Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jackal Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard

The adult South African jackal buzzard has striking plumage. It is almost black above with a rufous tail. The primary flight feathers are blackish and the secondaries off-white, both barred with black. Below the chin and around the throat is mainly chestnut, and the rest of the underparts and the underwing coverts are rich rufous. The flight feathers from below are white, tipped with black to form a dark trailing edge to the wing.
The juvenile jackal buzzard is mainly brown above and rufous brown below and on the tail.
The jackal buzzard has a weeah ka-ka-ka call like that of black-backed jackal, hence its name. It is also reminiscent of the call of the American red-tailed hawk.

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Parkrun Update continued

Yesterday I posted about my recent Parkrun experiences and continued standing down while my bruised foot heals.

Today my post shows what Parkrun is all about. Not only do you have to be fit or reasonably fit and motivated to improve your walking time, you can do Parkrun after surgery or illness as soon as your doctor has given you the go-ahead.

Parkrun is popular with serious runners who're spending the weekend in a city and want to keep up their fitness. I've noticed that Parkrun is popular with runners who're training for of have taken part in the annual Comrades Marathon held in South Africa. Parkrun is also for parents who push prams or carry babies in slings or on their shoulders and young old who want to walk/run their dogs! Parkrun is especially enjoyable with the elderly as they can meander along on walking sticks (like our friend Ant does) or using a single cane. They get out, they get to chat to others walking at their pace (often I see one of our older Parkrun walkers walking with mothers with babies strapped to their chests) and they experience an amazing sense of well-being and achievement when they arrive at the end. 
Mother and baby before setting off on the 5km Parkrun walk last week. This little darling was fast asleep when mama passed the finish line
These two serious runners head up the start of the Parkrun

 More runners starting off well at last week's Parkrun
 Dogs on leashes are always welcome

 Gwenda and Ant stride out on the walk last week
 Alan, (87) our oldest local Parkrun participant brought friend Sylvia. Grant as the sweep is always at the back 
The volunteers enjoy a voluntary Cuppachino from the Waffle Hut as they wait for the first runners to return

 Petros Hlongwane does the weekly Parkrun in under 18 minutes. He's completed ten consecutive Comrades Marathons. His most recent passion is mountain biking 
 Striding down the last 500 meters 
Strong young legs 
 Petros clocks in with Shorty Hall 
 A youngster who came in just after Petros, gives us our money's worth by sprinting into the finish 
 A young dad with his toddler on his shoulders 
 This bull dog x strode into the finish with his mistress  

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here

Monday, July 24, 2017

Parkrun update

I've been very remiss in posting about Parkrun over the past two months. Early in June I was shocked by the electric gate on the property and two days later when in the second kilometer of Parkrun, my hip suddenly gave in. I was horrified; I thought I'd suddenly developed osteoarthritis or that I was going lame. All sorts of dramatic thoughts went through my mind. I couldn't speed up my walk and ended that day on 47 minutes and some change.

When we got home and I opened the gate (this time taking care not to get shocked) Grant worked out that I'd been earthed through the hip, hence the injury. 

The next week, no matter what effort I put into my walk, I ended the 5km on 47 minutes plus again! 

The next week,  I was standing at the front of the group of runners and heard Grant greeting our dear friend, Anthony. I looked back and waved at him. The next minute he was at my side and asked me what I was going to do that day. I said I want to get back to finishing in 45 minutes. He said he did as well. As the coordinator counted down: three, two, one and I set off,  I heard Ant say: Go Jo! I started running and as usual by the time I'd covered about 600m, I had to slow down to a fast walk. 

