Thursday, 30 June 2016

If It's Thursday........!

This morning, Morris proved beyond a doubt that cats have an intelligence that is far superior to any other animal on the planet.

Read on:

Last Thursday was 'Morris To The Vet Day' as he was digging, but not filling, holes in the garden and we were worried that he had a bladder infection or small stones in his bladder. I also mentioned that our regular vet had surgery hours every afternoon except Thursday.......................

Our 8 kg Morris!

So, twice daily for the last week, Rob and I have scruffed (Rob) and shoved antibiotic pills down Morris' throat (me) followed by a special paste to help clear up any lingering infection (me), at great risk to fingers and hands! But he really has been a model patient and has swallowed everything that we shoved at him! He has been eating and playing with Kindle, somewhat roughly though I might add, and he and Basil are 'enjoying' a peaceful truce, mostly.

Morris and Basil doing the laundry. (All pics thanks to Rob)

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Week That Was............!

It has been an interesting week!

Sunday was Father's Day, so I did what any loving, thoughtful and supportive partner would do.
I sent Rob into the kitchen with a large black pot and a wooden spoon and allowed him to rustle up the most delicious lamb potjie that I think he has ever made (and that's saying something as all his dishes are Masterchef quality!)

Burbling away on the stove! Delicious.

Monday came and went, as did Tuesday. In fact I can't remember what we did. I know we had some rain, just a couple of mm but it all helped to swell our 'puddles' on the way to town, and we now have two resident flamingos in one of them. They are in water up to their knees, so it is a fairly deep puddle. Now I am digressing about flamingos, and one of the interesting facts about them that I didn't know is that they fly at night! Far and without stopping! I belong to the EWT and receive regular newsletters and updates. The latest one (and I quote) says:

'On the 10th of June 2016 the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) recorded some extraordinary movements by a Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor) recently fitted with a GPS/GSM satellite transmitter. This individual covered a staggering distance of 1,069 km in one single flight over 16 hours, crossing the Indian Ocean from Mozambique to Madagascar.
Flamingo no. 27 (a small female) had been satellite tagged at Delareyville in the North West Province as part of the Eskom/EWT partnership’s efforts to track flamingo movements to develop measures to protect them from collisions with power lines. When Flamingo no. 27 crossed the border into Mozambique, she didn’t stop there and instead she proceeded at 7pm on Saturday the 10th of June to cross the Mozambique coast at Maxixe. She finally reached the western shores of Madagascar near Morombe at noon the following day.'
Thanks to the EWT. (End of digression. Is that actually a word?)

Friday, 17 June 2016


This is a short but very sweet entry...........

We have had rain!

Lots and lots of it. Pouring, filling the rivers and lying in puddles on the sides of the roads. Turning the yellowing wheat into fields of sodden green and leaving tractors bogged down between the rows of vines. Dirt roads look like muddy obstacle courses with deep furrows where cars have slid their way to their destination.

It's wonderful!

Last Friday it started, actually Thursday evening. I was booked to cat-sit for the weekend for my daughter as they were away, so I set off for Paarl on Friday morning in the murky mist! Luckily there was nothing between Jacobsbaai and Paarl but the closer I got to my destination, the blacker and lower the clouds were until the mountains and the clouds became one mass of oh-oh-I-am-so-glad-I-am-not-flying-in-that!! A rainbow appeared on Friday evening.......

A promise of things to come!

Apparently Thursday night was stormy with lots of heavy rain around the entire Western Cape countryside, and over the next few days Rob recorded just over 40 mm here in Jacobsbaai. Catherine arrived home late on Sunday afternoon, actually just in time for the first (but not the last) glass of wine, and from Monday morning until the time I left yesterday morning, it rained! Sometimes light and sometimes heavy, sometimes with wind and sometimes without, but every time it slowed or stopped, the clouds let us know that it was a temporary calm and more was coming!

The road outside our home in Jacobsbaai!

