Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hedges kitties are playing

Hi Bozo, Lindy and all mum's blog readers. This is Ambrose and with our mum home for a week already, we kitties have got back into the playing mode. We are HAPPY!
Dad Ginger has discovered the kitty scratching post. A kind lady in a FAR place sent it to mum. She also sent a big box of new food

Unca Shadow found a bell and played with it 
 I had a look but it didn't seem like a good game, so I left it! 

For more cute pet posts around the world, please click here

Saturday, August 30, 2014

First Saturday Critter Party with Eileen

This is the first Saturday Critter Party that I'm sharing with Eileen now that I'm back in Mwadui again. Ironically, I had no bird photos yet,  but while Grant was home for lunch he called me to see a Lilac Breasted Roller on the cottage roof behind our house. We see many Lilac Breasted Rollers, but have never seen one in our yard and on the roof.  

While we watched, nearby a Red-Eyed Dove lay down on its side and looked up at the Lilac Breasted Roller. We've never seen these birds interacting and I grabbed my camera and focused. The photos are a little hazy as I had to photograph the birds through the windows but I managed a few of this strange phenomena. Lilac-breasted Roller and Red-eyed Dove interacting on our cottage roof

 The roller flew off the roof ...
... onto the water tank just below and looked up at the dove still on the roof
As if on cue, the dove strutted a little further along and...
...promptly picked up a twig from the roof top
The roller flew onto our back fence and looked up to the dove which was adding the material to a nest under our eaves

This morning the roller was sitting on the cottage roof again but shortly afterwards it flew and into the bush beyond our garden. There was no sign of the dove. 

And now to our only doggie on the yard: Princess. Many readers will remember how Princess came to live with us late last year. She was about six-eight weeks old. So that meant in July this year she was probably about six and a half months old; a lovely age, but also a risky time. If she got out, she could return a different dog altogether! And that's what happened. The night she and Toffee escaped under the reed fence, and where Toffee hurt herself, Princess probably met up with a handsome male dog who also took a liking to her. 

When the vets arrived to attend to Toffee this week, I asked them if it would be possible to spay Princess. They said it was too late, as she was already four weeks pregnant. I was very disappointed. Here in Africa, dogs normally have seven to nine pups, although I'm praying she only has one or two. I didn't want to be responsible for more unwanted pups in this country.

When her time comes, Princess will be moved to the kennels at the workshop and have her confinement there. As soon as the pups are born, Michael and I will visit her and check out a replacement for Toffee. And about three months later, the vets will come again and spay Princess.

Meanwhile I'm feeding the young mama-to-be tasty treats and calcium tablets to strengthen her for the time ahead. 

Never a dull moment in Africa, is there?
Princess, such a pup herself, is going to have pups of her own!

I'm linking my post Saturday Critters Party with Eileen which you can access by clicking here

Friday, August 29, 2014

Blue skies over the Grote Kerk

Grote Kerk in Graaff Reinet
I was intrigued by the different lighting of the photos I took of the different angle of the church within a minute of each other

The Grote Kerk is an icon in the middle of Graaff Reinet, the fourth oldest town in South Africa. While on our bike tour back from the Southern Cape through the Karoo, we stayed over in Graaff Reinet. As always we wander through the streets and I take photos.

You can read more about Graaf Reinet and its interesting history here

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday which you can access by clicking here

Thanks to everyone who left kind comments on my post about the loss of dear old Toffee. 

May you all have a wonderful weekend. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Farewell to a loyal old lady

 Toffee in February this year. Still fit and healthy

Yesterday the vet arrived to check out Toffee who had a large open wound on her side. She'd previously caught  and torn a  teat on the wire fence when she and Princess got out one night six weeks ago. At the time Grant called the local vet in  who gave her a course of antibiotic injections. Meanwhile Michael and I treated the wound daily and I left the medication (Zambuc  - good Oz ointment,  and South African tissue oil ) which he applied in my absence.

