Could it be any Harder

I hoped that saying goodbye to my children would get easier as the years go by but really, it just gets harder. A few weeks ago, out of the blue, Kiera was sent on a work trip to Zimbabwe. She called us from Johannesburg airport en route to Harare and we agreed how unbelievable it was that, despite her being so close, we were not going to see each other. To cut a long story short, Kiera was able to take a few days leave at the end of her trip to Zim and we arranged to meet up with her in Johannesburg for a long weekend before she flew back to America. It was all wonderfully unexpected and spontaneous.

Kiera’s good friend, Louise, lives in Johannesburg, and she arranged a few treats for us while we were there – Chinese massage (which sorted out every knot in my body and left me aching but feeling rather pleasantly zonked) and a trip to the beauty salon, which in my instance was long overdue. We also had the most splendid meal with Louise and her husband, Cameron, at a restaurant that I can highly recommend with the strange name Mon Petit Throbb (in Fourways) and afterwards we sat chatting in the garden of our lovely B&B ‘till gone midnight.


When we interact with people on a daily basis, we don’t usually take much notice of their inherent energy and just how much space they occupy in our world. It is only when they are no longer around that you feel the empty gap they have left behind and the tangible lack of their presence. I relished just being in the company of my daughter, feeling her near me and sensing her positive energy. When my children are happy, I’m happy and it was heart-warming to see her in such high spirits after a good visit to Zim. This was my consolation for having to say goodbye one more time, not knowing when we will get together again.

One of the unexpected benefits of spending time with my daughter was that she taught me how to use the navigational app on my iPhone. What a pleasure – I now want to travel to unknown locations just so that I can hear the dulcet tones of “South African Siri” as Kiera called her. I’ve always been the navigator in our family and what a pleasure it was to have someone (something) else assume that responsibility. Alex put a bit of a damper on my newfound discovery by telling me that it chews up data (as if I actually know what that means). I just really like learning new stuff!

the animals at our B&B were quite entertaining

the animals at our B&B were quite entertaining


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Food Glorious Food

Alex needs some ideas for weekend food and Judy has asked for a dip recipe. Since summer is on its way, I thought something light and cool would not go amiss.

 Savoury Dip

Mix together the following:

  •  250g cream cheese
  • 2½ Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 3 Tbsp green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Pinch of celery salt
  • A few drops of Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper

 Bacon and Egg Salad

I saw Nigella prepare this on one of her shows. The dressing made with bacon fat is sheer genius! And thanks to Tim Noakes we can now eat it without any guilt.

4 servings


  • 4 eggs
  • 250 g mixed salad leaves (the Italian mix with radicchio is nice)
  • 1 teaspoon cooking olive oil
  • 1 packet smoked bacon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons wine / cider vinegar
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce


  1. Put the eggs into a saucepan of water, over medium heat. Bring to boil, then turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water. Peel the eggs once they feel cool to the touch.
  2. Meanwhile, tear the salad leaves into bite-sized pieces and drop them into a serving bowl.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, over medium heat. Cut the bacon into chunks and fry until crisp, about 5 minutes or so. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spatula to some paper towels to drain, while you make the dressing.
  4. Add the Dijon mustard to the bacon juices in the pan and whisk to combine, then add the vinegar and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Whisk again, then pour it over the salad leaves, tossing to mix.
  5. Sprinkle in the bacon chunks. Quarter the eggs and add them. Gently mix to combine, trying not to break up the eggs.

I love the combination of avo and bacon but not so much avo and egg, so sometimes I substitute avo for the eggs.

Serve it with some slices of crispy ciabatta to mop up the juices.

 Calamari Salad

  • 1 packet frozen calamari rings
  • 70 ml olive oil
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 45 ml wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • A few drops of Tabasco
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 20 ml tomato sauce
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cook calamari according to the instructions on the packet.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together.
  3. Marinate the calamari in the dressing.
  4. Serve with lettuce and sliced red/ yellow pepper.

Sliced Steak

This recipe for sliced steak is adapted from Nigella’s Tagliata for Two recipe. Adding a splash of acid to the steak really seems to brings out all the sweetness of the meat.

