Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fan-tailed Widowbird

...and explaining the word: servitude (in this instance)

Stewart Monkton who hosts this meme, asked what "a servitude" was. I've been using the word since arriving her because I heard my son using it! 
The Definition of a Servitude
A servitude is a registered right that a person has over the immovable property of another. It allows the holder of the servitude to do something with the other person’s property, which may infringe upon the rights of the owner of that property. An example is the right of way to travel over a section of the other person’s property in order to reach your own property. (Google)
The land from the fence towards the right of the photo, belongs to another famer. My son leases it for his horses to graze and uses the road to reach his home at the end of this road (top of photo!)

In this case it means he has use (service) of the road going through another man's land. 

While walking along here every morning, I see many grass birds. Recently the Fan-tailed Widowbird has been present in its breeding plumage.

Fan-tailed Widowbird

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Notes from our old world

I've been so busy settling into our new world, I've omitted to post about what's been happening in our old world - Marquard.

While we still lived and worked in Tanzania, we offered our widowed friend, Rina a place to stay.  She took care of my home, Chappie and our three dogs at the time.

When Grant's contract expired at the end of 2015, we returned home to Marquard, expecting to be set on in another African contract very soon. 

This didn't happen. Grant had become too old and notwithstanding his decades of experience in heavy earthmoving and open cast mining, he would not be eligible for a work permit in Africa. 

Life continued in 2015;  in June, we acquired a puppy 
one of the best domestic decisions that year! 
Skabenga's now the size of a small horse and the dog with the best nature in the world

Early in 2016, Grant started a small home business: maintenance and repair of farmer's quads and motorbikes. He also built up several motorcycles for customers during the year. 

During Easter, while visiting MIL at the center, I noticed one of the free standing houses was empty. I enquired at the office and was told it was available for hire. We booked it and on Tuesday morning when Rina, who'd been visiting her son for the long weekend, arrived home, I dropped a bunch of keys in her hands. 

When I explained that we'd secured a rented house for her, she burst into tears. She didn't stop crying for four hours, even when I took her to the center to view her new house. 

On 1 April Rina, John (my then garden partner) and I moved all Rina's furniture stored in my house to her new house. Rina already knew all the people living in the center through me and also because we'd spent up to four times a week going to see MIL Pam who has her own unit within the older residents' building. She has become so integrated into the community and is very much loved by the active "younger" old residents living around her,  and the older people in the center.

Grant continued with his business but during the winter, he fell ill with a bad strain of flu and although he rallied and kept on working, he never fully recovered. In September he had a serious breathing attack; I took him to the doctor's surgery where they struggled for two hours to get his heart rate down, to bring down his blood pressure and to open his airways. 

After a night on oxygen, he saw the doctor again the next morning. He, in turn, referred Grant to the physiotherapist next door. This was a godsend. Instead of the antibiotics, inhalers, and cortisone-related medication, the young woman showed Grant how to use his inhaler correctly and how to breathe properly. 

Gradually Grant's health improved but as the weather dried out, so his chest seized up again. John and Debbie suggested we move to their land in the mountains where the air is clearer and the lifestyle would certainly benefit Grant's health. 

I've posted at length about the wide-open spaces and the beautiful scenery and quiet way of life here, so I can confidently say that Grant's health has improved 100%.

Meanwhile, back in Marquard, Rina was offered a position as Laundry Mistress/Housekeeper of the center. This has to be one of the best jobs; she lives on the premises so she just walks a few steps and is at her place of work. She also has her midday meals supplied. She also pays her own way now that she has a job. 


She regularly works the passages where the oldies have their bedsitters and units, like the one MIL occupies. So Pam has Rina popping in often during the day for a chat. 
Rina, looking brisk and official in her uniform

Last week Pam got out of bed and hooked her pajama leg on the magazine rack. She fell backward, breaking her fall with her left hand. The sister bandaged the hand and said the doctor would be in to see her. 
Rina snuck a photo on her phone to send me

The doctor saw MIL's hand and sent her to the clinic for a letter to have an X-ray. Rina took Pam on Monday morning. Then the center organized for Helena from the kitchen to take Pam to the nearby town of Clocolan where she'd have an X-ray done at the State Hospital. As so often happens in our country, the professional didn't arrive. The radiologist wasn't coming in that day; please try again tomorrow! 

The next day, the cook was busy but the lady in the office had an abscess on her tooth and had to get to the dentist urgently. The tooth doctor is in Senekal, another nearby town in a westerly direction. She gave Pam and Rina a lift and dropped them off at the State Hospital. 

Although they had a long wait, at least the radioligist was there and eventually MIL had her X-rays done. When I phoned her, she said she'd asked the radiologist what she could see on the disc but she just said: Have a good day, Grandmother! 

