Monday, May 30, 2011

First weekend back in the Valley

My weekend started like every day does here in the valley, viewing my garden from my desk!

As usual, I went for a walk through the security gates and up the road
The bush and mountains are so lush after the regular rains which have fallen over the past two months
Following a bird call, I went off the road and onto a path through the bush. The bird was a Black-headed Gonalek which I don't have a photo of so I have one below downloaded from the Internet

Black-headed Gonalek - isn't it gorgeous?  I continue to try and get a decent photo on my camera!
Early on Saturday morning, Naomi, my houselady arrived with a bag containing three pawpaws and about a dozen avocado pears. They were from her father's farm, she said and a gift for us. Isn't that sweet?

In a post at the end of April, I wrote about helping Sue clean and prepare the house next door for the mine manager. He arrived and moved in on 3rd May and we went on leave the next day. Last week, while Grant and I were walking around the lanes after work, we met up with Borries which was the first time I'd met him. On Friday his wife flew up from Johannesburg for a week's holiday. On Saturday morning I popped over with a plate of hot cheese puffs, a longstemmed rose and a card welcoming her to the valley. I also took two pawpaws and half-a-dozen avocado pears as a gift.

Avocado pears are high in vitamins A, C, E and K; also potassium, iron, magesium and vitamin B6. You can read all about the health benefits of this natural sourse of oil here. In South Africa, avocado pears are rather expensive; you can pay up to ZAR20/US$3 for one avo. Here in Kenya they cost KES 20/US$-20c! Fortunately we love avocado pears and I use them in salads, we enjoy slices of this delicious butter-flavoured fruit on toast or just as guacamole with crisp biscuits. I have eaten cold avocado soup at the Guest House, and will probably try my hand at making this while I have a surplus of avos.

On Saturday evening Grant and I drove out in search of birds and stopped, as usual on the low-level bridge across the river near the office. I managed to capture these two young boys fishing

On Saturday night, Grant made the ubequitous braai (barbeque). He invited Johan, the financial manager who is here on single status, to join us. After the meal, the men watched Super 15 Rugby while I caught up with my blog visits. I could follow the entire game on the television behind me, [without watching] because the men inadvertantly gave me a running commentary (you know the sort of comments: "now run the ball; pass to the left/right; wake up ref, didn't you see that high tackle? Yesss! Cheetahs - our team - scored right under the poles")
Early on Sunday morning Grant and I went out birding again. He stopped on the bridge so that I could photograph the river . Isn't it beautiful? 

After watching and photographing a trio of African Pied Wagtails on the bridge, we drove further along to a road running below the damwall beyond the office buildings. We were amply rewarded with Pied Kingfishers having a feast on the fingerlings in the dam. There were also about five White-bellied Go-away birds, a host of Cattle Egrets, an African Jacana and three Hamerkops. More about these later.

On our way home, along the road I snapped an old lady who walks from her home higher up on the hill to the market below. She does this every day. When I asked Sephania why she did this, he said she waited at the market for someone to give her a cup of chai (spicy, sweet, milky tea) and mandazi. (a flat piece of deepfried dough, popular with the local people) 

 Every day thiis old lady strides along the road (barefoot) from her home in the hills to the market square in the village. Late afternoon finds her walking back home again

Last night Borries and his wife invited Grant and me and Johan to an informal supper of vetkoek and mince. Vetkoek is made from handfuls lumps of dough deepfried in hot oil. When drained and cooled, you split the "bun" open, fill it with savoury mince and enjoy. I had cheese and apricot jam with mine. In the name of good manners, for once I subdued my concience and ate this high-calorie treat along with the others.

A wonderful peaceful weekend in the valley.

To see more of what others did over the weekend, click here. Gattina of Writer Cramps hosts this delightful and necessary (at my age, lol!) meme.


  1. "Home" again. The rain sure has made everything extra beautiful. How long do you think you will be living there?

  2. I don't think a few calories will hurt you, Jo.
    I love the photo of the river, with all the reflections!
    And all those avocados! Oh my goodness! When you first mentioned them, I was hoping you liked guacamole (one of my favourites, if it isn't too spicy) and then you mentioned cold avocado soup. Oh wow! I've only had it once, on a cruise ship, and it was wonderful.
    Mmm. But calories are very bad for me. Also for Lindy. We had to take her to see her beloved Dr. Baroughi, and she was so happy, she jumped right onto the scale as soon as we arrived. She has gained weight! So she's on a strict diet now. The staff at the clinic say they've never seen a dog so glad to be brought there!
    Now I'm looking forward to photos of those birds about which you said "more later"!!
    Luv — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  3. You live in such a beautiful place surrounded by wonderful people. Such a nice gift all those avos.

  4. What a beautiful view you have from your window and the surroundings are also very nice. I too loe avocados and it was the first meal of little Toby !!
    Isn't it nice when you have a good relationship with the neighbors especially when you live so close to each other. Now that the weather is so nice and people working in their gardens we were 7 neighbors yesterday chatting in the street !

  5. So Beautiful a place to live Jo!
    And my heart just fell in love with the old woman...I think, like the rest of us, she wants her Coffee and donut!!Hahaa...I know I enjoy a good hot cuppa and my donut!
    Sweet week to you my friend!

  6. Oh you busy woman! Isn't it fun to try photographing birds in the wild with all the branches, bad light and their fast flight.
    Just occasionally you get the perfect shot but not very often, so it is even more precious.
    I should have put the proper name in my post for the Ibis. A bit pushed for time to check in the book. Yes, they are Sacred Ibis and it is so amazing how they have exploited human habitation to increase their own population.

    Thanks for the visit.

  7. What a gorgeous place to live, with God's creation surrounding you. Vetkoek sounds scrumptious! Just one won't hurt you.

  8. It sounds like you've settled in nicely to your home there. Lovely photo of the bright red bird. Interesting about the old woman who walks to market every day. I love avacadoes, too, but they are expensive here so I don't eat them as often as I'd like.

  9. It certainly looks a little bit of Eden in your valley. It is nice how you welcomed the new people to the camp.When you live in far away small communities friendships are important. I'm sure you'll walk off the extra calories soon. The birds are lovely.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo