Monday, November 30, 2009

Nothing can seperate us from God's love


"What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" Romans 8:31

Our security is based on God's unshakable love for us, The love God has for us is not just an emotion, but an actual fact. God proved His love willingly sending His Son to suffer and die for us. So why would He hold back on any lesser gift? In fact, there is nothing in the whole universe that can seperate us from God's love. What more could God say to us to make us more secure in His love?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunrise over the Orange River

The sun rising over the majestic Orange River at Upington in the Northern Cape. I took this photo on our recent biking trip
For more on scenes around the world, click here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sociable Weaver, Sociable Structure

The Sociable Weaver is found in the arrid savanna and dry woodland of our country
The Sociable Weaver has a highly gregarious nature. It's breeding habits are colonial, co-operative and not entirely monogamous. Colonies of up to 500 birds build and maintain enormous structures in trees, on telephone poles, on windmills and sometimes on rockfaces or under bridges.

While travelling through the Northern Cape on our way to Namibia last week, we passed literally hundreds of these nests built on telephone poles. I photographed one such structure which I posted on Skywatch Friday under yesterday's date.

These nests are built almost entirely of grass and each pair builds it's own nest chamber within the structure, used either for roosting or breeding.

Normally a Pygmy Falcon takes up residence and breeds in this structure as well. The Sociable Weavers benefit from this unofficial guest, as these little raptors eat any snakes or reptiles which may try to gain entry into the nests. The Pygmy Falcons have been known to snack on the odd Sociable Weaver nestling but this is the exception rather than the rule.

It was rather fascinating to me that these nests were visible on almost every second or third telephone pole along the highway to Namibia. However, the minute we passed through the border posts and were on our way across the Namibian countryside, there were no more Sociable Weavers nests. I chuckled to myself thinking perhaps they didn't have passports! Further north though, the nests made their very obvious appearance again and petered out once we crossed the border into Botswana.

Having lived on the West Coast of Southern Africa (now Namibia) and having travelled regularly through this remarkable bird's habitat, I am familiar with this species and it's nests. However, the Sociable Weaver and their engineering feats never cease to amaze me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Community Living

The sociable weavers' nest is a huge structure built on telephone poles, electricity pylons and trees in the area. I took this photo in the Northern Cape on our recent bike ride through Namibia and Botswana

For more sky photos, click here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hope and Confidence in the Lord

"But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by the long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit." (Jeremiah 16:7-8)

The human heart cannot thrive without something to hope for and someone in whom we can place our confidence. God alone is able to perfectly fulfill both needs. Placing our hope and confidence in Him will help our spiritual lives to flourish.

Placing our hope and confidence in anything but God is like expecting a tree to flourish in a barren desert. Our thirst continues because people are unable to satisfy our deepest needs. But placing our hope in the Lord changes everything, for Jesus said: "The water I give them, takes away the thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life."John 4:14

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home Again!

We received a royal welcome when we arrived home on Sunday after our 6000km/3750 mile bike trip

Last week my husband and I set out on a trip across part of this beautiful continent of ours.

Originally the plan was to enter Namibia, motorcycle north and enter Zambia, cross over into Zimbabwe and spend time at the Victoria Falls.


Alas, this was not to be. Halfway through Namibia, my husband had information that his visa was ready. He decided to ensure that we were back at home in South Africa by Sunday, which we were.


Nevertheless, we did go up to within 350km of the northern border of the country and down into Botswana where we spent to wonderful days seeing the most incredible birdlife and experiencing the African bush at its best. We covered 6000km/3750 miles of awesome terrain visiting touring through of the five countries originally intended. The trip was exhilarating to say the least.

I have decided that apart from this post, I will not be posting about our many biking sorties here. I am about to start a separate blog which, I know, will take me a few days to set up, and share the most wonderful biking experiences and African countryside with my blog readers.


