Walking home….with the explorer!

After turning around, we walked back slowly, still looking for anything interesting.

Beach may-63 Beach may-64

Beach may-62

The sun was going down fairly quickly by now. We still had a bit of a walk back home. Boeta did not care one bit.

Beach may-65

Every time I pushed him a little he complained and wanted to walk in the opposite direction, only for the drag of a dad to remind him that it was getting late and we had to go home.

Beach may-66 Beach may-67I loved this spot with the green algae to spend some moments here to shoot a few shots, all freehand.

Beach may-68 Beach may-69

I looked for Boeta who was in his own world, finding another treasure, I am sure. I called him and he came walking toward me pointing at a Oystercatcher flying past and asking what it was.

Beach may-70 Beach may-71I again reminded him that we had to move on and he reluctantly joined me as we walked towards home. I took a few shots in that direction. You can just see the houses.

Beach may-72 Beach may-74 Beach may-75

It was a brilliant evening yet again. I could not get enough of the clouds and the setting sun, so every now and then I would get another shot.

Beach may-73 Beach may-76 Beach may-77

As we got closer we saw some fisherman again. Sometimes the ladies join their husbands/friends as they angle in the early evening as was the case with this young man.

Beach may-78

Boeta was in great spirits and still throwing rocks, running and enjoying being at the beach. You would never know we were coming to the end of a 6 km walk.

Beach may-79 Beach may-80 Beach may-81 Beach may-82 Beach may-83

It was too dark now. I was on the built-in flash to get any descent shots. Really time for us to get home.

Beach may-84

I took a last shot of the white rocks and the remaining sunlight.This is the last of this series of posts. We hope you enjoyed the full photographic walk with us.

Tomorrow we leave for a short Safari and a few days in the mountains to celebrate our son’s 3rd Birthday. Hopefully we will bring lots of photos of wildlife and landscapes to share next week. Have a great weekend, I know we will.

I looked for Boeta …. he was busy looking for crabs under the flat rocks.Beach may-85

My son – The explorer! Happy Birthday, we are so proud of you! Love you, Mom and Dad!

 

About a toddler

Unbelievably it has been 2 years since we started sharing our rumbling ocean with you guys. Boeta was about to turn 1. Today we are looking at a near 3 year-old…in a month.

Boeta mei 2016-4

Boeta mei 2016-2In those days I took him to the beach walking down with the stroller, showing him the waves, rocks, beach, birds, boats and dolphins. Today he loves (adores) the beach and on most days, especially in the afternoon after he wakes up his first words are: “Let’s go walk or let’s go to the beach”. He loves throwing rocks into the pools, has to hunt for real crabs, sea snails and most other creatures he can find, only to throw it into a pool.

He now weighs around 17 kg (37.4 lbs) and he stands 1.01m (near 40 inches) tall.

He is a friendly little chap wanting to kiss and hug most people if he is comfortable with them. He laughs easily and we tend to have lots of fun throughout the day.

Boeta mei 2016-5

He is also a toddler with normal “no, no do not want to do this or that” on a regular basis, but never says no to kicking a ball, walking and going to the beach….never. Last time he was sick…one year ago…the flu. He talks a lot, loves to learn, especially from books and counts to 10 in 2 languages, talks mainly in Afrikaans, but also knows colors in english and says the odd sentence in english like, “Are you thinking what I am thinking?” or “You are my best friend” and loves to sing Bah-Bah Black Sheep….When in his element he is a little character…

Boeta mei 2016-8 Boeta mei 2016-7 Boeta mei 2016-6 Boeta mei 2016-9

He loves running, yes toddlers run, but he loves to do cross-country running at the beach…On this occasion it was becoming late..he did not give up and wanted to cry every time I said let’s go home…I flashed the last shots. There is at least a 8 meter (26 ft ) difference between the beach and the top, where I stood. He runs laps in the path and I am yet to see how many he can do, I usually stop and walk home after 6 or 7. He loves it. I am tired after 2 laps….yes 2!

Boeta mei 2016-10 Boeta mei 2016-11 Boeta mei 2016-12 Boeta mei 2016-14 Boeta mei 2016-13

Earlier on this day I took a photo of him riding his bicycle with helmet…he can ride it on flat surfaces by himself, but not uphill yet.

