🐾 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, 28 September 2014

Farm talk - A Special sanctuary

“The master bedroom is just the beginning of the problems. There is no master in the bedroom. She starts to give you things, “This is your closet.” You’ll act like a stranger and thank her!”
- Bill Cosby

I’ve had a couple of requests to ‘share’ a bit more about where I live way out in the country on my little piece of African soil, so I decided to do a short series of my home in Tarlton, South Africa, situated on an 8.5ha smallholding. This is purely for fun! I would just like to mention that, when building and decorating my home about 7 years ago, I have taken inspiration from Africa, and nature in particular, surrounding myself with natural (and sometimes living!) objects and colour. I am not ostentatious by nature and prefer the simple and natural things in life. Hope you enjoy and find this interesting! I know I just LOVE to see other people’s living spaces, be it small or large, simple or ornate, in suburbia or the country, in a basement or a sky-scraper, inland or at the coast.

There is a place where you can go to find some peace and quiet, a retreat from the rest of the world, where you can relax at the end of a long day. Here, you can reorganize and establish serenity. This place is your bedroom.

They say , “A man’s house is his Castle”, I say, “A woman’s bedroom is her Sanctuary”. This is the place where I unwind from the excitement of the day, reading a good book or watching some TV after a long soak by candle light in the bath-tub, and get revived and inspired for a new day lying ahead.

The King size bed is set between built-in concrete ‘bedside tables’, flanked by two woven grass wall lamps. An Nguni skin serves as a bedside rug. The floors are concrete finished off with Plascon EarthCote pigment and varnished. The EarthCote range of finishing pigments cost an arm and a leg, but I think I saved an arm and a leg in tiling … does that make sense…?

The opposite end of the bedroom with built-in spare bed and Plasma TV. An early 20th Century Teak chest of drawers serves as a bed-side table. A framed print of one of my paintings purchased from RB hangs above the bed. This bed was specially built for my youngest grand-daughter to sleep near us when she was still a toddler. Now it serves as a day-bed for reading a good book while sipping a hot mug of Cocoa!

The entrance to the bedroom from the passage – Wooden and metal masks from all over Africa adorn the walls and river pebbles are inlaid on the corners. An Oregon pine wooden trunk from the early 1900’s serves as storage space for extra blankets and throws and on the pillar is an African pot filled with grasses. A hanging candle chandelier in the corner adds interest and a crystal chandelier overhead provides lighting. The air conditioning unit is a must for our hot summers and faces the lounge.

A collection of river pebbles and crystals next to my bed in a carved wooden bowl with grass edging – this is where all my jewellery goes when I get ready for bed. I don’t wear any gold or silver jewellery, just crystals and other natural materials like stone, bone and wood. It is said that crystals get ‘cleansed’ by the presence of rocks.

The ceiling in the bedroom (and throughout the house) is wooden “latte” (de-barked Blue gum saplings and cut to lengths to fit between the rafters) and the light fitting is glass with pewter and Indian Silver strips dangling from the bottom, sort of acting like wind chimes – but I’ve never had a strong enough wind in my bedroom to hear them!


Friday, 26 September 2014

It's Friday!

I crept out of bed early with the sound of the roosters crowing to one another - 4am - put on the kettle, made my coffee and came to the computer. By the time hubby surfaced around 6.30am, I had already updated a couple of blogs, up-loaded some artwork to RedBubble, let the chooks out, fed Solly's chickens and filled all the bird feeders in the garden. Time for another cup of coffee.

It's the end of the week and the weekend is lying ahead as an extra bonus, the hours are mine to do with as I please. No need to rush and open the doors for business, no staff coming in, just two lovely days of spending time with my chooks or whatever else takes my fancy.

But today ended up being busier than usual, with a constant stream of customers and eventually, when I did manage to join Chrissie in the garden, she informed me that Missy had been sitting in one place all morning. Very worried, I approached her to see what was the matter and was greeted by her screeching like a banshee! She fluffed herself in a threatening manner and I immediately knew what the 'problem' was - when I picked her up, I saw what all the melee was about - she was sitting on a couple of eggs. She had obviously been gathering them for some time and now she was broody and ready to stay with them till the little darlings hatched...

