TIMBER!! and a Funeral Pyre

For fifteen years I’ve been warning those Aussies that their time will come.

Well, it came. Don’s Tree Felling moved in (onto my neighbour’s property, conveniently for me) and did away with six big Bauhinia trees, the Australian camelfoot – Bauhinia variegata, I think. Don had dropped the biggest, oldest, leaning-est one a few years before, when the neihgbours then, Suboohi and Nasim Choudhry had said Whoa! This thing is threatening us!

My neighbour Phindi was a star – she allowed Don’s team in and let them get on with the job. I had prepped her a month ago that I wanted to drop all the trees that were looming threateningly over her driveway and a corner of her house, and she was all for it.

Down came the trees to a cacophony of sound. For some reason I hadn’t thought they’d be using chainsaws! HATE chainsaws, so maybe its good I didn’t think of that. Aaargh! How can I complain about noise if I’m making it!? Oh, well, one day only and after this its back to me and my manual bowsaw.

They carted off the flotsam and jetsam, all gathered on Phindi’s driveway, poisoned the stumps, left some trunks as hidey holes for snakes, mongooses and lizards, and peace returned; Followed by a bit of genteel sawing and puffing by yours truly, as I cut down a few left-overs, plus a bougainvillea and a bottlebrush with me bowsaw. Once a tree gave suddenly while I was a-pulling and I landed on my back staring at the sky.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Then the celebration! A double celebration: My first house guests – OK, garden guests – since lockdown; and the birth of a new grassland. ‘Cos that’s what’s going to take the place of that corner of jungle.

To make it special I invited hooligans. I had thought we’d have a wee bonfire, which I prepared, full of the late Brazilian bouganvillea; a modest requiem after the banishment of some Aussies and the rebirth of natural grassland. But Louis Bon Phyre had a different level of celebration in mind. And so he got close to the pagan roots of many a Western tradition:

Before they arrived I reminded them that I take our current virus very seriously and insist on masks. The bottlebrush was allowed a last little requiem moment in one of Aitch’s many vases. This one by potter A Kirk.

I forgot to make supper, but we all had a lot of wine, especially Petrea.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Morning Sun from the West!?

I suddenly realised yesterday that the Yellow-bellied Greenbul was in bright light, as was the Purple-crested Turaco that was the next lady for a shave. It was 8am and the trouble with my birdbath is that it’s in deep shade and the morning light from behind makes photography difficult.

Took me a while to work it out. So this morning I recorded what happened. Watch how the sun is behind the trees, then suddenly appears between the pickup and left of the trees! Then the sunlight moves from left to right till the birdbath is bathed in its glory.

What the heck? I walked out onto the lawn and looked back:

– the sun from the east beating down on my chair – the reflected sun shining back on my birdbath –

The building behind us on the crest of the hill reflects the winter morning sun down onto my birdbath! Whattapleasure! It’ll only last a little while as the sun moves towards winter solstice. I’ll try’n get a good picture while it lasts. This morning was windy and nothing came to the bath while I watched. Not a sausage!

Whattahoot! Just last week I had used a shaving mirror to reflect the sun onto a butterfly in shade. Here it was being done for me!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Palmiet Lockdown Portfolio

Lockdown has given us the opportunity to share pictures of birds and mammals and insects and other creatures seen. And plants, which I’ll show in another post. Thanks to the lovely gang of Palmiet Rangers for sharing these! I’m afraid I don’t know all their full names, but the top pic was by Roy Smith, and Roger Hogg took all these bird pics; the butterfly, scorpion and mamba are Sun’s.

– palmiet lockdown pics –

This one showcases the reason we’re here! Bird pics and green hawk moth Roger; Citrus Swallowtail butterfly Elize Taylor; White-barred Emperor at bottom, vervet and stick insect mine; Big moth on white is Cay Hickson’s; I don’t know who shot the bushbuck nkonka, but believe it was in their garden in David Maclean road – let me know pls!

– Palmiet lockdown pics –
– the Caruth’s window on the valley –

. . and lastly, when one of these grows up they want to be the other one:

~~~oo0oo~~~

Lockdown Loaded – 2

– ConJunct- tivitis Dove – ConJunct- tivitis Dove –
– carpenter bee –
– which butterfly blue? –
– big thunderhead to the north of us –
– why we’re here –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Then it rained and I remembered a bit late about my duvet! I had put it out to dry in the sun! So I brought it inside – wet – and stayed inside. Mistake! I shouldn’t have! ALL the neighbours showed me what I missed – a rainbow in a sunset!

– Palmiet neighbours – tonight’s sunset pics –
Palmiet neighbours pics

~~~oo0oo~~~

Election Day

Twenty five years ago in 1994 we stood in this same queue at the same school with Mrs Kiza Cele and voted for freedom from the Nats. Close to River Drive, we walked there that day. Today I drove the 4 or 5km trip.

I wish I had some pictures of that. There are, of course, lots of pics of that great day in 1994, but it would be nice to have OURS.

– Kiza a couple years later, with Jess –

It was a joyous day, that day in 1994. Some of the joy has faded, but then age always brings a fading.

After this year’s voting, I took some pics in the garden at 10 Elston. We’ve been here thirteen years now, catching up with the fifteen years we spent at River Drive.

– a Wasp, a Dragonfly, a Butterfly, a Carpenter Bee and a Cycad –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Fecundity

When we got to River Drive in 1989 we were warned it was a fertile zone and if you weren’t careful babies would start popping out all over. This was from the Lellos who had produced three offspring there; the Greenbergs, two; The Hockeys, a few, Donna was the only one around then; the Howard-and-Dofs, three boys; And there were others. We were blissfully child-free and at least half of us were determined to remain that way.

Then the Naudes arrived and produced two boys but we had stood firm, determinedly child-free ’til 1999. When we left that river in 2003 we only had two children, having managed to sell three others after fattening them up and putting a smile on their faces.

In Elston Place there was a swarm of children; The pool was always overflowing. They all soon learned the gate code and the place was like a railway station. And nothing has changed in the thirteen years we’ve been here. Here’s the latest crop with Jess – who turned eight the month we arrived here. She goes down the road to visit most evenings:

– they worship our Jessie –

Three of these are kids of the older kids who used to swim in the pool when we first arrived!

Here are some of the early-days kids with a young Jessie leaning back:

Elston Place gang (2)

Armchair Birding

Quietly sipping tea on my patio today I spot a Grey-headed Bush Shrike – a first for the garden. I’ve been hearing him, but today’s the first glimpse in the garden.

greyheadedbush-shrike-cmf_3361-pbase
– thanks Con Foley

Also a boubou, puffback, golden-tailed woodpecker, hadeda, yellowbilled kite, white eye, olive sunbird, yellow-breasted apalis, spectacled weaver, yellow-fronted canary & fledgling; black flycatcher & fledgling; purple-crested touraco, hlekabafazi (the woodhoopoe); toppie bulbul, tawny-flanked prinia, white-eared barbet, yellow-rumped tinker, red-eyed dove, red-winged starling and a fork-tailed drongo.

10ElstonPl (1)

Earlier I’d received a call from a Westville estate agent. Wanna sell? You’ve been in that house eleven years. Nah thanks, I’m going to die here, I told her.

Thanks Con Foley for the pic. See his amazing galleries.