Tag : Farm

Changing seasons…

Changing seasons…

Its amazing how different the same place looks at different times of the year, even times of the day.  Looking at this photograph it’s almost impossible to imagine this can be of Matabeleland, usually dry and dusty.

This rock is such a feature in the area. From above (at the trig beacon) or below in the valley, you can’t miss it.

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Then, a little later, the sun comes up over the hills catching the brilliant reds and oranges of the Msasa Trees.  Look how it sticks out, stark white in the early morning light…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Below, is the same rock, but taken from the trig beacon high above looking along the valley towards the Zinjanja Ruins.Bonnybrook Trig beacon

It’s December in this picture, (above) the grass green and lush, even the trees have green leaves. Same view below taken in October, taken when it was SO hot we could hardly breathe! In October, here in Matabeleland, it’s very hot. Regina Ruins are on the top left of the photo…Bonnybrook Beacon-004

In spring, the trees here come out in new leaf – brilliant red, orange, even yellow. They fade to green in a few short days and remain pretty boring for the rest of the year!

Mgondi LeavesBelow is the same view – the picture taken down in the valley, very early in the morning – looking towards Regina (Zinjanja)  Ruins.

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Spider…crab?

Spider…crab?

Crab Spider

I’m told these are crab spiders…they are tiny, tiny little things

Crab spiderThis one came out frowning – from a yellow nasturtium – disturbed – when I pruned the roses

Bulbuls…

Bulbuls…

BulbulOr Toppies or TipTops…

These birds gave me the run around. They continually move and fly and they alert other birds that I want to photograph them..

I swear they do!

In this photograph they are doing something to the lucky bean tree flowers. I’m not sure what, but they throw down the little red petals forming a carpet under the tree.

Bulbul

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Bulbul

When we farmed, we hated them – forever eating our tomatoes. Now of course, the monkeys have taken over…and eat our banana’s, pawpaws…well anything!

Robin…Hunt

Robin…Hunt

White Throated RobinI tasked myself with photographing as many birds in the garden in Fort Rixon as I could. I didn’t know their names, but I didn’t mind – I thought I could find that out as I went along.

This White throated Robin was a challenge. Very shy, he jumped about in the undergrowth, or remained in the shadows where it’s hard to focus on him. He likes the bougainvillea covering the garage roof.

White Throated Robin

Or in the flowerbed below…White Throated Robin

He ran me a merry dance, I tell you, until the day before we left…having tea outside, I heard a bird singing in the tree near the swing seat. I gazed around, trying to locate where the lovely sounds were coming from. When I discovered who it was, I stood there pointing the camera at him and he didn’t fly away…just sang and sang! Sorry about the wobble on the video, I didn’t think to take my tripod out when I heard him, and I was scared he would fly away and sing for someone else if I went to get it. Right at the end, when the camera shakes a lot, it’s cos I couldn’t stop laughing – he seems so annoyed!

If you want to see the video, click on this link here here: and make sure your sound is on…

Blue Waxbill…

Blue Waxbill…

Blue WaxbillMost often they are found in groups like this:

Blue Waxbill

CMR beetles

CMR beetles

CMR BeetleThese things were the bane of my life when we had two hundred and fifty rose bushes. Our gardener Rabson, spent hours chopping their heads off with secateurs…all his other assassination attempts didn’t work, the chemical just runs off that shiny armour.

CMR Beetle

Recently someone told me to put a bright yellow bucket with a little water in the bottom near the roses. The CMR Beetles are attracted to it, they plop inside, she says and drown….

I hate them. They turn this…

CMR BeetleInto this…

CMR BeetleI’ve always called them CMR beetles (I’m told CMR is because they share the same colours as Cape Mounted Riflemen!) Some people call them blister beetles and they do give you blisters if you assassinate them by squashing. That’s why I behead them, but will try death by drowning later in the season.

CMR BeetleMunch, munch, munch…off with your head, off with your head!

