Winter walk on the farm

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Heads up

Some of you may remember that I was rather stressed about my brassicas not performing in the vegetable bed.  They were growing very well but not making heads.  Around that time I made a new friend who is a veggie farmer who kept on urging me to just wait.  I read up about them and decided that I would have to pull them all up and start again.  I was again urged to just wait.

My new friend came to visit me recently, and walked into my veggie garden and yanked a complete broccoli plant out of the ground.  I nearly hit him over the head!

He showed me where I had J-rooted the plant but kindly (and probably because he saw my face) replanted the plant in the same spot.  I did not hold out much hope for it though.

Well today I can announce that my brassicas all have heads and I will be getting some cauliflowers, broccoli and cabbage.  Yay!

Some pictures from the beds

As you can see – I am loving my new camera.  So many new things in my life right now.  This is good. 🙂

 

About new friends and being spoiled rotten.

About a year back I received a comment or two from a gentleman in the USA on my blog.  He seemed interested in purchasing a property in my neighbourhood and he had 1010 questions to ask me.  It was great fun answering his questions and getting to know him.  His name is Dave.

Dave has become a loyal and faithful follower of my blog. Over the year he and his partner Todd have been buying a house in a nearby reserve, and finally this month, they arrived to take possession of their new home.  It has really been grand getting know them, show them my farm and get to see theirs.

Dave also introduced me to Heather who also lives on their reserve.  You may remember Heather from my previous posts on our painting challenge. Heather paints with her mouth.

Here are Heather and I at Dave and Todd’s new home

Do you see the bottle on Heather’s table.  That is “sunshine in a bottle” – a solar light that I have been lusting after for so long.  Dave and Todd gave Heather and I a few each as a gift.  I am so thrilled with them.

One thing Dave took note of when reading my blog was my incessent complaining about my little camera, so before he and Todd left to return to the US on Thursday, he gave me this:

Can you believe it?  Along with another fancy schmancy long lens.  I am so spoiled!

I have now been tasked with getting some good pictures up onto this little blog.  I have lots to learn.

Thanks Dave and Todd!!!!  Can’t wait for you to get back in October.

Free range girls

After one and a half months of getting used to their new home Betty and the girls were ready to go free range this weekend.  I had been dreading this because when I first got them they escaped and it took ages and a lot of trouble to get them back into their cage.

I was assured by Alf who gave me the chickens that after a month they would have settled down and I would not have a problem getting them back into their cage.  So early on Saturday morning I released them into the wild to go foraging.

I noticed that they are no longer afraid of me and that they may even like me a bit now.  In fact they come when I call and I can get them to follow me.  I even took them to the compost heap to go scratching for worms. They followed me all in a row while I made chicken noises and scratching sounds.

Jackie the chicken whisperer 🙂

Come sundown they walked nicely into their cage for me and hopped up onto their perch.  I will be letting them out now when I am at home.  Although Cleo just watches them and has made no moves to chase them she does get very jealous when I talk to them.  I think if I leave her alone with them when I go out she may just try to show them who is boss.

I’m sneaky.

Sometimes you just have to be…..

especially with a point-and-click camera in the bush…

without those super duper long fancy lenses…….

you have to sneak…….

to get close to your subject

without it fleeing……….

or biting you 🙂

 

Colourful visitors

I watched these critters almost devour a complete tree the other day.  When they landed on one of my cycads I photographed them and then sent them on their way in a very un-eco-friendly manner.  Sorry but you can’t eat my cycads!  I was glad to see the back of them.

Can you see how the middle locust is scratching his head?

My brilliant photography?

I recently got an email from a publication based in The Netherlands, asking me for permission to use one of my photos that I had used on my blog. They are a nature based youth magazine with connections to the World Wildlife Fund.

This did much for my ego and I was really preening and was about to scream from the rooftops about my brilliant photography when I read the last line describing which photo it was…….

” Would it be possible for us to use your photo of gnu poo in the magazine?”

I guess I am probably one of very few who have published that kind of picture……..

🙂  oh well…..

 

 

Lilies in my valley

This week I found both of these lilies flowering in the bush near Jackal’s Den.  Some welcome colour midst the browns and greens of the summer landscape.

Snake Lily   (edit: – It has been brought to my attention by Ian from Antares Field Guide Training Centre that this is not called a snake lily. We both agree that it is the Scadoxus multiflorus which my book calls the snake lily. Ian calls it a fireball lily. I have done some research and have found that it is called many names including blood lily, torch lily, powderpuff lily, fireball lily, bloedblom, poison root, gifwortel.  No where else have I found it called a snake lily so it seems that my book may be wrong. I am going to try and contact the lady that edited the flower section so see what she says. Thank you Ian)

Ground Lily

At first I thought that the ground lily’s leaves had been eaten by one of our animals but they appear just like this in my plant book too.

Thanks to Sue and Rose for my lovely book. It is so handy.

The Wildlife of Southern Africa – The larger illustrated guide to the animals and plants of the region.  Edited by Vincent Carruthers