Sunday, June 28, 2020

I have an excuse!

Dear Blogger friends, I was getting on so well; blogging and visiting your blogs and then it happened.

Life threw me a curved ball. 

Twelve days ago, at 12.30 a.m. I had a bad fall. I cut my leg,  sprained the foot and ankle as well. The whys and hows and what on earth, are another story for another time. I managed to stop the bleeding, disinfected it with sanitizer (we have lots around these days, don't we?) and put a plaster on it. 

Feeling very shaken, even though it was the early hours of a cold winter morning, I couldn't get back to sleep. My internet works well from midnight to about 9am, so I sat, wrapped in my winter's dressing gown, heater at my feet, and worked at my desk. 

For three days, I forgot about it although my ankle and foot were blue and painful to walk on. By Friday, I'd removed the plaster, not even looking at the wound. Silly, I know.  It was throbbing badly at that area but I thought it was from the bad bruising. Ron offered to take me to the doctor, but I didn't think it was necessary. Silly me, again. I know.

Long story, short.  

By Monday, I visited the doctor. He immediately asked why I hadn't come sooner. I said I didn't think it was serious at the time. I'd contracted a  bad infection; had a huge haematoma and cellulitis. 
He prescribed strong antibiotics, even stronger anti-inflammatory pain tablets. He dispenses so the gauze, antibiotic cream and crepe bandage with the meds, goes on my appointment . Fortunately. The medical plan I have pays for five doctor appointments a month so this was a great savings. 

We have a retired nursing sister, Jenny,  living in the Valley and she helps with home nursing. She was most supportive when I had bad dog bites on the same leg in December 2018 (there's something about my left leg which begs injury!) and after my major surgery in September 2019. 

I contacted Jenny from the doctor's rooms and asked her to help with dressing the wound once we got home.  Jenny was aghast at the sight of my leg.  Ron was standing behind her and told her she'd offered to get me to the doctor last week already. 

Jenny dressed it and sent me straight to bed.  I have had to have it elevated since Monday. Today, Sunday,  I am still in bed, with my leg up. And every morning and night I send photos to Jen to monitor it. She's been to visit three times as well and will pop in tomorrow, Monday to check it again. 

I'm not a hypochondriac - in fact , I tend to brush health and injury issues aside as not important - so I'm sorry to post about this.


This has been a major lesson to me.  

I have been to the "hot place" and back this week. With pain, frustration at my own shortsightedness, having to walk with a crutch; with concern that it might become worse. I will NEVER ever again,  take a chance with an injury. I will NEVER ever treat a cut myself.

Guess who is THRILLED Mum is on the electric blanket with a bar heater alongside the bed?
 Mama on top of my cupboard watching over me; Ambrose on my bed. I have to move him down to claim my space
 Missy at my feet 

Chappie is on the stool under the dressing table, at my left arm, as we speak! 


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Hedges Kitty and dog news

Hello to . Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose with news from a very cold place. 

We are not cold or hungry which Mum says we should be grateful for. Mmm. I wonder what grateful means?
 Missy has found a warm place on top of Mum's cupboard 
 Skabby has a large blanket and a kitty donut - which he prefers 
I, Ambrose on the patio chair on the lawn. We are all very careful of the dogs next door...

I'm off to find out what grateful is. Perhaps Skabby knows. 

A great sighting

On Monday afternoon I saw a Black-collared Barbet perching on the vegetable garden fence. By the time I'd fetched my camera from the office (now indoors as it's very cold in the Central Drakensberg_ and gone outside again, the barbet had flown off.

In its place was a Dark-capped Bulbul. 

So I took photos...

Dark-capped Bulbul

While I was crouching out in the garden, enjoying the afternoon sun and many garden birds, Derryn, the younger daughter of the young farmer next door, called me from the road between my garden and theirs.   She'd seen a Fish-eagle in a dead tree on the riverbank while out on their patio. She invited me to come along in her mum's prado and see it close by.

Which we did.

And I took photos.

 African Fish-Eagle 

The female is larger than the male and has a larger white chest band. As there was only one bird at the site, we couldn't compare. 

