Friday, February 11, 2011


Wemmershoek Dam, Franschhoek, Western Cape with flowering gum in full bloom.

I have time this evening to prepare a post in advance, something I've not yet had to do, but with puppy-face now very much 'on the scene,' I don't want to end up, as happened this past week, not being able to feed my blog...lest  thereby  risking its untimely demise.  As a gardener, I know all about the importance of regular watering and feeding and I'm fairly certain a blog requires similar care and attention.  So, to be sure that I at least keep up an appearance of being a regular 'poster' of new blog material, I'm going to take the necessary precautions and prepare this ahead of time.
Please click the Read More button below to continue this post...
Wemmershoek Mountain in the mist.

I have just had a quick look through my collection of 'miscellaneous' photographs and will now present a mishmash, hodgepodge, jumble and medley of the ones I've selected for use  today.  I hope they help to keep your interest in my blog offerings alive for the time being...
Lily pond in the extensive gardens of Vergelegen Estate , an historic wine farm dating back to the early 1700's when it was owned by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, who was Govenor of the Cape.

Today the estate is owned by Anglo-American and is open daily to be shared with visitors worldwide.
Several ponds and water-features grace the magnificent gardens on the estate. 

I would love to be able to grow this striking waterlily in my own pond!

The historic slave bell on the estate.

View of the Hottentots Holland Mountains towering over the estate.

Surviving ruin of the old slave quarters on the estate.

Today, a museum on the estate commemorates the slaves who were brought to work on this farm.

One of several attractive rock ponds situated in the extensive nature garden of the Harold Nixon-Porter Nature Reserve in Betty's Bay, a quaint coastal village on the Southern Cape coast.

So many pretty spots to sit beside and take in the beauty of the surrounding mountains.

A number of specially diverted little streams flow through the gardens of the Harold Nixon-Porter Nature Reserve, adding a sense of coolness on a hot summer's day...

There are a number of more strenuous hiking trails leading from the manicured gardens up into the mountains.

Gardens have been laid out for picnicking and to provide easy walking for the elderly.

Several tortoises live in the reserve.

This sweet little bird was actively catching grubs among the reeds on the day we visited...

We met these frisky horses on a drizzly morning at Rietvlei, a wildlife reserve situated East of Pretoria.

We took several pictures as they put on a good show for quite some time.

Our son holds a Private Pilots' Licence and flies for pleasure.  He is currently undergoing the final stages of training for his Commercial Pilots' Licence.  In April last year, our far-flung family members (my parents, sister, BIL and their adult children) were holidaying in South Africa from Australia and Monaco.  Over the course of a couple of days, he treated them to scenic trips around the Cape Peninsula and Winelands. 

As my husband was instrumental in affording him the opportunity of learning to fly (our gift to him for his 16th birthday), he's always taken pride and pleasure in recording as many of his flights as possible, even though it's now 10 years since he qualifed for his PPL.

Since we were not flying this time, but merely eager observers of the take-offs and landings, my husband had plenty to record.  I've limited my selection to a smidgen of what he'd taken ;)

This is the view of the runway, with our son coming in to land at the Stellenbosch Airfield, which is where he did his initial training and clocked up many flying hours.  While he was living in Durban, he flew at Virginia Airfield and I have some wonderful aerial photos to post some other time from flights he took us on when we visited him there.

Another perfect landing!  I'll never forget the feeling of watching him,, at the age of 17 taking his first solo flight from the very same airfield! 

This little shrike was watching all the activity at the airfield, too!

This view is taken from Chapman's Peak, a spectacular coastal route near Cape Town. 

Still on Chapman's Peak looking across to the village of Hout Bay.

And now, for something completely different.  This is the home of a carpenter bee.  One morning last year, after there had been quite a strong wind during the night, my husband had heard a sound coming from this fallen log at the base of one of our trees.  Upon closer inspection, he spotted this busy bee.

We moved the log to a safe spot on the low wall right outside our kitchen door and this is where she returned each day.  We watched her daily activity for several months.  Each day we observed the growing pile of sawdust she'd swept out on to the wall.  When it was a fair size, we'd blow it all away and watch the new pile building up.  After she'd laid her eggs and we saw no further evidence of her habitation, the log remained where it was until eventually it was apparent she'd not be returning and we tossed the log into the flowerbed.

 And that concludes my offering for today. 


  1. You have lots of fabulous photos and stories here. You certainly live in a beautiful country.

  2. It looks a beautiful country. It's fascinating to see what I recognise as being similar to here and what is completely different. I've never seen a blue waterlily.

  3. What a great and beautiful post !! love the the waterlily 's that blue one !! o beautiful.....happy weekend Ria....❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤......

  4. I love reading your posts. It's like going on an adventure! My husband and I love to take day or weekend trips to explore and it seems that you like to do the same. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing!

  5. Another wonderful post with great tales and beautiful pictures. Especially liked that blue water lily, and the Nature Reserve.

    Thanks for taking the time to put a post together. Hope your puppy-sitting isn't getting too stressful.

