Look….Daddy!

DSC_0087Yesterday I was busy with something and the little man showed me a find. He was pretty excited about the find, because the birdie he saw was the first one he could mimic. Fortunately this expanded to other sounds, because these actually make pretty annoying sounds.

He was pointing at the bird and wanted me to confirm that is was in fact a Hadeda Ibis. I said yes, and he watched the Hadeda hunting for worms in the grass.

DSC_0098DSC_0106Annoying as they are, and no friend with an infant in the house. They have this thing of calling each other, constantly in communication in flight or when separated. So at nap times I ran out like I have lost my marbles chasing them away by throwing rocks and jumping up and down. After the first 6-8 months they took the hint and we saw them less and less, but they are back again and luckily less of an issue for the napping toddler.

DSC_0108DSC_0076Boeta stood there watching the bird and he now enjoys their presence with all the other birds that come to look for seeds in the garden. In fact the putting seeds out for the birds has become a high point for the little man.

DSC_0104We saw the Hadeda getting one worm and he seemed to have targeted another, but was left empty “billed”.

DSC_0110 DSC_0111DSC_0114Boeta also pointed out a Black-headed Heron that was sitting on a high point a few houses down.

DSC_0122We love his pure excitement when he sees birds and other wildlife for that matter, something we make a point to react on immediately when we see he is excited, making us excited in return. Fun!

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Morning walk with an archeologist toddler

DSC_0197Saturday, last, was a perfect morning. We decided to take a walk, but not go to the beach, we went inland. So we drove a few kilometers and parked under the trees, selecting an area rich in fynbos, mainly protea species. It was also a wide enough “path” to allow for the big wheel stroller, a must on sandy or gravel roads. Boeta’s own 4×4.

The walk is 4 and half kilometer. Off we went, daddy with the camera and mom with the stroller. It did rain a few days before, so the path still had muddy areas, which although ideal for the little man, not so much for his parents, as we wanted to have a walk and not turn around to get him dry and clean.

DSC_0102Boeta nearly hung over the side of the stroller as he examined the area with so much bushes and flowers. Some of the things he saw, included lizards, Protea and some birds too. We just enjoyed the environment and change in scene.

DSC_0179 DSC_0097 DSC_0012 DSC_0020We hardly talked in this first period, except for answering the odd question from Boeta about something he saw. It was just perfect and we were savoring the smells of the fresh dew and soil mix, the smell of the bushes in the fields around us. We kept on walking but also kept an eye on the path as we decided Boeta should be left to run and explore on the way back.

DSC_0058 As we went along the path got narrower but we kept going to a point where the stroller could not go anymore. Time to turn around. Time for the little man to run and explore.

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Boeta immediately went for the rocks and not any, the biggest he could carry in one hand. The problem is when you have 2, you cannot pick up any more and you have to pass so many potential rock and sticks.DSC_0168Daddy, now walking with the stroller told Boeta to bring the rocks, we can put it in the pocket at the back. This was an immediate hit suggestion….look at that face light up.

DSC_0174 DSC_0187We swapped stroller and baby. Mom took the stroller and daddy walked with Boeta. He collected more rocks and gave them to me to put in the pocket, but we also realized these rocks will fill that pocket quickly, so now and then daddy subtly flicked one into the bush again. Boeta realized it will be easier to put them in the pocket himself, so started to do that, which really would not work. Daddy told mom, “Just walk a little faster.” The idea then that it would take longer to reach the pocket and fill it. Boeta picked up speed and ran after mom and the pocket, rocks in hand, laughing. Daddy was in tears, so was mom, but she also had to keep the speed up. Every now and then she would think, I am far enough ahead, time to break…daddy said: “Look behind you”, yes, the little man was right there, rocks in hand.DSC_0231

After our hilarious walk with toddler chasing mom holding big rocks in his hands for around the last kilometer, we drove around the corner to a spot with a bit of a view and some picnic tables for a well deserved refreshment.

Boeta got out and was immediately playing and looking for things to find around the area.

DSC_0289 DSC_0208After all this running and playing Archeologist one gets thirsty and hungry.

