• The Woodturners…

    Father and son team, John and Andrew Early have turned their obsession with the beauty of wood into award winning pieces, using only salvaged pieces of wood. Each bowl is turned from wet wood, left to dry for up to four years, then re-turned, sanded and waxed or oiled. “Pieces will continue to dry throughout their lifetime in a dynamic process that makes them ‘living' art works, says Andrew. Experience John and Andrew Early's beautiful wooden vessels and exclusive furniture, which is sought after by decorators around the globe, and which has earned them an Elle Decoration International Design Award and a Conde Nast House Style Award. 0723656270 www.andrewearly.co.za
  • Michael J Mawdsley Jnr

    Michael trained and worked as a goldsmith and jeweller for over 25 years before turning his mind and hands to sculpture - an almost inevitable move since at the core of all his work, the creative drive had always been the main motivation.

    The whole process of taking a basic idea through to a finished bronze requires the same creative drive and ability whether working as a creative goldsmith & jeweller or a sculptor and although Michael still produces jewellery, he finds the sheer physicality of the bronze art form more challenging and more satisfying.

    Michael’s sculptural work to date covers the triad of African Wildlife, the Human Form and the Local Flora. He has produced works from the very small, often to use as door knockers or business card holders, through to large, stand-alone works of art.

    If you are interested in commissioning a specific work, please either phone him on +27 (0)83 294 0107 to discuss.
    Michael John Mawdsley Jnr: http://www.vivavoce.co.za/

  • Rob Fowler at Corrie Lynn

    Corrie Lynn & Co. furniture has been in operation for more than 10 years. They specialise in custom-made furniture using a variety of different woods.

    Robin Fowler, a self-taught cabinet-maker has successfully been designing and manufacturing wooden furniture for a variety of clients all over South Africa. These clients include corporate businesses, game lodges, hotels, restaurants as well as individuals looking for something different.

    Robin has mentored and trained Corrie Lynn & Co staff to produce furniture from raw wood to the finished product. Staff member’s craftsmanship is recognised through labels attached to the individual pieces of furniture.

    Furniture Making Workshops
    Due to demand, Robin is now offering different courses in furniture making at his workshop at Corrie Lynn Farm in the beautiful Dargle Valley in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

    Courses have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 participants to allow for individual attention.

    The courses vary from a very basic level for first time furniture-makers to more advanced specific courses on joints and specialised machinery. The price of the course includes all materials, refreshments and lunches.

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Midlands Meals Under R100

What you will soon discover, if you haven’t already, is that most restaurants in the Midlands are a part of a food culture that cares about the environment and our wellbeing. It is a place where you can go back to the simple pleasures of pasta or pizza, knowing that the meal is home baked from locally sourced ingredients. It was lunch time and we went in search of a light meal that was healthy, wholesome, organic and under R100. Here’s what we found…

#1 A wood fired pizza on a focaccia Base with mozzarella, caramelised red onion, camembert cheese & basil pesto

R90 at Il Postino Pizzeria. Dargle Road, Howick | 8 min (6.7 km) from Lemonwood Cottages I GPS: -29.475773, 30.104378 | Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 – 15:00, dinner Tuesday to Sunday, 18:00 – 21:00 | +27 (0)72 905 9390 ilpostino.pizzeria@gmail.com

#2 Balsamic Beetroot, Roast Tomato and Green Pepper Risotto

R75 at Granny Mouse I The Bistro Old Main Road, Balgowan | 19 min (18.0 km) from Lemonwood Cottages via R103 | Open daily, 07:00 – 21:00 | +27 (0)33 234 4071

#3 Fresh peppered goats’ cheese, a water biscuit and sweet fig preserve.

Fran, the owner of “Swissland Cheese” has a passion for sustainable farm life. In her small and cosy shop she has an impressive array of cheeses, all matured and cured in different ways. While you choose between a light, smooth creamed cheese or a matured Pecorino, they might encourage you to create your own picnic basket from their shop with fresh bread, olives, salami and a glass of wine.

