Road trip

I have been on the go now for a while, just arrived back for 48 hours…leaving tomorrow again. I am taking my boy on a Karoo trip to farms and wildlife rich open regions. Here are some things we have seen..

The Valley of desolation is awesome and standing on a rock for the second photo made my knees buckle a little.

In the same region we (Boeta and Me) saw wildlife like kudu, standing at the perfect angle with the sun rising behind him.

We saw many other animals and birds and I captured what I could. A favorite was the korhaan walking as they do (low) when they sense danger.

This is open semi-desert country, beautiful to my heart and eye.

We drove to another region about 200 km from this and found more grass-like Savannah.

Just a small sample of what I took. Later.

 

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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.

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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.

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 More later…

 

First walk in the Karoo Heartland

Once we got offloaded and Boeta had his nap (Mom and Dad too), we decided toward late afternoon to take a walk on the farm. This was our reason for coming to this area, open spaces to let the little man run and explore. Sure enough, little man was off.

DSC_0212We decided to walk past the farmhouse and up the hill to get a nice view of the surrounds. As we got closer, someone came past with an old tractor to the great amusement of Boeta.

DSC_0196Some Kniphofia and other flowering plants in the farmyard.

DSC_0223 DSC_0225 DSC_0232As we walked through the farm gate, we took to the hill, following the road. Boeta was in another world, a new wonderful world with lots of…..rocks!!

DSC_0237 DSC_0239C’mon then, you two oldies….we need to get there, today!DSC_0243 DSC_0259 DSC_0270The view from the top of the little hill, guess it would qualify as open spaces!

DSC_0220 DSC_0247 DSC_0261We walked on and mom gave the little man a loving touch asking him if he liked this new holiday spot and if he was enjoying himself.

DSC_0278DSC_0285Daddy decided, enough with the walking on the farm road, let’s go off-road and really have fun. Mom was slightly apprehensive, but we took to the fields in any case.

DSC_0314Some lovely and interesting plants to be found. Nothing growing specifically high.

DSC_0326 DSC_0322 DSC_0288Every now and Boeta would lose his footing a little with his new 3rd outing boots, which ended up to be the most valuable addition to his wardrobe and he did not want to wear anything else and it saved on a few possible issues with thorns and prickly stuff you find from time to time.

DSC_0318 DSC_0307 DSC_0313 For daddy, it was the most anticipated week of the holiday. He wanted to spend time with his son and mom in the Karoo, as he was lucky enough to do for most of his childhood to late teens. This shot is sure one of the most special ones of that walk…..”pride“…..

DSC_0305It was getting late and we had to turn back and go light the barbecue for dinner. Everything basically worked with gas and candles. Magical. No other sounds of people, but us and the man (and his family) for miles around.

DSC_0332Boeta now took the lead as we walked back home with a proud mom and dad walking behind him, watching him just being a kid. BLISS!

Piano toddler x2 and giving grandparents a workout….

Some of the older followers may remember the little 9 month old loving the piano. Well, at nearly 2 years old he still loves the piano, but now he sits on his own and he can give a toddler version of piano performance. The perfect background to toddlerism, starting of with soft one note twinkle, slowly building up and then all hell breaks loose as we end with thunder and lightning.

DSC_0347 DSC_0348 DSC_0345 DSC_0344 DSC_0351He then decided to continue this thunderous end and charge poor grandma and grandpa, who seemed to enjoy his music so much.

DSC_0368If you charge grandma, she typically wants a kiss….”what’s wrong with women!?”

DSC_0364Now Grandpa is much more fun, he lifts and put me down so that I can do it again…and again.

DSC_0361 DSC_0363Grandpa had to go sit down and Boeta kept coming…

DSC_0365 DSC_0370Mom decided it is time to give Boeta’s grandparents a break and Boeta got his dinner while daddy lit a fire for our dinner.

DSC_0360This calmed the little man down and he decided to give the family another softer version, more a lullaby version of his piano skills. It was near bed-time after all. This time we started with thunder and lightning and ended with soft tones that had him fully immersed in the music, leaving a slightly stunned family.

DSC_0341 DSC_0340Who said you cannot have fun when it rains?

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!

Second flight…

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It took many naps for my first ever flight, and not so many for my second. I was surprised at how soon it came. I think I achieved many of my goals with my visit to my grandparents. I made sure granddad got some exercise, I need to keep him fit for more visits.

5-IMG-20140929-WA058I made sure grandma got many kisses and sure enough, I got many nice treats, which mom and dad allowed to my surprise.

I also learned all about lights, and were they are. Daddy taught me the letter “A”, which he said is a good letter to learn first, because it is first in the alphabet and nice to practice when one brushes teeth or someone needs to get something out of one’s mouth that does not belong. I did check on grandpa’s mouth a few times, making sure he did not put something in his mouth.

2-IMG-20140929-WA019 We drove back on the road with lots of cars, and daddy gave our car back to the same person mommy talked to, when we arrived. After that we gave our suitcases to another nice lady. Mom and dad said we had to wait for our flying car to arrive, so I decided this will be a good time to give daddy some exercise.

