Saturday, September 5, 2015

A mix of cute spring critters

We found this moth on the table in the entertainment area. It was upside down; of course we thought it was dead. But as I photographed it. it's feelers moved! After the photo shoot I slid a piece of paper under it, took it outside and placed it in the garden. When I looked for it later, it wasn't there. I hope it revived and is safe.
An interesting little moth which seemed dead until I photographed it! 

Chappie who seems to be even fatter since she started her diet two months ago, usually cannot jump UP onto shelves and high surfaces. On Friday Rina spotted her in the pantry...
Chappie up on a pantry cupboard! 
She's a good advert for the selection on cat food we buy for the other four [fussy] cats

Quite a few months ago, I photographed the anthurium which Rina re-potted and placed in a favorable spot in the entertainment area (also our sun porch)  in November last year. It was flowering prolifically then and... still flowering prolifically today!

At the same time as she'd re-potted another plant in my office (and Chappie's lounge/sleeping area) - a Peace on earth Lily - scientific name: Spathiphyllum 
Spathiphyllum (Peace on Earth Lily) - Image Googe;

Ours is showing the first blooms of the season! 

We counted five blooms yesterday! 

Outside on the patio, the amaryllis is blooming. 
I took this photo on Thursday
And this one this morning! 
All over the Free State the peach, pear and plum blossoms are out in full color. My garden has three peach trees: from two of them we make sliced peach jam every year. We also have a mulberry tree and a weeping mulberry tree. A fig tree is struggling to make its presence known but seems too old.
One of the two fruitful peach trees! 
I enjoyed playing with the close up of the individual blossoms

We also have an orange tree which is bearing well at the moment. Rina had picked an orange to eat and left it on the dining table. Amanda and the children popped in on Thursday afternoon and I managed to capture on camera the cutest critter of  all! 
Gazing at his mom snapping him with her Smartphone

Isn't he just the cutest?

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here

Here's wishing you all a wonderful Saturday! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Silos against the blue sky

Afgri Silos in the neighboring town of Senekal 
  1. AFGRI (for more information, pleas check the link) is one of the largest agricultural commodity trading companies in South Africa. It's a leading JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) agricultural and foods company. Afgri provides a wide range of products, services and inputs to farmers, producers and consumers of agricultural products. 
For more Skywatch posts, please click here

Happy Friday to all my blogger friends. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Good fences, good outfoxing Eddy

This is the story of Eddy (our aged Fox-terrier) costing us a lot of money! Eddy started her life out belonging to John and Debbie when they lived in Marquard. When they moved to the Drakensberg in October 2008, Eddy boarded with me for a few months while the children built their house in the mountains. During this period we adopted Angie from the SPCA in the nearby town of Bethlehem. Angie was approximately five months old; a friendly, gangling black Labrador x. Eddy LOVED this new puppy and the two dogs soon became great friends. 

John and Debbie eventually collected Eddy. But Debbie said she noticed that Eddy wasn't happy; she seemed to be depressed. When John and Debbie visited us again for a weekend, they brought Eddy along for an outing. She and Angie greeted each other like long lost friends and spent the days playing together. After the weekend, John loaded the children - Eryn and Joshua (they only had two children in those days) - into the car. He put Eddy into the car and she jumped out and ran back into the garage. We found her quivering in Angie's tire-bed; her eyes appealing to me to keep her here. 

The rest is history...

Eddy has always been an escape artist. When we put palisade fencing around our property last year, we had doggy bars. Eddy merely jumped over the doggy bars, through the palisade and went walkabout in the street beyond. Last year we added treated wooden slats which slide in between the palisade fencing to provide privacy; but also to keep Eddy in the garden. The doggy bars had to be removed (we re-sold them to the fence -man) but that was no problem; Grant got an electrician i to add electric fencing to the bottom of the palisades. Eddy digs UNDERNEATH the electric wire and goes walkabout.

