Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bunnies in the afternoon sunshine

Sitting at my desk on Wednesday, I spotted a bunny on the lawn in the far garden. I grabbed my camera (which is always nearby) and walked to the security gate at the big door. As I started to zoom in, I saw a movement to the right of me in Debbie's rock garden. 
One of the resident rabbits grazing in the middle garden beyond the gate

Another rabbit!
Another rabbit (probably related to the one on the lawn) sitting motionless in the rockery just outside the front door 
I struggled to get a whole image of the nearby rabbit because of the security bars

Returning to my first subject, I was fascinated to see how its ears were transparent in the afternoon sun 
I couldn't get a solid photo of this rabbit either as it was sitting behind a small tree
The veins are actually visible in the ears! 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here


Friday, December 30, 2016

Then we were two...

Grant has joined me and the dogs on our early morning (4.45am) walk along the servitude 

Instead of regular skies, I love the way the rising sun played across our shadows as walk.
I'm linking my post to Skywatch Friday here .

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fuel for thought

Two days ago blogger friend,Sandra from Madsnapper blog wrote about different fuel / gas prices at different stations. I e-mailed her about our small fuel stations in our previous town, Marquard. Then I remembered that there are many dozens of large chain fuel stations all over South Africa. Many are situated about 200km apart on the National Freeways between our large cities. 

Yesterday as Grant and I returned from a nearby town, we had to travel along the National N3 between Johannesburg and Durban. I took out my camera and snapped the Shell Ultra City as we drove in for Grant to visit the little boys' room. 

There is nowhere in Africa where you fill your own vehicle with petrol or diesel. You ride onto the driveway and park next to a bowser. A bowser attendant normally flags you in, keen to have you use his pump. You roll your window down and then ask him to fill up with 93 or 95 unleaded petrol. Or if your vehicle was diesel, you ask for 50ppm (sulphur parts per million) My live-in mechanical technician tells me this extends the life of your engine.


While the fuel is running into your tank, the same attendant will clean your windscreen. And he does it beautifully! There are often lady pump attendants as well and they are every bit as helpful and efficient as their male counterparts.  

When your tank is full (or you have the required amount in it) the attendant tells you how much you owe him. If you're paying by credit card, he brings the card machine. 

You're expected to give this friendly, helpful man/woman a R5 - R7 tip  - a minuscule amount in comparison to the US$ or Euro - but that's how it's done. 

The fuel attendant waves to us to use his pump

Every large franchise such as this Shell Ultra City, has a quick shop, open 24 hours, which stocks several grocery items, iced drinks, take-away coffee and snacks. All much more expensive than your regular grocery store. (Above and below is the Shell Select Store at this fuel stop) 

The restrooms are beautifully clean, there are ATM's machines for most banks and there is also a sit-down diner where you order a meal to break your journey. 

I hope you're all enjoying the last few days of 2016. I've not yet stopped to reflect on this past year. If I was a negative person, I'd call it the Annus Horribilis  of my life.


It was a little challenging; it was life-changing. But then again, Grant's health has improved 100% and we are living in one of the most beautiful places on God's earth. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last week's skies

The day before Christmas Eve, i.e. 23rd December, we had a downpour in the late afternoon. I walked out to see this amazing double rainbow of which I could see BOTH ends. I just couldn't reach the pots of gold...



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My world today!

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here

Monday, December 26, 2016

The first of many

On Saturday morning Grant and I were up early (I took the dogs for a walk at 4.15) so that we'd be ready to leave for our first Parkrun in the area.

We arrived at 7.30 and before long the place was teeming with people; some fit, some using a stick; some even using two sticks. But everyone had the same idea: they were walking the 5km round the dam back to the starting point.

I started off in the middle of the crowd and soon I had a lady about my age walking alongside me. We introduced ourselves and she said she just wants to finish - not better any previous times (she does this walk every week) I didn't mind as we set out at quite a brisk pace and like women do, soon were talking nineteen to the dozen. 

Our friend, Anthony (who's 75) and born and bred in the area, and Grant walked together. Anthony stopped often to explain some farming mechanism or planting to Grant. We walked through two farms, along the main road (we were admonished NOT to walk on the tar, even if it was muddy - and it WAS muddy - so we walked through the grass and slush.)

Jill (my walking partner) and I finished within the hour. She left to go home and see to her Christmas visitors. I stood and chatted to the organizers and  volunteers until Grant and Anthony arrived about 25 minutes later. 
Ce moi before we started off! 
Grant before the walk


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Back on blogger

Hi everyone. On Wednesday as we traveled back from Marquard, I received a Whatsapp from Penny (Snap That blog) saying when she logs onto my blog, she's redirected to a strange domain. I logged on in the car and also arrived at this weird site called ""  Then Gattina from Writers Cramps e-mailed me and said she'd also been redirected to this site. Later Sandra from Madsnapper said she'd visited my blog and was redirected to this strange site! 

Gattina's husband, Mr G sent me a link of free spyware to clean up my computer. Penny sent me encouraging texts via Whatsapp and said she'd pray that my blog issue would be resolved.  My son, Angus logged onto my notebook via Teamviewer and cleaned up as far as he could. However, he's not au fait with blogger and couldn't actually understand what my problem was. I phoned the technicians from my previous server company, Ntelekom, and spoke to Gerry, who'd resolved a blog issue for me before. He couldn't shed any light on my present problem and said I'd probably been hacked. 

Eeek, this is exactly what I was concerned about.

Meanwhile, via e-mail, Sandra suggested I go to Blogger help to the left of the post page and click on the forums page. She said I could state my problem there and someone was sure to have dealt with a similar issue or perhaps an expert would see my query and be able to help. I did this last thing, on Thursday night and turned off my laptop.