When I returned from leave, Michael told me that Toffee's matatizo/problem was worse. Grant called in a provincial vet; Albert, head of the askaris  brought him to my home and we consulted together. The vet said that Toffee's wound was cancerous; he said he'd anathematize the dog, go in, cut out all the cancerous tissue and sew her up again. His opinion was that afterwards she would be good as new. I wasn't at all convinced about operating on cancer areas. Toffee is apparently about 12 years old, so I asked the vet about humanely putting her down. He and his assistant seemed horrified that I would suggest this; they said they'd recently operated another older dog on another mine and it survived well.
 Michael lifts the sedated Toffee onto the examination table

Michael and I duly set up an operating theater in Grant's large bathroom and although the doctor promised to be here at 10am yesterday, he and the assistant duly arrived just after 2.30pm! That's Africa time for you.

The assistant sedated Toffee, Michael lifted her onto the table and the vet examined her. 

Within minutes Michael called me from my desk and said the doctor wanted to speak to me. The doctor told me that the cancer had spread into Toffee's groin area and to operate would mean great pain and suffering without the guarantee of her being well again. Now he and his assistant quoted a statement from the Tanzanian Animal Welfare Society about humanely putting animals out of their suffering!

When I agreed that the best thing for dear old Toffee would be euthanasia and would he administer it, he said they don't have the drugs!  He asked if  the hospital would supply us large dose of general anesthetic which would put the dog to sleep permanently. Getting anything from the hospital involves a long procedure ( waiting on the veranda with dozens of other patients) and with the dog twitching as she was coming around from her light sedation, I knew I couldn't go the normal route. So  I phoned Grant and asked him to help. He immediately got hold of the doctor, and once he'd explained what we needed, the doctor asked him to come to surgery to collect the medication. 

Within minutes, Grant was at our gate and passed me two bottles. I took these to the doctor thinking now the deed would be done. Not long and Michael called me to the bathroom again. The doctor held up the medicine and said it was incorrect. The doctor had given us local anesthetic instead of general anesthetic! I phoned Grant again; he fetched the bottles and went back to the hospital. The doctor called the anesthetist - a most taciturn man - and this time Grant phoned the vet  asked him to speak directly to the anesthetist!

Five minutes later Grant was back at the gate, this time holding a syringe with the first dose, and two small vials with liquid to be administered after this, using new needles each time. I handed the first one to the vet's assistant who gave it to the vet. Michael bound Toffee's leg above the elbow to enable easier access into her veins.  Albert was at Toffee's head and kept stroking her. The vet  injected the first one intravenously while Michael untied the twine. Meanwhile the assistant was setting up the final two injections. The vet subsequently administered these two, continually listening to Toffee's heartbeat. 

Finally after fifteen long minutes, dear old Toffee was at peace. 

The reason for posting this in detail may seem a little bizarre; but it's to show how different and difficult things can be here in the boondocks. In South Africa I've had to make this already traumatic decision and take a beloved pet to the vet's surgery. Within minutes the vet would have the animal on the table;  I always stay with my pet till the end, and as soon as the needle goes into the vein, the patient closes its eyes. Another minute or two and the vet listens to the heartbeat and says: "It's over."  

 All I can say in closing is:

 kwa heri  ma rafiki/ goodbye my friend

Good fences. Good Environment

The fence around the town's nursery (Taken out of the vehicle window, hence skew horizon!) 

It's on the street corner so I had many angles of the only picket fence in town!
The fence meanders along behind a hedge
The slogan on the building says it all!

I'm linking my post to Good Fences Thursday hosted by TexWisGirl and which you can visit by clicking here

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hedges on the Ridge

When we arrived home in Marquard this past holiday, Angus, Amanda and their little ones had moved in next door to us. This house was previously occupied by my dear friend, Pienkie (now living in the Old Age Home) whom I posted about yesterday.

Of course it was a real novelty for us to be out on the patio and to hear a little voice calling: "Hello Granddad"
Joel, four years old, stands on his jungle gym near the boundary wall between our two properties and calls Grant
 Not long and their nanny, Liesbet brings the children across to our house (it's just half a dozen steps from the left of this photo!)
Liesbet and Joel and Abby in our dry, winter garden

One evening I looked out onto the patio, and saw the children in their pajamas watching Grant working. They'd obviously been bathed by Liesbet, let out of their front door, rang our gate bell and Granddad let them in! 

  Two little muffled muffins watching their granddad planing his desk
Rina is the stand-in granny while I'm not around although the kids go straight to her even while I'm there! There's something about her that draws young and old. Amazing!  

