Patchwork | October in the Garden

We've had rain! The dams have apparently almost reached 70%, and hopefully there will be more rain before temperatures start rising more rapidly. I don't think Cape Town's relationship with water will ever go back to what is once was, and that's not a bad thing. As we head into the heart of Spring, it's the perfect time to get planting while the ground is fertile from the rain.

October's plant list:
Amaranth, Basil, Bush and Climbing beans, Beetroot, Butternut, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Carrot, Chard, Cape Gooseberry, Celery, Chives, Chilli, Cucumber, Eggplant, Kale, Kohlrabi, Ginger, Globe Artichoke, Leek, Leaf Mustard, Lettuce, Jerusalem artichokes, Onion, Parsnip, Parsley, Peas, Potato, Pumpkin, Radish, Rhubarb, Sweetcorn, Sweet pepper, Sweet potato, Turnip, Tomato, Watercress, Watermelon, Zucchini

October's What's-in-season list:
Vegetables: Globe artichoke, Beetroot, Green beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chives, Courgettes, Cucumber, Leeks, Garlic, Lettuce, Mealies, Mushrooms, Onion, Parsley, Parsnips, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radishes, Spinach, Squash, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Waterblommetjies

Fruit: Apricots, Mulberries, Bananas, Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruit, Naartjies, Guava, Paw-paw, Pineapples, Kiwi, Rhubarb, Strawberries

Happy planting!
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HVCID AGM REPORT BACK - CAMERA INITIATIVE


HVCID AGM REPORT BACK - CAMERA INITIATIVE


The HVCID AGM was held on Tuesday night and whilst it was well attended, we would have loved to have seen more residents showing their support for safety and security in the Village. Thank you to all of you who did attend.

Our Chairperson, Bruce Burmeister tabled his report and in particular gave details and progress of our camera initiative. We are pleased to advise that with the funds raised from the carnival, we have been able to purchase 1 License Plate Recognition ("LPR'') camera and 4 overview cameras. These cameras, together with the 2 LPR cameras donated to us by Fidelity ADT will be strategically installed in the Village by the end of 2018. Whilst we cannot release details of the exact positions of the cameras, we can advise that their positioning was decided upon after consultations with SAPS, Fidelity ADT and Har-Lyn Neighbourhood Watch. The cameras will be monitored by Fidelity ADT 24/7 at no cost, as part of their ongoing sponsorship and support to HVCID and Harfield Villagers for which we are very grateful.

Other matters raised included:
  • The Harfield Village Carnival next year, will be held on Saturday, 6 April 2019, and again most of the funds raised from the event will be used to purchase cameras. 
  • We will again host Halloween in the Park on 31 October 2018. Further details to follow. 
  • We will be donating R5 000 to Friends of Harfield Parks for the railway clean up. 
A reminder that Jenni Coleman, the HVCID manager, is available to assist with all matters related to safety and security in the Village. Please drop her an e-mail at admin@hvcid.co.za.


JENNI COLEMAN
Manager - Harfield Village Community Improvement District (HVCID)
Cel: 081 412 6109   E-mail: admin@hvcid.co.za

Fear and the brain reaction.

When the fear is near and the brain reacts: Halloween is fast approaching, so watch out for all things that go bump in the night and scratch with long fingernails at your window!


By Dr Samantha J. Brooks Ph.D.

Famously, Franklin D. Roosevelt in his inaugural address as the 32nd President of the United States of America in March 1933 said that “there is nothing to fear but fear itself….that nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance”. The 32nd POTUS could well have made an excellent neuroscientist, for he touched on factors that explain how the brain perceives threat and creates a sense of fear.  As is the case during Halloween which, as children know very well, the things we fear the most are usually not real, and can be concocted from our wildest imaginings.  What seems - out the corner of our eye - to be a vicious snake, may turn out to be nothing more than a length of old rope well past its prime.  And when hanging off the edge of a mountain, it is not our immediate situation that we fear, but what may happen next (falling off!).  Neuroscientists have done a lot of research over the years to identify the brain circuitry of fear.  So what can neuroscientists tell us about fear, and how to overcome it when those critters come knocking at the door, looking for tricks or treats?!


Professor Dean Mobbs, at California Institute of Technology and Professor Joseph LeDoux of New York University in the USA are both neuroscientists who have done a huge amount of research into the fear network in the brain.  Prof Mobbs wrote a highly cited paper published in the journal Science using virtual reality to mimic a predator with an ability to chase you through a maze, capture you and potentially inflict pain, all while lying in a brain scanner.  Prof Mobbs and his team found that as the predator in the virtual reality world got closer, causing the person’s fear and threat to increase, the prefrontal cortex activity of their participants began to turn off, while their brainstem activity began to ramp up.  The brainstem, and evolutionarily older midbrain areas, such as the amygdala and hippocampus, are associated with arousal, excitement and impulsivity.  So when you see the rope that looks like a snake, or are hanging off the edge of a cliff, or if a little critter knocks on your window or goes bump on the night of Hallow’een, you’ll know that these parts of your brain are probably working on overdrive. 