As biking makes up a very big part of our holidays, I have added this writing to That's my World Tuesday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Container Progress

A year ago, John (the gardener) and I decided to revamp our container garden. (see here) This (above) is what one of the containers looked like...

and this is what it looks like now




Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Manduline

Little Manduline, the youngest cat of the Hedges menagerie, turned 4 at the beginning of November. She is another one of my rescue cats. My dil and gd arrived here from visiting friends on a farm where Manduline, then still a kitten, was being terrorised by the hordes of farm dogs.
I kept this little cat in my guest room for 4 months during which time I could never touch her or approach her suddenly. I would enter the room, place her food on the floor and only once I'd closed the door and left her alone, would she emerge from under the wardrobe and quickly gobble her food.
It has taken another two years to win her confidence and still Manduline does not trust anyone other than my husband or me. She spends most of the day out in the garden and only comes in late at night. She cries under our bedroom window and as she is let in, she dives into the cookie bowl and fills her face! Then she finds a spot inside my wardrobe and falls asleep.
A strange union sprang up between Manduline and Tigger; the youngest cat and the oldest. As Tigger spends a lot of his time on my bed, he and Manduline have become the firmest of friends. It's nothing to see her and her old friend (Tigger is 13) playing catch up and down the passage. This interaction also keeps ole Tigger fit and healthy.
Manduline keeps her eyes on her toys
Another thing that Manduline loves to do, is to play with the many toys I have for her in the bedroom. She has had quite a few spiky mice which she tosses about and chews until there is only a mutilated head left over. We actually refer to this toy as "The Head"!


Above and below: Manduline plays with a selection of toy mice, aka "The Heads"

Neverending play
A mouse toy before it is mutilated by Manduline

Where is it now?
A selection of toys in various stages of their lives!

This is a far cry from the petrified little cat my granddaughter and her mum rescued from a farmyard full of vicious dogs in 2007

Ah, bliss to sleep with Uncle Tigger
For more on pets around the world, click here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Soft Pink and Blue

Sunset over our home last Friday

For more skies around the world, click here

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Rock, My Redeemer


May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart, be acceptable to You, oh Lord, my Rock and mt Redeemer. Psalm 19 14

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Garden Enjoyment

Above my husband disappears into one of the "rooms" in my garden
A female Southern Masked Weaver takes a break on the garden gate
Chip and Angie in the background enjoy the cool shade of my white stinkwood trees (Celtis africana )
It's a dog's life!

Megan has a drink

The entire family enjoys the garden


Angie, Chip and our granddaughter enjoy a tranquil moment

Pure perfection...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Off to Namibia



Loaded and ready for our biking/camping tour across the Southern part of our beautiful continent, Africa

When this post is aired my husband and I will be touring the vast neighbouring country of Namibia. This arid country which contains the Namib desert, with the most rugged coast line imaginable, used to be part of South Africa. It was known as South West Africa before independence in 1990. My husband and I arrived on the diamond mines a month during this event and did a 4- year tenure there before returning to South Africa in the mid-nineties.



I digress. Now, having set off on Sunday, today we should by now be in the northern regions of the country. We always take the roads-less-travelled as far as possible; we find the National Highways busy, dangerous and very tedious when travelling on a motorbike...

My husband, who fought in SWA, in the senseless bushwar of the seventies, wants to take me to Katimo Malilo where they were encamped and became hardened defending our borders. In those days, when our men arrived home after their army stint, there was no rehabilitation program. I remember my husband coming home to find the tiny baby he remembered, had grown into a sturdy little boy of 18 months who was walking and talking and quite afraid of this stranger in the house. He also found a harried young wife who had been struggling to make ends meet while he fought for the country. The soldiers were not paid by their employers while they were away in the army.

On the lighter side, en route, we will visit our friends in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. After this, we cross the border into Zambia, down through Zimbabwe where we will visit the Victoria Falls and hopefully see many birds of this magnificent area.

We enter Southern South Africa into Botswana, another beautiful neighbouring country world reknowned for its spectacular wildlife and birds where we will stopover one night with friends who live in the capital city of Gaberone.

When we cross the border from Botswana into South Africa to return home, we will have visited five countries on this beautiful country of ours.

Till then, may you all be blessed and happy as you enjoy
our beautiful world.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fragrant Colour

At the moment I have many colours in my garden: yellow, orange, blue, yellow/orange, white, grey, red, purple...

As can be seen by many previous posts, I always walk around my garden with my camera in my hand, capturing whatever mood presents itself to me. For this post - and probably many more this summer - I've decided to concentrate on colour; the pink colour in my garden.

Above and below are the roses on the hedgerow along my street boundary. These are miniature climbing roses in soft pink.



Below is a close-up of this pretty flower with the sun filtering through the healthy green foliage.

Near the rockery, and behind the large pond waterfall, I have swaths of pink (See below)
These carpets of groundcovering dianthus spp are created by tiny decorative rosy, carnation-like flowers. Not only are these dainty blooms a delight to the eye, but they also smell divine. Dianthus, also known as pinks, are not always pink but I only have this variety in my garden.

Close-up the Dianthus spp resemble miniature carnations, to which they are related