 Rina with several of the Hedges grandchildren

Now something different: when Eryn was three-and-a-half years old, she had a mop of curly hair. One day she leaned on the day bed in my office with her chin on her hands; I knelt on the other side and with this wide-angle view, I took one of the best photos I have ever taken.  I gave the photo to my niece, Louise, a talented artist (Louise is the older sister and bridesmaid in the wedding post yesterday) and she painted it. When John and family arrived last week, I asked Eryn to pose next to the photo which she did.
Eryn, 11 is eight years older than she was in this painting. She's still GranJo's beautiful granddaughter who loves bling and kept borrowing my lipstick while they visited last week! 

At the same time, John took Grant's photo as a little boy, off the passage wall and held it next to Elijah. This fourth child and second son of John and Debbie is not only the spit of his paternal granddad, but has a lot of Grant's  derring do and mischievousness in him too. 
 Elijah, three, poses next to a photo of Granddad Grant also taken when he was three!  

During the same week that we furnished and decorated MIL's flat at the Retirement Center, Grant made arrangements to have an awning added to the east facing side of our house. Although we have a front door, we have never used it, except to open it every day and let the fresh air into the sleeping area of the house. We also have a large lounge and separate dining room which we never use as a lounge or dining room! 

Instead, in 2002, I had an entertainment area with an indoor braai/BBQ added to the kitchen and back entrance of the house. So we have two entrances to the house and these are both side entrances! One leads out onto the patio, garages and beginning of the driveway. The other leads onto a small lawn and garden which we also use extensively during mid-summer months. The past two holidays we  entertained outdoors on this patio and as always found it very hot. So the part you see in the photo below is that patio with my shadow reflected on the indoor entertainment area. 
 The extension of our house which has been an amazing pleasure for family and friends alike
Adding the awning with blinds which can be opened and closed, has created an extra "room" to our well-utilized entertainment area!

And last but not least: the three kitties in our Marquard home. Chappie, pictured below, has been the only resident cat in the Hedges Marquard household for the past two years. She was utterly spoiled by Emily. So, as the only child cat, Chappie rules the roost; she definitely doesn't abide imposters! 
Chappie is quite a comical cat and because she's spent so much time on her own, she makes up her own games: like playing peekaboo in a shopping bag! 
A month ago, however, Chappie's peace and solitude was shattered. Two cats, originally from Tanzania and recently living with their real mum, Rina in the Northern Free State, arrived at our Marquard home.Topsy and Tipsy, two feline brothers we looked after and eventually sent home to Rina, were now also part of the Hedges family. 

Chappie still has her own sheepskin bed on a sofa in the lounge part of my office; Topsy and Tipsy were first confined to the inside part of our house but now roam the garden and neighbor's property at will. And when they deign to come home, they sleep on the electric blanket on my bed. 
Mmm, Tipsy,  life wasn't even this good in Tanzania! 
Ahh, Topsy, it's so hard to keep my eyes open! 
Tipsy and Topsy love sharing a sheepskin bed (Chappie has her OWN) while the morning sun pours in over them 

I hope you're all having a really great week so far. 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Another Hedges moves to Marquard

During the last ten days of our leave, Rina and I furnished and decorated, Pam, my mother-in-law's flat. We decided to move her into available accommodation at the retirement village in Marquard. This is in the interim while the builders build the unit Grant has bought for her. 

It took all our energy, enthusiasm and resources to have it ready by the time Grant's brother, Chilly and our sister-in-law, Shelley brought her to Marquard last Sunday.
The open plan flat has a lounge off the kitchen
Rina, the handy-woman, hung the clock and pictures which added a welcome feel. The television is being installed as we speak
Just to the left of the stove (which we disconnected as MIL has three meals a day delivered to her flat) is a brand new stove which Grant bought for her
 We hung new curtains and net and covered two round tables with new clothes and throws while the bedding was cracklingly new as well
The bathroom (ride-in shower only) is en-suite; a good step up from MIL's previous situation in Durban where she shared an antiquated (bath only) bathroom and toilet with all the other oldies on her floor
Chilly, Shelley, Angus, Amanda and Grant with Abby and Joel the evening after we'd installed Pam in her new flat

