Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My life... home and at work.

Every afternoon after work, I don my running shoes, leash up a 60kg highly excited Labrador and we set out on our walk.  As we leave the inside farmyard, I release Skabenga's clip and he hurtles off up the road. 

For the past two weeks we've increased our distance and I try to do at least a 2km round trip. On Saturdays and Sundays, we increase this to 2.5km. Of course , my furry friend loves this extra treat. He's the fastest and most energetic large dog I have ever owned. 

On Sunday, we walked the entire length of the outside farm road and back again. I was thrilled to see the cows, before being milked and then herded into the paddock which I pass coming home, grazing in the fallow maze fields. I imagine the cows love eating the cobs and stalks. But the pivot goes regularly here and there is sufficient green grass for them even though it's still winter here. 
 Clever cows grazing greens and other luscious treats under the pivot
 It was such a serene scene and I could just imagine the creamiest milk in the making!
 Some of the cows gave Skabenga a warning look (see the brown and white cow's unwavering stare!) 
 The happy dog had found a pivot path full of squelching mud and enjoyed plodging in it!
 I think he sensed Mrs Cow staring daggers at him and turned to look at her!

 Then we were off again!
 A pastoral scene which has been so instrumental in helping me heal over the past eight months and move forward

This morning I was in Colette's shop next door and Miriam told me that Lips had caught and killed a rat. Fortunately  outside so  at least we know our shops are rodent free. I praised her for being the best mouser in the world!

 Lips, who is alone on the veranda now that Missy rules my home and since the kitten went to live with a friend in the Valley
 Once Lips had done her duty, she showed no further interest in the poor hapless (and very dead) rat 

I'm linking with Our World Tuesday here 



Sunday, July 29, 2018

Missy and Ginger

Bozo has gone to his holiday home for a month while his yoomens visit in the UK. So I gave Ambrose a small journalistic break!  Meanwhile, things are looking good at home with all the cats integrating at last. Well, the boys still take every opportunity to taunt poor Chappie. I think this only happens when I'm there : a territorial thingy or Mum is a-mine-thingy...

Last night Missy and Ginger had a shadow boxing session. Note the two chairs set in a row, sort of fashion. This is because Ginger always sits on my office chair (he always has) so I normally move him carefully back from my desk and place another chair there for me to sit on. Now Missy has annexed MY chair. 


 Here's wishing you all a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Total lunar eclipse

Full moon with Mars very close to it last night - captured in the central Drakensberg
As the earth's shadow obliterated the moon...
Within about 40 minutes of total eclipse, the moon started becoming red in appearance
- a blood moon
I was using my manual function to get a closer and clearer image . During the processing of this image, I breathed out and this was the result. (I left it in the post for effect) The silvery specks surrounding the moon are stars. The heavens over Africa, were clear and diamond-studded the whole night
A last look at the blood moon in total eclipse 

Last night many of the Valley residents gathered  at a local hotel; they had an astronomer to explain the phenomena to them and later over goblets of gluwein, to ward off the cold, they moon gazed together.  I know it happened all over South Africa that people got together at observatories and watched the eclipse. I opted to stay home and go out and photograph the moon in stages. Until it's eclipse. Which is what I did. 

I knew that my friends and landlords were also home but by 8.30 their house was in darkness. They'd gone to bed. While I was out in my garden an hour later, the screen door to John and Ronnie's  house creaked and I knew John had come outside. He called to Ronnie that the moon had almost disappeared. Then he called even louder and said: "Doll, phone Jo and tell herDoll, phone Jo and tell her to come out and see the moon." to come out and see the moon." I bellowed from my veranda : "Jo is out, John." He said: "Oh hello Jo,you must be taking photos of this amazing sight!"  (how well they know me, LOL) Then the door creaked again and Ronnie emerged calling at the top of her voice: "Hi Jo, how are you"

Typical of farm dwellers. You can talk as loudly as you wish without the neighbors hissing "shut up" as would happen in a town neighborhood!  So there we were, two people one side of the huge lawn separating them from the other on her cottage veranda. All chatting at top decibel about the beautiful moon!
Early this morning, I  captured the moon over the milking shed 


Friday, July 27, 2018

Waxing gibbous moon this week

Waxing gibbous moon. visibility 99%; age 12 days. 25 July 2018 5.31pm

Today the moon is full. I was out at 4am but needed to get to an appointment so forced myself NOT to stop and capture the beautiful bright orb in a clear winter sky.  