Afterwards I asked my birding mentor, SIL Shelley, why there was only one Fish-Eagle on the tree., She said they breed from June through October. The female was possibly incubating in one of the large oak trees in the farm yard, I now have the whole family peering up into the trees looking for a nest. If this bird was one of a pair, and we spot the female on the nest, I hope to take photos. I will report back here!

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen, here


Monday, June 8, 2020

Some reading matter

Good morning dear Blogger friends. It's feast or famine in my part of the world. Not only is the Internet erratic, on Sunday we had power outages as well. Living on a dairy farm, all I had to do was wait until afternoon milking time when the generator is activated, and I could get on with my day.

Never a dull moment. 

Today I want to do a post long overdue. About my reading habits. My SIL, Shelley (who helps me with bird ID'ing) was amazed that I have time to read. I DO have time to read. If I didn't have time to read, I would make time to read.  My late Mum told me I could read when I was three years old. I believe her. I cannot remember a day in my life when I haven't read. 

 In 2014, while living in Tanzania, East Africa, I became acquainted with electronic reading. Back in South Africa while on leave, that year, I bought my first Kindle. It completely changed my life of travel between home in South Africa and home on the mine, in East Africa. Up to that point, I would incur my husband's wrath at having overweight luggage on the plane. Which we had to pay for.  All because I packed enough reading material for three months at a time!

From the time of owning a Kindle, I could slip this compact e-book into my handbag (purse) and read on the plane. And read on the mine. To my heart's content. When one book ended, I'd download the next. 

My Kindle lasted until May last year when in mid-read, it froze. No amount of rebooting it or even letting the battery go flat, fixed the error. It is now a relic from a past life, reposing in the bottom drawer of my desk. 

 I'm a voracious reader; because I read two books a week - averaging 400 to 550 words each -  I need books.  

As soon as I wasn't an e-book reader any longer, I now noticed second-hand books for sale at quite unusual businesses: in the Valley laundromat; at the local eatery; at a used furniture and clothing shop owned by two friends of mine. 

What do I read? I enjoy non-fiction and biographies. I love historical novels; I like suspense and mystery. I like stories with court scenes in them. Of course, I love stories about animals. What I don't read is science fiction and fantasy. 

In the first two months of Lockdown, it was no different to any other period in my life. I read my quota of books. Two that aren't pictured here below and stand out in my memory, are  

Snow Wolf by Glenn Meade

Rings by Ruth Walker 

The first was a cleverly written work of fiction depicting the well-known Cold War and famous historical figures such as Stalin and Eisenhower. 

The second was about circus life. A young gypsy girl - pregnant and unmarried - is beaten almost to death by her stepfather, stripped naked and left to die in a ditch. A traveling salesman  finds her and his kind wife nurses her back to health. She eventually moves on to join a circus and becomes a famous trapeze artist. 
Clockwise from "6am" 

Sarum - Edward Rutherfurd - 1344 pages - I read this book a year ago and it took me five weeks. It's an epic bestseller of five families through 100 centuries (not years but centuries) encompassing the whole sweep of British civilization through the story of one place - Salisbury - from beyond recorded time to the present. 

For the Love of a Son - Jean Sassoon.  I cannot aptly describe how well this author writes. This is a true story as told to the author by an Afghan woman and the atrocities inflicted upon her by her husband and later by her adult son.

The Queen and I - Sue Townsend. A spoof on the British Royal Family. Humorous and scarily possible. 

King of Torts - John Grisham. Now these are the law/courtroom type of stories I enjoy. A bright young lawyer inadvertently stumbles on  a horrible conspiracy. He becomes embroiled in a case against one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Grisham knows the law and depicts it clearly and concisely. 

Elle - Maria Barret.  The protagonist is glamorous and rich and the young head of a prestigious banking company, who is ruled by a tangled and violent past. She's bent on revenge in a ruthless search to find her mother's murderer. 

Pandora's Clock - John J Nance: Believe me; I read this novel in December never thinking we were entering a decade where normalcy as we know it, would be exploded by a world pandemic caused by a deadly virus. 

Taken from Google: Pandora's Clock (also known as Doomsday Virus) is a 1996 NBC miniseries based on a novel by John J. Nance about a deadly virus on a Boeing 747-200 from Frankfurt to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Just before Christmas!  Gripping from the first page to the last. 

Maiden Voyage - Graham Masterton.  Maiden Voyage is about the dizzy flappers of the 1920's on  a sea cruise on the greatest oceanliner of them all!  It's the story of the SS Arcadia on her first transatlantic crossing. Like Jean Sassoon, this author has become one of my favorites. I am always on the lookout for more novels by them. This week I found: Railroad by Graham Masterton.

If the cat fits - Chrystal Sharp. A South African vet's wife relates hilarious and oft sad stories about their pets and the animals they encountered in their profession. She had a follow up book called A dog in my footstep.  She and her veterinarian husband, Dave Hartley were instrumental in the rehabilitation of penguins in the '80's .  She relates these stories in: In fool Flight. Sadly Chrystal passed away in 2015 and the young age of 63. I would have liked to have met her. 

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith. Google: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a series of novels by Alexander McCall Smith set in Botswana and featuring the character Mma Precious Ramotswe. The series is named after the first novel, published in 1998. 

The author is a Scots male and writes as the female protagonist, Precious Ramotswe. I have the whole series and since February have reread each one in order - for the fourth time! 

I love Jeffrey Archer,  Frederick Forsyth and as recently as January, I reread The Power of One by Bryce Courtney. I first read it in 1994. 

I have Born Free by Tony Fitzgerald. The first time I read it, I was living in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. So  I could relate to all the areas he wrote about. I reread it in February. 

I'm wondering if anyone out there has read any of the books or authors I wrote about above? 

Be safe and take care. 


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Cat in a bag!

Hello to Mum's blogger friends; this is Ambrose with a cute post about the girl kitties and Mum's shopping bag. 

 Chappie in Mum's shopping bag 
 Missy and Mama watch the moving bag 
 Chappie is tired of playing and gets out of the bag 

The two "boys" in the family weren't at the bag party. 
 I was enjoying a snack on Mum's bed 
Skabby, the dog likes swimming in the dam the best 

To all the kitties and dogs out there, be safe with your yoomens

A quick bovine delivery

Hello dear Blogger friends. I had to come to the farm office, nearer to the WiFi to post here. So I'm a day late. But hey-ho. I'm here!

On Thursday I took Skabby for a walk along the farm road. At the top a lone cow approached, waddling uncomfortably. I only had my mobile with me. I took a photo of her which I cannot upload to my laptop. 

Fifteen minutes later, Skabby and I arrived back at the farmyard gate and...

there was the calf, drinking on mama cow.  I left Skabby at home, and went back to the gate to photograph the mother and  baby with my Canon. The calf was halfway into the yard and the cow was standing facing towards the paddock. 

 Not even 20 minutes old, the calf was standing a little distance from the cow 
 It walked toward Mum as I approached with my camera 
Three days later it had been separated from the cow and was in the nursery

On Friday night my SIL, Shelley (her of the birding ID fame) forwarded a link to me saying there would be a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse starting at 19h45. I couldn't Google to see exactly what was happening (nothing new with my sketchy Internet) and decided to check on the moon at intervals from the start to capture the eclipse when it occurred. 

Well,  I went out onto the lawn at 30 minute intervals and by 11.29 I had STILL not seen the eclipse.  Anyone else out there see the eclipse? 
 Full moon, 20h25 5 June 2020 Solferino Farm, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa 

On Saturday I took Skabby out for his walk and I was armed with my camera this time. I was glad I was . 

As usual, as we approached the dam, the Grey Heron flew up and settled on the far bank. 
Grey Heron
 As usual, Skabby dived into the water and plodged to his heart's content. The Heron didn't move

 Walking back I photographed some old farm implements

 And heard a different bird calling nearby

 Leivaillants Cisticola 
 This LBJ is a lifer for me! 
 My SIL, Shelley, thought it was a Leivaillant's Cisticola. Any other ID experts out there, please correct me if I'm wrong 

When we got home, a starling was on the lawn, foraging for food. It soon was rewarded. I know it's  macabre that one creature can eat another, but that's the law of nature and of course, the worm was lower on the food chain than the bird - and was eaten! 

I'm linking to Saturday Critter with Eileen, here