Their pool filled, the fishpond filled, Catherine had to place a bucket under a leaky spot in the garage, and water trickled under the door on the windy side. The frogs chirped and clicked all day and all night, and we valiantly struggled out to restaurants and shook our heads at the wonder of it all! And had a glass of wine to toast the rain!

The swimming pool!

And then yesterday when it was time for me to come home, the sun came out!

I drove home without another drop falling but all around were the signs of really good rainfall. The Berg River was running strongly but sadly there is no dam between Paarl and the sea, so all that precious water is now mingling with the ocean. Never mind, some good has been done and for a while nobody will have to water their gardens or wash their cars!
Our little 'puddles' on the way to town are full and there was one lone flamingo standing in the water!

Maybe someone heard me moan about the lack of water and answered my pleas!

Maybe next time I should moan about the lack of money and see what happens!!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Where is the Rain?

I am sitting here wondering what to write about today.

Do you ever get weeks that fly by, you wake up Monday and the next thing it's Friday? And you wonder what on earth you have done in between?

I actually know what I have been doing though.......praying for rain!

We are really getting desperate here in our corner of the country as we are steadily marching through our rainfall time and approaching our dry, windy summer, without much happening. Our average for April is 39 mm and we had one good downpour that delivered 33 mm all in one go! And that was that! (We were camping at the time......with a wet dog!!) But, last month (May) we had only 11 mm instead of our average 49 mm, and this month (June) so far, we have had the grand total of 0. Nothing, absolutely nothing. (The average for June is 68 mm, July is 77 mm, and August is 61 mm.)

Our collective dams for the Western Cape stand at an average 29% capacity, which means that they are actually 71% empty! Take into account the silt and other junk that lies at the bottom of dams, and they are more likely to be at about 15% capacity! Which also means that many of them are at less capacity than that! And that is extremely frightening.

We are doing everything that we can to save water. Every spare drop is collected in a bucket and then used on the garden. My garden is slowly dying apart from the succulents that are loving the dry weather. The countryside greened up beautifully just before the May rain and the farmers all rushed into the fields and ploughed for their lives. The wheat shot up in a bright green carpet and the wild-flowers started to push shoots through the dusty khaki ground. And we all waited for the clouds to roll in from the sea and do their thing!
We are still waiting!

To add to the gloom, for the last few days we have had a hot, dry berg wind from the NE that has seen our temperatures rise from the usual wintry single figures and low teens, to high twenty's, and we are back in our summer clothing. What little moisture was left in the ground has now gone.

We had some damp days and foggy nights when Rob's sister was here, I am sure she was missing the hot humidity of Cairns! That fog left enough moisture on the plants to allow them to survive, but  that has gone and the wheat is starting to turn yellow.

And still there are no firm restrictions in place! Watering is still allowed at certain times, although most people are aware of the need to conserve as much as possible.

After all, what do we do when it is finished?

Pop off to the local Supermarket?

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Happy Birthday To Rob!

Our house seems empty and very quiet now!

Last Thursday we were invaded by family! A very enjoyable but rare occurrence! I mentioned that Rob's sister and her husband were coming to stay from Australia. As well as Bev and John, we had Angie and Vanessa and Catherine here to represent the younger generation, so we dotted them around in various sleeping areas! Angie and Vanessa 'camped' in the caravan and Catherine had the fold-down-couch-bed in the 'loft'! (Her husband Stu stayed at home to cat-sit so he missed the whole experience), John and Bev had the spare room, and Rob and I remained in our room. And Alfie was confused by the whole thing as he didn't know where to sleep first! And the cats scattered.......

Did I mention the occasion?

Rob celebrated his 70th birthday.

The Birthday Boy!

He actually celebrated for about two weeks, as before they arrived here, he flew to Johannesburg and met John and Bev off the Aussie flight, met up with their sons and partners, and had a huge family dinner on the Tuesday night. Then they all trekked to Kruger Park for a few days before heading to the Cape. The boys and their partners couldn't make the Cape leg so they missed the big celebrations!

The whole family!

And Alfie was bathed and conditioned for the occasion!

Alfie not looking too impressed!!