3-IMG-20140929-WA025 4-IMG-20140929-WA026This place was so big, I ran and ran, but could not get to the other end. I wish I had a ball to play with or one of my cars. Next time I must remember to keep one for such an occasion. Our flying car came, and unbelievably, daddy forgot my stroller at the stairs again. He is getting old, I think.

We sat down and when the initially slow-moving flying car revved its engine again, mom gave me a bottle, I sucked on it, but this time did not finish it with take-off as mom called it, I kept sucking while my ears crackled…very funny. I showed mom my empty bottle and the next moment there was a bing-bing sound. Mom said, “did you sleep well?”, I do not remember, but the next moment we drove slowly again.

I missed my grandparents already and wondered how long it will be before I see them, but when we got home, I was so glad to see my toys and I made sure each and every one got some time to play with me.

Guava and custard

You know the flying car took us to a place called Cape Town in just over 1 sleep, daddy said I would have had to sleep at least 3 times, if we drove with mommy’s car and 4 times with the diesel.

We got the stroller back, and mommy talked to a friendly person who offered us a car with a baby seat, just like that. We loaded all our suitcases and off we went to my grandparents. We took the N2 (National road, said daddy), and I decided to say: “It is a car”, every time I saw one, but I got thirsty quickly, we did not even get to the N2, because I had to say it so many times, so I decided to say it every now and then, just so mommy and daddy could see I knew it was a car that passed us.

4-DSC_0012After a drive, we arrived at my grandparents. They were glad to see me, sorry us, in fact so glad grandma made me guava puree. Good thing too, I was getting hungry. I was a little worried about where I will be sitting, could not remember daddy packing my chair, but you know, he is very clever, he took a few sticks and material, said a few words to it, which I do not understand yet, and there, I had a chair.

My feet hang loose and it felt a little like swing, I liked it. I was very interested to see granddad standing back, far away. I think they have not seen me eat, and was scared I would make a mess, or scared I would fall, but daddy made sure that would not happen.

7-DSC_00225-DSC_0015Mommy said that I had to wait for my pudding, and first eat some food she brought with her. She is also very clever, because if she did not, I would have surely starved. Grandma was also worried, it seemed, as I said, they have not seen me eat before. They really did not have to worry.

 6-DSC_00181-DSC_0004After I had my meal, it was guava and custard time. Grandma made it special and maybe she was worried I would not like it, now that I think about it. Mommy said I should test it and see what I think. It was so nice.

2-DSC_0007After I had my guava and custard, I thanked grandma with a loving look and gave them both a kiss, okay, several for grandma, hoping there would be more.

3-DSC_0008One final comment on this post, mom also got some disposable bibs as we forgot to pack them at home. I am not a big bib fan, but for any toddlers looking, they do work, best is they can be torn into pieces after dinner – I loved that!

My first-est ever flight.

Everyone who is everyone knows by now that I took my first-est flight ever in my life. Mommy seems to like the flying cars, because she takes them to work and she said that daddy and me can come with her this time. Daddy seemed to like this idea too, so I decided that I will go with them, mainly because I did not want to stay home alone and it seemed a better idea to make sure they are okay. They may miss me too much, too.

Interestingly, t01-IMG01007-20140924-0849his seemed to be a great thing, because when we went to the place the flying cars are found, many people came to see us off. Our neighbors girl also suddenly wanted to hold my hand, as if I suddenly became a very important person. I do like a little older girls, but mommy started to take pictures and I am not sure if I want to be seen liking girls yet, so I made as if I did not like it. I do have an image to uphold you know.

After a lot of people checking us, I think they lost their keys or something, because daddy took his out of his pocket and showed it to them after walking thro12-IMG-20140929-WA061ugh a big arch that beeps, luckily I left mine at home. After a while we walked out to the flying car. I never knew they are so big. You need stairs to climb into them and daddy carried me up, leaving my stroller at the bottom, which seemed a silly thing to do. Daddy was very happy to see it again, when we climbed off the flying car, as some nice person who must have seen him forget it at the stairs, gave it back to him.

Inside, there are so many people who can ride along in these cars. I was totally astounded at all these people, I did not know there could be so many.

Another strange thing is that these cars have very small windows. I love the plastic curtains they added for us to play with. I wanted it down, daddy wanted it up, so we had fun, seeing who would win with this little argument. Daddy won, but just because he showed me all the cars outside, funny cars, they look a lot like my Lego cars, just bigger, with real people driving them.

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It rained as well. I liked watching the water running down the window. Mommy said we must smile for yet another picture, because she wanted to remember this moment, as we go with her for the first time. She also asked if I would like to sit on her lap a little, because that would make her very happy. I did not want to make her cry, so I agreed to do this.