Boeta mei 2016 Boeta mei 2016-3

So there you have it. Our little man is growing up, sometimes too fast. We are so grateful for this wonderful gift and we are so very proud of him.

Spending time together…

The aim of this trip was spending time together as a family and enjoying being one. So I will try to give some idea of this through the activities of Boeta for a day at the lodge. After breakfast we sat outside having a nice coffee. It did not take long before Boeta had one and then two friends from the lodge and they played together.

Boeta lodge-3 Boeta lodge-2 Boeta lodge Boeta lodge-5 Boeta lodge-4

Boeta lodge-6Their mom called them for something and Boeta decided to take mom for a walk as I was also walking around looking for birds to photograph, such as the those in the previous posts.

He was in a running mood and at that moment nothing else mattered to me. I wanted to capture the 2 year-old in flight and I wanted to capture the delight.

Se if you think I managed this…

Boeta lodge-7 Boeta lodge-8 Boeta lodge-10 Boeta lodge-9

Boeta lodge-23Before we knew it, it was midday and time to nap. After his 3 hour nap, he was ready for more play on the big lawn at the lodge. We were so peaceful at this stage, totally relaxed. I say we, because I could see mom also felt relaxed.

The best for me was watching them together, mother and child, just being together.

Boeta lodge-17 Boeta lodge-18 Boeta lodge-19 Boeta lodge-20

Boeta, being a healthy toddler, does not sit still for too long and as you would guess he was off again, exploring.

Boeta lodge-21 Boeta lodge-22

He found another friend of similar age and they had a quick play or combined investigation of the wagon behind them.

Boeta lodge-16

Boeta lodge-11It was getting late and we had to start planning dinner and bath-time. We spent as much time as we could outside together that day and the day played along even keeping the mood serene right into the evening.

So as the sun sets, you can see the figure of a mother and her son on the grass taking it all in. I soon joined them, taking a deep satisfied breath.

Boeta lodge-12

Boeta lodge-15 Boeta lodge-13

Another project…Boeta, my first finished face!

BoetaThought I would share this project. I have never attempted a portrait oil painting before and this being number 6/7 paintings it is understandable. I attempted my first face using a women (unknown) to learn. It was not a great success, but gave me some needed chances to play with ideas. All the photos were taken with the old mobile.Boeta-2

The face got distorted with all the practice.

I decided I had enough and did not finish her, because I knew she was just an important stepping stone.

I decided to take a chance and paint a portrait photo of Boeta.

Boeta (2)

I did a 2-tone painting and it looked like I could continue, so I did.

Boeta-3

Next was the flesh color and the hat.

Boeta-4

I kept building and developing.

Boeta-5

Boeta is 9 months old here, has 1 tooth and is wearing his grandfathers hat. This Grandfather is sadly no longer with us, so the original photo had lots of significance as it was taken in his house in Struis Bay. We will frame and put this painting on the wall in that house. So there my first official portrait finished.

Fishing, biking and water ballooning

A few weeks ago we had a sudden change in water temperature due to ocean rip current, which cause fish to scatter everywhere I would guess and some got stuck in the pools in low tide. A brilliant opportunity for the Boeta to do his own fishing. He loved it.

kersfees kuier-74 kersfees kuier-75 kersfees kuier-76 kersfees kuier-77

Then came the new bike, his first big boy bike….he really LOVED it….

kersfees kuier-81 kersfees kuier-80 kersfees kuier-83

Finally dad introduced a new game – water ballooning…now this took the cake.. HE REALLY LOVED THIS….

kersfees kuier-84 kersfees kuier-85 kersfees kuier-86 kersfees kuier-87 kersfees kuier-88

Just some fun moments in the life of our little man who can now put together enough words to explain what he wants to do, where he wants to go or not….

Such a pleasure watching him develop with such an abundance of joy and laughter…We are proud parents.

kersfees kuier-78

An easel and Lighthouse

Koffielaagted2b-9Before I continue, please accept my deep humble thanks for all the the warm comments I have received with regard to my painting endeavors. It is a wonderful confidence booster to get such warm supportive remarks. I have lots to learn and I am using every painting as a chance to learn at the moment. Doing various settings and subjects to find out what I like to paint or have a better feeling for…

Today I decided to build a proper easel for me to work on with the ability to handle all sorts of sizes in terms of canvasses. I can also add and develop it further as I see shortcomings or things I want to add that would make the process easier…..