I passed the first kilometer mark and was making good time when I heard a man calling out a greeting behind me. He was talking to Ant (I never look around but realized Ant had almost caught up with me) Ant told this guy that he was trying to catch that lady in pink ahead. (moi!) By the 3km marker, I was in my stride and for the first time in weeks, enjoying my Parkrun experience. Then I heard the two sticks just behind me. I started to greet Ant but he said: "no time for talking Jo, let's GO!" He picked up his sticks, tucked them under his right and told me to run with him. We continued for about 500m when we passed a trio of people walking side-by-side. As I made my way between and past them, they asked what my rush was.  I said I had an old man chasing me! We had a good laugh and then Ant and I ran another half a kilometer. I had to slow down by now and Ant strode along beside me. 

On the last kilometer stretch, Ant didn't say anything but picked up his sticks again, set off at a cracking pace and got to the finish before me. As I clocked in, I asked  Pieter my time:

44 minutes 29 seconds.


Ant had done it in 44 minutes and 3 seconds. 

We both had achieved new personal bests. 

BTW Ant celebrated his 77th birthday on Sunday! 

While in Marquard, Grant saw our doctor's assistant, Tracy who gave him an antibiotic injection for the recurrence of a spider bite infection from about two months ago. At the same time I asked Tracy what she suggested for the spasm in my right hip. She said it would have to be relaxed and had just the right injection for that. She injected me and gave me a course of pain tablets and the pain is GONE! Hooray! 

I was looking forward to my next Parkrun to see if I could do even better now that my hip was out of its spasm. Alas and dang. There I slipped and fell off a crate while checking out stuff in our storage and bruised my foot. I've volunteered at Parkrun for the last two weeks, which has been good for me. I'm the photographer and also have gotten to know the other volunteers. 
Yours truly taken after my last Parkrun two weeks ago. 
I've been off since then due to a foot injury (photo credit: Eryn Hedges)

To be continued...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Kitties are happy

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose and firstly HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Bozo. You are truly a handsome gentleman.

This week Mum went away (not so F A A R place) for one night. We were well cared for here and stayed warm and fed while she was away. 

While Mum packed to go away, Aunty Chappie climbed into the suitcase.

 Dad Ginger sat on his cushion in the sun
Unca Shadow and I slept on...

For more cute pet posts, please click here

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Doggy sitting Muthi

Blogger friends have read in my posts about dear old Muthi, the legendary Jack Russell terrier here in the valley. On 12 July 2017, Muthi turned 21 human years old. He is now the ripe old age of 147 dog years. 

This past week, Steve (Muthi's yoomen dad) had to go to the city for a cataract procedure. He and Estelle were frantic with worrying about what to do about Muthi. Then they thought about us...and asked us whether we'd come and doggy sit the old gentleman.

We agreed and on Tuesday evening we tootled across the valley with an overnight back and arrived at Steve and Estelle's home. They were due to leave very early for the city so it was better we stayed over the first night. 

Muthi was still asleep when Estelle and Steve left home. Grant and I had breakfast and then he left for his newly acquired workshop in the valley. I worked at my laptop and at around 8am Muthi stirred. (he wears a bell on his collar so Estelle can hear him at night). I lead him through the house and onto the lawn. There he sniffed at several blades of grass and then obliged me by spending a penny! 

Dear old Muthi in the early morning sunshine

Then he did a little hop and skip and tail wagging, bounded (as fast as such an old man is able) up the ramp and into the house. 

Once I'd moved his soft bed into the lounge near me, and settled Muthi under the blankets, he put his head down and was soon asleep again. 

At around 2pm Grant arrived for lunch and we enjoyed a sandwich and cup of tea together. Muthi slept on. Grant had to collect a starter motor from an old friend and retired engineer, Alan a few kilometers up the hill from where we were staying. 

Meanwhile Estelle had asked me to sign in a young couple who were booked in to stay in their eclectic accommodation, The Zulu Hut. They duly arrived, I registered them and showed them their accommodation. 

Then lifting Muthi's bed with him in it, placed it on the rear seat of our pick-up and we set off to see Alan. Once he and Grant had done with their business, Alan insisted we have a cup of coffee with him. I'd baked him some scones which he enjoyed with his cuppa. Our vehicle was parked on the lawn nearby and Muthi and although he was awake, he just lay quietly in his bed on the seat. 