I am sometimes daunted by a slab of meat on my plate, but sliced like this makes it more palatable – and a little goes a long way! In South Africa eating shisa nyama is a very social activity. Nigella’s recipe reminds me of braais that we used to attend when we lived in the bush in Maputaland. The cooked meat would be sliced and served on large wooden platters with a piles of salt and crushed red Pelindaba chillies on the side. And everyone would tuck in.

Serves 2

  • 400 g rib eye
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried chilli
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  1. Pour the oil, vinegar, oregano and chilli in a small dish about the size of the steak.
  2. Coat the steak in a little olive oil and cook in a hot frying pan for 3 – 5 minutes. Then pop the steak into the oil vinegar mixture and rest for two minutes on each side to absorb the flavours.
  3. Take the steak out and add the tomatoes cut side down into the oil mixture.
  4. Slice the steak and pour the tomato and juices over.

When I went to Thailand with the kids all those years ago (it seems), we spent a wonderful day exploring the food market, cooking, eating and generally mucking about at the Classic Home Cooking School in Chiang Mai. This recipe for Thai Beef Salad is adapted from their cookbook.

 Yam Nua

Serves 4


  • 500 g beef fillet or rump
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • Handful of chopped spring onions
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced


  • 1 tsp ‘crashed’ garlic
  • 2 small red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced and pounded lemon grass stems
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp soft brown or palm sugar
  1. Cook the beef in a hot frying pan for 3 – 5 minutes each side, or until cooked to your liking. Allow to cool and then slice into thin strips.
  2. Place the dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake well to combine.
  3. To serve, mix together the salad ingredients, place on a large platter and top with the slices of beef. Pour over the dressing.

Yesterday I sliced two roasted chicken breasts into strips to make a Thai Chicken Salad, using the Yam Nua recipe above. I poured half the dressing over the chicken strips while they were still warm and let them marinate while I made the salad, to which I added finely sliced, home-grown cabbage for crunch. Once the chicken strips had cooled down I added them to the salad and poured over the remaining dressing. It was a delicious, fresh tasting meal and Peter and I scoffed the lot!

Roasting chicken breasts on the bone is easy peasy:

Place the chicken pieces in a roasting pan and rub them with olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and any dried herbs languishing in your kitchen. To keep the chicken from drying out, simply tent the pan with some aluminium foil. Cook in the oven at 180°C for about 45 minutes.

When I was in my early teens, growing up in Port Elizabeth, I worked in Michael’s record bar on Saturday mornings. After work I would meet up with my friend Michele and we would go across the road for hot dogs and root beer, before heading off to the matinee movie show. I have very fond memories of that time in my life. Years later, when I started making hot dogs for my children, I concocted this relish to go with them because it reminded me of the sauce that we used to get with our hot dogs in PE. It became a firm favourite in our household and Alex asked me to include it in my post. I forgot, so here it is, post script.

 Hot Dog Relish


  •  1 Tbsp cooking olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped (to skin a tomato, make a slit in the skin on the stem side and cover with boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and peel)
  • 1 Tbsp hot chilli sauce (I use Wellington’s)
  • 1 Tbsp Mrs Ball’s chutney
  • 1 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan and soften the onion.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and when they start jumping out of the pan, add the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes or until all the ingredients have combined

Our orchard is full of baby fruit. We have a long way to go before there’s enough to go around, so once the birds have had their share, I don’t think there will be any left for us. It’s exciting nonetheless.

clockwise, from top left: hazelnuts, pomegranates,  peaches and apples

clockwise, from top left: hazelnuts, pomegranates, peaches and apples

walnuts, nectarines, apples and peaches

walnuts, nectarines, apples and peaches

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What a Wonderful World


Spring has certainly livened up the dawn chorus. It’s a right proper racket but it never fails to brighten my day if I wake up early enough to catch it. As more shrikes and cuckoos start to frequent the garden, their wonderful whistles and calls have kept me busy dashing about the garden with my binocs trying to match the sound to the bird. One bird in particular kept me on the hop. I could not identify its call and it would shut up as soon as it saw me leave the house with my binoculars in search of it. Eventually I heard the call near the house and spotted a yellow blur at the top of a nearby tree. I ran indoors­­­­­­ to get my binocs, instructing Thandi not to let the bird out of her sight. When I got back the bird was still there but had changed its call to one that I recognised, that of a bokmakierie. I really felt like I had been played by the little bugger and imagined it laughing up its sleeve (or its feathers) at me.