Can you see a pattern evolving here?? (Self-willed doggy has fun while owners cough up $$$) 

When we arrive back in SA in February, Eddy had sustained a slight injury on her right hind leg; the palisade posts are also sharp at the bottom and we surmise that she'd hooked her leg on one of these. She licked it incessantly until it became a large cyst which had to be removed under anesthetic at the vets. I assisted the vet at the time but got no discount on the bill. 

Eddy got over her leg op within a few days (I posted about this earlier this year) and seemed to calm down. Last week I posted her resting in the sun against the wall which is where she spends most of the day. 
Remember these pics: Eddy enjoying the warm sunshine against the wall? 
Eddy wanders around the garden while the gardeners work the wire magic against the fence

Earlier this week we noticed that she was sliding out under the fence (remember she'd dug the holes before) and going walkabout again. We were concerned that Skabenga would notice what she was doing, slide out under the fence while he's still small-ish, and follow her into the street. The age and stage he's at now, he'd been stolen in a flash. He's also not streetwise, so he could be hit by a passing car. 

We started to ask for quotes to build or insert something under the bars into the ground.  Three of our garden boundaries are palisade fencing measuring about 100m in total. Between Angus' garden and ours is a concrete wall with which we replaced the crumbling brick wall during 2013. 

The man who did our fencing, suggested we use doggy bars again - this time attached to the bottom rail of the palisade fence. His quote for materials and labor came to approximately R5000/US$470.  Grant phoned Elias, an independent builder from the township who's just repainted my dining room and pantry walls and ceiling. Grant explained to Elias that he'd have to dig a 200 mm trench along the fence and fill it with cement. Then top that with hollow bricks.  Eddy would not be able to dig through the cement and bricks. Grant priced the cement (on special at the  moment) and bricks which came to R2000; Elias' quote for the labor was R2000: a total of R4000/US$380. 

Both these options were far too expensive, considering the R25,000/US$2400 we spent on the fencing last year! \

While in Ladybrand (a town 80km from where we live in Marquard)  on Tuesday, Grant and I popped into the hardware shop. He'd thought about using a welded wire mesh called brickforce. We found 25m length rolls of wire which was 1.6m wide. The wire pattern is such that I suggested we cut lengthwise down the wire, creating an 800m width. If we bought two lengths, we'd have enough wire to do the whole fenced boundary = 100m. Our gardeners would dig a trench of 200m deep around the three boundaries, the wire would be placed straight up in the ditch and the top would be attached to the bottom of the palisade bars with strand wire. (called blue wire in South Africa) 

Cost of brickforce fencing, fuel to collect it and two days extra labor paid to our gardeners: R1400/US$145

Grant was so impressed with the  my suggestion, (not often that this happens, LOL!) that he immediately bought two rolls and asked the clerk to keep it in stock - we'd collect it within the week. Our car is too small to load these rolls into and the wire would damage the leather seats.  On Wednesday morning Grant borrowed a pick-up truck from a friend and he and I returned to Ladybrand to collect the rolls of wire. We loaded the wire off at home and drove the pick-up downtown to deliver to the friend's wife. Before we did this, we filled the tank with fuel. 

Are you all still following the pattern here? $$$
 John takes the one roll of wire...
...while Jacob brings the second roll

Grant had explained to John and Jacob what needed to be done and they set to work. 
Jacob holds onto the wire as John cuts it down the middle
Eddy walks away from all the activity!

While the men were busy cutting the wire, I took photos of the fence along the back of our yard. 

The gardeners had already dug the trench along here
The electric fence (turned off while the work is in progress)  runs along the bottom of the fence but proved no deterrent to Eddy
John guides the one end of the wire into the trench
 ...while Jacob sinks it from the other end
Grant brings the blue wire that will attach the mesh wire to the bottom of the palisade bars
Skabenga lies in the shade nearby! 

We're waiting with baited breath to see how/if  Eddy will escape through the back fence this morning. (she does this trick early in the morning) John and Jacob will be in today to complete the fencing between us and our neighbor on our right and the front fence. 

We hope that we've finally outfoxed the Foxy Eddy. 

I'm linking to Good Fences Thursday here

Happy Thursday everyone!