Welcome to iNoyka Gallery

For the past year, I, along with a few other Hoedspruit artists, have been busy setting up an artists co-operative and gallery in Hoedspruit. It has been a labour of love with everyone pitching in to paint, drill, weld, wash and waterproof an old building – converting it into an art gallery.

Before

After

Finally after months and months of preparation we are ready for our grand opening on the 19th September.  Art by member artists from the whole region will be displayed for sale and there will also be an art auction to raise funds for the gallery.  We are proud to have some well known local artists exhibiting in this amazing space.

Please make every effort to join us on the 19th just outside Hoedspruit for a wonderful evening of art, wine-tasting, live music and delicious snacks.

If you are a local artist who would be interested in joining our co-op, please contact us on info@inyokagallery.com  

 

 

Setting up a business in a small town

We are currently setting up a business manufacturing small steel / wrought iron decor items as well as making awesome lights and other steel work like balustrades and gates.  It’s been a roller coaster ride so far because it’s really difficult to source items when you live out in the bush.  Slowly things are really starting to look good and we have quite a bit of interest in our products.

One of our big stores here in Hoedspruit, that stocks pretty much everything that we need, has such a difficult system to work with that I avoid it at all costs trying three or more stores before having to go there. The system is such that you are unable to walk in, pick up what you want and go to the till. One has to find a sales attendant to help you. They are all so busy packing stock and doing online quotes and helping clients over the phone that they do not have time to assist customers in the store so they avoid eye contact as much as possible. After hanging about for 30 mins one gets frustrated and starts begging for assistance. You are told they will come now but they don’t often come back and when they do the help with one item they then disappear again. Also, some prices are marked quite high and your sales assistant is allowed to give you quite large discounts. So one has to be all sweet and kind even when getting bad service otherwise you don’t get your discount. It seems to be at the salesman’s discretion whether you get discount or not. These are good folk – the system just sucks in my opinion. Yesterday after 45 mins in the store – I walked out in frustration and got everything I needed in 10 minutes at another store, one item in particular being 50% cheaper than the listed price in the big store. Guess where I am going next time?

Here are a few pictures of what we are making.

As soon as I have some pictures of our stunning outdoor wall lamps I will put them up for you to see.

Rest

One of my friends here in Hoedspruit, Sarah, is involved with two charities mainly working with impoverished communities and children. Last week she was introduced to the Khutsong Center in Acornhoek  – just down the main road from our town.

Khutsong means “rest” in one of our local languages, and the Khutsong Center is just that – a place for 13 elderly people from rural villages to rest for their last days. It’s an incredibly poor project with a ramshackle hut that houses the eleven women and two men who are being taken care of. One of the aged is disabled and many are bedridden.

This is what Sarah says “……….. their gentle smiles have really tugged at my heart, and I would love to be able to make them feel, just for one day,on Christmas, that the world has not forgotten them………………………”

So what we are going to do is put together thirteen Christmas hampers for these wonderful old folk.  We need to include basic items such as tooth brushes and toothpaste and soap, a facecloth, some Vaseline, a blanket, something nice to make them feel good like a scarf or clothing item and then a few treats like biscuits and crisps.

If you would like to contribute in any way we would really appreciate your help.

Please contact Sarah at sarahdawnbergs@gmail.com if you can assist with any of the items.  Financial contributions can be made to  :

Paypal donations can be sent to nourish.org.za@gmail.com

OR

Bank details : nourish NPO, First National Bank,  account 62321718324, Hatfield branch number 252145. Reference OLD AGE ( and ur name ) or email a proof of payment to sarahdawnbergs@gmail.com

Photo’s courtesy of Sarah Bergs.

I will write another post on this center when we go to hand these folk their Christmas hampers. I can’t wait to see their faces!

Roots of Rhythm

Yesterday we were invited to attend a new show in our area. It has been set up to complement the lodge and safari industry in our area.  Tourists can now visit a beautiful cultural village, get a guided tour of the village and ask lots of questions about local culture and then watch a stunning show by the Roots of Rhythm Tribal Dancers depicting the history of our local indigenous people.

