Today I went for a ride in this tiny little gyrocopter. Another first for me.
and I took this photo of Jackal’s Den.
We even got to see a giraffe when we were flying over the reserve. It was very hard to keep the camera still enough to take pictures. We only flew for about 20 minutes. It was hot and windy and we bounced all over the sky. I was not too nervous but did feel a little green around the gills by the time I got my feet back on the ground. I would like to do it again sometime but probably early in the morning on a cooler day Still, it was a wonderful opportunity.
This beautiful lily pops up just next to one of my cottages every year in Nov or December. For the rest of the year it looks like two or three shriveled leaves. It’s commonly known as a veld lily or river lily and is one of the Crinum lilies. I am still arguing with all my sources as to which one it is. Depending on the book or source, my crinum changes names.
I think it may be a crinumstuhlmannii but one of my books disagrees.
I have not met many people in Hoedspruit who write blogs. I guess there are so many other things to do here. A week or two ago my friends from the US were here (the lads who gave me my wonderful camera) and they introduced me to the people who they rent part of their home to.
Michaela and Ian are a wonderful young couple who have recently gone through an awful ordeal, and Michaela has written a blog about their difficult journey. Through her blog she has been able to raise most of the funds to pay her huge hospital bills although they will still be needing a bit more to get back on their feet.
It is written beautifully and from the heart and I hope you will pop in to her blog and leave a message of encouragement.
This is the school where I painted one of my murals. Childrens Eco Training has sponsored the community gardens, the new school hall and the Eco classroom where I painted my mural. Although this school is dirt poor, one can see that they still take so much pride in their teaching environment. There is still quite a bit to be done and lots of equipment needed for this school.
The white ball of foam is put there by a female foam nesting frog. They even climb my huge marula tree and make foamy nests over my swimming pool.
This photo was taken at what I fondly call frog pond. This is the noisiest place on the farm on warm summer nights when hundreds of frogs get together for a musical evening.
In fact it always reminds me of this song
(image by Ian. N. White)The grey tree frog – more commonly referred to as the foam nest frog – is the largest of our ‘tree frogs’, with females growing to a length of around 100 mm. The foam nest frog – chiromantis xerampelina – is confined to the northern bushveld, eastern lowveld and south through Swaziland and northern KwaZulu-Natal to the coast.
These frogs are well adapted to a dry, arboreal life although they may frequently visit water to rehydrate. They will rarely be found swimming or sitting in water like many other frogs and toads but are commonly found in and around buildings where lights attract a source of insect food. With a variety of mottled patterns, they can change colour within a range of white to dark grey to match their background and are well camouflaged against tree bark. Females grow much larger and can be double the weight of males.
The common name comes from the whitish clumps of foam that they construct as ‘nests’ in which to lay their eggs. These nests are always constructed on some branch or object over, and often many metres above, water. The females exude a sticky liquid which they kick into a froth with their back legs. Into this foam they lay up to 1000 eggs which are fertilised by, often many, attendant males. The foam prevents desiccation of the eggs and keeping eggs and small tadpoles out of water eliminates much predation.
About five days after hatching the small tadpoles wriggle out of the foam to drop into the water below, where they continue to grow and complete their normal metamorphosis.
So far this summer we have had quite a few cloudy days and lots of lovely rain. Not our normal blistering heat – but warm balmy humid days. The result is really thick green lush bush.
When you look at the picture above you really don’t see many colours, so it is quite surprising when you walk around and look closely at how many stunning spring flowers are blooming. I snapped a few on my daily walk.
While I may not have been blogging much, I have continued to paint. Here are a few of my recent works.
These wet pebbles were for our “Going Coastal” assignment on Free your Art.
and an enamel bowl and jug – this was an exercise on white on white – I really enjoyed it.
I also painted two wall murals at two under-privileged schools for a charity which does really great work with the schools on raising awareness of our ecology and ecosystems and also running food gardens at the schools