Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Welding the Loopholes


While clearing the firebreak, I found that the palisade fencing at the end of our road between the veldt and the street was broken in way it appeared to be okay but can be easily opened. This is a breach in the layers of security that protect us from the criminals. Yes I know it is not the best way of living but in Africa and I suppose elsewhere home security is paramount.

To help plug the loopholes, my neighbour Pieter, came along the veldt with his welding equipment to make repairs to the fence.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Eriam


The clearing of the firebreak and alien plants continued today with Eriam joining Innocent and Joseph. Yes I know it is back breaking work but it has to be done.

This evening at 9:30 marks 2 weeks of no attempts of criminals trying to access our property from the veldt. All the hard work must be paying off.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Dog and Cat Walk


Since we have moved here, Lynda has never taking a walk to the edge of the gorge and well now is a good time so off we went taking the dogs with us. But not to be left out, the cats decided that they too also wanted to walk with us.


Saturday, 20 May 2017

Aunt Rene


It has been a long time, last year in fact that we last saw Aunty Rene. My sister and her family moved up from Nelspruit to Pretoria and we were invited around for supper so we thought we would make a day out of it and visit my aunt. I must say, she is looking much better compared to the last time we saw her which understandably was a trying time for her.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Off the Wall


Throughout our home we have double volume ceilings and in the late afternoons the low sun reflects off the swimming pool and projects these water patterns onto the double volume walls. Okay the photo does not do it justice hence the video.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Pup Rehabilitation

Pup sunning himself on the steps with Jade and Podge

On Saturday Pup, a dog that was attacked and could not walk due to spine injuries, arrived at our home. All he could do was crawl around on his knees and elbows as the nerves did not co-ordinate his walking but soon he was on his feet albeit wobbly, Pup is well on his way to recovery.


My dogs have being great in helping Pup to gain his confidence, as he is very determined to run with the uh big dogs, okay Italian Greyhounds are big in love if not big in size.

Maxy, my oldest Italian Greyhound seen in the video too with Pup, still has a growth in his inner ear, we have being trying to manage it but the pain has returned, which means I have to put him back onto his pain medication, not nice to see a loved one suffering.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Ben in the Veldt

Monday when the labourers were cutting the firebreak, I took a walk with my dogs into the veldt and down to bottom gorge. On my hike I found someone’s driver's licence which was later linked to a house break in about a month ago. This was all the proof that we need to link the people living in this green belt to crime in the area.


Today I took my neighbour Pieter and his dog Ben to show him the place where I found the driver's licence, this time we went another route and found lots more such as a Congolese passport and a doctor's South African Medical Association Practice identity. This new evidence links to a house breaking in November last year.

A badly damaged Protea Tree

I have found out that the source of the stream below which is just up this gorge is deemed holy water to some religious group who come and pray here in the hills and get baptised often in these waters. This is now serious as criminals coming into area and operating from the safety of the gorge with its many escape routes, are mixing in with the pious. How are we going to separate the religious and the criminals?

Thank goodness, signs of life in what seemed to be a dead Protea Tree

Along with the old prospecting tunnels that are being used for living and I hope not, illegal gold mining, indigenous trees are being cut down at an alarming rate in this gorge for fire wood, soon there won’t be much left.


While standing overlooking the gorge, what looked like a juvenile Black Eagle flew up the gorge below us looking for the dassies which had already scrambled to safety ahead of the noisy humans. Dassies are the local word for the Rock Hyrax which were once plentiful in this area and are the main source of food for the Black Eagles.


Please note that I am planning a photowalk in the area along with the Joburg Photowalkers in celebration of my 50th birthday which is coming up next month. This is part of Johannesburg that many don't know about, and the exposure that the Photowalkers can bring is priceless as I found out that the council wants to rehabilitate the hiking trails below.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Headmaster


Okay it is not a good thing being called into the Headmaster’s office but today I had to drive across to the other side of Johannesburg just to sort out some issues that have cropped up. Main thing it was good to see Matthew again even if it was under these trying conditions. Then it was off to Springs further east for an appointment, well I haven’t been in this part of town for yonks.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Firebreak


Up here on the Highveld in winter the veldt tends to dry out and veldt fires break out weekly so it is imperative if living next to the green belt to prepare for them. So today I employed Joseph and Innocent to cut a 5m wide firebreak along my perimeter and I must say that they did a sterling job.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Pepperbush Pillarcats


Ooooh haven’t we got enough cats at our home for all these caterpillars to be cats as well. I could not find much information on the web about the Pepperbush Pillarcats other than they are from the sub-species of Bombycomorpha. Really pillarcats is a name? First of all is pillarcats the right name for them, to me being dyslexic it looks like someone swopped the pillar and cats around. Now the question I really want to know is why they clump together like this?