Nyani village promises to be a prime tourist attraction.

After the tour of the village one gets a chance to practice stick fighting or to consult the Sangoma (witch-doctor)

The Sangoma

Then the drums begin to roll and everyone moves towards the show area where we are dazzled by the dances, songs, humour and pure showmanship of the Roots of Rhythm artists.

And then everyone gets to dance

A wonderful morning out and well worth a visit.  Our tour started at 11am and the show at 12.45 although there are many different time options available to tour groups. There is also a restaurant and bar on the premises.

Please visit their Facebook page for more information.

For bookings please see the contact details below.

Croaky cacophany

This sight is quite common on my farm

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.

Foam Nests

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.

(info from http://www.krugerpark.co.za)
The bushveld night sounds would not be the same without our froggy friends.

Veld flowers

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.

 

 

 

Quite spectacular really.

and finally, freedom……

Early this morning I got a call from Moholoholo to let me know that Porky was ready to come home.  They had one final request though – that the whole team come across to my farm with Porky and watch the release.  I was thrilled to be able to share this precious moment with the volunteers, trainee vets and vet nurses, and other Moholoholo staff who all took such careful care of this badly injured porcupine.

Here is the team on the farm (with Porky in the red box)

I do not have words that can explain the following pictures. I do not have words that explain what it feels like to see this and to be there when a creature that was so badly hurt is returned to the wild where he belongs.  I will let the pictures speak.

Run Porky, run free…….

Read more about Porky on the following links:

Porcupine’s progress

Today, after collecting his new meds in town, I drove out to Moholoholo to visit our porcupine.  He is now wearing a shiny yellow bandage around his middle and was not to happy with me for waking him up. Because he is nocturnal, he was having a really good sleep.  Staff at the rehabilitation center say that he really seems to be feeling better as he is getting a little crosser with them now when they have to give him his injections and shows the will to fight.  He apparently also has a wonderful appetite and is eating them out of house and home.  I will be back with him on Friday when they will be removing his bandages.

A special thank you to all our kind donors who have contributed towards his medicine and care.

Pick n Pay has kindly donated money and are running a “name the porcupine”competition on their facebook page.  Why don’t you pop on over and try naming our porcupine.

Be careful what you wish for

Over the 2 years that I have been living here on my farm I have been wishing to see a porcupine.  I know they are here because I pick up their quills and I see their spoor, yet I had never seen one on my land.  It had become quite a challenge for me and I told anyone who would listen about my plight to see one.

This morning as I was going to work I spotted one trying to squeeze under the fence.  I was so thrilled.

This afternoon when I got home, he was still there, so my alarm bells began to ring.  I snuck up really close to him only to see a gash on his back.

I managed to find some help from a nearby friend and we went in after the porcupine. At the same time I called the Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Center who advised me to get the porky to them as soon as I could.

Once we got in really close he kept on putting up his quills so it was quite dangerous, and it was then that we saw that he was caught in a snare.  My friend untied the snare off the bush it was tied to and we used the snare to get the porky onto my bakkie (pick-up).

and we drove him through to the rehabilitation center where they were waiting for us.  Here you can see his terrible wounds caused by the snare

The poor boy was so stressed.  Brian Jones from Moholoholo met us and sedated the porcupine while it was still on the back of my vehicle.

and when he was fast asleep

he was moved into the operating room where Brian removed the snare

All the students at the center (volunteers) were called in to look and learn and assist.

There were two vet nurses who were then tasked with cleaning up the wound and removing all the dead tissue.

Tonight he will sleep in this cage

and tomorrow they will have to decide if he is going to be ok or will need to be euthanized.

Unfortunately, due to limited resources, and the fact that these animals are not endangered, my beautiful porcupine might be put down.

At least tonight he will have a pain-free sleep and is free of that horrible wire.

Thank you to all at the Moholoholo Animal Rehab Center.

UPDATE:  Thank you to some incredible donors as well as Pick n Pay for coming forward with funding.  Porky will not be euthanized now and there are enough funds to pay for his care.