Physiologically, we only have a limited number of responses in the body to fear, and these are preserved across many animals – just look at your cat or dog the next time they are scared and whimpering in the corner, hair standing on end with their tail between their legs.  As humans, we don’t have a tail, but the hairs on the back of our neck or arms invariably stand up when we’re afraid, we may sweat, feel rigid and stuck to the spot and we may shake with Elvis Legs!  But it’s actually how we consciously evaluate these bodily responses that is key to our feeling afraid, and this provides an optimistic insight into how to overcome fear.  For example, we can get similar bodily responses when we are positively excited or see something (or someone) we like, or when we see something we have learned to negatively evaluate (from others or our own experience).  However, these bodily responses are always about the same – it is just the stimulus, and therefore the story that we tell ourselves about it that changes. 


This insight – knowing that it is rather how we perceive our limited bodily responses to unlimited environmental stimuli (ropes, snakes, sexy film stars, mountain edges, Hallow’een critters!) that causes the fear – helps us to gain control and master our demons.  Hallow’een can be fun because – in children and adults alike – we all know that it is likely just somebody nice hiding underneath the costume, pretending to scare us!  The same goes for horror movies – they can be fun because real actors are pretending, so that they can stimulate our evolutionarily old midbrains – while we can evaluate that they are simply just actors on a screen.  And so we can take this knowledge of ourselves, our bodily responses and our fears one step further.  This Hallow’een, try to catch yourself and how your body responds as you turn a corner and are briefly caught off-guard by a makeshift Freddie Kruger with scissor hands!  And laugh at yourself as you re-evaluate your initial reaction to your bodily responses.  And next time you fear something you think is real – try to re-evaluate it in the same way!  If you’re on the end of a rope climbing up a sheer mountain face, no matter what your brain is screaming at you – you are going to be alright!   Happy Hallow’een Harfielders! 

Dr Samantha Brooks is a UK neuroscientist working with the University of Cape Town, specialising in the neural correlates of impulse control from eating disorders to addiction.  For more information on neuroscience at UCT and to contact Samantha, see www.drsamanthabrooks.com.








Best Time to Buy Property

As soon as you can is the best time to buy property.

It almost always makes more sense to buy a home rather than rent, says Rudi Botha, CEO of SA’s biggest bond originator BetterBond, simply because being a tenant means giving away what you would have spent on housing anyway, without anything to show for it.

“By contrast, home ownership is the easiest way for young people, especially, to accumulate personal wealth. This occurs as the value of the property appreciates over a number of years and the size of the outstanding home loan decreases month by month. There are also several relatively easy ways to accelerate this process, such as paying an extra amount off your bond each month.

“You can also maximize the possibility of value appreciation by buying in an area where your target price is in the lower tier of current prices in that area. That way, your home will have less vulnerability during any downturn and the higher-priced homes will help pull yours up during ‘hot’ markets.”

There are those, he says, who believe that the real estate market is not yet at the bottom of its current cycle, and that they should wait for home prices to become even more negotiable than they are at the moment. “But even property experts can’t really time the market with any degree of precision, because there are just so many factors to take into account.

“The reaction to major economic or political events, improvements or declines in consumer and business confidence, interest rate increases or decreases, crime, employment, supply, demand, migration, urbanisation and densification vary literally from suburb to suburb, so consumers should rather set their own purchase agenda and buy when the timing is right for them.”

Botha says there is naturally some resistance to buying among those who know they are going to have to move again in a year or two, “and our advice to such consumers is often that it may be better to use this time to save a substantial deposit for a home in their new location.

“However, those who are staying put should, we believe, be buying as soon as they can possibly afford to do so, because overall market conditions do favour buyers at the moment, in that there is a surplus of stock for sale and that it is relatively easy to obtain a home loan.

“The banks are currently keen to lend to home buyers, as evidenced by the fact that we have been able to secure approval for more than 80% of the bond applications we submit for the past six months – and that almost two-thirds of applications are being converted now into formal bond grants.

What is more, he notes, BetterBonds’ multiple-bank submission process ensures that it is able to negotiate the best available interest rate for every client – and in the process set them up to cut a substantial amount off the total cost of their home over the life of the bond.            

Issued by etc.


Anne-Marie Bamber is Norgarb Properties dedicated Home Loans Consultant. She has over 15 years’ experience in assisting clients with their Home Loan needs and has placed many happy families in their dream homes.