Right the Lighthouse…I will post the last 2 stages of the development again and my final painting or interpretation.

Koffielaagted2b-7 Koffielaagted2b-6

I did not like the above rocks and wanted more definition. So I redid it and got wonderful rocks but that resulted in shifting focus from the lighthouse in my wife’s and my mind. So I went artistic with the front rocks, bringing in the colors of the rocks at the most southern most point of Africa.Koffielaagted2b-8

It was a fun exercise and would serve as valuable training material in future efforts, I hope.

Ho-ho-ho

kersfees-55For the purpose of keeping up to date with all that happened around the festive season, I have to include Christmas too. This was the reason for Boeta’s Grandparents staying with us and the first time Boeta had more of an idea what it was all about.

It started the previous day with preparations and for the first time a photo of the half-finished kitchen, I am nearly done, just the tiles and a few smaller touches. This is such a nice pick of mom doing her thing, I have to include this.

kersfees kuier-12

She is the heart of our house after all.

I took time to shoot a few more shots of her and Boeta.kersfees kuier-11

kersfees kuier-8

The photo of Boeta and mom is after his afternoon nap, he loves waking up in her arms.

Christmas Day

We started by opening some gifts with Grandma and Grandpa, while they were still in bed that morning. We spread the opening of gifts over the whole morning for Boeta, otherwise it is too much and he does not enjoy each as he should. kersfees-52After the first session we had breakfast and then we did another stint.

kersfees-50

kersfees-41We decided to change and do a Christmas photo shoot. I am pretty certain I do not have to add to much words to this, as you can easily see that we had some fun here…

kersfees-40 kersfees-39 kersfees-38 kersfees-37 kersfees-36 kersfees-35 kersfees-54 kersfees-53

Personally I would like to add that I love the photo and it represents all that my wife and Boeta’s mom is.

Elegant, motherly, soft touches, warm personality and full of love and again the heart of our house.

One final (official) photo we all liked.

kersfees-34

We had a lovely Christmas dinner and after nap-time for the whole family we went to the beach for Boeta’s sake. I took the camera with and took a few shots.

kersfees-48 kersfees-45 kersfees-43 kersfees-42

Mom and Boeta watching sundown and throwing rocks.

kersfees-47

Grandpa watching the sun going down.

kersfees-44

kersfees-51So that was our day, Christmas 2015.

For us…

Perfect.

Last day

The cottage morningNext morning was the last morning on the farm in the Karoo. We started the morning s we do nearly every morning, with hour of book reading.

This is an important hour of bonding between mom and Boeta, while daddy get ready for the day ahead with Boeta. On this day we were on holiday, so daddy got ready for one last walk on his own, while Boeta got ready for the day with mom. The road to our next destination was waiting. But we had some time to walk around one last time.

The cottage morning-13

I saw a pair of Pied Barbets having a disagreement. Sorry about the second shot, but message is clear to see.

The cottage morning-10 The cottage morning-11

My first stop was to see if I could capture the Rock Hyrax in the Agave plants. Many of the old farm have these near especially old houses, but I have never seen Rock Hyrax living in them and using it as obvious protection.

The cottage morning-2 The cottage morning-3 The cottage morning-4 The cottage morning-6 The cottage morning-7 The cottage morning-9

They were warming up in the early morning sun, so I got a few nice shots. As I passed them walking into the fields, they disappeared to the lower levels and protection. I heard a crow on the morning breeze and looked in the direction of the calls. It was slowly gliding along the road, probably looking for possible easy food from a car strike during the night.

The cottage morning-8 The cottage morning-14The sounds of the sheep grew louder as I walked into the field. My senses were alive and I was determined to enjoy every sound, smell, sight as the crispness of the morning tingled on my face.

The cottage morning-5

 More later…

 

Family time

I am taking you back to the Karoo and our holiday. Some of you may remember that I was taking you on a walk around the sheep farm, ending with the medusa succulents. When I got back at the stone cottage, Boeta was awake and it was family time. We took the yellow ball grandma gave Boeta, the week before and started playing. From this point I will add a note or two, but the photos will talk for them self….