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Get up and Walk


Pup, a cross dachshund and something was attacked by other dogs and was taken to the vet by Lynda’s daughter. With no visible bite marks or any damage showing on the x-ray, pup has lost the use of his legs. The vet is suggesting that trauma to his spine has resulted in nerve damage which should regenerate with time.

So now Pup is at our home to recover in peace and quietness, which a household full of cats and Italian Greyhounds can only bring. Pup does a sort of leopard crawl on his knees and elbows to get around so hopefully he will regain his health and get up and walk.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Blowing in the Wind


A cold polar wind has raced down the valley heralding the first cold front of the year to hit Gauteng. Forget about the Stark’s motto “Winter is Coming”, as winter is here in our first winter in this home and brrr it is cold.

Even the wildlife have gone to ground, as no respectable Italian Greyhound would ever leave their heated bed. This Spider Wasp must have gotten caught out by the sudden turn in the weather as was found succumb on our lawn this morning. Poor thing.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Thirsty Work


Minky our cat didn’t come home until late tonight, she hasn’t done this in a while and with all the activity in the veld we were very worried as a cold front is approaching tomorrow. Getting ready to turn in for the night after many trips outside calling for Minky, I expected to have to go out tomorrow morning looking for her.

Soon after we moved in here I took some walks into the veld and came back with snares that I destroyed. It was these snares that were on top of my mind when I heard a tiny meow by our bedroom window and in waltzed a cold naughty minks.

By the look of it she was a hungry and thirsty cat.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Calling in the Airforce


We chose this house because we fell in love with the quietness of the countryside even though it is close enough to be in the city, plus it has a view. When we bought we imagined living in the wilderness but with the comfort of the city.


But after moving in we found that the worst of city living was just as close, vagrants had moved into the gorge below our house, no permanent dwellings but into the caves, nooks, and holes. It is not safe walking alone in the veld. Probably just as safe as walking in the Jozi CBD.


This morning I saw someone had constructed a makeshift shelter with what looks like white plastic up the side of the cliff not too far from the cave in which some of these illegals are squatting in. So we sent in the airforce, in the form of a Phantom IV drone, to investigate the white plastic shelter and get some evidence. Not sure what they are hiding under that white plastic but it gives another meaning of living on the edge. The footage of the gorge is fantastic, so enjoy. I think we should do more drone footage of this beautiful yet hidden part of Johannesburg.


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Home Affairs


I got there early and was seated in the queue at Home Affairs in position 18. Half an hour later I moved to 17. I calculated that at this rate I would only get to the front about 5pm, oh boy I had to calm myself down.

Luckily another counter opened up and the miraculously the times shortened to an average of just over 5 minutes. Two hours later I was in the front of the queue. NEXT!

Sigh I have to repeat this in 2 weeks.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Zama Zama


Living next to a green belt is rather spectacular except for the opportunistic crimes staged from the bush. Down in the gorge below us there is an old gold mine shaft from the early prospecting era of Johannesburg and some caves. These hovels have become the home to about 15 to 20 destitute people who have been blamed for the opportunistic crimes in the areas surrounding the gorges or could these vagrants be zama-zamas, slang for illegal miners, since there is a mine shaft down there.

In the early hours last night 02:15 to be precise, the whole valley’s power tripped and a few hours later at about 03:30, the vagrants attempted to gain entrance to our property by using the darkness as an advantage but our home is well secured and the parameter alarm triggered the armed security who were soon at my home.

The electricity connection was finally repaired at about 08:30 but the reason I am writing about this is that a few moments ago, at 21:25 they, the vagrants attempted again, twice in one day, and again our security held them at bay, this time it must have been my security companies entire compliment of night duty officers who descended onto our property as a show of force to these would be vagrants who slip quietly back into the veld, back down to their mine shaft and caves.

