Expression in oil, instead of notes

    "To be able to play, and to play these weird instruments, that's what music is all about." For those who have had the experience of seeing and hearing Arno play live, there is no argument that Arno Carstens knows his music. And, he also knows his art.

Arno studied graphic art in 1992, following a lifelong passion with the arts. As a child he dreamed that he would embark on a career as an artist, but when he met Theo Crous in 1994, and together with Arno Blumer, Francious Kruger and Adriaan Brand, formed the Springbok Nude Girls, his focus shifted to music, where it stayed for the next 18 years.

In 2010 Arno returned to SA after 3 years of writing, recording and touring his third solo album, 'Wonderful Wild' abroad. Back in Cape Town, Arno began working on an idea for an exhibition, a 2 year journey that saw him return to his first love: fine art.

His series of 'Blind Tiger Sessions' kicked off in 2012 - a small part of the larger exhibition Arno Plus - which saw him jamming with some other musical artists in the upper room of the Lovell Gallery in Woodstock. The lower room was exhibiting Arno's art work in which he occasionally jammed with other known, 'arty' artists.

In a spacious room filled with red and black ottoman chairs, soft couches and a few glass tables, Carstens stood dressed all in black with aviator sunglasses, positively exuding coolness. He seemed to know everyone in the room, mingling to a point you begin to wonder if the fellow audience members were friends or fans. Either way, you get the feeling that Carstens is the kind of guy who would give the same performance to a stadium filled with fans, as he would to friends in his living room.

It was a brilliant concept for an unusually groovy evening: hanging out in an art gallery with some very cool South African musicians having an informal jam session.

Arno paints in oils on canvas, with themes drawn from his emotions and subconscious. The work is bold and expressive, sometimes playful sometimes sinister, with a hint of the surreal.

Visit : Arno Carstens fine art website

Arno Carstens Art

Milk in all forms and flavours

Milk from goats, sheep and cows differ in taste and structure and the markets for each also differ. Goat's and sheep's milk have smaller fat globules that humans digest more easily. Sheep's milk has the reputation of being the mildest tasting, but it is so rich in fat and other solids, that it is not drunk - most sheep's milk ends up in cheeses. Goat's milk is similar to cow's milk in butterfat and protein levels, but it has a very distinctive taste and is easier to digest, however, many people prefer the flavour of cow's milk over goat's milk.

Milking units consist of rubber-lined stainless-steel cylinders (four to a bundle for cows, two for sheep and goats) that are open at one end for the teat and have a tube at the other end to feed the milk into a pipeline. The rubber lining, or inflator delivers a pulsed vacuum to suck the milk out of the teat and down the tube to the pipeline, which delivers the milk straight to the bulk tank in the milk house.

The insulated, stainless-steel bulk tank is electrically cooled and contains an agitator to make sure an even temperature is maintained from top to bottom and that the cream in cow's milk does not float to the top.

All sanitisers and cleansers, including chlorine and iodine, that are used in conventional dairying are specifically allowed in organic dairies as long as there is no residual in the milk. The exception is quaternary ammonia, which has high residue qualities, and phospherus-based sanitisers used to sanitise equipment. The first milk through the line after these types of sanitisers are used must be discarded.

  • Sheep are milked 3 - 8 months a year and may produce anywhere from 45-500 kg of milk in a season, depending on the breed of the sheep.

  • Goats average 10 months of lactation and between 360 - 2268 kg of milk per year, again depending on the breed of goat.

  • Cows generally are milked for 10 months of the year and produce between 7711 - 8165 kg of milk, though seasonal grass-based cow dairies are often more in the range of 5443 - 6350 kg and some total-confinement operations feeding high energy rations will reach 11 340 kg or more with individual cows.

Processors of both organic and conventional milk have a standard measure of quality - the somatic cell count. These cells (also known as white blood cells) are the diary animal's response to infection and disease. A high somatic count is related to lower production and lower percentages of fat, lactose and casein in the milk as well as a shorter shelf life and off flavours. Environmental stresses such as udder infection, heat, sore hooves and other sources of discomfort also makes an animal more susceptible to infection.


Healthy soil

It's hard to imagine that a cubic metre of earth can contain more species and more individuals than a rain forest, but that's the nature of healthy soil. Every acre is inhabited by about 2 tons of living organisms, while the number of individual organisms in that space is estimated to being far greater than the world's entire human population.

Since everything produced on a farm or in a garden ultimately derives from the soil, good soil management is the cornerstone of sustainable organic farming. Good management includes understanding what soil is, how it functions, how it stays fertile and healthy in ecosystems that are without human interference. Good crops become by-products of healthy soil and crop yields are maintained by sustaining the health of the soil.

Rock particles

Fertile soil is about 25% air and 25% water. The remaining 50% is made up of 3 components: tiny rock particles, organic matter and living organisms. Soils are technically described by their dominant rock particle size, and soils that are a good mix of 30 - 50% sand, 25-50% silt and 10-25 % clay are called loam, which has the best texture for plant growth.


A measure of alkalinity or acidity of the soil is the soil's pH rating, which has a huge effect on plant growth and nutrient availability. Crops with significantly high or low pH will have significantly lower yields and problems with nutrient deficiencies. A pH of less than 7.2 is acidic, while a pH of higher than 7.2 is alkaline. Each number represents a tenfold difference i.e. soil with a pH of 5 is 10 times more acidic than that of a pH of 6, and a 100 times more acidic than soil with a pH of 7. Most plants and soil life perform best at a slightly acidic or near-neutral pH (between 6.5 and 7.2). Ph of the soil can be fixed over a period of time with the use of calcium (more alkaline), magnesium and sodium (more acidic).


Of the 16 nutrients that plants need, they extract three - carbon, oxygen and hydrogen - directly from the air. The remaining 13 need to come from the soil. A soil's parent rock is important, since it determines which of the 13 necessary plant nutrients might be naturally present in the rock particle component of the soil. Igneous rocks such as granite and basalt may contain as much as 12 of the 13 nutrients, while sedimentary rocks vary : sandstone-derived soils tend to be dry and infertile, while limestone-derived soils contain a lot of calcium and magnesium. If there is a pH imbalance or a chemical lock (eg phosphorus) on the nutrients, the plants will not be able to absorb them.

Organic Matter

Organic matter (nutrient rich material derived from decaying matter) not only holds the mineral components together, but also provides nutrition for the plants. During their lifetime all organisms take up nutrients, and after death these organisms decay and release these nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur) in forms that can be absorbed by plants. Organic matter is slow to break down and therefore provides nutrition over a long period of time. It also acts as a sponge, holding 6 times its weight in water, which improves the soil's ability to hold water and nutrients. And because organic matter absorbs so much water, it reduces water run-off and erosion in all soils.

Source : The Organic Farming Manual

Soil health

Zip-lining down the berg

A little bit of adventure is afoot in the ceres mounatins with the adrenaline pumping experience of zip-lining. This activity can be done by anyone over the age of 3 (but is not suitable for pregnant women, people with neck and spinal problems or people heavier than 120kg), but is widely revered and promoted by young teenagers wanting their first major adrenaline rush. The zip-line experience is a safe way to have fun, get the blood pumping, and enjoy the natural environment with rivers, mountains and fynbos beneath.

The Ceres zipline consists of 8 zip runs, each one differing in lengths and angles. The zip lines are all between 100 and 290m in length and allow adventurers to reach some decent speeds. The highest slide is 40m above ground and if you are scared of heights, this adventure is a great way to conquer your fears.

The first line allows a guinea pig run to gauge the end of the zipline run and to try with the friction handle on the cable, the action of braking in time to stop on the landing mattress.

The second line is longer and since the intial breath holding and trial run is out of the way, allows a small little look around at the scenery. As the zipliner becomes more used to the action of braking and over the intial buttefly-in-the-tummy feeling of being suspended in the air on a cable, traveling at faster than walking speeds, the experience becomes more about seeing what is around, the river running below, the potholes in the rocks, the dassies sunning themselves and the birds in the air, as well as watching the expressions of the people waiting to start their turn at the run.

The longest run on the Ceres zipline is 290m long and requires leaving the brake off till the last possible moment. Braking too early could leave the zipliner temporarily stationary in the middle of the line watching the water flow below, and requires good arm strength to pull themselves to the end landing zone.

The price of the zipline is well worth the experience and the 8 runs is just long enough to leave you wanting to go back to the top to try it all again.

For more information visit the Ceres Zip line website.

Ceres Zipline

Hot News

Airport Industria in flower!

The project we completed earlier this year for Airport Industria is in full bloom.

Airport Industria

Featured Plant

Calodendron Capense

Calodendron Capense
(Cape Chestnut)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous tree to 10 m with heads of pink flowers.

Flowering time :


Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Average water
  • Semi-deciduous
  • Wind resistant
  • Some frost resistance
  • Well drained soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Unwooded Chardonnay 2013

Winery : Neethlingshof
Winemaker : De Wet Viljoen

Description :

An unwooded dry white wine made in Stellenbosch.

Aroma : Rich fragrance of pear and citrus.

Palate : Fresh and vibrant with rich layers of fruit and a crisp and lingering after-taste.

Winemaking : Grapes are harvested by hand in end of February and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is ready to drink ow or over the next 2 years.

Food Pairing : Immensely food friendly it pairs well with poultry, seafood and summer salad.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email Karen or visit her website.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    October's Teaser Answer :
    "Easy on the eyes"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82