Once back home, Muthi got up and wandered of to his food bowl. It was empty but Estelle had shown me his stewed chicken which I heated slightly and placed in front of the little ole doggy. He sniffed at it, lifted his head and looked at me; then looking down again, he started to eat with gusto.

After he'd had his fill, he walked to where Grant was sitting on the sofa. Grant lifted his bed, placed it on the cushions next to him and put  Muthi in his bed. 

Then the fun started...

Muthi started to give small yelps. At first they were soft yelps with a period of time in between. Then they became louder and more frequent. We'd been in contact with Estelle all day and she'd told us that Steve had gone into theater at 3pm. Grant, who's had the same procedure, said you're wheeled into theatre but then placed in a long line of other patients in there for the same thing! 

At 6pm, Steve phoned us: he was cheerful and said he's wearing an eye patch and the op went off smoothly;  Estelle was driving and they'd be home in about an hour. 

At 6.30 the second lot of visitors arrived and I went outside to welcome them and show them The Cave. They consisted of a man his wife and two teenage daughters. Using a torch I led the way to The Cave and showed them where everything was (light switches, extractor fans, space for their luggage, the two plate cooker) The man then asked me if I could organize wood as they wanted to braai (BBQ) It was freezing that night and biting back voicing my thought of who-in-his-right-mind-would-want-to- cook-their-meal-outdoors-tonight, I went up to the main house to look for wood. The gardener should've done this job earlier that day but hadn't! 

When I got inside, the other guests who were staying in The Zulu Hut, came to ask if we could show them how to start their electric heater. Grant went up to their accommodation while I went in search of wood. When Grant got back, he picked up some kindling, an axe and a bag of self-starting charcoal. I'd loaded my arms with as many logs as I could carry and together we walked down to The Cave to drop the fuel with these guests. Fortunately they were quite happy with what we brought (I'd had visions of chopping up logs for them !) 

We got back inside the house and by now Muthi was yelping once every 10 - 20 seconds. We told him his Mum was on her way home. His reaction to this was to yelp even louder. '

Finally at 7.15 Steve and Estelle walked in the door and she came straight to where Muthi was sitting on his bed on the sofa and yelping. 

When he heard her voice, he looked at her and with his voice going up several decibels, yelped and yelped. We were all laughing and talking at once with this little dog yodeling in between! 

Finally after a good five minutes of welcoming his Mum home (not even a canine nod in Steve's direction!), Estelle took Muthi out onto the lawn for a walk. Then bringing him indoors, she settled him in his bed in her bedroom and he fell into an exhausted sleep! 

Steve then told us about the long wait to actually get into theater and that once he was there, how simple it all was. He'd been very nervous although every one who'd had this procedure, told him it was a highly successful operation. 

Grant and I packed the car and came back home to the farm.

Debbie and Namusa had kindly looked after our dogs and cats and all were very glad to see us home...

I'm linking to Saturday Critters here


Friday, July 21, 2017

Sunrise with a difference

This week I walked outside and saw the sun was rising through a neat opening between two bath towels on my washing line. I grabbed my camera and as I took the photo,  a bird l landed on the fence behind the line...

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday herehere

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Long-crested Eagle

The long-crested eagle is a distinctive eagle when perched due to the long, shaggy crest and all dark plumage. The adults are blackish-brown with long, thin feathers growing from the rear of the crown which are held erect to forma crest. The secondary feathers are black barred with light grey and with broad black tips, the primary feathers and median underwing coverts are white, forming a noticeable white patch on the upper and lower surfaces of the wing which is visible in flight. The tail is black, barred with pale grey.[2] The eyes of adults are bright yellow but can be darker in females, and the cere and feet are yellow, paling to white in males.

 I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mum's home!

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose and I'm happy because Mum's home. She and our yoomen dad went to a F A A R place to fetch stuff. We were well cared for here while she was away: Aunty Debbie and cousin Eryn looked after us and even let us stay outdoors exploring until L A T E at night! 