The cottage-5 The cottage-2 The cottage-3 The cottage-4 The cottage-7 The cottage-8 The cottage-6

So much fun to kick the ball past daddy…

The cottage-9 The cottage-10 The cottage-11 The cottage-12 The cottage-13Every now and then we worked on the ball catching skills. Boeta was precisely 2 years old and since this point we have progressed to catch and pass, but it all starts somewhere…

The cottage-15 The cottage-16 The cottage-17 The cottage-18 The cottage-21 The cottage-22

Got one…

Then mom got an invite to play along…

The cottage-20

Daddy snapped up the camera for a few shots… Boeta was really in his element by now, especially now that mom joined in the fun…FULL BLOWN FAMILY TIME!

The cottage-23 The cottage-24 The cottage-25 The cottage-26 The cottage-30 The cottage-31

I took a final shot of him watching a bird on the chimney as the sun was setting, before joining them for some more play.

The cottage The cottage-29

About 20 minutes later we had to stop and get a fire going. We had a fun day with lots of exploring and walking great distances, it was time to feed the tummies and build strength for the next day.

The cottage-32

Boeta looked for the tractor and while mom took a break, dad lit the fire and the adults had a nice red wine to finish a perfect day as a family.

The cottage-37 The cottage-35 The cottage-34

Round about the time the meat was done, Boeta was also running out of steam.

The cottage-36

He slept soundly that night, as he does for most nights. We hope and believe that he does so in the knowledge that he is loved and in his dreams he is still laughing and having quality family time with mom and dad.

Climbing the dunes

Earlier this month the boys decided one morning to go climb some dunes. The 2 year-old has never attempted this before, so it would be a great new experience for him too. We walked past some driftwood left by a previous storm.

MaitslandBoetaNov1a

The dunes start at this point and Boeta did not hang around, he wanted to try this out.

MaitslandBoetaNov-7It is pretty steep. We climb it in a zig-zag motion/action. At the steepest angles you really struggle to go forward/upward, but with some support Boeta got to the top.

MaitslandBoetaNov-8

I carried my tripod up the dune as well and attempted some new shots from the top. Here are a few.

MaitslandBoetaNov-5 MaitslandBoetaNov-6Boeta got a drink on top and while he investigated the new environment, I waited for a moments in which he stood still long enough for bracketed shots.

MaitslandBoetaNov-4

The EXPLORER!MaitslandBoetaNov-3

I saw a how the wind excavated the top of a dune and attempted to capture it, overlooking the ocean.

MaitslandBoetaNov MaitslandBoetaNov-2

Unfortunately the wind also started to blow with strong enough gusts that the sand really bothered the little man, so we decided to walk back down to the beach. More photos of the rest of the walk later.

Purest of Joys and a Birthday

MomsbirthdayThursday was a great day for the boys. Mom was on her way back from Uganda after near 2 weeks away. This was the last in a series of trips over the last months that left us alone regularly.

Boeta was dressed and ready to go and fetch mom. He could not wait.

We bought a bunch of flowers (roses) for mom and daddy gave Boeta one to give her when she arrives.

Momsbirthday-2

Momsbirthday-3Arriving at the airport we got bad news, the flight was late (delayed). Daddy decided that we had no option but to go to the little airport restaurant and watch the activities outside with the planes landing and departing.

A BA flight was the only one at the airport, preparing to depart.

Momsbirthday-4 Momsbirthday-5Boeta was excited about this ability to see the planes and all the trucks and other funny vehicles used at the airport.

We were lucky to get a seat with a great view and we settled in for the wait, which hopefully would not be more than 30-40 minutes.

Daddy got a menu and Boeta enjoyed asking about all the things on the menu. Daddy decided to order a strawberry milkshake. Boeta very first milkshake. He loved it and using a straw made him feel very grownup.

Momsbirthday-6 Momsbirthday-7

Momsbirthday-8A pair of common doves decided to sit in front of our window and groom each other. Boeta enjoyed this as well because he could get close to them and watch them carefully.

Momsbirthday-9

The BA flight prepared to leave. Boeta watched the process with great interest. We saw many smaller airplanes landing or taking off.

Momsbirthday-10 Momsbirthday-11 Momsbirthday-12

Shortly after the BA flight departed we noticed a South African Airways flight coming in.

Momsbirthday-13 Momsbirthday-14

Daddy immediately realized that this is mom’s plane landing and told Boeta the news. His whole demeanor changed. He was much more alert and immediately teary eyed.