DSC_0216It was a wonderful morning as a family, with lots of laughing and as you can see from both the faces of mom and Boeta, running too…or is it chasing? The last 2 images are shots of the view from that spot.

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Walking mom through the garden

Yesterday Boeta took mom through the garden. We are progressing nicely with the revamp and one aim is the placing of the animals in more open and sometimes accessible positions for him to find, touch and show to who ever is with him.

DSC_0093First stop is the water bowl and frog. If he gets the chance, he plays with the water. Then he says “owl” out loud and runs down the hill to the owl, sitting down in front of it.

DSC_0086Mom, being new to this exercise attempted to sit with him, not going to happen mom, he was up in a flash again and said “meerkat”, running to the spot where the meerkat family is situated.

DSC_0120 He then goes to the “new” part, where we are working, checking the progress, spins around saying “owl” and runs back up the hill.

DSC_0198DSC_0134He looks back just to make sure mom is following….

DSC_0136After sitting down in front of the owl again, waiting for mom to catch up, he is off again, further up the hill towards the frog and antelope.

DSC_0174 DSC_0177He makes a quick stop at the garden gnome, but never sits down, much more interested in the animals, the tortoise is next before the process starts all over again, mom in tow. They end at the meerkat and up we come again.

DSC_0253DSC_0270Every now and then some “live” animals make an appearance to his absolute delight. The agama lizards warmed up enough to appear from behind the bushes where they sleep.

DSC_0143 DSC_0106 DSC_0114We are pleased with the progress and result. Our main aim was to created a situation that could serve as an extra learning and activity platform for Boeta and he seems to really love “his” garden. Lots more to come. Time for tired parents to rest.

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Mother and Child

I have titled this post “mother and child” to convey 2 thoughts I had and still have while taking these photos of Mom and Boeta.

1. Standing back.

Sometimes when we are out and about, mainly to find birds and animals to photograph and above all to give Boeta experiences in nature, I find myself standing back and observing a mother and with her child. I cannot help but point my camera in that direction and start taking photos as they do whatever they do. I feel fortunate to be able to catalog such love and sincere interaction as well, I think it is a wonderful thing to witness, the unclouded interactions between a mother and her children and the flow of energy back and forth between them. Hoping you can see what I mean by these photos.

Mom and son 3 Mom and son 4 Mom and son 2 Mom and son 5

2. Emotional

Mom is back at work and being totally truthful, the day before she went back was very emotional for her. I can only try to understand and support as a husband to his wife, but recognize that the deep feelings of sadness also has their origin in the type of moments shared in above photos and the realization that for now there will be a little less of that on a full day basis with a new year and the inevitable away from home times that will happen. As men, we do not really get emotional about these things, at least for me that is true. I (we) see it as life and things that just has to be done, rather focusing on the next occasion.

What gets me emotional is looking at my family like I am fortunate to do in situations like above. My biggest dream for my wife has always been, for her to be a mother too, in addition to all she has achieved in life. After all these years, maybe because we are a little older, it tugs on my heart every time I see her with her son, interacting with him and feeling proud, being the father and husband to these two. Seeing her walk on the walkway hand in hand with her son, talking and explaining things, pointing, helping and talking him through the steps helping him climbing them as I am sure she will do for the rest of his life, my chest swells to bursting point with pride, looking at my wife, a mother … with her son. A happy uncontrolled tear rolls down one’s cheek, mine at least….to use a more modern term…that is so cool!

Talking about modern, the young man also thinks it is pretty cool…look at this face as he saw me taking the photos.

Mom and son 1

 A face like that makes you wonder what he will get up to in the future….time will tell.

Part of Just Jot it January

Just jot it January 2015

http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/01/just-jot-it-january-pingback-post-and-rules/

Our environment … 2014.

We have shared with you our trips into nature throughout the year and in equal proportions showed you something of our immediate environment which is dominated by the ocean and views we have of it.DSC_0101

This included a photo here and there of aloes, which daddy collects, from the garden, like the Aloe schelpei from Ethiopia, or the Aloe tharskii in full flower.