 

 

Maziwa Farm…

Maziwa FarmIt’s not often that we get called back to the same place…with borehole drilling at US$95.00/metre, people are usually fairly constrained! However, after about 150m of drilling through solid rock, Mr Bhebe of Maziwa Farm got fed up and called us…he was very pleased when we found him several good bore-holes. So pleased, that he asked us to survey a property he owns here in Bulawayo and then, a couple of weeks later at his church. Despite Frank’s deepest misgivings about the site at the church, it was drilled and…they have called it “Zambezi!” Can you believe this…they went ahead and drilled the OTHER site at the church and astonishingly, found water there too.

The first time we went to the farm in Plumtree, I took photos of his wonderful herd of cattle, but none of his sheds or staff or anything identifiable – I’m pretty sensitive about that. I sent him the pics and he was huffy that I hadn’t taken more!

These cattle strolled over the little river, across the sand and got on with their lives right next to the car. I love that smell they have when they are chewing. The beautiful white one is a real princess! 2014-04-14 So when he needed water at a property in Plumtree town, he asked me go to to the farm and take more photos for his website…Now understand, I have no idea how to do a professional photo shoot – but I had a lot of fun. Several times, his staff and I couldn’t stand up straight we laughed so hard…this blasted flag for one, just wouldn’t straighten for us…one of the guys had a grand plan to lower it and, he said, it would “wake up” when he raised it.

SO…this photo (below) is the staff raising the flag in the morning at Maziwa Farm in Plumtree – Now that’s my story and I’m sticking to it…Maziwa Farm We went around the farm buildings, the chicken houses, and the new developments  and set up the guys looking busy. My joke about how they must act when the boss comes around fell rather flat! Actually he has a happy crowd of workers, and the guys pictured with the goats below clearly love their charges… 2014-07-30These (below) were all posed pictures by the way! Only the one of the guys loading the eggs into the car is real! I took a video of them “making” concrete and I had tears rolling down my face..Iet me know if they open. 2014-07-301I took a stack of others, and I hope they are OK for who ever does his website… Click to watch the video here… And hereOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Not hard to see apples don’t fall far with this guy…looks just like his daughter pictured above…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I can imagine in the future, Mr Bhebe may build a home overlooking the dam pictured above. There is an awesome kopie near the cattle pens… Maziwa Farm and it had a cave…of course I couldn’t resist climbing inside…hey, gimme a break – I’m not 50 yet!Maziwa Farm OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black Mamba

Black Mamba

Black MambaThe house we now occupy, is more than forty years old and the trees have grown up around it. There is nowhere to put the washing line. I decided to see if I could put it around the back of the house where its fairly sunny and certainly windy.

I always walk fast and I was lucky this guy wasn’t lying in the sun on the steps…

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He sort of fell off the wall on the left and slithered into the thorns. I collected my camera and made sure the lens was right out! Ive marked the head…this is one huge snake I decide, but I don’t know what it is. Ive been educated about correctly identifying snakes – don’t just kill them indiscriminately.

Remember, like all good colonials – Ive read RikiTikiTavi…so I look around and can’t see any others. Until I looked closer…oops. Another one (only about 2,5 m long) slithered into the rocks…

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He kept his eye on me – and when I returned with the camera, he swung round…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More than four years ago our maid reported a verrry beeg snake. I assumed she mean a metre or two, and guessed a Mozambican Spitting Cobra – we have plenty of those around. I’m guessing she saw this one, and a little shorter than he is now. And yes – he is a very big snake. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

People who are familiar with these snakes recognised him immediately from this image…a coffin shaped head, I’m told is the dead giveawayOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s strange, for us Africans, snakes turn us all into dancers…I spent the rest of day doing break-dancing. The smallest rustle or hosepipe lying innocently on the lawn sent me off…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In this image, you can sort of see how long this snake is – the rest of his body is still in the thorn scrub!