Momsbirthday-15

Momsbirthday-46Momsbirthday-45Daddy told Boeta that we had to wait a little longer. From past experiences he knows that the little man becomes much more troublesome at the arriving hall after he has seen his mom. So we watched as the plane taxied to its bay.

Momsbirthday-16

Every now and then he would excitedly ask me if we could go now. He wanted to get out and he wanted to get to mom.

Momsbirthday-47 Momsbirthday-17 Momsbirthday-18 Momsbirthday-19

We were off to the arriving hall. Here you have a door with security that separates the arrivee’s from the family and friends collecting him, similar to most airports nowadays, I guess. One person does not care one way or the other. When he sees mom, he runs to her. This happens every time mom arrives, but this time I had the camera, because we had a flower and mom came home for her birthday, unlike the previous year when she was in the USA. What now follows is the most the purest of joys one could ever ask for. I do not need any more words…

Momsbirthday-20 Momsbirthday-21 Momsbirthday-22 Momsbirthday-23 Momsbirthday-24 Momsbirthday-25 Momsbirthday-26 Momsbirthday-27 Momsbirthday-28 Momsbirthday-29 Momsbirthday-30

Daddy got reduced to baggage master in that instant and mom became primary caregiver. Boeta would not let go soon and he kept hold of the rose too.

Mom said he told her: “It is a rose, smell!”

At home he showed her his new puzzles and they spent some immediate quality time together.

Momsbirthday-31 Momsbirthday-32

Friday Morning

Momsbirthday-33Daddy taught Boeta the “Happy Birthday song” with the aim that we could sing it to mom on Friday morning. Unfortunately after the long previous day and the excitement, Boeta was in no singing mood. He just wanted his morning tea and mom. So Daddy obliged and mom had to face another lonely effort by dad on her birthday. Daddy tried to make the scene festive which was to the little man’s liking.

Momsbirthday-34Momsbirthday-35Momsbirthday-36

Boeta had a card and present for mom. The card was written by him with dad holding his hand.

Momsbirthday-37

Boeta enjoyed the balloons very much and he is still playing with them as I type this.

Momsbirthday-39 Momsbirthday-38 Momsbirthday-40

He played while mom opened the gifts and then Boeta got into the paper more and really tore it apart as can be witnessed above. Daddy also presented mom with a Cream cheese fridge tart and an oven baked Cheesecake. He made 3 of each.

Momsbirthday-41 Momsbirthday-42 Momsbirthday-44

We end this long post by saying that the boys are so very happy to have their mom/wife back. She is truly our beautiful flower.Momsbirthday-43

In Boeta’s words…a song he only sings when we are all together…

“Family, family, that is what we are, everyone with same name, that’s who we are!”

Toddler is a girl magnet…

untitled-17So, after many “boys only” excursions to the beach and learning sessions, mom was available for a walk for the first time after 2 weeks.

Boeta enjoyed having this girl back in his life. It is his most favorite girl in the world and he even has a loving name for her…”Mamma!”

untitled-7They decided to do fishing together, while daddy got a chance to walk on the rocks and deeper in with his camera.

untitled-12 untitled-11 untitled-13 untitled-20 untitled-19 untitled-30While daddy was shooting the large old barnacles, Boeta who learned about it in the week, showed mom the small ones.

untitled-18I carried on walking around looking for interesting finds. I looked back to see if they were okay and Boeta had another girl in his midst.

untitled-6He was less taken by the love showed to him by the 5-year-old, he prefers older women. She seemed to like him and he decided to allow her join him in rock throwing.

untitled-2 untitled-5 untitled-29untitled-25

He really enjoyed this and decided this girl was okay too (for throwing rocks), not so much hugging, he did not want to hurt “mamma’s” feelings. Then he saw Uncle Bennie and ditched the lot…he adores Uncle Bennie.

It did not take long for the two and daddy to find his favorite climbing rock. Now he could show Uncle Bennie his real capabilities.

untitled-8untitled-9Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

Stamina

I want to do a follow-up post on the last post ice cream at sundown. The little man has developed a lot of stamina over the last 24 months. All toddlers are busy and active that is for sure and Boeta is no different. I chose stamina because it’s definition states “the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort“.

Boeta now easily walks, runs and climbs his way along the same path I walked before he was born and just as far as what we did in the stroller every morning. We walk, run, climb and explore for 1.5 to 2 hours every time we go out and sometimes twice a day. In the previous post we showed such  morning walk and we did it again, the following morning.