Contact her today for no cost stress-free home-buying.
Anne-Marie Bamber
Home Loans consultant
Tel: +27 (0)21 851 3568 | Fax: +27 (0)21 441 1494 | Cell: +27 (0)82 071 1665
E-mail: anne-marie.bamber@betterlife.co.za









Loft Conversions

If you’re looking to expand your home without the hassle of a full-on extension, then a loft conversion may be just what you are after. Converting your loft or attic into a beautiful living space is far more cost effective than a normal extension and will make practical use of an area of your home which is more than likely harbouring dust and unwanted clutter. Not only is a loft conversion more affordable and very trendy, but it actually adds value to your property.

Image from coolloftconversions.co.uk

Although a DIY might seem like fun, it is best to get the professionals in to do this one as there are quite a few things to consider and some processes best handled by those who know what they are doing. For starters you’ll need to check the dimensions of your loft to see if there is enough height for the conversion, including space for a staircase. The general requirement is around 2.1 – 2.3m with at least a 2m clearance above the position of the stairs. The roof will also need to be checked for any water leakages and the area will need to be assessed for electrical work, heating, plumbing, etc. Keep in mind that certain roofs such as trussed, flat, and those with a very low pitch will probably not be able to be converted.  However, once the area has been assessed and you have the go ahead, the fun can begin!

How you install your loft conversion will obviously depend on the assessment and what you would like to convert your loft into. There are many options and your imagination is the limit – think home office, games room, music room, home theatre, bedroom, gym, a children’s play den, or even that walk in closet you’ve been dreaming of!

Image from charlesgrosvenor.co.uk

Image from hartmanbaldwin.com

Here are the things you will need to consider:

Planning Permission

Whenever you add extra living space to your home, you will more than likely need planning permission. Having a loft converted will often require that plans be drawn up and you’ll have to make sure that these are in line with the national building regulations and are approved by your local council. It sounds like a pain but the good news is that, in most cases, the experts you hire will draw up the plans and have them passed for you.

Windows

Windows are important for natural light and ventilation. If you already have a large loft you can simply install roof windows – choosing a size that suites the space. Picture a bedroom with windows that run from floor to ceiling, creating a light and open room. If your loft is a bit on the small side with little height readily available then you may want to look at something called a dormer extension. Dormers are a bit like bay windows that jut out of the roof and extend the space. Obviously this will be more noticeable than your roof windows but are just as stunning.

Flooring

Most loft floors are intended simply to retain the ceiling underneath and not to support an entire living space. For this reason you may need to look at strengthening the floors. Another option you need to look at is what type of flooring you’d like in your finished conversion – carpets, wood, etc. The professional you hire can give you some good advice on what is and isn’t possible.

Stairs
Image from bragallaboutit.com
Access to your new space is obviously very important and careful planning is needed when it comes to the design of the staircase. Stairs take out a big portion of floor space and whilst you will want to position it so it is out of the way, you also don’t want it so close to the eaves that you bang your head every time you go up. The stairs will also need to accommodate furniture being carried up and down as you design the interior of your space – so whilst a spiral staircase might be aesthetically pleasing, they aren’t altogether practical and can be quite expensive to manufacture.

Once your loft conversion specialist has all the details and plans, then the conversion can begin. And once the conversion is done, you can have absolute pleasure in designing the interior of the space – choosing wall colours, buying the furniture pieces, deciding where to place them, and ultimately enjoying the beauty of your newly extended, trendy home.


Norgarb Properties Agent Andre Ter Moshuizen who specialises in the Claremont area, shares some household tips and handy home hints with you every month. Read more of his articles here. [https://harfield-village.blogspot.co.za/search?q=andre]

Andre Ter Moshuizen: 082 602 1367 | andre@norgarb.co.za | www.norgarbproperties.co.za








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Summer Salad Recipes

Salads are a wonderful lunch as long as they are balanced with protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat.

Delicious Pasta Salad


Ingredients:
• 200g of small pasta 
• 1 bunch broccoli, cut into 2cm pieces 
• 33 tbsp. white wine vinegar or lemon juice
• 1 small onion, chopped 
• 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
• 2 tsp. Dijon mustard 
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large 
• 1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced 
• ¾ cup celery, diced
• ¾ cup almonds, coarsely chopped 
• ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn 

Method:
1) Cook the pasta as per the directions and steam the broccoli.  Allow to cool
2) Mix together the vinegar or lemon juice, onion, garlic and mustard in a bowl and season with salt and pepper
3) Add the pasta and broccoli together with the tomatoes, pepper, celery, almonds and basil 
4) Pour the dressing over the top and serve