98-DSC_0378Mostly we tried to give different views of the coastal area in front of our house and here are a few of our favorite photos.  Now lets fulfill a promise too, A Momma’s View blog had a new challenge idea, Nature Chills. Her question, what in nature makes you chill out and why? The photos below is our answer and it has always been our choice to make nature a big part of our life, because it is one of the few places a person can really get in touch with inner self, take a deep breath, experience relaxing solitude.

37-DSC_031727-DSC_0129 19-DSCF0616 06-2010_0215beachview006926-DSC_0107 04-2010_0215beachview00572-DSC_016323-DSC_029706-DSC_0205The red tide photos attracted a few people, so we show them again. Mom said she saw the post and thought I made the photos a little too red, I laughed and when she got home, she nearly tripped as she saw the color was real.

06-DSC_0296 07-DSC_0297 02-DSC_0275A few posts ago we did a 3 part series on the high seas, so we will not show them again. Moving on, some of them were taken within 1-2 km from the house in the surrounding natural forests we are blessed to have.

03-2010_0215beachview0034 29-IMG_041119-DSC_0106 07-DSC_0026 08-DSC_0032DSC_0266 DSC_0188So there, a nice overview of our environment – and the area we include in the definition of “our rumbling ocean”. We are excited to see, search and share more of our area in the new year and hope you find it interesting.

Interesting 2014….Birds.

Interesting 2014….Birds.

On a birding front we saw many of the normal birds, but tried to present them in new ways.

Orange River White-eye (Zosterops pallidus)

Orange River White-eye (Zosterops pallidus)

We first showed you a bird from our previous region of residence in the Northern Cape, where these endemic White-eyes come from.

A tough little subject to capture on camera.

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The Marabou was another subject, based on a post of a trip by mom to Uganda. These will forever remain fascinating birds to us.

The owl stare-down post was another favorite because these Spotted owls gave us personal contact and something we will forever remember.

20-Owl, Cape eagle-owl (10)10-Owl, Spotted Eagle-owl5-DSC_0433The Greater double – collared Sunbirds and this photo with the nectar and tongue, lovely.

We saw them again in August on our trip in the Addo National Park.

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Talking about small birds, the Firefinch, first time captured on camera and a great source of pleasure.

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Another fun sight was the fighting Malachite Sunbirds. Another unique chance – something different.

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The fun sighting was the very distant Secretary Birds on their nest, changing guard. It was an absolute lucky find, being so far away and even the long lens struggled, but from birding perspective, priceless.2-DSC_0127Red-necked Francolin’s offered some wonderful chances for photos.

3-DSC_0084 2-DSC_0070A major find and capture was the Stanley’s Bustard. Again a lucky find, but so special.

2-DSC_0108 3-DSC_0113The first ever sighting of the Forest Weaver….thrilling!

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One of Boeta’s favorite birds would have been the Masked Weaver.

These kept hanging around the deck of the lodge, and kept him busy for periods.

 5-DSC_0650Daddy love the capture of the Kelp gull in a row…

08-DSC_0202And the performance given by the European sparrows also made the little man laugh and gave us a whole morning of fun, catching midges.

DSC_0110e 16-glans 13-glansWe can go on and on, lots of raptors and a nice list of birds we posted about during the year, all listed on the fauna page. We can summarize by saying this, if we just visited natural areas for the wildlife, it would have meant losing out by heaps, because adding birding to the list makes your trips and travels just that more exciting and fun. A last wave goodbye by the African Hoepoe to 2014.

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Interesting 2014…wildlife.

Interesting 2014…wildlife.

We are at the end of the year 2014. Time to look back at the year, for the most part, we only started blogging a few months into the year, but still shared many of our findings. What would be the top finds? (We will add links to the full posts for those who has not seen it.)

What about the starfish we saw? Lovely to see one again.

92-DSC_0372The post about the bathing elephant still remain a favorite but it hails from an earlier visit.

DSC_0626-001In 05-DSC_0791August we saw more bathing elephants, we saw lots of elephants to be honest, all of them presenting different angles to these incredible animals.

Our Favorite remains the daycare with playing youngsters.