Boetabeachwalk Boetabeachwalk-3 Boetabeachwalk-2Boetabeachwalk-4

Boetabeachwalk-5

The climbing and jumping is now standard procedure for the little man. He does recognize his limitations too and quickly calls “Daddy help” when he gets stuck.

  Boetabeachwalk-6Being present to explain finds and teaching, while playing is just as important in my mind. We talk about everything and it goes with a “wow, look at this or that!”. We are lucky to have lots of rocks (many shapes) and shells…touch exploration.

Boetabeachwalk-7Even things like throwing rocks in water becomes a chance to learn. I would start by saying, wow, what a beautiful oval rock, and then he will go nice round rock, wow, a triangle and so on, learning to see the shapes in the environment.

Boetabeachwalk-8 Boetabeachwalk-9 Boetabeachwalk-10Then there is running on the rocks. Even walking on rocks like these lets you slip and slide a little. Here he learns more about keeping balance while enjoying the chase of daddy.

Boetabeachwalk-11 Boetabeachwalk-12Over the past weeks we have started fishing (post), looking for crabs and other live sea creatures, really looking at the treasures each pool holds. The green shell below hold a crab and other 2 photos are of fish “fingerlings” hiding. Look closely at the sense of wonder in that little face.

Boetabeachwalk-20 Boetabeachwalk-13 Boetabeachwalk-14 Boetabeachwalk-15 Boetabeachwalk-21Just to put context on above photos, here is another set of him from a distance as I walked on.

Boetabeachwalk-16 Boetabeachwalk-17In above photo I called him and his newest reaction is a sort of jerk and face pull to show he is not impressed and wants to stay longer.

Boetabeachwalk-18But being daddy, I do have veto power and insisted that he joins me. We had some more exploration to do.

Boetabeachwalk-19

Luckily toddlers do have a short memory and by the time he reached me the slight frustration had given way to fun, running and play again.Boetabeachwalk-22 Boetabeachwalk-23It was not long before we climbed higher again and I offered him a potential strawberry flavored milk drink, which always seems to make the decision to go home less troublesome in his mind.

Boetabeachwalk-24Walking back home we have to climb a little last hill to get to our road/street. You can just see the narrow path.

Boetabeachwalk-25Here is the thing, play at the beach, yes…but also in this play the little man is learning biology, maths, science, art and so many more things. This is the physical part of the word stamina, the other valuable part of this exercise to my mind, the ability to keep himself busy at home, the ability to sit at his table and build a minimum of 3 (4-1) puzzles, meaning each box hold 5 puzzles varying from 20 to 6 blocks, and he loves it. The puzzles are all 3+ and 4+ year old puzzles and he builds them without help. I am noting this fact, because it serves to show that we should be careful to get stuck on age vs toys. I react on what I see and experience with him.

He pages books by himself and even tells some stories to himself as he knows them from all the reading, especially done by mom in the morning, but loves it when we read to him and he seems to not get enough of that (normal I think). So without much hard work he has developed the mental stamina that sometimes astounds me for a toddler of 27 months. Yes, we are fortunate, but the point is this, I now see the benefits of the last year of exploration and letting him explore, playing outside.

I only allowed him the tablet a few months ago for the first time, he mastered it in a week and plays on it mainly at night if not building puzzles. It is as if they are born with the ability to operate tablets and alike. He will leave it and any other thing he may be doing if I say, “Boeta, wanna go for a walk?” Right now, I am truly grateful and proud of that.

PS..NEXT post we will return to my walk in the karoo. I cannot wait to show more finds of that walk.

Boeta and the tortoise

Boeta walked up to me and we watched the merinos for a moment before I showed him something much more interesting. Looking back his reaction was pretty fascinating for a 2 year-old.

Boeta drive-17Half “parked” in a small bush next to us was a wild Leopard tortoise. By my estimation it must be around 30 years+ old, if not much older, whatever the case may be, not a young specimen. I told Boeta to look at the tortoise, his first ever face to face with a big one. An amazing thing happened, he was like a veterinarian, immediately interested and concerned for the health as he laid his little hands on the old lady’s shell and inspected her…he was very serious too.