On Friday morning I logged onto the forum (even though I'd tried to log onto my blog post, I was still being redirected to "" and immediately saw that there was a reply to my query. The expert said I had to remove a certain side bar widget as this was causing a virus on my blog and ultimately denying me and readers access to my blog. He explained how to remove the widget which I did and voila! My blog was up and running again. 

Thank you to every one of my dear friends who edified, supported and advised me while my blog was unattainable!

This morning as the post is aired, Grant and I will be taking part in a 5km walk in the area. I hope to take photos and post about this afterwards. I walk fair distances and fairly regularly (read three-five times a day with the dogs!) but Grant hasn't done any form of exercise since we lived in Mwadui, Tanzania in 2014. This is a weekly walk and I believe that we're going to take part every time ! 


Friday, December 23, 2016


From our rondawel

From our walk along the servitude

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday here

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blogging issues

Hi everyone.
I've had several e-mails from friends who cannot read my blog posts. I also cannot read my posts. I've had my computer cleaned of viruses but believe I may have been hacked. Anyone out there know how I can e-mail blogger support to ask their help.

The sound of silence

On Saturday I photographed a tractor towing a farming implement riding along the road in the valley below. When I zoomed in I noticed three people riding on the implement. The air was so still that as we watched, we heard these men talking to each other. 

The distance between me/my camera and the subjects is about 2.5km! 

The tractor and implement with three passengers! 


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

White-fronted and White-backed

You have to read this post to see which birds I'm referring to! 

Last week as Grant and I drove through the valley, we were thrilled to see bee-eaters on a wire above the road. We stopped, I took photos...

White-fronted Bee-eater

While I was busy with the guinea pigs on Saturday morning, Grant spotted a mousebird in the garden. He took my camera and snapped it.

White-backed mousebird

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Our house

So many times I've posted photos of the mountains, the valley below the property and the sunrises and moon images. Last week Grant stopped on the road coming UP the hill so that I could photograph the house from below. 
The house and rondawel (round hut) taken from the road below
I zoomed in on the dwelling hoping to see Ambrose lolling on the lawn (LOL!) 

Living here would not be easy without the two amazing Zulu ladies: Namusa and Thandiwe. 

Namusa watering the pecans on the paddock below the house (Skabenga watches!) I also help with the watering, but stopped here to take this photo 

Last week Grant bought large bags of potatoes as a thank you gift (for Christmas) to the two ladies. 
Thandiwe with her bag of potatoes
 (I took them both to the pick-up point where they catch the taxi) 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here

Monday, December 19, 2016

Meeting up with old friends

Last Monday Grant and I drove up to Pretoria on business. We stayed over with friends ex- Tanzanian. What a wonderful reunion for all of us.

The bonus was meeting up with American missionary couple, Claire and Mike Fidele who were visiting Amanda and Andre from Tanzania. 

Claire, Amanda, Jo and Grant

I don't have a photo of Mike (Claire's husband) yet do click on this link to see an image of this amazing couple, the way they met and their incredible mission.

Amanda and I discovered Buhangija (place of safety for children with albinism) and ultimately our lives and work here crossed with Claire's. 

Do please click on these links, if you care to.

We are on our way to Marquard this morning. We'll see our dear grandchildren, Joel, Abby and Liam as we collect Grant's tools and a few items to bring back to the Berg. We'll also be spending time with Grant's mom in the retirement village while we overnight with Rina. 


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mountain Moggies are happier than ever

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose, still happy as ever in this beeeeg place. 

Our Mum was away for a little while but Namusa took good care of us. She says we were also good! 
Unca Shadow watching the world go by from the rondawel door
Dad Ginger resting in the shade of a tree in the garden
Here I, Ambrose am resting under our yoomen dad's car
Unca Shadow came to see what I was doing and then walked away across the grass

For more cute pet posts, please click here

PS Aunty Chappie was asleep in the cool rondawel 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New critters on the land!

When we traveled back from the Big Smoke on Tuesday (more about that on Monday); Namusa phoned and told me that one of the guinea pigs had had babies. She'd placed mother and babies in a box in the house. 

I quickly Googled guinea pig babies and came up with quite surprising facts: a guinea pig baby born to a sow, is called a pup. It's born with its eyes open and can run around immediately. 

I took photos of the mother and babies in the cardboard box to send to granddaughter, Eryn in Mozambique

The link I read said the mother and babies can be left with the other adult guinea pigs. The next morning Namusa and I integrated Misty ad her babies back into the large cage, although we put her in a smaller sleeping area.

On Saturday morning, Thandiwe called me and showed me that the other sow had also had two babies. Just as wide-eyed and mobile. I'm handling the babies as much as possible so that they will know my touch. The older guinea pigs are still wary of me! 

I'll get more photos of the new guinea pig pups as soon as possible.

Oh, and Apple Blossom (a special breed guinea pig) is hugely pregnant. I'm expecting her to have her pups soon.

I'm linking my post to Saturday Critters here


Friday, December 16, 2016

Full moon over the Berg

Thursday morning, our first clear day this week, the dogs and I set out for our walk at 5.15am. Normally I'm watching where I place my feet on the wet path; this time I looked up and saw the full moon! 
Full moon visibility 100%; age 16 days. 15 December 2016 at 5.31am

I was fascinated by the hugeness of the moon. (I missed the Supermoon due to overcast weather last month) I also loved the way the moon was hanging over the green maize fields.

The moon over the maize fields with the out-of-focus barbed wire fence in the foreground

I'm linking with Skywatch Friday here