about us

helen and barend

Some years ago Professor Wallace Stegner of Stanford University wrote "Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed...and so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves...part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil... part of the natural world and competent to belong to it. We simply need that wild country available to us... for it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, as part of the geography of hope."

Crab Apple’s philosophy is to stay close to nature and be of service to the community - an extension of Christ’s work. Determined to preserve the natural beauty of the area, Barend and Helen are active members of the Dargle Conservancy. The property is a Nature Reserve under the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme. For more about the Dargle Conservancy visit www.dargleconservancy.org.za

In the summer it is misty and green, while in winter the hills turn golden. The first European settlers, the Fannin family from Ireland, arrived in 1847. The area reminded them of the Dargle River in County Wicklow and so they named their new home Dargle.

Our gardens

For rose lovers, Helen’s hundreds of roses are a treat of colour and fragrance in springtime.

Our Dogs

We have a pair of black Labrador siblings Daisy-Mae and Harley who were born mid-2014 and are learning the ropes! Lily-Jenna Cuddlepot Fainting Goat is our chocolate Labrador. She has a tendency to fall over arbitrarily and a cuddling fetish, which accounts for her long-winded name. A fabulous swimmer, she is often found gliding around in the pool (even if the net’s on) and occasionally arrives home dripping after swimming in the river.

The Squimonks, Dixie and Jessie Buttons, are the two Jack Russell x Dachshunds and are key to farm life. They love playing with the monkeys as they move through the property. They will also let you know when porcupines, bush pigs and dassies are about. Jessie Buttons has a lifelong mission of digging to Australia and is impressive to watch at work. While you are welcome to play with the pets, please resist sharing your food with them and giving them treats.

Our Cats

Bramble and Rose have taken over The Owl House (which was intended for actual owls) and created a charming midlands version of the poem “The Owl and The Pussycat” - without the pea green boat, of course.

Our Horses

Lady Asher loves the company of children, particularly those with special needs. Lady Eva, Lord Guildenstern and Lord Rosencrantz are young Boerperd x Friesians who are generous and curious in nature. Robin Hood is a Connemara, bold, feisty and sensible. Hullabaloo, dappled grey Friesian cross, is the gorgeous ‘hunk’ of the line and knows just how handsome he is. The horses are competitive and each has a very carefully balanced diet and a specifically designed training programme. Please don’t feed them. They do, however, love being stroked. Chat to one of us if you would like to interact with them. They aren’t, however, available for riding.

Our Chickens

Marmaduke is our splendid Venda rooster, one of South Africa’s hardy indigenous breeds. He is confident and very protective of his girls, so best not to try to stroke him.

The two Duchesses simply adore their leading man! The family has hatched and nurtured many chicks and provided many eggs for breakfast. Their feed is sourced from the farmer next door and the mielies are ground on site.