However, tonight is a lunar eclipse which is also hailed as the longest eclipse yet and called a blood moon. I'm getting out my large jacket and will be out in the garden (the cats and dogs will be thrilled) with my camera watching the eclipse. Of course... I'll be photographing it. I know that blogger friends, Eileen, (US) Bill (Ireland) Spare Parts and Pics, Mac Wheeler (Florida) and others will do the same when night falls in the Northern Hemisphere! 

Meanwhile, you all have a WONDERFUL  Friday.

I'm linking this post to Skywatch Friday here 

Thursday, July 26, 2018


 On my way home last night, I stopped at the entrance to the farm road and captured the beauty...


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Lack of Critters

The weather is so cold now (says a warm blooded South African!) and the surrounding veld is bare. I'm hard pressed to find insects and critters to post here. However, I scrolled back in my archives and found a praying mantis which I'd photographed in my shop (afterwards I took it outside and carefully placed it on some green shrubs) 
 A preying mantis on a painting in my shop 

Despite the cold, albeit sunny days, Skabby and I never miss our daily walk when I get home from work.  And it's a proven fact, after a brisk 2km walk along the farm roads and back, I'm totally warmed up and energetic to boot. 

Yesterday a few hundred meters from home, I spotted Junior hiding in a field above the road. I didn't have my camera with me so I've found photos from months ago. Junior is a beagle x dachshund who has - since we moved in - taken exception to Skabenga.  Yesterday as we passed her, she hurled her little body into the road and at Skabenga's heels He looks back sheepishly and walks on without taking any more notice. 

Junior's mom has told her that she is the only one who doesn't like Skabby. Everyone else loves him. She just gives her a "look" and continues on her vendetta against her enemy.
 Junior getting ready to launch herself at Skabenga as we walk past! 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen, here


Friday, July 20, 2018

Mid-winter sunset

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday here


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Blue-eyed girl

Early this morning I caught Missy in repose.
Normal cat eyes
 Bi-colored eyes
 Two green eyes
  Yellow cat eyes! 


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mandela DayCentenary

In South Africa today marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. 

Today, 18th July 2018, would have been his 100th birthday. We remember the father of South Africa as a champion for human rights, dignity and freedom. Imagine the impact we could have if everyone followed his example, and tried to make a difference in the lives of others.

For those who don't know who Nelson Mandela is/was, you must be newly landed on earth from another planet. 

 Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (from 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalized  racism and fostering racial reconcilliation. 
Mandela served 27 years in prison, split between  Robben Island, Poslsmoor Prisob abd Victor Verster Prison. Amid growing domestic and international pressure, and with fears of a racial civil war, President FW de Klerk released him in 1990. Mandela and de Klerk led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid, which resulted in the first ever multiracial election in SA  in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became President.
Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Although critics on the right denounced him as a communist terrorist and those on the radical left,  deemed him too eager to negotiate and reconcile with apartheid's supporters, he gained international acclaim for his activism. Widely regarded as an icon of democracy  and social justice,  he received hundreds of honors—including the Nobel Peace Prize —and became the subject of a  cult personality. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name: Madiba, and described as the "Father of the Nation". 

Social media, radio stations, national television is emblazoned with the Legacy of Nelson Mandela. We hope and pray that this day will  encourage those who continue to work towards peace and reconciliation in our country.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Always a pleasant surprise!

Since being at this shop on the veranda, I have had several surprise visits from friends. Mid-November I posted a photo of three friends, Trudi, Linda and Mandy from Marquard who'd seen my shop advert on Facebook while visiting in the Berg and decided to come and say hello . They bought up a storm in my shop that day! For 20 years, Mandy lived opposite us in Marquard and as Amanda's now her neighbor. Mandy gave me news of my grandchildren who play with her little son.