Boeta drive-20Boeta drive-19 Boeta drive-18I turned her slightly out the bush so that he could see her face and this seemed to get him excited and in a lighter mood again. We decided to walk on, excitedly talking about our find and the fact that it blended in so nicely, I nearly missed it totally.

Boeta drive-21 Boeta drive-22Boeta was back exploring, which made life pretty tough for mom, because he kept running off the track into the field and getting grass up in places he did not want it.

Boeta drive-23 Boeta drive-24 Boeta drive-25Once she got the irritants out, he immediately forgot about it and was off again…

Boeta drive-26At this point we had been walking for a good 30 minutes and knew we had to turn around as he was still a toddler and this equaled an hour walk already. We turned around and when we got to the point where we left the tortoise, it was still there…

Boeta drive-28Boeta was again heavily concerned for this tortoise and it’s seemingly inability to move away.

We explained that it was still fairly early in the day (10 am) and being winter the tortoise had to first warm up or it may be waiting for warmer times.

(Later the farmer told us they tend to park up against a bush and just sit there until it warms up again, which is precisely what this one did.)

Boeta was not so convinced and again laid his young hands on the shell of the tortoise.

Boeta drive-27I decided to show him the tortoise was okay and asked mom to take a few shot of her, when we turn her on her side, so that we can try to determine the sex later and also show Boeta she was fine.

Boeta drive-31It was a female, the short stubby tail and flat plate indicates that, males having more of a groove and angle from center outward and longer tail with more pronounced V. One special tortoise then as she would be able to lay up to 15 eggs and several clutches in a season, sometimes, taking up to a year to hatch.

It also gave me the opportunity to show you the front and back legs and nails of the mature tortoise.

Boeta drive-29 Boeta drive-30

The rear legs are very trunk-like, the front legs are almost paddle shaped and “pigeon-toed” with a row of small “nails”. They can move very fast on these legs, and maneuver over rocky terrain easily They can also climb and go underwater for up to 10 minutes. Younger animals have a surprising ability to climb, as their toenails provide a very secure grip on wood, concrete, and rough stone surfaces.

The South African leopard tortoise is significantly more difficult to breed in captivity than the common leopard tortoise, S. p. babcocki. Eggs will rarely hatch in an incubator. Most successes have occurred when eggs are left in the ground, and when the climate is similar to the natural one for these tortoises. Not surprisingly, given its propensity for grassland habitats, it grazes extensively upon mixed grasses. It also favors succulents and thistles, and (in captivity) the fruit and pads of the prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp.) (cactus are New World plants not native to Africa). The African Leopard Tortoise typically lives 80 to 100 years.

Leopard tortoises “court” by the male ramming the female. When mating, the male makes grunting vocalizations.

Keep up mom…

We drove to the top of a hill and got out to explore. We had the area for ourselves, at least 10 – 15 km in every direction, not including the farmhouse, where we stayed, which was about 3 km or so from our location.

Boeta drive-11I got going down the farm tracks in order to take a few shots of the 2 year-old and mom. Initially I struggled to see Boeta, as he was busy collecting rocks and having fun in the immediate area. Mom patiently waited for him to finish his exploration. He appeared with a huge rock.

Boeta drive-2With all the rocks around, it did not take long before he saw another and another in need of inspection. Mom and Boeta traded leading as they walked, stopped, walked, stopped, walked…

Boeta drive-13Boeta drive-3I decided to take a few shots of the Euphorbia that grew everywhere on the hill.

Boeta drive-10 Boeta drive-12I saw a crow in the air and wondered for the slightest of moments about the specie, saw the white and knew it was a pied crow. I asked mom if she saw it and pointed…

Boeta drive-4At the same time a few “Springbok” gazelle took off from close to me and Boeta noticed, but not mom, she was focused on the crow. I could not get a nice shot of them, unfortunately.

Boeta drive-14Boeta, unknown to mom, took off, while she was looking up.

Boeta drive-6 Boeta drive-7 Boeta drive-8When mom looked back, Boeta put some serious distance between them and she needed to lift the speed…seriously.

Boeta drive-9 Boeta drive-16When the little man got to me, I showed him and mom (a little later), the meat merino’s that were standing all around us on the hill.

Boeta drive-15 Boeta driveWe enjoyed seeing fast distances, showing the little man the far mountains and all we could see and find in the fields around us. A special find at this spot with the next post…