I remove all the eggs that my chooks lay - I've got nine roaming the garden, causing havoc, and I really can't afford to have any more. Missy obviously got sick and tired of me removing her eggs out of the nest boxes in the chicken coop and decided to do the sneaky thing and find a safe spot in the garden!

Missy looking on in disgust as I remove her eggs
And I have no idea how 6 eggs escaped our attention what with Chrissie regularly cleaning up and me watering the garden every couple of days. But the girls can be very innovative when it comes to hiding their eggs!

We spent another couple of minutes searching to see if there were any more stray eggs we might have missed and that sparked a major clean-up of areas trampled flat by the girls - it is just beyond and above me as to why they would like to sit ON TOP of the plants in stead of next to or under them... .


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Just living is not enough

Just living is not enough…

One must have
and Flowers!


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A whole new enterprise?

Eggs have been called “the cement that holds the castle of cuisine together.” 

Eggs, eggs, eggs…..I get six to eight eggs a day from my hens and after months of having had them for breakfast three times a week, prepared them in salads, I even BAKED something! I’ve painted them, pricked holes in them, used the shells in various ways, feed them to my girls, given them away and now I’m running out of ideas now. Also, frankly, I virtually cannot face another egg at the moment!

Egg-stuffed Potato

Scrambled eggs


Breakfast being served!




So the only solution is to start a farm stall and sell them – maybe I should plant some strawberries to sell as well….? And maybe some arts and crafts or a couple of paintings…. or a coffee shop specialising in breakfasts.... this could actually turn into a whole new enterprise! lol!


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The end of an era

Torti, the Leopard Tortoise (also known as the Mountain Tortoise)

I took Torti to be released in the Krugersdorp Game Reserve today. She arrived in 2008, no bigger than my hand and probably 2 or 3 years old, Now she's almost 10 and will be reaching sexual maturity soon and I feel it is time for her to meet some of her own kind. I wish you well and hope you're happy in your new home Torti!

Some stats : length 48cm, width across her shell 48cm, height 28cm, weght approx. 15kg. 

Destined for the pot or possibly muti (a term for traditional medicine in Southern Africa), I confiscated her from the aggressor and brought her home. My intention was to release here into a safe environment, but these are becoming less and less due to the area becoming heavily built-up over the last decade.

Torti enjoying her breakfast, a mix of lettuce, celery, carrots, apple, baby marrows, brocolli and some Echeveria leaves

The Leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis) or Mountain Tortoise face many dangers like illegal trade in wildlife, body parts being used in traditional medicines, veld fires, road kills and many more. So, right or wrong, she has stayed with me over the past seven years in the hope that some day I will find a perfect area in which to release her. In the meantime, she comes when I call her every morning for breakfast, taking her time and making me wait while she unhurriedly approaches and then digging in with gusto!

Torti relaxing in her enclosure
 Torti's enclosure

They are large tortoises (largest species in South Africa) that can weigh over 30kg and measure up to 60cm in length. Males have longer tails and a deep plastron (Bottom of shell) concavity as opposed to the females which have short tails and a flat plastron. Colouration is varied and the African Leopard Tortoise typically lives 80 to 100 years.

 Lydia feeding Torti

Torti basking in the sun

Read more here on how to CARE FOR YOUR LEOPARD TORTOISE


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Snoodles, a chick with attitude!

Camera : Canon EOS 550D 
Taken in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

This is Snoodles, the little chick I saved from the dustbin, took her out of the egg in November 2013 and she’s been living with me in my studio. She’s getting to be a big girl now and has already joined all the other girls in the chicken coop.

As soon as Snoodles was big enough, we’d go on field trips through the garden and my wildlife pond area, where she would investigate every nook and cranny, delighting in catching the odd insect. Here she hopped on a rock, chasing after a Dragonfly.

Good luck with that Snoodles!

 Snoodles standing on my computer speaker, taking a peek at what's going on outside

Snoodles taking some time out on the edge of Jacko's chair, much to his disgust!



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