invested dearly in the painting of your building, why would you want to damage the paint job by having to climb on your roof to repair roof and geyser leaks? Why would you want to damage your expensive paint job to clean or repair leaking gutters and down pipes? Why would you want to damage your paint work by having to repair or replace a rotten roof truss? Why would you want tree branches and leaves scratching your new paint and blocking your pipes?

We propose if you plan on painting, first do the abovementioned. Waterproof your roof, inspect all installations on top of your roof for their condition, clean or replace the gutters if needed, inspect all your roof trusses and do the necessary repairs and trim all tree branches to be at least 1m away from the side of the building. Now you are ready to start the job that you’d set out to do. First you have to make a list of what you want.

- Decide whether you want to do it yourself or if you want a contractor to do it.

- Decide on the final finish that you want. (Matt, gloss, semi gloss etc)

- Decide how long you wish the paint job to last until you are going to re-paint again.

- Is your current paint peeling off?

- Determine if there is any moisture damage visible on your foundations and outside your bathroom and kitchen walls, in the case of double storey buildings also on the ceilings below bathrooms and kitchens.

Whether you decide to a contractor do the work or you want to DIY, you need to draw up an action list, so here goes:

  • - Get on the roof and inspect all installations for wear and tear, or get a professional to do it for you. Repair any faults and do scheduled maintenance tasks before you continue.
  • - Inspect your roof covering, gutters and down pipes for any wear and tear as well as leaks.
  • - If you find any rusted corrugated sheets and/or leaks and loose roof screws, measure and mark the areas properly. 
  • - Before you continue you should decide what to do with these areas.  If you do not have the knowledge and experience to DIY, we propose you seek assistance from a professional on how to proceed with your roof and/or gutter repairs. (Many contractors will be able to render assistance, but be careful, roof sealing and waterproofing is a specialist job, it does not always involve only fitting a piece of membrane and roof sealant.)
  • - Inspect all your protruding roof trusses and look specifically for rotten timbers and insect damage (Wood borers).  Mark and record all these because they have to be repaired or treated before you can start with your paint job.
  • - You can DIY, but we propose you get a professional to assist with the repairs or treatment of your trusses. (Most contractors will be able to assist, but make sure that they do the necessary repairs before simply painting over)
  • - Now you can proceed to have a look at the trees. Decide which branches need to be cut and DIY, or get a professional to do it for you. (Most contractors will be able to assist with this)
  • - Inspect your walls, measure and mark all areas with chalking and peeling paint as well as areas where the plaster work needs repairing. Do the same for all areas that shows any sign of moisture damage or excessive fine cracks in the existing paint work which may indicate to some underlying problem. (These areas will need special attention before the final paint work starts.)
  • - Also measure and indicate all minor and major cracks in the walls as these would need to be properly opened and repaired before you can commence with your paint job. (Any crack that protrudes deeper than the existing layer of paint into the plaster work)

  • You can now proceed to take your bulk measurements.
  • - Measure and record all wall areas (Width x Height = Square meters) and total.
  • - Measure all windows (Width x Height = Square meters) and total.
  • - Subtract the window total from the wall total to get the total area that needs to be painted.
  • - Doors do not have to be measured as they form part of the area that needs to be treated.
  • - Also measure and record all ironmongery etc. that needs to be painted or treated.

You have now done all the preliminary work that needs to be done before you can start looking for a contractor or DIY.
Next month we continue with part 2 of your home face lift!!!

For the Ladies

When it starts to warm up we start to enjoy the outside again the braai fires are lit and friends come to visit. We talk about the weather and the coming rain season and contemplate whether it is going to be a good one or if the water usage restrictions are going to becoming even worse.
But central to all this is the food that will be consumed, Ealey or in some cases in the early morning hours when the woman are all tensed up and the braaiers a bit closer to done than the meat.
To avoid this to happen it would be a good idea to have a pudding that everyone look forward to enjoy after the meal.

Serves 10-12
170g fresh breadcrumbs
Half litre milk
Half teaspoon salt
170g grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 190 C
Soak the breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes.
Add the egg yolks, salt and cheese.
Beat the egg whites and fold into the mixture.
Pour the mixture into a greased pie dish and bake until set.
Serve hot.

What to Do in the Garden this month

August is the month that your garden will start to awake from its winter sleep, and before that happen you will have to prepare the trees vines and shrubs for the growing season.

Reasons for Pruning

• to train the plant

• to maintain plant health

• to improve the quality of flowers, fruit, foliage or stems

• to restrict growth

Pruning Shrubs

Deciduous and Flower Shrubs
Pruning recommendations for most deciduous shrubs consist of thinning out, gradual renewal and rejuvenation pruning. In thinning out, a branch or twig is cut off at its point of origin from either the parent stem or ground level
This pruning method results in a more open plant; it does not stimulate excessive new growth, but does allow room for growth of side branches. Considerable growth can be cut off without changing the plant’s natural appearance or growth habit. Plants can be maintained at a given height and width for years by thinning out. This method is best done with hand pruning shears, loppers or a saw, but not with hedge shears. Thin out the oldest and tallest stems first.
To rejuvenate an old, overgrown shrub, remove one-third of the oldest, tallest branches at or slightly above ground level before new growth starts.

Pruning Mature Trees

The home gardener should limit pruning of mature trees to smaller branches that can be reached from the ground. Leave the trimming of large branches and work off the ground to professional arborists who are skilled climbers and have proper equipment and insurance. Trees generally require less pruning than other ornamentals in the landscape but may occasionally need corrective pruning to maintain health and vigor. Mature trees are generally pruned only for sanitation, safety or to restrict size.

Pruning Vines

The type and severity of pruning vary with the different uses of vines. Vines left unpruned for many years generally become unattractive. They may harbor wasps and rodents, experience foliage and twig dieback, and lose their landscape effectiveness. Vines usually cover an arbor or wall. Used in these ways, they are easily pruned to give a clean, well-kept appearance for displaying foliage, flowers or fruit. Some vines, such grape, grow so fast and thick that considerable pruning may be necessary while other species need little pruning. Prune dead, diseased or damaged vines back to healthy wood. Cut interfering and crossing branches of woody vines back below the point of interference or at the junction with the main stem. Prune out the top one-third of overgrown or elongated stems. Prune old mature stems that are declining in vigor by one-third or more.