Recently we were thrilled to see one of the spurfowl in the garden with 5 chicks in tow. Sadly the numbers have slowly dwindled until, for the past week or so, we’ve only seen 1 chick. The mother keeps a beady eye on her one and only as it scratches in the undergrowth for the extra sorghum seeds that we have been scattering for it.


Not long after Milo died, a very small bat flew into our house. I know it is ridiculous but I had the fleeting notion that it was Milo’s spirit returning home and fleeting was all it was, really. The bat disappeared into our rafters and I forgot about it. A few days later Peter found it hanging on a curtain. Now Peter has a bit of a phobia of bats because when he was a child growing up in Zambia he slept in an enclosed veranda and was plagued by bats coming in through the letterbox at night. I’m not that partial to them myself but it was up to me to rescue the critter. As I removed it from the curtain it squealed rather disconcertingly but offered no resistance. I put it on a table outside where it proceeded to lie inert for about 24 hours. Eventually I relented and brought it back indoors. Using a syringe, I fed it some water and later some sugar water. It had such a tiny mouth and it was fascinating to see the minute tongue coming out to lick the liquid (it brought out all my maternal feelings). I decided to take it to Free Me, a wonderful animal rehabilitation centre in Howick, and by the time I got there it was already starting to revive. I learnt from Free Me that my tiny little bat was, in fact, a fully grown serotine bat and that it stood a very good chance of recovering. Needless to say, I am now very fond of bats.


I spotted this ginormous frog in our pond yesterday. I’m not sure if it is a very large common river frog or an African bullfrog. Either way the platties had better watch out.

bullfrogNot satisfied with an abundance of chameleons in the garden, I’ve brought them into the kitchen as well. I bought this gorgeous fabric from Caversham Textiles when they exhibited at the Hilton Arts Festival in September. Their “handcrafted fabrics and textile products are inspired by the work of contemporary South African artists” and they really are stunning. “Bringing fine art to fabric” is how they describe it.


I think the chameleons go well with the shweshwe material which I got from Deluxe Fabrics in Pietermaritzburg (they stock a very extensive range of good quality 3 Cats Shweshwe).

We now have a resident owl in the allotment, albeit a plastic one. So far, he seems to be doing a fairly good job of deterring rat bandits from plundering the veg seedlings.

there's Layla doing her "where's Wally" in the background

there’s Layla doing her “where’s Wally” in the background

Layla has taken to sleeping in Milo’s spot in the bedroom and keeping us company when we retire for the night. Once we go to sleep she moves onto her bed, which is in our built-in closet in the passage.

DSC_0043_edited-1And finally, some spurwing geese (I think) on the electricity poles this morning:





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Growin’ in the Wind (Early Spring)

When we passed through New Hampshire en route home after our holiday in Maine earlier this year, Kiera lead us to the wonderful Portsmouth Book & Bar. It was there that I picked up a copy (for $5) of My Summer in a Garden written by Charles Dudley Warner in 1870. It is a delightful book, full of surprising and amusing insights into the pursuit of gardening.

In the introduction, written by Allan Gurganus, a distinction is made between “gardeners (and) those who wish to prettify their yards.”  My garden is certainly not a pretty one. That is not to say that I didn’t set out to create a pretty garden, it just didn’t turn out that way. I like pretty gardens, they appeal to my latent sense of orderliness. One knows immediately who the sovereign is when you enter the realm of weed free, manicured lawns and colour coordinated, insect free flowers and shrubs. And it sure ain’t nature!

My Summer in a Garden is part of the Modern Library Gardening Series and Michael Pollan writes an introduction to the collection in which he likens the garden to an arena rather than a refuge. I can imagine gardeners as valiant gladiators going into combat against invasives and invaders, the only armour being uv protection hats and gloves. And, at the end of the day, Mother Nature is always there on her throne to give the wasted and wounded warriors a pollice verso.