A couple from Zululand, whom I remembered only vaguely, and who were visiting in the valley, had heard about Grant's passing. They  popped in earlier this year to commiserate with my loss. 

The day before my birthday in February, a man asked me where the public toilets were. I looked up and recognized him. They were good friends, Norman and Hester from Marquard.  We spent a long while chatting. About Grant's passing; the fact that I've stayed in this beautiful valley and in turn,  they gave me the news of my old home town. Hester is my Amanda's aunt, so I had first-hand news about my grandchildren. 

One Sunday in May, I was on the steps, catching some sun, when a young man stopped in the parking lot. He alighted from  his vehicle, looked up and said:  Hello aunty Jo. It was my erstwhile neighbor, Nichos, from Marquard. We talked a while and he promised to bring his wife, Anna-mie,  to visit. The next day they both popped in and we had a lovely time chatting.  They'd gotten married in September last year and she showed me photos on her Smartphone. Once again, I had first hand news of Amanda, Angus and my grandchildren, who own our house,  as they're their neighbors now, albeit on the other side.

A couple of weeks later, Linda,  the restaurant proprietor from down the veranda, popped her head into my shop door. She said I have some people here asking after  you.  Behind her were a couple, Ray and Sally, now living in nearby Pietermaritzburg. Back in eighties, in Zululand, Grant worked for Ray in a farming situation; all the families lived in one compound on the banks of the Umfolozi river. In fact, we were there when Tropical Storm Demoina  hit the area. The day on the veranda, we chatted for ages - once again - about Grant. They returned the next day before they went home - just to say they were "there" for me! 

Two weeks ago I posted about recognizing a vehicle registration from Zululand and the owners of the car, Bernard and Ruth  popped in to say hello.

Last Friday I heard a woman's voice which I recognized,  greeting me from my shop door. It was another friend, Karminy with hubby Sathiyane and their two daughters. What a lovely surprise. As with all the other friends who have looked me up here on the veranda, I've had someone take a photo of us and posted about the encounter.
Sathiyane, Karminy and I in the middle, with their beautiful daughters flanking us 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here


Monday, July 16, 2018

Winter sunsets

  On my walk on Friday, I couldn't resist the beautiful sunset shining through the pivots


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Paw brothers

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose with more kitty news, We are now all allowed back  into Mum's bedroom. For a L O N G time Mum had the new kitty in with here. Now we're all friends..
 Unca Shadow: the new kitty is quite cute, isn't she?
 What's that? Oh yes. She is very energetic too !
Oh, I see what you mean: she's everywhere! 

For more cute pet posts, please click here 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Happy critter's daily walk

For those of you who follow my blog, you'll know that every day when I get home from work, there is a great shiny black Labrador bouncing up and down with excitement. Some part of this is because his favorite human has arrived home. But mostly he knows that as soon  as I've put my stuff indoors and changed my shoes, we'll be going for a walk! My landlord and friend, John says he watches in fascination how much Skabenga loves a walk. 

Yesterday I was 30 minutes later than normal and the sun was about to set. I just had to take photos of this beautiful phenomena with the heifers being herded down the farm road from the outside field into the paddock below my cottage.  

 Setting rays of sun over the cows

 And the sun setting over the older calves penned behind this fence 
 Happy dog hurtling along in front of me!

 Yesterday I decided to up my daily exercise. I surmised that I was doing a 1km walk before so now I punched in 2km on my  Samsung Health app and started out.  I walked a lot further (guess who was thrilled to bits !) and got to a top field where the pivot had been watering that afternoon. So my light-colored walking shoes are now dark-brown muddy shoes. 
 Turning around at the 2km mark, I snapped a flock of Sacred Ibis enjoying feeding in the soft ground after the pivot
 At our normal turning point, Skabenga dived into the overflow from the dam (behind me) as I snapped him
 He opens his mouth and takes gulps of water while he runs through this cold dam 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here