23-DSC_0423Finding the Black-backed Jackal drinking water one early morning presented a nice photo opportunity, but the plover attacking it made the opportunity unique.09-DSC_02408-DSC_0281One of the most unusual finds has to be the Caracal we saw, by pure luck again, giving a yawn as it got up. We seriously decided we could hardly do any better on that trip. 6-DSC_06661-DSC_0654More recently we got a nice shot of a male lion, which we liked.

DSC_0359On the same trip the 2 Giraffes that had a mock “love” fight and then made a mirror image were going to count under the best catches of the year.

DSC_0681 DSC_0678We loved the whales (mom and calf) playing in front of the house, mimicking each other.

18-DSC_0397We cannot leave out the Blue-headed Agama’s that returned to the garden…they are still here and offer lots of interest for the family.

2-DSC_0288 The Leopard Tortoise that walked into the garden and stayed up to now, we see him now and then, feeding on the grass.

11-DSC_0367.NEFThe Blesbok with the calf was a cute find.

DSC_0640 DSC_0638Photographing the dolphins hunting small fish at full speed made December already something to remember.

2-DSC_0134 08-DSC_0073But it culminated into the find of the year, just nudging the Caracal and the elephant babies, we would say, with the Cape clawless otter, such a rare find, maybe not fully understood by readers seeing them regularly, but for us in South Africa not that common, adding the fish for breakfast added the cherry on the cake.

DSC_0035e DSC_0070We saw and captured much more than just the few we mentioned above and each time was special, because Boeta shared in almost all, except if he was sleeping, but it is also always an honor to be able to see and experience nature as we are fortunate to do. You can see a full list of the fauna posts under the fauna page.

Here is hoping to see more of the same to share in 2015! Cannot wait. It is one of our greatest gifts to share it with Boeta and teach him about the wildlife we see, and he is enjoying it too, more and more, even started to talk softer as we look at something – very cute…and then loudly – THAAAAAT!! Hehe!

Sharing untainted pure magnificent JOY

Sharing untainted pure magnificent joy is tough to do. We are woefully unqualified to try and do it, but with a series of photos from Boeta, hopefully you will get the message we are trying to convey.

As parents and adults we get so involved in our day-to-day activities and we have learned all kinds of ways to show pleasure and joy, but we wonder if in all this genuine deeply felt joy has not been sold out? Do we even recognize it anymore? The world is full of negatives every day and similarly many articles you read about parenting are geared toward tantrums, what not to do, milestones, achievements, disasters, diseases and so on.

As parents we do all we can to give our children the best we can, we have to handle sleepless nights, screaming, crying, sickness, food and lots of clean-ups in combination with working, marriage and day-to-day life. Do we recognize those moments of joy in our family and keep it dear to our hearts, the fuel we need. Getting off track here, told you this is a tough assignment, pure joy. What is it? It is a feeling of great happiness as per definition. It is not: The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires – DELIGHT

It is not gaiety or bliss on its own, but maybe it is a combination of it all. A warm fuzzy feeling that somehow takes hold of you, deep within, shared with those who are in its presence, never bought, but beware the cheap knockoffs that are found everywhere.

Grappling to get this conveyed, in the last post on Liebster Award in the questions, we said on the question, where would you want to live, “anywhere is fine as long as we are together” and we said on perfect day, “being together, laughing and enjoying life”, we did not lie, because we believe it with all our hearts and being a family is such a wonderful joy.

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Still not there, let’s give Boeta the floor, he cannot speak “much”, he is only 17 months old but he can do better in explaining our point. There is something in these photos, more than just being photos of our son, we hope you can see and we hope you can experience in this month as Christmas nears. The love, happiness and joy all wrapped up and shared with abundance with his parents and hopefully a few of you, looking at it.

It all started with a bunny and the bunny hopped…

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“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Christopher McCandles

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“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

Buddha

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“Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.”

Barbara de Angeles

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“Joy, rather than happiness, is the goal of life, for joy is the emotion which accompanies our fulfilling our natures as human beings. It is based on the experience of one’s identity as a being of worth and dignity.”

Rollo May