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Just about the time I moved over to mommy, the flying car started to move, and I was not impressed. Daddy has an old diesel, and it moves much faster. I suddenly realized why we have to take mommy to work so early, this flying car with all the people takes forever to get anywhere. After a long time, it came to a crossing and stopped, then it turned slowly. I thought, I should have stayed home. Then mommy pulled out a bottle and gave it to me. I was glad, I was very thirsty. Just about then the flying car stopped again. I drank my bottle, but this must have been very funny, because when I was nearly finished mom and dad started laughing and laughing. They said I was drinking very fast, but I did say I was thirsty. The next moment, the flying car started revving its engines, daddy does that sometimes with the old diesel, but this is where they differ, because when this car started to move it slammed me tight into mommy, and she held me tighter, I think but cannot remember, I sucked the last part of the bottle with one go, because when I sucked again it was just air. Mommy did not see, so I kept sucking on it as my ears made some funny crackling noise when I did. The next moment we were in the ocean, I told daddy, “It’s the ocean”, but he smiled at me and said no son, it is the clouds. So, for those of you who do not know a flying car, they drive in the clouds.

I suddenly felt very tired and realized that it was my nap-time, so while I was sitting so tightly against mommy, I felt a warm fuzzy feeling coming over me. I thought, I remember this from not that long ago and ….. that is all I remember from my first-est ever flight with mommy and daddy.

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Need for play space…

1-DSC_0442Daddy has been hard at work outside, trying to prepare a level area for our little man to play. Our problem is that we may be living close to the ocean, but we also never thought about children when we bought the house, and who could have known that we would have such issues.

The difference in height between top and bottom of our plot is 8 meters. This means everything is at a steep angle.7-DSC_0451 6-DSC_0449Daddy said that this needs to change, as the deck is the only area that is level and as we move to summer, we need to get some more level space for the little man to play. 4-DSC_0445

At the moment he walks like an old man up and comes down like a sprinter, or rolls down. He has now nearly finished preparing a 70 square meter area and once the grass is placed, hopefully next week, we will be ready for some more fun outside.

We can look at adding some frames and swings, maybe a little bench for mom and dad. We cannot wait for this “new development“.

2-DSC_0443Daddy had to move some of the garden, which is still being established, lower down as well, but that is not an issue. One thing about living near the ocean, it is all sand, easy to garden, hard to get things growing.

3-DSC_04445-DSC_0447On the home front, Boeta has added 3 new words, including grandma. He has had some interesting foods this week as well, including fresh raw peas, turkey, fresh blueberries, polenta slices, fresh guava slices, to name a few. He has also increased his weight to 12.3 kg.

We can also make it known that we are all flying down to Cape Town, Boeta’s first, as mommy need to go for work, so we decided to make a long weekend of it and visit Boeta’s grandparents. We decided to let them know, because at 80+, the surprise may be “not so good”, so they can prepare. They are excited about this development.

Postcards from a Travelling Mom 2

Recently, I was asked by a Senior manager in our operation, “How do you handle the traveling while having a baby at home?” I started to explain the usual. Husband looks after baby full-time while mommy work, blah blah blah. Smile…

Then he asked, “But how does your maternal instinct handle it to be away from your baby?” I told him that I do not think that he prefers to be away from his family either living as an expat in another country not seeing his family in weeks, either, but work required both of us to make this sacrifice.
It left me thinking: Is there something wrong with me? Am I an unfeeling, cold mother? That same evening I had a Skype session with my boys at home and during the time Boeta fell down and started crying like it is the end of the world. My husband still told me not to worry as he did not hurt himself, he was just tired. I could not handle it. I was sitting in the only place I could get an internet connection, the hotel coffee shop, I cried shamelessly, not even trying to hide the tears. And at that moment I realized that I should not worry, this mommy still have a heart.
I am back with the boys and can be there for both of them and just in time, as we are having a cold front moving through, with gale force winds, rain and significant drop in temperature. This can lead to delays or cancellations in my link flights home, made it, thank goodness.
My latest trip was to Nampula, in Northern Mozambique. I did not have much time to take pictures, but took a few on the go, just to give some reference.
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Just before landing

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Nampula from the air

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A local bar

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A street market selling hardware

The next series of pictures will give you some idea of the general town environment.

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Creating space for a growing boy.

We started the week (Saturday) with frustration and tiredness. This started to reduce by Monday and on Tuesday, things picked up again and we looked forward to Friday, when mom comes home. The week has been the opposite to the weather, sunny and warm from Saturday to Wednesday, cloudy, raining and winter cold again to Friday, a week of lost and found, losing bottles, finding them, losing my mind and finding it again. It has also been a week of creating space for my growing son.

5-DSC_0261I used our nanny panels to block off some areas, but his play space doubled. It means we do not have enough blocks and some tile space is now open, but it must happen at some stage and after a month of walking, he seems to protect himself better, still a keen eye will be necessary.

7-DSC_0272The blue bin is used to add and remove toys for the day, also to teach him to put them away. He also loves playing with the earth ball. It is used to kick (dribble), throw and I try to show where mom is, when she is away.

6-DSC_0267Then the 80 + year chair gets to be pushed around again by another baby. He loves this, squeaking, as the old chair works its magic again.

8-DSC_0277 3-DSC_0252Above, his favorite bottle, loaded with milk and tea, usually! So glad we did not lose it. He also loves sitting on his haunches, while inspecting and doing things.

2-DSC_0242What a week we had, we got new space to play in, learned all kinds of new lessons. For now, we are focused on MOM, she is coming home tonight. A mother’s touch is definitely needed now and then, even for an active little boy and his dad.

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