Friday, May 31, 2013

Early evening sky over Tanzania

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Little Abby

Little Abby, 14- months-old, who started walking while Grant and I have been away

Such a little girl, isn't she?

And mischievous, too!  
Photo credits: Amanda Hedges

Soon Grant and I will be out in South Africa on our break. We'll see Abby and her three-year-old brother, Joel when we arrive in Marquard. We'll see Eryn, Joshua, Bethany, Elijah and Israel later  in the month in Kwa-Zulu-Natal. We can't wait!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


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Namaqua Dove

The Namaqua Dove is Africa's smallest dove, although its long pointed tail gives it added length. It resembles a wood-dove; the male has a black face and throat and yellow -tipped red bill. The female lacks the black face, has a shorter tail and a brown bill.

Last month, Marnitz, the young production supervisor, showed me a photo of a bird on a nest taken with his Blackberry. Later he returned to the site, and using my spare Canon Powershot, he zoomed in on the bird without disturbing it and took several photos. The bird, a Namaqua Dove  was sitting on its nest - on the ground. As far as I can ascertain, Namaqua Doves build their nests in trees, and at least a meter to two meters above the ground. 

Namaqua Dove female on her nest

Here Marnitz managed a good photo of her face

I love the white band across her back

Two Namaqua dove eggs in a nest on the ground? 

Photo credits: Marnitz Jordaan

I hope you're all having a really great week!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A weekend of Get-togethers in Mwadui

On Saturday, Grant arranged with the Client MD to have a pig-on-the spit BBQ at the club.  Rob, as always roasted the pig to perfection. As Grant was in a meeting on Saturday morning, I assisted Rob in a supportive capacity. I took my camera (what else?), my Kindle and a blanket and pillow for comfortable relaxing on the lounger under the trees!

I also brought my third chef from our Guest House. Amani helped Rob set up the fire (Rob had already started by the time we arrived - no flies on Rob!) and then Rob showed Amani how to tie the pig to the spit. Rob then did all the other preparations.

 A lot of preparation goes into cooking a pig on the spit!

Rob told me that the secret of a perfect pig spit roast, is heat control. He told Amani to set his stop watch on his cell phone and to turn the pig every so many minutes. He also showed Amani how to baste the pig with olive oil.

After the valuable lessons learned under Rob's demonstration on Saturday, Amani says he's now able to do us a pig-on-the-spit back at our Guest House!

I couldn't be faulted for doing my job as Chief Supporter well!

Rob's very proud of the pig-on-the-spit! (And so he should be; he's a maestro!)

The finished article apparently tasted divine!

As if that wasn't enough festivity, on Monday Wessel (my helpful IT friend) and his wife, Louise invited all to enjoy snacks and cake celebrating Wessel's birthday!

Louise put on a delicious spread of cakes, tarts, savories and a large chocolate cake

I'm a tad late today, but am still linking with Our World Tuesday which you can access by clicking here

Today is also my sister, Rose' birthday. Rose now lives in Sunny Spain and I wish her a wonderful day and year. Happy birthday Rose!  

I hope you're all having a wonderful week!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Update on new kitties

Hi Bozo and all mum's blog readers. This week I'm posting an update on the kitties which mum is babysitting for a friend. We (Ginger, Shadow and I) still haven't seen them and they're not allowed out of mum's room. Sometimes I can hear them playing with a ball (is this OUR ball?) and once I even saw a black tail sticking out under the door!

I checked through mum's photos this week and found some of the kittens. They don't look so bad, after all! They seem to have grown and are very shiny.

I heard mum tell dad the black-and-white kitten is called Topsy and the black one is Tipsy! 

 Mmm, so they also have a cat-tree, but it's smaller than ours!

Topsy has nice green eyes!

And a big mouth!

And Tipsy is as curious as a cat should be

I think I would love to play with them, but with my "dad" Ginger and Uncle Shadow being so strict about this being OUR house, I have to secretly say I accept the kitten's staying here! 

Uncle Shadow looks very peaceful here with dad, but he growls fiercely if he smells anything which has been with the kittens!

"Dad" Ginger just wants to relax without thinking about kittens who shouldn't be here! 

I have my own deck on our own personal tree in the lounge! 

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hedges family news

Angus with their two children: Joel and Abby

John and Debbie's children on Elijah's third birthday this week. From left, baby Israel, Bethany, Joshua and Eryn with the birthday boy in the middle

During the week, Grant's brother, Charles and sister-in-law, Shelley, visited MIL Pam  in Durban. Shelley sent me a photo of mother and son in her room in the retirement home. Shelley is the person who kindly identifies any unknown birds I see here in Tanzania. She and Charles are going to be grandparents by Wednesday, so we'll have another Hedges baby in the family! 
Grant's younger brother, Charles with their 83 year-old mother, Pam

Here's wishing you all a wonderful weekend! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Moonwatching on the mine

Above images taken on Tuesday 21 May 2013

Taken last night: 23 May 2013

I try all the relevant functions on my camera until I get an image as the one above: where you can almost see the man in the moon!

