Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good Fences, Great New Year

Although Eddie, Skabenga and I walk on the golf course every morning as the sun rises,  (yes, even Christmas day!) I don't take a camera. On Boxing Day Grant accompanied me and because he carries my camera, I took photos.
The sun rising over the paddocks just beyond our home 
I love the moon peering out next to the electricity pole and also the fence along the roadside of the golf course

A small herd of Brahman watch the dogs cavorting along the fairway
Eddie and Skabenga come up to the fence to see what Mom is photographing!

This large white animal and the brown one next to it always approach the fence when they see me! 
The owner, who lives in a house nearby and is having coffee on his veranda when I pass,  says he's noticed sees how his cattle love me! 
 I've waited all my adult life for a handsome lad to gaze at me like this one above!

I'm linking to Good Fences Thursday here

Here's wishing all my blogger friends 


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Southern Red Bishop

The Southern Red Bishop (male)

We have many of these beautiful birds in our garden at the moment. The males seem to flock together and eat at the same place (seeds on our dried out lawn) or on the bird-feeder.

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here

Happy Wednesday to you all! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas at home

As mentioned on Saturday, I 'm always up at 4 aa; I feed the cats in my bedroom. Once I put Tipsy - who, at night,  has the run of the other wing in our house,  away in his boudoir for the day, Only then do I let our three out. I open the kitchen door where Chappie waits for a tidbit of the same meaty chunks in sauce or jelly which my three cats enjoy. Then I open the door leading out onto the patio where I'm greeted most profusely by my rather large pup, Skabenga. I feed him and while he's eating, I pop into the bedroom and dress in my tackies, exercise pants and loose top. I leash up Skabenga and only THEN do I open the garage door where Eddie spends every night. Trying to curb the enthusiasm of an excited Labrador while an elderly, but ultra-fit Jack Russel hurtles around the patio, just doesn't work! 

On Friday I first placed  the large farm chicken - already stuffed and seasoned - in the oven. The gammon went onto the stove top and had to boil for 55 minutes. I checked all was in order and then went outdoors, grabbed Skabenga's leash from his mouth and led him out into the street. Eddie always takes off like a streak of lightning. 

On the return from our walk, a blast of hot air greeted me from the kitchen along with the delicious smell of roast fowl. The bird was stuffed - rear end and breast opening - with pork, sage and onion forcemeat; I'd draped streaky bacon across the entire body and secured all with toothpicks. 

Only one problem, when it was done, I forgot to photograph it! 

The gammon was cooked through so I glazed it with apricot jam and olive oil; stuck pineapple rings with a whole cheer in the center to the roll and grilled it just before lunch.
The gammon, glazed and decorated and cooked to perfection! 

I'd cooked rice and roasted potatoes in with the chicken but no other cooked vegetables were served. However, while Grant was in hospital at the beginning of November, he'd found a recipe in one of the many magazines I brought him to stave off boredom. We decided to have this salad as a green accompaniment to the dinner. 
Peach, walnut and blue cheese salad - very different and most delicious

Before I forgot to photograph our beautiful Christmas table, I took the photo below. Believe it or not, these two ladies were actually having a friendly chat, although it looks anything but!
Our Christmas table set with crackers, tinsel and a large galvanized bucket with champers on ice
Every Christmas morning, Grant and I make trifle using his paternal grandmother's recipe. The pudding was supermarket bought and microwaved for three minutes before serving
After lunch we sat out on the patio to enjoy the rain. We had about 5mls of rain - not much - but it cooled the earth for a few hours

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here

Happy last Tuesday of 2015!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tis the season

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose and it's Christmas time! We were treated to extra ground beef and Dad Ginger had a sliver of biltong.

Skabenga showed the Christmas spirit by wearing his shiny collar all day. Mum says he was very good and didn't try to rub it off! 

We kitties were resting in the cool bedroom with a fan on full to help us cope with the heat! What yoomens often don't know is that kitties stretch out l - o - n - g in a cool spot. Then we don't feel it so badly. 
Dad Ginger stretches out on the cool tiles! 
Unca Shadow finds the top of the wooden table cool to stretch out on
I'd been lying on the tiled counter top before Mum came to take this photo

Here's hoping you're all having a wonderful season.

For more cute posts about pets, please click here

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Critters

On Christmas Eve we went over next door to Angus and Amanda. Her parents, (Celia and Lourie);  sister, brother-in-law and their two little girls were also there. 

Sitting out on the lawn, Celia, Rina and I watched little Liam crawl on the back veranda. When he got to close the the edge of the top step, three experienced grannies shot up towards the child where Rina scooped him up ! 

Liam, at 11 months, is so inquisitive and takes several tumble a day because of this! 