In the 7th week of his summer in the garden, Charles Dudley Warner writes:

 I am more and more impressed, as summer goes on, with the inequality of man’s fight with Nature ….. The minute (man) begins to clear a spot larger than he needs to sleep in for a night, and try to have his own way in the least, Nature is at once up, and vigilant, and contests him at every step with all her ingenuity and unwearied vigor. This talk of subduing Nature is pretty much nonsense. I do not intend to surrender in the midst of the summer campaign, yet I cannot but think how much more peaceful my relations would now be with the primal forces, if I had let Nature make the garden according to her own notion.

When one gets almost weary of the struggle, she is as fresh as at the beginning, – just, in fact, ready for the fray. I, for my part, begin to appreciate the value of frost and snow; for they give the husbandman a little peace, and enable him, for a season, to contemplate his incessant foe subdued. I do not wonder that the tropical people, where Nature never goes to sleep, give it up, and sit in lazy acquiescence.

When I took the decision to let the natural bush grow up into the garden, I really didn’t take into account that wildlife would follow. Now, I love the birds that visit us and wouldn’t have it any other way, but they do make an awful mess! Weavers strip the leaves off branches to clear space for their nests, wagtails have taken to perching on the veranda furniture and poeping all over it, francolins (spurfowl) scratch up all the little perennial seedlings in the flower beds, and mousebirds have a penchant for eating lampranthus (vygie) flowers.

As much as they make a mess, birds don’t really destroy a garden. They leave that to buck and rodents. It has been so terribly dry here that the buck, for the first time, are coming into the garden to look for food. I have never seen the garden looking so depleted. We are constantly devising methods to thwart them. Our recent experiment has been to collect buck droppings and soak them, in a plastic bag with holes, in a bucket of water. We then use the liquid to water the plants being munched by the buck, mostly aggies, bulbines, day lilies and roses, all of which grow in great profusion in my garden. Apparently buck will not eat any plants smelling of buck poo. Obviously I’m not keen to apply this to our veggies so we have had to make our allotment buck proof by closing up the sides with extra shade cloth and wire.

The rats are more difficult to keep out. We have an owl box but no tenants. In fact I haven’t noticed many owls about. The rats are helping themselves to the veg seedlings. I am now looking for an electrical rat trap that we can put in the allotment to deter them from annihilating all our seedlings. Our neighbour has a ginger tom that comes prowling around here at night so perhaps he will help to keep the rodent population down. I don’t want to encourage him though because of all the birds we have in the garden. Layla surprised us all by catching and killing a couple of rats and earned herself some biltong treats.

And then, of course there is the weather. Spring has had a slow start this year. Our first rains came only a few days ago after several weeks of hot, dry and windy conditions. We desperately need more rain as the water that we use to irrigate the field and the allotment is running worryingly low.

C D W observes:

 The principal value of a (vegetable) garden is not understood. It is not to give the possessor vegetables and fruit (that can be better and cheaper done by the market-gardeners), but to teach him patience and philosophy, and the higher virtues, – hope deferred, and expectations blighted, leading directly to resignation, and sometimes to alienation.

Indeed! So what is growing in the garden?

In the veg garden (aka the allotment) we have the first of the spring veggies coming on. These are some of my favourite greens: asparagus, artichokes, broad beans and sugar snap peas. The sugar snap peas were badly frosted in June and died right back. We left them (out of laziness) and they recovered and are now producing sweet crunchy pods at a very rapid rate. It just goes to show! There are also plenty of the old standbys of veg gardens the world over – spinach and lettuce.

We transplanted about 100 strawberry plants out of the allotment into the field adjacent to the orchard as well as some raspberry and blackberry canes and a couple of blueberry bushes. They have all taken and are looking good. We also planted in the field potatoes, mealies, pumpkin, squash and onions. (Strangely enough, the rats and buck have not discovered them yet.) This leaves more room in the allotment for cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, leeks, gems, courgettes and beans. None of these are doing much at the moment.