One of the officers, hearing a noise from the dog house went to investigate and found my dogs nice and snug in bed. He was amazed by our double story dog house. It is a normal 3m x 3m wendy house but with a second floor about a metre high, a stable door which the bottom stays open to allow the dogs in and out to the bottom floor and steps up to the top. The top stable door gives us access to the top floor where all their bedding is. There is a window in the top half for light and a panel heater on the one inside wall for the cold winter nights.

Podge, the Jack Russel, was the only one who got out of bed to welcome the security officers, the Italian Greyhounds well who are we to get them out from under the blankets. Here is Jade and Maxy, warming themselves in the weak zuma-zama autumn sun early today just outside their dog house.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Garden World


Marco, Robynne, and Rebekah arrived back from an exhausting trip down to Durban and the young parents needed to recover, so we took our granddaughter off their hands for the afternoon. You know what grandparents do, sugar load their grandchildren and then hand them back to the parents.


So for the Sunday afternoon, Lynda and I took Rebekah up to Garden World in Muldersdrift as we remembered that they had an animal farm there but once there we found sad remains of an animal farm with a few goats, pigs, and birds. Maybe I was hoping for more, I am not sure what I am expecting from an animal farm any more.


So we went to investigate the tea garden, and following the direction boards we found a rather quiet tea garden without all that hustle of normal Northern Suburbs. At first it didn't seem to have much in terms of children play area, but we discovered tucked behind the back a lovely secure play area with lots of play things to entertain children, although not for Rebekah’s age group. I am not sure why we are so fussy now days, maybe it is that we are spoilt for choice in the Northern Suburbs.


Anyway we make the most of our time there and as you can see Rebekah loves to dance. She gave a stunning performance to Simba the Lion King, Nala, Pumbaa, Timon, Rafika,Livinia die Liewe Heksie, Woody, Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Puss in Boots, Mickey Mouse, Papa Smurf and matter of fact to all the smurfs as well. The food from the tea garden was good but soon got cold as we had to constantly watch Rebekah play on the big children’s jungle gyms.


It was getting late and afterwards we explored the lovely gardens at Garden World and discovered more little gems such as this not so small pool house above.


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Hide the Naked


Okay I know it is Naked Garden Day today where we supposed to walk into gardens with our gardens and be one with nature. But what if my neighbours spy across into my beautiful garden and see my handsome cheeks, there aren’t no fig trees with broad enough fig leaves anywhere in my garden to help a fella out. Maybe our solitarily sunflower could help spare me as it has started to bloom.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Another Lemon Tree


And all that I can see is just another lemon tree. Yes folks it is Friday, weekend for those who work from Monday to Friday, but for me, well it has become another lemon tree. This is the view from my back door. When life gives you lemons, what do they say, oh yes, make margaritas, no that wasn't it, uhmmm anyway it's time for some tequila shots.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

In a Pear Tree


I put two pears out in the garden for the fruit eating birds this morning, and a Black-collared Barbet family came along to eat out, much to the delight of our cats who watched as mommy and daddy barbet took turns in feeding their youngster some pear. (No birds were harmed in this event)


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Sunset Procrastination


A self imposed deadline due to procrastination has jumped up and bitten me on the buttocks. No time to waste, I dove straight in and while crunching code, an orange glow caught the corner of my eye and turning to see, I saw the sun setting and suddenly remembered my Photo a Day blog.

Working from home does have some benefits except the procrastination part.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

JMPD Roodepoort


I had to go renew a vehicle licence this morning but things got away from me because of all the previous week’s long weekends and only managed to get to the Roodepoort Civic Centre just after 12 noon but the Johannesburg Metro Police Department or JMPD was closed for lunch, well not just from 12:00 till 12:30 but an extended lunch as on one side of Cubicle 15 was scrawled on a piece of paper, “On lunch. Be back at 13:00”. Sigh everyone else at the Roodepoort Civic Centre is working except JMPD’s sole cubicle, forgetting that a lot of people take off during their lunch break just to pay for vehicle renewal.


Monday, 1 May 2017

Tiger in Bush


It has been a busy long weekend and today the last day, it is relax at home, clean up and prepare for the coming work week.