I hope you've all had a wonderful week and I wish you a great weekend ahead,

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pottery advances in Mwadui

Although I have many more completed pottery items since I last posted about this exciting hobby, I'm posting photos of two pieces which came out of the kiln last week.

A fruit platter in the shape of an apple

Another fruit serving bowl - perhaps fresh figs would look good in it?

Linda painting very intricate designs on her platters

Amanda is teaching me to use the pottery wheel. As my hands are too dirty while working with the clay, I don't yet have any photos of me in action. Perhaps next time I'll ask Amanda to snap me trying to form a bowl! I managed two bowls on my first try, but she forgot to close our "thrown" items and we each lost one item to cracks!

Tilla going great guns making an ashtray! 

I trust you're all having a great week.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Garden and mine sigthings

This tiny kingfisher visits my garden regularly every night. I have little bird ponds sunk in two areas of flower beds. One is a hollowed out rock and the other is an old plow shear. Every night as dusk begins to fall, the African Pygmy-kingfisher lands on a mango tree branch in one side of the garden. Then it swoops down, bill open,  over the water in the plow shear and lands on an avocado tree branch in the middle of our patio. It swallows the water, shakes its feathers, then flies down across the water surface, repeats the action, emerging to land on the mango tree again. It does this several times while we're there. Recently two birds arrived, so perhaps it is bringing its mate to partake of refreshments offered in the Hedges shamba

All images above: African Pygmy-kingfisher

On one of our night drives while Grant does an inspection of the mine and I look out for wildlife and night birds, we stopped near the area where we'd previously photographed the family of Spotted Thick-knee several weeks ago. In the road was a small Spotted Thick-knee which we're sure is the baby-now juvenile of that family. There were no other adult Spotted Thick-knee in the area so we're surmising that the youngster is now out on its own!

Spotted Thick-knee juvenile out hunting on for food on its own

The Spotted Thick-knee juvenile throws a definite shadow in the light of our torch

We found it exciting to think that this juvenile survived and is now looking out for itself! You can see previous posts about this Spotted Thick-knee family here and here

Thanks for all your visits and comments and kind thoughts when I was ill. I am definitely better now and dashing about trying to sort out Guest House menus, food lists, shopping and accommodation before going out on leave to South Africa in two weeks' time. 


Photo credit: Angus Hedges

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Elijah

Elijah, our third-of-four grandsons, is three today. I love this birthday as normally when you ask the child how old he is, he holds up three middle fingers and says: "I'm free" ! Precious. 

Today Elijah's at home in the Drakensberg, SA, with his mum, dad and four siblings. I've sent him a birthday CHAT via my Smartphone and promised to phone him on his dad's phone at lunchtime, when Granddad is home. I wonder if he will say: "I'm free" ? 

 Elijah and older brother, Joshua, play with their respective John Deere tractors. Elijah's is his birthday gift (Photo credit: John Hedges)

Tour de Afrique!

Cycle races in Tanzania Photo credit: Amanda Stoop

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Starting a new project

This weekend I posted about three little girls who passed my house on their way home from school. These were three of the more privileged children which I come across. However, on Saturday, instead of me and Amanda going to the pottery studio, she suggested I meet her at her home where she would teach me to make toys. I've posted about the toys Amanda makes and that we've handed out to the children in the hospital. She brings felt, buttons, glue and many accessories (buttons, ornaments, charms, ribbons, braids, glue and glitter - all safe and child-friendly) from South Africa. She buys the embroidery cotton (very tough and effective for sewing toys) here in Shinyanga it's about 75% cheaper than any she can get in SA. She also buys pillows locally which she splits open and then uses the soft inner cotton wool as stuffing.  I recycle all my empty cosmetic containers, pill boxes and plastic holders, spice tins (plastic) and anything and everything in between which I give to her. You'd be surprised what a talcum powder container or inner cardboard roll of toilet tissue, can be made into! 

I arrived at 9am and she showed me how to cut the first "teddy bear" Now I am not at all comfortable or confident with a pair of scissors and material. But I gave it my best shot.  After two hours of painstakingly sewing blanket stitch all around and stuffing the toy (which resembles nothing any human has ever seen before!) I finally finished my item. (BTW Amanda made two toys, and tea in the time which I made my one!) 

No prizes for guessing which toy I made!

Apart from the pretty bunny (center) Amanda also made a cute cat; all in the time that I produced my square "glook" !

I hope you're all having great week already.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Aliens have invaded our space!

Hi Bozo and all our mum's blog readers. Do you remember when I showed photos of "strange" cats on this blog? Well, I'm sure they've invaded our house. Last week mum and her friend (I think it's the cats' mum) carried our kitty cage into dad's bathroom and closed the door. Now I can hear "cats" crying when I peep under the door!
I've shown you these cats before!

This is the line of cookie bowls which the cats have in dad bathroom

Thank goodness they have their own tree tower and toilet boxes!

Shadow (above) and Uncle Ginger (sleeping on his office chair at the stage) don't seem to "know" about these alien cats!

Behind that door lurk two little kitties!

At least I heard mum saying that the cats are only staying here for two weeks. Phew! That's a relief! I don't mind sharing "our" bathroom with them for a short while!

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Shadows in my shamba

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