🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

I took a stroll

 
I took a little stroll 
along the pathway 
and observed the wild flowers blooming.
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It was a very fine day.
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(Photo taken on my stroll through Sheffield Beach Estate, Ballito, KwaZulu Natal)

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Today


It has been 6 weeks since we sold our smallholding and Gauteng in moved down to the North Coast of KwaZulu Natal (South Africa) (ONLY 6 weeks??!! feels like a life-time!) and it has taken me all this while to find my feet, gather my thoughts and feel as if I once again belong somewhere. The biggest thing about moving from a place where you have lived for 43 years is seemingly losing your 'identity' - an identity tied to the bird life you studied for so many years, an identity tied to the grass, trees and the very soil you were walking on, an identity tied to "your" plants and birds and insects and little animals nurtured in your garden for so long.


I open my eyes in the mornings and in stead of hearing the Cape Robin-chat singing on my patio, I hear the exotic sound of the Burchell's Coucal outside my window, the sound of the surf pounding on the beach in stead of traffic whizzing past my front gate, and when I rise and go for an early morning walk, I see tropical (and unknown!) vegetation in stead of veld grass and Bluegum trees. A big a change as you can ever imagine!

Yes, it has taken me 6 weeks to get into the swing of things in this new life we have chosen and although I was, and still am, mourning the loss of my pets (my chooks will forever be ingrained in my heart), I now look forward to discovering all that is new in this exotic coastal location; insects I have never seen in my life, the names of the trees and plants which thrive in these hot and humid conditions and finding out which succulents like to grow here!

















Saturday, 2 December 2017

Walk on the wild side


As I went on a mission to rid my wildlife pond area of the beautifully green and thirsty Kikuyu lawn over the past few months, I seemed to be fighting a losing battle. As fast as I was removing it, leaving only the indigenous grasses, the lawn seemed to organise its own offensive to get rid of me. The left-overs flourished in all the rain we’ve been having, all the while displaying taunting evidence of a new generation destined to pick up the fight next year!

But this time it appeared my mid-summer decision to let nature take its course has finally been rewarded. The native grasses have loved all the water and attention spent on it and is now offering plenty of food and shelter in this area for birds, insects and small wildlife.

Yellow Thatching Grass usually grows in sandy soil in bushveld with a rainfall in excess of 600 mm per annum. It is also found in open grassland and sometimes in other soil types. Often abundant along roadsides it is found throughout tropical Africa and I am lucky that some of it took hold in my garden.

During summer, mowing this Kikuyu is a 3x a week job and this piece of lawn is defying all efforts to get rid of it!

At last, mid-summer last year, and the indigenous grasses won the battle against the Kikuyu  (right at the back of this pic), offering food and shelter for lots of wildlife. A few Hens & Chicks (Chlorophytum comosum) that I planted around this Acacia tree absolutely thrived as the wildlife pond is fenced and no chickens can get in here to do their dirty deeds!


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Don't go away and please be patient!

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I know I've been awfully quiet over the past few weeks, but there's a very good reason for that. As you may (or may not!) know, our smallholding has been up for sale for the past year and twice we've had a buyer, and twice the sale has fallen through. We now have an offer in place and it seems that THIS IS IT! I'll be moving to the coast in a few weeks! Although I'm looking forward to the change, there's a lot of sadness ... saying goodbye to a garden that has been part of my life for the past thirteen years is not easy, and even more devastating is saying goodbye to my girls. I've had to find a new home for my chooks as it is impossible for me to take them with me. I'll also be missing "MY" garden birds, we have become very, very close over the past years, especially Robbie (the Cape Robin-chat who visits me inside my house), and I hope the new owners will be tolerant of his antics inside and outside the house.

Lots has happened since our last summer rains, like a tornado and a mega-storm with hail as big as tennis balls hitting the area. My garden is pretty much annihilated, but nature is wonderful - already the trees and plants are bouncing back and will probably look much better for the wear!

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This picture was taken the next morning, the day after the storm, and none of the hail in the garden had melted yet.
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So please don't go away, as soon as I have more news, I'll be back. See you later!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

In memoriam of Peeps


In memoriam of Peeps, husband of my four girls, who died in my arms yesterday. RIP Peeps.

Peeps as a baby in my studio, where he grew up with Snoodles.

I have no idea what was wrong with Peeps, no injuries, no runny tummy, just difficulty breathing. Could possibly have been a respiritory disease...?

I have not  been around blogging for some time now. At the end of May I went down with Pneumonia and just as I thought I was getting better 3 or 4 weeks later, I developed Chronic Bronchitis and ended up in bed, deadly ill, for three weeks and after surviving that, it took me another two weeks before I could get out of bed and function properly. Not something I would wish on my worst enemy.

But now I'm better, finally able to get round to my favourite past-times, gardening and blogging. At one stage I thought I was going to die and it has given me a new appreciation for life and being able to breathe in particular. I hope you have all been well and looking forward to connecting with you again.

Maree



 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Amazing winter

A Grey Loerie (Corythaixoides concolor) enjoying some Winter sun.

Winter. I just LOVE winter.

There are just some things that are just better in winter. Like scarves, cuddles, fireplaces, and movie nights in front of the TV. I love the sunny winter days. Gauteng has summer rainfall, so the days are crisp and clear and the Coast has the warmest winter weather in the country with lots of sunshine all year round and warm ocean temperatures even in the middle of winter! And there is no better time to enjoy game viewing (or hiking) than in winter when temperatures are cooler. The bush thins out and loses its colour, improving visibility considerably. There’s no tall grass for the animals to hide in, making for good photographic opportunities.
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And warm beverages are perfect for winter. Who can resist cuddling up in a cosy coffee shop, nursing a steaming mug of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate after an exhausting shopping bout?

Summer gives me a headache. Most days are too hot for me - if the temperatures go over 25℃, I've had it. The daily average winter temperature is between 16-24 degrees C (61-70 degrees F), just perfect! South Africa does not do blizzards and snow banks. You will never (except on very rare occasions) find your car grounded and covered in snow. Our winters are just cold enough that you need only add a warm jacket. How much clothing can you shed in summer? And at least in winter you can switch on your electric blanket if the cold gets too much - is somebody EVER going to invent a COLD electric blanket, please?!

So what’s not to love about winter?

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Country patio


One benefit of living out in the country is the space one has. Living on an 8,5ha smallholding, one has lots and lots of space!

Another benefit is the freedom to do virtually as one likes. So when we built our house, I added big rocks to the patio, bringing the outdoors closer — as close as possible! If it wasn’t for hubby reigning me in every now and the, there would have been big rocks all over the inside of the house. I could just imagine taking a seat on a big rock in the lounge, next to my favourite bookshelf, reading for hours on end.

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