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

Monday, 25 February 2013

Nature is telling us...

With the grass turning yellow and a nip in the morning air, it's plain that we're heading for Autumn already. One of our March/April jobs on the smallholding is to cut the grass and make fire-breaks. We started early this year as Nature is clearly indicating she has plans for an early Winter!

Tappeltjie cleaning under the fences with a panga.
After the contractor has finished the basic job of cutting all the fields, it's time for us to trim under the fences and get closer to walls and other structures. Where the tractor cannot be used it is done by hand with a panga.

I just love watching them work and the smell of the freshly-cut grass is like no other in this world!

Following the tractor around, I also get a chance to 'rescue' small wildlife and flowers, giving the driver strict instructions to 'go around' it. This wildflower was blowing around briskly in the breeze and I had to hold it still to get a shot.


Besides clearing up a possible fire hazard, I'm thrilled by the annual cut as I get to replenish my stock of baled grass for the chicken coop. I really don't use that much so twenty bales lasts me the whole year. The contractor takes the rest of the harvest, which is about 200 bales in total.

By this time of the year, the Fan-tiled Cisticolas (Cisticola juncidis - Landeryklopkloppie in Afrikaans) have finished breeding. They hang their tiny nests in the tall grass by bunching clumps together and building their little cups half-way up the stems. Quite a job to find them in the tall grass and I never actually look for the nests as the Cisticolas are very shy and easily abandon a disturbed nest. I'll miss their constant twittering as they do their dipping flight above the tall grass.

(Pic from Photo.net)

But the shorter grass makes way for other wildlife - the Guinea fowl pass through more often and the Crowned Plovers move in and start choosing nesting sites. It's one of my great joys watching their tiny, long-legged little offspring following the parents around in Winter, taking tit-bits pointed out to them.


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