Under the shady trees, Lourie and Leonard (Amanda's BIL) were making a lamb  potjie. You can read about this traditionally South African way of cooking and outdoor entertaining here
Leonard adds mushrooms to the potjie while Lourie holds the hot lid off

Amanda's sister, Ilse took a family photo
(My SIL Celia says you never see Jo in a photo; I wonder why? LOL!)

Some "real" critters for this post!
We ladies had to keep moving from an anthole on the lawn (yes, this is lawn - so very, very dry in Marquard)
Granddad Grant and Liam had a game while the little boy sat on his dad's shoulders
Joel and Abby play with the string of lights on the children's table

Christmas Eve family dining al fresco: From left: Lourie, Celia, Leonard, Ilse, Rina, moi, Grant Amanda and Angus
Amanda had delicious breads to accompany the potjiekos
 There was an sparagus quiche which Celia made especially for me

As all skywatch enthusiasts and fellow moonwatchers will know, it was full moon on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning. The first full moon in 38 years to fall on Christmas. It won't occur until 2034, so I made good use of this unique opportunity in case I don't see it again! 

I hope you all enjoyed my post of Christmas Critters: bread, potfood, ants, children and a full moon! 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here

Friday, December 25, 2015

Beautiful skies for Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! May you have a wonderful day with your loved ones.
The moon on 17 December 
The moon on Tuesday 22 December\
The beautiful sunset especially glowing because of the dry, dusty conditions over Marquard this week

Our youngest granddaughter, Abby, against the backdrop of the setting sun on the evening of our caroling through Marquard (available on my Face Book page)

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday here

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Good fences, great Christmas!

Fence around field at the entrance to our town

A derelict farm house on the corner of the town entrance
I've been passing this house for the past 30 years (we visited friends for many years before buying in and moving to Marquard) I often wonder what the story is behind this house. Perhaps I'll ask someone and post about it here

This cow is outside the fence grazing the few succulent grass-shoots along the road. As the severe  drought continues in our province, we see more small herds of cattle (belonging to the locals) wandering around town in search of food

As Christmas is upon us, I don't have time to post about the wonderful walk we had around town on Tuesday night. We caroled through the streets of Marquard, and had great fun! I posted it on FaceBook if anyone is interested. 

I'm linking to Good Fences Thursday here

Meanwhile, to all my blogger friends out there:


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

White-bellied Sunbird

White-bellied Sunbird on a bottle-brush in Amanda's yard. I happened to snap him quickly and not too clearly! 

The White-bellied Sunbird is the only sunbird in the region with a white belly and iridescent green throat and back. 

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

'Tis the season

Once again, Christmas is upon us. This is the first Christmas since 2010, that Grant and I are back in South Africa to celebrate. 

Of course, with Christmas season comes the annual Carol Service. On Sunday evening we attended the Methodist church carol service. This was held as traditional as possible, with children doing the Scripture readings, the congregation ( made up of people from the many, various churches in town) sang the carols together and the Methodist minister gave a short message. 

My photos aren't all that clear as I didn't want to use the flash (for obvious reasons) 
The older daughter of a prominent farming family read a lesson
Twin siblings from the same family shared another lesson. Isn't the little girl a stunner? And the boy reminded me of our own grandson, Joshua
One of two daughters of another prominent business family in town

Marquard is made up of an eclectic mix of people: white farmers and white, Sotho and Indian business owners who have been here for decades; families who work for the large feed-lot just outside town; retirees (these are many - especially widows); semi-retirees (like we are!) There are three prominent languages : Afrikaans, English and Sesotho which most people have a reasonable command of at least two of these. 
Every alternative carol was sung in Afrikaans
And several in English
We have a brass band from the township outside town who attended the service
 A young man from a neighboring town accompanied the congregation most ably

I was the church organist for this church for close on 12 years. The church organ is situated in the other corner of the church from the keyboard piano above. After the service I dragged Rina to the front of the church, opened up the organ and posed while she took a photo! 
I look as if I'd seen a ghost as I posed in front of the organ on which I accompanied the Methodist congregation for more than a decade
Rina and my sister-in-law, Celia gave me big smiles when I focused on them! 
Outside the church the brass band prepared to entertain us with several songs pertaining to Christmas
And then they marched out into the street and down to the Retirement center where there was an after-party

At the end of this video, crazy friend Myrtle ran her fingers across my viewfinder. I focused on her, greeted her and she answered (in Afrikaans) Hello, my love! 

There are few like an African to show the rest of the world what rhythm is! The young band members sashayed up the street to the beat of their music with the older women from the church coming up in the rear
Everyone digs in to hearty snacks after the 1 1/2 hour carol service

I'm linking my post to Our World Tuesday here

Wishing you all a wonderful day!