  6. Beautiful photo! I am so enjoying visiting your part of the world!


  7. Dear Desiree, even if you posted once a month, it would still hold everyone's interest... they are always so visually beautiful and well written :)

    Loved this collection of pictures too. The mountain in the mist caught my eye immediately - so majestic.

    Thank you, everything was very enjoyable :)

  8. You know, I had no idea how beautiful South Africa was until I started visiting your blog. It is like I would imagine the Garden of Eden. it is truly an amazing place!

    As to my flag burning. The American Flag is not supposed to be thrown away. The local Boy Scouts collect old flags and have a flag burning ceremony. This was just a little bitty flag so I figured I would burn it myself. Well, you see how that turned out. kt

  9. I enjoyed your post and your pictures very much. I love the shot of the mountain in the mist. And the pair of horses together, the contrast of the light grey and the dark brown make such an interesting composition. The horses certainly put on a show for you. The garden ponds were very lovely too. I have never seen a blue water lily before.

  10. Wow!! What gorgeous shots of all sorts of interesting things. The Vergelegen Estate is really beautiful! I loved the horses "dancing." I'm always impressed with those who know how to fly, so I enjoyed reading about your son.

    Thank you so much for your birthday greeting to me yesterday. I had a lovely birthday.

  11. Hey sweetie, thanks for your comment and support for Angel.

    I guess I needed to make a side note but if you hit the green August in the first paragraph you can read the beginning of Angel's story.

    She is in my Pre~teen Sunday School Class and Kid's Church. She also live about two miles the crow flies. 'Round here that's about as close as a neighbor gets. I've known her since she was a baby.

    God bless ya sweetie and have an amazin' weekend!!! :o)

  12. such a beautiful spot...nestled in the mountains! i love the gardens...the ponds...the flowers...and the TORTOISE!!

    thanks for taking me on this journey!!

  13. Thank you for visiting our blog! All the way from South Africa too! Your photo today reminds us of the Pohutakawa trees in New Zealand. Our daughter lives there and we have visited a few times. Addendum to the Rat Story. One of our rats ate too many banana skins one day and got so sick he couldn't get out of the way in time. Unfortunately I ran over him with the car on our driveway. I ran over him again to make sure he was put out of his misery. I didn't put him back in the compost though. He had a decent rat burial...
    I always thought gardening in SA would be a breeze. I now find out from you that the breeze is a problem...

  14. What a beautiful selection of photos, so many of which are different to how it is here.

  15. Desiree I don't know which photo I like best - there are so many I really like. The blue water lily is fabulous. I saw some like that in Durban and before that had never seen a blue one. I love the misty mountain photo as it's so atmospheric. I know which ones Hubby would favour. (He has a PPL too and has flown for years. He's instrument rated and can fly small jets too. He started his commercial licence but had to give up as his business took up so much of his time.) Good luck to your son.
    As always I feel as if I've been on a trip when I've visited you.
    well done on getting your posts done ahead.
    And as always many thanks for coming by and commenting. I'm glad you were number one today and didn't have to scroll down or get the karen gremlins :)

  16. i somethimes forget how beautiful our world is.....i love to look at your pictures...they give me a happy feeling.....i love nature and i love everything in it......i have never seen a blue waterlily. Thank you for sharing this with us. Greetings Bianca

  17. Desiree, none of us will ever lose interest in your blog. Though I may not come every day, I will always come to check up and catch up...
    I. AM. HOOKED. :)

    Those photo's send me into tailspins of longing for such beauty. I try and find it where I am as that is where I will always be.
    How proud you must be of your son. Let us know when he gets his commericial license as that is quite an accomplishment!
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photo's with us.
    Mona :)

  18. Just back for a second peek! I know you say it is hot right now..but it just looks cool and lush...not hot at all. In Califoria when it is hot, you can SEE it. Everything turns brown and dead looking.

    Thank you for your sweet comment on my post.. I really didn't have much..

  19. Desiree, enjoyed this photo variety and catching up on yesterday's post,the puppy is cute - name? Not everyone has the time or inclincation to post daily, though some will often post more than once daiy. I don't think you need to be concerned about folks forgetting as we all get busy and will return after awhile.

  20. So many such nice difficult to pick my fav, so am not even doing that :)

  21. I missed this post. I wondered where you had been and then saw that puppy face and remembered. I enjoyed all of your pretty pictures today, just love seeing more of your country. I can't even imagine watching my child fly a plane, I'm already nervous for when she starts to drive and that's 3 years away.

  22. I love your comparison of a blog being like a garden that needs to be tended.
    However, I like your pictures as well.
    All that green and sunshine...and no picturesque, so makes me want to visit the world.

  23. Don't worry if i visit and see there is nothing new posted i go back and look at your old posts. I can never get enough of these beautiful photos.
    Hope 'puppy-face'is behaving.

  24. Hola Desiree, it´s so lovely looking at all that wonderful nature captured by your camera... beautiful images!!!!
    hugs from Chile
    maria cecilia


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