The garden is looking very bleak; the only colour is coming from fruit tree blossom and azaleas. Hopefully the modicum of rain that we had recently will spur things on a bit.

spring veggies

spring veggies

all the Chinese cabbage bolted in the hot, dry weather

all the Chinese cabbage bolted in the hot, dry weather

I planted these geraniums on Milo's grave. They're called Angels Eyes.

I planted these geraniums on Milo’s grave. They’re called Angel Eyes.

the banksia roses, before the buck had them for a midnight snack

the banksia roses, before the buck had them for a midnight snack

flowering cherry blossom

flowering cherry blossom

acanthus mollis

acanthus mollis

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I’m in the middle of a minor existential shake-up (“omigod, not another one,” I hear you say). It began a short while ago when I was browsing through some blogs featured on WordPress and came across one that opened with a quote from a writer called Annie Dillard who wrote: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I found this somewhat unsettling because I am acutely aware that I seem to spend a lot of my days simply running on autopilot. Not long after, I chanced upon these words again while I was reading a weekly online newsletter that I subscribe to called Brain Pickings. The author of Brain Pickings made reference to Dillard in her review of the book On the Shortness of Life by Seneca. She summed up Dillard’s overall message rather succinctly as “presence is infinitely more rewarding than productivity.”

So, with that in mind, I have since been mulling over what would constitute for me a life well spent. I am still riddled with the protestant work ethic, so a day spent not-busy is a day wasted as far as I have always been concerned. On days when I haven’t been too industrious, I feel guilty and promise myself that I will do better tomorrow. But this mindset hasn’t really been working for me for some time now because I can’t shake the nagging feeling that there has to be more to life than chores. When I brought in the laundry the other day and sat matching socks and folding underwear I despaired that my life would never amount to anything more than good housekeeping! So I’ve decided that I need to shake some old habits and create some new ones which make being present a priority. I need to pay attention goddammit!

When Milo died I was inconsolable. All I could see in my mind’s eye was a frail old dog on his deathbed and that made me feel so very sad. Then I tried to think of more happy times spent with him when he was younger and more himself. I found some photos of him looking healthy and alert and stuck them on the fridge door and now every time I look at them I smile, instead of cry.


All it needs is a mental shift. Taking that into account, I’ve decided to replace all my “to do” lists (which make me feel guilty when nothing is ticked off and give no sense of accomplishment when something mundane is actually completed) with “to be (or not to be)” lists instead.

I think it’s about being proactive rather than reactive. For example, I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time tidying up clutter and searching for misplaced things. So instead of fretting about what chores need to be done I’ve been making a concerted effort to be better organised. If everything has a home and is put there immediately upon entering the house and returned there after being used, I wouldn’t have to waste so much time tidying up and looking for lost stuff.

I’m also trying to focus more on enjoying life than getting things done. I’ve decided to be more playful. I’m always complaining that I don’t have enough fun in my life, as if pleasure is something that I need to go out and get. However, all indications are that happiness comes from within not without. (I should know that, I’ve got the t-shirt!)

playing with Photoshop!

playing with Photoshop!

The other day when I went to commune with my chickens, Layla got very jealous and kept charging at them, especially when I picked a handful of grass to feed them through the wire fence. I picked another bunch and offered it to her saying “you don’t eat grass you silly dog.” Her response was to grab the grass and munch all of it looking at me most defiantly, as if to say “I would rather eat the grass than let you feed it to those despicable creatures.” She then went down on her front paws, stuck her bum in the air and wagged her tail madly, inviting me to play with her. Now usually I would have shouted at her for intimidating my hens but this time I imitated her and we landed up rolling on the grass together, with me laughing wildly and her behaving just like a puppy. It made me realise that the opportunities to play are there, we just have to pay attention.

I shall leave you with an extract from last weeks Brain Pickings newsletter – a review of Waking up – a Guide to Spirituality without Religion by Sam Harris.

Harris writes: “Our minds are all we have. They are all we have ever had. And they are all we can offer others… Every experience you have ever had has been shaped by your mind. Every relationship is as good or as bad as it is because of the minds involved.”

