Monday, June 20, 2011

A quiet weekend in the valley

This weekend was the first time since the middle of April (when the summer rains began) that I had a feathered visitor in my garden pond. Our garden is surrounded by African bush and while there is sufficient food and drink in the wild, the birds can be always be heard and but often not seen.
The Dark-capped Bulbul
is always welcome in my garden

While in Nairobi this week, I bought a book called English made Easy for 6-7 year-olds. On Saturday Naomi (who keeps house for me in Kenya) brought her eight-year-old daughter, Stacey to see me. I showed her and Naomi how to go through the book page by page. I believe this will improve Stacey's English. Naomi also brought me Stacey's latest school report. She had improved overall by 57% since her first report earlier this year. Note: even though Stacey turned eight in May, I thought the exercise for a year younger would be of more use while she becomes familiar with the English language.  The next time we go to Nairobi, I'll bring her the book for 7-8 years olds.

On Saturday I baked bread, an apple cake/loaf and banana bread (like I do every week). I also baked a dozen hamburger buns. While Grant and Johan watched Super 15 Rugby that evening, I served hamburgers and chips. I also make my own hamburger patties. Needs must when you live far away and  cannot pop out to the supermarket to buy the pre-packed variety. Quite a good thing, I'd say! (definitely a lot healthier)

Hamburger buns which I served with home-made meat patties (Recipe below)

Hamburger buns
Makes 12 decent sized buns
2 Cups warm milk
1/4 Margarine, melted
1/4Cup warm water
1/4 Cup Sugar
3 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp salt
6 Cup white bread flour
1/4 Cup sesame seeds

Set oven at 375 ◦ F/ 200 ◦C
In a bowl, stir together milk, marge, warm water, yeast and sugar
Allow to stand for 5 minutes
Add flour and salt until a soft, firm dough is formed
Divide into 12 balls, place on baking sheet, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Allow to rise until double in size
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned on top

Blogger friends meet in Kenya: Me and Penny from Canada with whom I've been corresponding for the past eighteen months. You can scroll down to my post on Saturday to read about Penny's work here in Kenya.

It's not often that there is a photo of me on my blog. Today there are TWO! While sitting in the garden with Shadow exploring the rockery beside me, Grant - who never takes photos - picked up my camera and snapped us

While sitting at my computer last night, I noticed the cats were staring at something under the two-seater sofa in the upper-level diningroom. On closer inspection, I saw it was a baby snake. It was about 7cm/3 inches long, thin, black and the thickness of a matchstick. It was definitely a snake as only snakes slither along like this one did. Under the transfixed, almost comical gaze of two cats, I managed to coaxe the little creature onto a piece of paper and took it outside. As soon as I tipped it into the garden, it disappeared into a crack in the rock wall below. This is not the first time I've found a snake in the house. You can read about a similar encounter here.

I've been feeling poorly since returning from Nairobi. Headache and neck pains, perspiring for no reason at all, dizzy spells, aching joints. When I tripped almost fell down a bank while birding at the top dam on Sunday morning,  I asked Grant to take me to the clinic. I've been diagnosed with malaria but with medication, should improve soon. (As you can see by the above photo, I never look sick!)

Have a wonderful week everyone.


  1. Oh, Jo. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise after Grant had it, but it's dreadful, nevertheless.
    I hope you feel better soon. Try not to get back into action quite as quickly as Grant did. Give yourself time to heal.
    Love and hugs, K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel
    PS—You really don't look sick, and it's nice to see a picture of my sweetie-pie Shadow!

  2. Sorry to hear you got malaria, hope you get well soon, take care and have a good rest

  3. I love the photo of you in the garden with Shadow. You certainly don't look sick. Not the first time for malaria is it? Feel better soon.

  4. Not malaria again! Glad to know you'll soon be on the mend, Jo with that magical medication! Such lovely pictures of you looking so rested, especially in the garden...definitely no sign of your feeling unwell...please thank Grant for these :)

    Your baking puts me to shame...I used to LOVE baking and did so regularly every week for many years, but now I cannot find the enthusiasm to even knock together a packet muffin mix :(

    Such super pictures of your visiting bulbul...I also love those darling little birds! Life sounds so good...apart from the malarial outbreaks!

    Big hug,
    Des xoxo

  5. Hi Jo, I hope you are feeling better soon, I thought you had malaria before?Lovely pics of you, how do you keep your skin and hair in such great condition in the hot dry sunshine?!
    Snakes under my chairs would not be my idea of fun at al!!

  6. Love the photos Jo!!
    But OMWord Girl!! You be careful with all those snakes and mosquitoes around! I pray you are feeling LOTS better today!!!!

  7. Jo I am so sorry to read that you have succumbed to malaria, a most unpleasant affliction. I am glad you went to the clinic to be treated.

    That is the trouble with looking good no matter how dreadful you feel, doctors just don't readily believe one. All my three heart operations were done too late, when I was dyeing rather than when they were necessary. Consequently the damage to to the rest of the heart was irreparable. Cest la vie . . .

    Take good care of yourself .

  8. Oh no! Malaria! Oh, Jo I hope you are all recovered soon.

    I loved the pic of the Dark-capped Bulbul taking a bath in the birdbath.

    You are very resourceful with your baking and other cooking! Some friends of ours who are former missionaries said they learned a lot of survival household, medicinal, etc. skills at classes before they went on the mission field.

    Get well soon!


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