Swissland Cheese Shop I Old Main Road, R103, Balgowan I 28 min (23.6 km) from Lemonwood cottages I Open:  Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, public holidays and school holidays from 9.00 am to 4.30pm. Closed:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, I 0824183440 I cheez@telkomsa.net I http://www.swisslandcheese.net

#4 Organic pomegranate, fresh tomato and rhubarb salad.

Michel and Sally Haigh are both artists and their quirky restaurant, Cafe Bloom, has a comfortable and friendly ambience. Their salads are seasonal as the produce is freshly picked from their vegetable garden.

Cafe Bloom. R103, Mooi River, South Africa I 34 min (36.1 km) from Lemonwood Cottages via R103 I 033 266 6118 I haigh@bundunet.com I Monday 7.30am to 4pm; Wednesday to Sunday 7.30 to 4pm

#5 Thai Salad with beef fillet strips marinated in honey, garlic, soy and ginger served on a bed of garden salad with sesame seeds and peanuts

R83.00 at Tumble Downs Café I Currys Post Road, Howick | 25 min (23.8 km) from Lemonwood Cottages via R103 I GPS: -29.420033, 30.197147 | Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 – 16:00, Thursday to Saturday, 11:00 – 18:30, and public holidays: 11:00 – 18:30 | +27 (0)82 802 2837 info@tumbledowns.co.za

Note: To give you the freshest option all menus are seasonal and the prices may change from the time of this blog post

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  • Pet Friendly @ Lemonwood Farm…

    Bring your dogs on holiday with you to Lemonwood farm!

    Canine Guest Etiquette
    A guesthouse owner's list of dos and don'ts - by Elaine Hurford

    •When you arrive - PLEASE leave your dog/s in the car. Don't let them out on a stranger's property until the host has given you the go-ahead. The resident dogs might not like it. It's best to meet on neutral territory OUTSIDE the gate where they can sniff and get to know each other, and then bring them into the property together.
    •Close gates behind you at all times! This is absolutely vital both in town (traffic risks) and rural areas (there may be farm animals about).
    •Bring the lead! I can't believe how many people travel with no form of restraint for their dogs. It's plain stupid.
    •If you are asked to keep your dog on a lead outside the room or cottage, kindly adhere to this rule. If your dog chases and harms the resident cats or ducks for example, you will have a very unhappy host. Remember that in rural areas some farmers don't hesitate to shoot strange dogs on their property. Sheep and ostriches present wildly exotic scents to urban dogs, and you do not want to go home with a corpse.
    •Bring your own dog bedding AND a big old sheet to cover sofas, chairs, beds or other comfy and tempting places to sleep. The dog will feel more at home and the host will appreciate the fact that your pooch hasn't left hair or mud on the furniture.
    •Feed your dog out of doors or in the kitchen / bathroom, preferably on a piece of newspaper, and clean up afterwards. Pick up dog poos and dispose away from the premises in a knotted plastic bag.
    •Travel with your grooming tool to brush sand and mud out of doors. Don't let wet dogs into the house - you know very well how smelly a wet dog can be.
    •Bring favourite toys and chews with you. It makes the dog feel more secure and prevents furniture damage.
    •Ask ahead whether there is an enclosed garden or patio where you can safely leave them while you go out to a restaurant or shopping. (Some owners do not make this clear in their Pet Policy.) It's not always possible to take your dog everywhere with you, and you can't leave a large pup indoors to consume the furniture and carpets - even for a minute.
    •Check ahead that the local vet will be in residence - or consult your latest edition of The South African Pet-friendly Directory to find out where the nearest vet is. Many small towns don't have a vet. You don't want to be stuck in an emergency and your host won't want to tend to emergencies at night or after hours.
    •If your dogs are diggers, they are best left at home until you've cured them. One remedy is to bury a ball of chicken wire in the hole and cover it with sand, or bury the dog's own excrement in the hole and cover it. Both are unpleasant finds for the digging dog.
    •If your dogs are barkers (and most dogs will start protecting "their" new territory very quickly), keep them quiet until a respectable hour in the morning, and on weekend afternoons. Even if they don't bark at home, you never know what exciting stimuli might be on the other side of a new fence.
    •Please keep your dogs from jumping at the hosts' small children or grandchildren - and for that matter on the hosts themselves! Your dogs may be very sociable but a lavish display of affection from a strange dog may frighten small children.