Mexican Salad


Ingredients:
• 1 medium head romaine lettuce, chopped 
• 1 medium bell pepper, diced (any colour)
• ½ medium red onion, diced 
• ½ medium green apple, diced 
• 1 medium zucchini, diced 
• 4 medium tomatoes, diced
• 1½ cups of sweet corn
• 1½ cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed

Dressing Ingredients:
• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• ¼ cup fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons honey
• ½ teaspoon cumin
• 1 clove garlic, finely minced
• ½ teaspoon salt
• freshly ground black pepper

Method:
1)  Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine
2)  Combine all the ingredients for the dressing
3)   Add the dressing to the salad ingredients and stir to coat all the ingredients and serve

Kim Hofmann RD(SA)
Phone: 021 674 4666
Cell: 084 206 2715

How do our brains enable us to sense the changing of the seasons?



Spring is in the air as we emerge from the dark, wet winter months in Cape Town.  But how do our brains enable us to sense the changing of the seasons, and how are our biological rhythms formed?

 By Dr Samantha J. Brooks Ph.D.




One may think that it is only women who have a biological clock, but in fact we all have brains that govern – and are governed by – daily, monthly and yearly cycles. Neuroscientists know this because when participants are placed in isolated circumstances during research studies, the usual sleep-wake cycles, monthly fluctuations (applicable to both men, in the form of testosterone production, and women, in terms of oestrogen cycles) and yearly hibernation patterns remain, despite the changing external circumstances. For example, we all know how groggy and jet-lagged we feel after a long-haul flight, particularly when we travel West to East as our brain tries to adjust to the change in light to dark cycles. And if you’ve ever moved from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere, it takes a while for the brain to catch on to the fact that winter is now in July, and the height of summer is in January! How then, do our brains cling to an internal body clock, even when the external surroundings change?

CLOCK genes help to regulate the systems within the brain that determine our sleep/wake and annual cycles, and can be found in most organisms and animals on earth. They are self-sustaining regulators or biological pacemakers for physiological and psychological processes such as core body temperature, blood sugar, blood pressure, food intake, cognitive performance and mood. In terms of brain areas, the supra-chiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus receives information from the eyes about darkness and light. This may partly explain why shift-workers such as nurses, doctors, late-night shop keepers and long-distance lorry drivers are most prone to disturbances in their biological rhythms, moods, and even food intake (people with irregular working patterns are more likely to gain weight). Other brain areas include the pineal gland, which secretes the hormone melatonin in to the blood stream to paralyse muscles, particularly during the dark night hours.  CLOCK genes also influence the growth of brain cells, and as such may be related to how well we create new neural pathways through learning. If we are flexible and can learn to adapt quickly, then jet-lag and out-of-hours shift work may not become a problem for too long.  The issue with jet-lag and out-of-hours work is that in the longer term, it can lead to cognitive deficits and neurological dysfunction, to the point where memory and hand-eye coordination deficits become dangerous to the person and to those around. The changing of the seasons, while a bit discombobulating, happens at a slower pace than jet-lag for example, and coincides less with cognitive deficits.

Nevertheless, we must try to remain flexible during the changing seasons, so that our circadian rhythms do not become irregular for too long and so that we can better adjust to new external circumstances (e.g. moving from dark winter months to bright, summer days).  Irregular circadian rhythms can lead to various psychiatric disorders, including major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, stress dysregulation, eating disorders, drug addiction, and alcoholism, as well as age-related cognitive deficits including Alzheimer’s disease. The transition from winter to summer is always easier than from summer to winter, but still for some it can be a distressing time, as the body has to readjust to an altered external routine. The good news is that there are mainstream methods available to strengthen our ability to be cognitively flexible, so that our brain can quickly adapt to a new external situation, whether it be a new time zone, hemisphere, country, job or season. One method that has become popular in recent years is mindfulness therapy, which teaches a person to reconnect with the sensations arising from the body (physiological and emotional) and to not focus, or ‘latch-on’ to changing external factors. One popular mindfulness technique is called ‘the body scan’, which can easily be done at home and encourages people to focus on the feeling of different body parts, from toes to the top of the head. Such a practice can really help to direct attention away from the altered external reality, and towards the body’s natural rhythms. 

So as we approach summer once more in Cape Town, try to follow some mindfulness links on the internet, which will help to stave off any readjustment issues one might have to the changing seasons. And by doing so, our minds and bodies will be in tip-top shape to enjoy another glorious summer in our beautiful city.

Dr Samantha Brooks is a UK neuroscientist working with University of Cape Town, specialising in the neural correlates of impulse control from eating disorders to addiction.  For more information on neuroscience at UCT and to contact Samantha, see www.drsamanthabrooks.com.