The doctor saw the x-rays and  asked Rina to bring Pam into the surgery. There was a hairline crack in the thumb and she would need Plaster of Paris. Rina sat with her until the procedure was complete and took her home again.
MIL Pam's left hand in Plaster of Paris for the next six weeks

Rina sent me a WA message on Friday and said Pam had been very down in the dumps with the discomfort of the cast and not being able to do much for herself. She assured me that Pam was being well-taken care of although she becomes quite cranky if the sister or the carer doesn't do it her way! 

On Saturday I spoke to Pam and she said she was feeling much better than the day before. The cast had settled well and she was keeping her hand quiet. 

We are ultra-grateful that Rina is right there in an official capacity to help Pam. 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rainy weekend in the mountains

It rained on Friday; it rained on Saturday; it rained on Sunday.

You get the picture?

In between when the sun peeped through the clouds, before it rained again, the dogs and I went out for a couple of walks. 

BTW; come rain or shine, every morning at 5, the dogs and I walk our walk along the servitude. A kilometer round trip in case we don't get out again.

Not that that happens. We get out several times a day AFTER the early morning constitution! 
 Whooppee! Another walk with Mum! 
 Eddie goes where angels fear to tread
 The horses graze calmly with thunderheads gathering above 
Going outside one evening after another rainstorm and was greeted by this awesome sunset 

It's a tough life, I know but someone has to do it...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mountain Moggies' Utopia

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose to tell you how much we are enjoying the mountain place we now live in. 

Firstly we have a WHOLE bed to sleep on. 
Our Mum and yoomen dad have to fit in between us! 
Auntie Chappie has her own private sleeping chair
Mum lined a box with a B E E G pillow - unca Shadow slept in it for a while
Dad Ginger and I at the foot on Mum's bed

When we're not sleeping, we explore the garden.
Dad Ginger patrolling around the house
And the vineyard
Auntie Chappie loves to sneak along the ditch at the stable (See there I, Ambrose, am sitting in the doorway) 
Unca Shadow went exploring in the forest

A bird in the tree was telling Unca Shadow to "go away"
Auntie Chappie, Dad Ginger and I watched from the rondawel door

For more cute pet posts, please click here

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Critters lower down

Last week, blogger friend, Sandra said she'd read on a photography blog we should look "lower down" for interesting critters. 

This week I did just that and was amply rewarded! 
A colourful beetle on a wildflower in the paddock with the newly planted pecan nut trees 
A green grasshopper on a drainpipe

Early one morning when the dogs and I returned from our walk, I noticed Skabenga gazing  looking down at something on the grass 
I zoomed in on it and then picked up to show Grant. He identified it as the tail feather of an owl. We do have a resident Spotted Eagle-owl in the garden (not yet seen but heard only in the wee hours of the morning) 

While collecting water from the rainwater tank, I looked down (it's a boring job, collecting water) and saw a furry thing wriggling along in the grass. After filling the container, I brought it into the kitchen, grabbed my camera and went back to the tank. 

A large hairy worm - caterpillar - not identified

During the day, the dogs and go for several walks; mostly in the line of work - for me - and fun for the dogs! When I returned and came inside, Grant said I had something hairy on my shirt. He flicked it off. I checked closely and saw that it was a hairy black caterpillar. I slid it onto a sheet of paper and carried it outside. I placed it on a small shrub. 
It had interesting spikes which stood erect 
while it clambered onto the safety of a green leaf 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters here

Wishing you all a wonderfully, critter-filled Saturday. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Sunrise this week

I'm linking to SkyWatchFriday here


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Good fences. gate maintenance

Yesterday Grant rode up to the top pivot gate posts and did a repair. As he doesn't have his trusty assistant Jacob any longer, I am now the trusty assistant. 
Wires and posts not attached any longer, but lying on the grass

Tools and material loaded in the motorcycle luggage and off he goes
The dogs love being on the farm; I mean how many MORE walks can we fit into a day! 

Throughout all this activity, I was holding drill bits, tape measures, taking photos with my Smartphone and snapping away with the camera! I think I make a good assistant!

This  morning on our 5am walk, Eddie, Skabenga and I checked up to see if the chains were still in place. They were...

I'm linking to the LAST Good Fences meme today. Thanks to Theresa for hosting this interesing meme. I will miss you! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Hi Everyone HOW DO WE SEE OUR DASHBOARD AND COMMENTS NOW? Blogger has changed the face of it all.


Anyone out there have the same problem???

Rufous-naped Lark (continued)

I posted about this Rufous-naped Lark last week -  I know...

However, on Friday while walking with the dogs to the field with the newly planted pecan nut trees, I heard this lark calling again. I turned around and located it. On a support post surrounding one of the pecan nut trees! 

I have several photos of this interesting lark with a video at the end. Excuse the vibrations: the wind was blowing and at the end, first Eddie - then Skabenga - came into the picture and frightened the bird away! 

The same bird with its crest flattened

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here