I'm making sure Mum has to take me along next time she goes to a F A A R place!

For more cute pet posts, please click here

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Horsey critters

While traveling home from the Free State earlier this week, we stopped so that I could take photos of the beautiful scenery (and of course, any birds we saw). While snapping a small flock of cormorants on a scenic dam, I heard a clip-clop of horse's hooves behind me on the tar. I swung around and snapped...

While hiking in the mountains two weeks ago (before I bruised my foot! 😢) we passed through the grounds of a well-known hotel. Several horses were grazing on the lawn but one specifically caught my eye. As I took its photo, my dear friend, Meredith told me it was called an Appaloosa also known as a painted horse. She also mentioned that they weren't known as being easy-natured horses.

Back home I remembered to photograph the new horse, Archie and surviving miniature horse, Angus. When I downloaded the photos, I realized that Archie's coat was slipping over his left side! 
Archie and Angus (who looks smaller than our Lab, Skabenga) 

When we returned from our trip to the Free State, we met the latest addition to the farm, a rescue horse called Sally whom Debbie had adopted. 

Debbie with lovely Sally, the newest member of the farm family 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen, here


Friday, July 14, 2017

Winter sunset

On Wednesday evening we set out from the farm to attend our Probus committee meeting. As I opened the first gate, my eye caught the beautiful sunset over the fields. 

 For more beautiful skies around the world, please click here


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Quick trip to Marquard

For those who remembered how I lost all my cards, ID documents, driver's licences and my Smartphone on a bike trip in March, I had a wonderful surprise last week. I received a text message saying that my one data contract is due for upgrade.When I phoned the lady who always deals with my phone upgrades in Bloemfontein, she said I could upgrade the router to a new Smartphone. I have a bigger router so I'd not used this one since December. 

Long story short, I popped into the Vodacom shop and within an hour I walked out with a brand new Samsung S3 Smartphone. Exactly like the one I lost off the back of the motorbike except this one is gold. 

My upgrade new Samsung Smartphone

While I was busy in the cellphone shop, Grant bumped into a fellow biker who we'd met at the AGM in mid-June. Later we met for a coffee in the mall. 
 Grant and Gerrie enjoying a coffee

Later we met up with the president of the motorcycle association and of course, I took photos. 
Neels and Grant 

On Tuesday Grant had arranged for John and Jacob (who worked for him in Marquard) to help him load the heavy equipment from the storage. 
Brothers John and Jacob sitting on the bike trailer ready to help Grant load 

I looked for a few things in storage but actually don't need much more at this stage. However, I clambered up onto a pile of boxes to see if I could find my Harley Davidson boots. After opening three boxes, not finding what I wanted and trying to push the stuff back into the boxes, I closed them and turned around. I stepped down gingerly onto the second box and then onto my linen chest. My foot slipped and I tumbled to the floor with my left leg under my butt. Errrggghh. I could actually hear the crunch as I hurt my foot. 

By this time Grant and his helpers were finished loading and he suggested I pop into the doctor's surgery to check up on the damage. I saw the doctor's assistant, Tracy who examined my foot and fortunately diagnosed that nothing was broken or fractured. I'd just suffered a nasty bruise. 
My bruised foot which is going down with ice-packs 
and keeping it elevated

We duly said goodbye to MIL Pam, packed our cases into the car and bid Rina farewell. It's always such a pleasure to stay with her and it's always with heavy hearts that we greet each other. 

Entering the Golden Gate National Park I cannot resist taking dozens of photos as we drive down. The views are awesome. 
The Free State at its best! 
Once again, Grant stopped at the scenic dam where I'd photographed the cormorants on the way up on Sunday. 

The vehicle and trailer were loaded to the hilt

We arrived home in the mountains at 4.30 and unloaded our suitcases and personal effects. Yesterday morning Grant drove all down to the workshop and with the help of two men there, he's unloaded it and set it up to his satisfaction.