And as Matthew informed me that I like to use the words "doing the rounds in my garden" on my blog, I found myself doing just that as we have a lovely garden with spectacular vistas so why not do my rounds. When I reached the bird feeders, I saw Tiger our cat, hiding below, watching the "Cat Feeders" as I like to call the bird feeders, with such interest. Just one move Tiger and the birds are gone.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sunday Giraffe


Sunday, family time, so this afternoon Lynda, Robynne, Rebekah and I took a drive into the countryside. We stopped for a light lunch at the Neck and Deck where they have giraffes close to the restaurant. The giraffe was the exciting part but the food left a lot to be desired.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Lusito Dust Bowl


This year the Lusito Land festival moved to a new venue which turned out to be a dust bowl of well just dust. Lusito Land is a the Portuguese community in South Africa’s festival which has been going for the last 35 years and this year it was moved to a supposedly improved venue. Sorry to say what was improved other than lots and lots of dust and traffic problems. The queues into and out of this new venue was ghastly. Defiantly not a repeat.


The good news is that the proceeds of this festival goes to a good cause, so Portuguese, Madeiran, and Mozambican comfort food with lots of drinks flowing were the order of the day. But then there is the Steve Hofmeyr, okay please tell me with tears in my eyes what has this controversial Afrikaans signer has to do with the Portuguese community? What?


Friday, 28 April 2017

Autumn Falls


In autumn, the leaves turn golden brown and start falling off some of the trees in my garden, and one in particular near the swimming pool is a pain. But not to despair, Matthew, loves doing chores around the house and when he saw me cleaning the pool, he jumped in with the leaf catcher to skim off all the fallen leaves from the pool. Compare this photo of Matthew cleaning the pool with one I took in 2010. wow Matthew has grown.

With the colder weather, the water is too cold to swim luckily we have our pool water circulating through the solar heaters on our roof which warms the water to a respectable temperature but then it is when you get out from the warm water into the colder air that is a problem.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Freedom


So what does Freedom Day mean to you? While some people marched to express their freedom or lack of it, others like ourselves relaxed with family. Freedom to be ourselves. Freedom to believe in our God. Freedom to love whoever we want. Freedom to enjoy our home and surroundings without fear and discrimination and far away from the annoying crowds. In the above photo, our lovely home is just out the picture on the right half way up. This is the view I wake up to every morning and feel blessed.


Freedom to eat sushi for breakfast at home and to play with Minky in our garden while still dressed in my pyjamas and not be filmed.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Matthew Paddy


It was at the end of November that one of Matthew’s friends brought us a tiny month old kitten that was too young to even feed itself yet along wipe its bottom. Lynda's dad who was visiting us at the time grew attached to the bottle feeding little scrap who took us a few weeks to come up with his name. In the 4 months since Paddington has grown into a big young ginger cat, full of fun and naughtiness that he even gives Minky a run for her money.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Green Sunflower


I don’t know why Lynda only planted one sunflower in the corner of our vegetable and herb garden, maybe it’s because she only had one sunflower seed. Although still young, there is now a sunflower growing proudly up in the corner, the flower is still green but soon it will turn yellow after the sun it worships. Maybe, just maybe we will get more seeds and this solitary sunflower will be a start of a new generation of sunflowers.

Monday, 24 April 2017

What happened to the sun?


Winter is coming as temperatures drop to the mid teens. My poor little Italian Greyhounds who look for spots of sun in the garden to keep warm have been staying indoors in their double story dog house. The window upstairs is north facing and they can be found lying on their duvet by the window trying to maximise of any sun breaking through the clouds.

From their window perch they can survey their domain and of course see if daddy goes out into the garden, then both the iggies and the cats rush to be by my side as I walk in the garden, okay okay only 2 cats Minky and Paddington join the iggies. Here is Jade trying to decide if she should stay by my side, be loyal and shiver or head back in doors where it is much cosier.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Pacman


And finally the show is over, my feet are sore, and I need a well deserved rest. Lynda, Robynne, Rebekah and I took a walk to the restrooms just before we left the show grounds, and along the way we saw this awesome Pacman ottoman which Rebekah took no time and was all over it. I remember Custom Couches making a similar style ottoman in the shape of the Chrome logo for Google last year although this one is much smaller.

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