Views of our new home

Every weekend we try to get our dogs out for a good run.  This past weekend I took a few photos so show our new environment.  This is the farm we currently live on.  The trees without leaves are mostly pecan nut trees and the leafy ones are avocado trees.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed our walk/run/drive

 

As soon as things start greening up a bit these views will change so much. I look forward to taking more pictures as that happens.

 

I hope you enjoyed the tour – let me know what you think.

Flipping

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.

 

Pretty in pink

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 crinum stuhlmannii but one of my books disagrees.

Anyone have an opinion?

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:

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. 🙂

 

How far can you spit?

A week or two ago I saw that a snake had slithered into my empty swimming pool. It is still empty due to our ongoing water problems but there was a small pool of water that had collected from the rain. I think the snake was attracted to a small group of frogs that were enjoying the water. Normally when I need to remove a snake I just use my snake hook or tongs to catch them and move them back into the bush but this little fellow (about 40 cm’s) turned out to be a juvenile Mozambican Spitting Cobra.

The Mozambican Spitting Cobra is second only to the Mamba as the most dangerous snake in Africa because of its venomous bite.  Adults are 1-1.5 meters long. These cobras don’t actually spit venom; they spray it.  Their muscles contract to push venom from the bottom of the fangs while air from the lung blows or sprays the venom at the victim’s eyes.

Their color can be olive-grey, brown, or grey with black scales in between.  Mozambican Spitting Cobras occupy a wide variety of habitats—they can be found in thicket and moist savanna, often near permanent water holes.  Adult Mozambican Spitting Cobras are mostly nocturnal but can be found by day sun bathing close to their hiding spot.

The spitting cobra has a broad diet, including snakes, lizards, frogs, rodents and other small mammals.  When disturbed, this cobra will rear up two-thirds of its body and spray its venom with quick accuracy toward the victim’s eyes.  Its poison takes effect instantaneously.  It can cause inflammation or permanent blindness if not washed out immediately.

Mozambique Spitting Cobras can be found in hollow logs, under rocks or termite mounds, in holes under ground, and under thick bushes.  Keep your distance from this cobra if you happen to run into one.  It can spray your eyes with surprising accuracy.

The juvenile snake (which mine was) moves really fast and although it’s highly toxic venom is the same as that of the adult, it has yet to learn how to control the volume of venom to inject into its prey, so more often than not, bites from these juvenile snakes are fatal.

After consulting with a few friends on how to remove him, I decided to put a really long (3m) bushy branch into the pool which he climbed onto and I lifted him out and walked him back into the bush.  I was really glad that I eventually got him out because he used to puff up his collar every time I walked past the swimming pool and he was freaking me out .  I think I may have been freaking him out too 🙂

Sunrise

Slowly I am getting into my routine of getting up before the sun to feed the chickens and water the vegetables before I head off to work at 6.30 am every morning.

If you told me 5 years ago that I would be doing this I would have laughed in your face. I was a corporate girl who hired people to do the dirty work and I stayed in bed till the last minute as it was one of my favorite places.

Now I find that I really enjoy this time as I watch the sun rise over my growing greens, listen to the birds sing and the water spraying gently.  Who would have known 🙂  I surprise myself daily.

 

Meet Betty and the girls

That’s them – I am the proud owner of my first 4 hens.  Betty is the black one, and the girls are the rest 🙂 – I am starting to see differences in the girls but not enough to give them each a name yet.  They shout a lot when I go into their coop (made out of recycled materials) and I don’t think they like me much yet.  I hope this changes.

They like sitting up on their perch like this, and looking out into the bush

and this is their home.  I have stitched shade cloth over the entire cage to keep it cool and to keep out the snakes.

Now I just have to wait and see if they start laying eggs.

It’s all about food…..

Everything I have been doing lately is all about food and it has been so much fun.  My first batch of vegetables are finally planted. This has been two years in the planning so it’s a big thing for me.  They are all safe and sound, away from browsing animals and the baking sun in their little cool cloth house.  I made raised beds using recycled broken vegetable crates with shade cloth liners.

Functional but not very pretty. I will be cutting off all the excess cloth to neaten things up a bit.

My whole food healthy eating plan is continuing well and I am feeling a difference already.  yesterday we had this super fritata for breakfast

and made some homemade cold drink using rosella flowers and lemon grass.  It turns bright red once it has been in the fridge for an hour or two, sweetened with a touch of honey and absolutely delicious.

so much food on my mind, I even painted a cabbage 🙂

This painting is one of six macro paintings I am doing to hang as a group in my kitchen. They are on stretched canvas so will not need to be framed.  I have also completed one of a slice of lemon but I am not happy with it.

I wonder how many other people have ever painted a cabbage 🙂