On Wednesday John, Debbie and children arrived at our home for a visit. Angus and Amanda live next door to us now so I fetched Abby and Joel and we all drove down to the Old Age Home to say hello to Pam. It was quite a task keeping eight excited little ones quiet as we trundled down the passage to Bammie (as the grandchildren and great-grandchildren call Pam)

After all the greetings and my-you-have-grown exclamations from Bammie,  I managed to sit Pam down in a chair and arranged the children around her.
Debbie helps to settle the eight children around their great-grandmother. Eryn is proudly holding the newest baby, Keren who was three months that day!
I just love the way Elijah (John and Debbie's fourth child) is leaning over and talking to his cousin, Abby (Amanda and Angus' little girl)
Finally I joined the group while Rina took the photos
 Rina joined the group, Debbie took the camera and told everyone to make a funny face!
John with his Bammie

Later we all clattered down the passage to Pienkie who was my neighbor for fourteen years before moving to the Old Age Home. Eryn and Joshua loved Pienkie and when visiting me, they'd often walk over to Pienkie's house, ring her door bell and when she opened it, they'd offer her a flower which they'd picked in her garden!
Joshua and Eryn with my dear friend, and ex-neighbor, Pienkie

I'm linking this post to Our World Tuesday which you can access by clicking here

Family Wedding in South Africa

I'm going to have to do two posts for Our World Tuesday today! First is our niece's wedding which was held in a forest on  the bridegroom's parents sugar cane farm on the East Coast of South Africa.  Although it was a morning wedding, and the dress was smart casual, I never pass up the opportunity dress up! I love to wear heels but as I couldn't this time, due to the uneven ground we'd be on at the wedding, I opted for my silver and black Aerosoft slip-ons with a slight wedge.  
 Grant and I on our way to our niece's forest wedding

The wedding venue was very quaint and quite unique. While waiting for the bride to arrive at the "church",  the guests sat on white deck chairs or logs in a clearing between the trees.
 The open-air "church" into which Grant's brother piped the bride 
 The tables were set for the reception under large white marquees
 Wandering around before the wedding ceremony, I managed to get several photos

When the time came, father of the bride, Chilly (Grant's brother) piped the bride and her entourage in down the grassy aisle. My sister-in-law, Shelley (who always helps me with bird identification) walked in with her younger daughter, Kerry, the bride on her arm. Behind them was their older daughter, Louise who had her year-old son, Jamie by the hand. Three more bridesmaids, friends of the bride,  followed. Padding in between the wedding procession was Kerry's borzoi as well as Louise little dog, Holly who is of mixed breed.

The young couple, Kerry and Jem saying their vows

Grant's brother, Chilly piping the wedding procession up the aisle
My sister-in-law, Shelley, with daughter, Louise and little Jamie in the background 
The newly- weds were showered with fragrant white rose petals as they walked up the aisle
Kerry greets the guests with her Boizoi by her side
Shelley baked the three-tier cake and Kerry decorated it. The cane - cutting knife which the couple is using here, was used by Jem's parents on their wedding many years ago. More recently Jem's two sisters used the same knife to cut their cakes on their respective weddings
Kerry has her own business catering for functions and parties with bespoke baking. She baked all the cakes on this table with the help of her assistant, Princess (pictured above) 
 There was a delicious selection of cheeses, pates, pickles, breads and biscuits
Lunch, which was served at 2.30, was buffet style and as a vegetarian I found plenty to satisfy me. Grant opted for the herb-crusted roast pork and apple sauce with vegetables
At one stage Kerry couldn't get up as her Boizoi was lying on her train

As always happens at weddings, everyone tries to catch up with friends and relatives. Shelley was very busy chatting to friends from New Zealand but Grant and I managed a few minutes to talk to Chilly. The official wedding photographer asked us to pose for  her after which I handed her my camera for the photo below.

Moi with the Hedges men

Although the wedding party went on until late that night, Grant and I wanted to get back to Rina, whom we'd left at our friends' guest house. We caught Shelley's attention, and with Chilly and the beautiful bride, this time the wedding photographer snapped the Senior Hedges family. 
Chilly, Shelley, Kerry, Jo and Grant 

May the young couple, Kerry and Jem, live happily ever after! 

I'm linking my post to Our World Tuesday which you can access by clicking here