Noting that the entirety of our experience, as well as our satisfaction with that experience, is filtered through our minds -“If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you become or who is in your life – you won’t enjoy any of it.”

Harris sets out to reconcile the quest to achieve one’s goals with a deeper longing, a recognition, perhaps, that presence is far more rewarding than productivity.

He writes:“Most of us spend our time seeking happiness and security without acknowledging the underlying purpose of our search. Each of us is looking for a path back to the present: We are trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied now.”

Acknowledging that this is the structure of the game we are playing allows us to play it differently. How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives.

(the emphasis is mine)

sunrise on the koppie

sunrise with Layla on the koppie


cheeky chops is back, not looking his best just yet

cheeky chops is back, not looking his best just yet

a corner of the garden

a corner of the garden at sunset



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The 2nd of September dawned as any other day in our household. I awoke to the sound of the birds twittering in the garden outside our bedroom window. I got out of bed to let the dogs out for their morning constitutional and put the kettle on for tea and coffee. The bloody water had frozen in the pipes again but the kettle was full, so that was okay. After his coffee, Peter went down to the pump to sort out the water and then we showered and got dressed. But this was no ordinary day. September 2 was the day that had been chosen by us as the day that Milo would die.

In the three weeks since I wrote the By Your Side post Milo had rapidly become more confused, withdrawn and unhappy. When he wasn’t sleeping he wandered around aimlessly and seemed to constantly forget what he was doing. He was always looking for us and when he found us he would go looking for us again. He stopped interacting with us, showed no interest in being petted and even shied away when I tried to brush him. It became impossible to take him on walks as he couldn’t remember whether he was coming or going and would head off in the wrong direction desperately looking for us. I finally realised that his quality of life had diminished so much that I had to let him go.

I could not have done this without Peter. Although he has felt for quite a while that Milo should be euthanized, he let me come to the decision in my own time. He contacted the vet in Nottingham Road and arranged for her to come to the farm to carry out the procedure here so that Milo would experience minimal stress. And when it was over, he sent me off with a cold beer to sit on top of the koppie behind our house while he buried Milo in my Buddha garden.

When the vet arrived she squirted a liquid tranquiliser into Milo’s mouth. He followed me into the bedroom and lay down on his bed. I sat on the floor and stroked him and after a few minutes he started to drift off. Peter and the vet then came into the room and, while Peter held Milo’s head, the vet shaved a patch on his foreleg and inserted a needle. He didn’t even flinch – a trooper to the end. The vet then suggested we say our goodbyes, which we did while Peter held him and I stroked his head. He closed his eyes, gave a gentle little snore, the vet injected him and then, within seconds he stopped breathing. It was an incredibly peaceful death. I can understand why people use the euphemism “put to sleep” as he really did die in his sleep. Bravo Milo!

I am bereft, of course, but also relieved that his suffering is over. He gave me 16 years of loyal friendship and I owed him a good end to his life.

On the eve of his death, we helped him to take a final walk by keeping pace with him and nudging him along in the right direction.


Milo’s last walkies

Rest in peace my little Milo Dog.


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What a Wonderful World

August has been a weird month weather-wise. We’ve had horrible hot, dry berg winds which have whipped up dust and dirt and stirred feelings of intense disgruntlement and buggered sinuses. For ages the horizon has been a haze of dust, until the other night when a thunderstorm cleared the air and at last we could see the mountains again. The morning after the thunderstorm we woke to the most beautiful mist in the valleys, and snow on the ‘Berg.






As the bush creeps closer to the house, so does the wildlife!

grass mice enjoying the seeds and grain that we put out for the birds

grass mice enjoying the seeds and grain that we put out for the birds

Southern boubous are frequent visitors to the garden and have become quite bold.

Southern boubous are frequent visitors to the garden.

Njabulo has been helping us out on the farm and has been a real godsend. His brother, James, came to visit him last weekend and both of them pitched up to work on Saturday morning. After work, we decided to have a lunchtime braai. Njabulo got the fire going and cooked the food perfectly. Alex had better watch out, he has got some serious competition as the best braai master!

James, Njabulo and me

James, Njabulo and me






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