25 October 2016

Walkies with Milly and Billy

Last weekend we had TWO lovely walks - starting on Saturday afternoon with Helen and Paul and some of their friends at Groot Constantia. Through the vineyards we went,
past all the pretty weeds that grow here now that they have fenced the property to keep the baboons and wildflowers out. Spoilsports. Paul spotted a white Vipers Bugloss (Echium plantagineum) flower in amongst the purple ones.
Past the dam,
filled with Egyptian Geese and Reed Cormorants,
and this is me taking a short cut back to the cars with the Alph close behind to see that I don't stray too far.
Then on Sunday we joined Milly and Billy and their human, Ernest , on Milnerton beach.
Benjy and Candy were there too.
We had fun, taking care not to get too wet in the freezing cold water.
I made a new friend - a Scottish Deerhound/Irish Wolfhound cross.
Lots of fun and frolicking.
And I even managed to cadge a treat from my new friend's human.
Milnerton beach is a bit of a strange beach - some people were trying to walk in the water,
and others were being prayed over and dunked into the icy water.
The Food Lady found some Kusslaibos (Didelta carnosa) to photograph,
and some straggly bushes of the European weed, Tree Mallow (Lavatera arborea). Legend has it that this plant was spread by English lighthouse keepers to distant lands because its used to treat sprains and also for loo paper. Could this be the origins of the word lav?
The Food Lady hopes that these beach front properties make full use of its loo paper properties.
Time to leave the bustling beach. Bye bye new friend.
Whats next? Our tongues are hanging out with hunger.
"Follow us home!" shout Billy and Milly. "We have a pool to swim in. Come on!"
"Yoo hoo! This way!"

17 October 2016

Orchids in the mist

So, I am to be left behind this morning. The bone you are promising me in place of a walk up to the Constantiaberg mast better be a BIG one!
So while I was chewing away in peace without Laddie-the-boss-of the-bones to disturb me, the Alph, the Foodlady, the Lad and Harvey met Paul, Pauline, Sue, Honey and Andreas-from-Cyprus at Silvermine Dam. Here they all are in amongst the Mountain Dahlias (Liparia splendens).
I am glad I wasn't there to hear the Foodlady moan about SANParks's pathetic neglect of the lovely Silvermine Tented Camp which is just going to rack and ruin.
Harvey looking over the 'burbs. Somewhere down there is ME. All alone with my bone.
Storm clouds gathering over the Crags.
Rain starting to fall - sunny in Fish Hoek though. I was snug in my kennel with my rapidly diminishing bone.
Harvey trying to keep warm and dry with Andreas-from-Cyprus. Sue buttoning up the raincoat.
Lad taking a leap across the puddles.

Paul decided to go home as he hadn't brought any rain-gear and was feeling a bit chilly but the rest of them, including Honey, plodded on gamefully.
Up they went, past the Elephants Eye Cave and around to the left. (A little while later, Andreas-from-Cyprus climbed right up on to the Elephants' head from the other side.)
The place was alive with the calls of what the Food Lady thinks are Painted Reed Frogs. You can just hear them over the crackling wind in the above video clip.
The Food Lady was in photographing mode as there were lots of lovey flowers. This is a Noughts and Crosses or Yellow Brickleaf bush (Penaea mucronata).
Apparently there was some excitement when the Food Lady spotted an insignificant little white flower growing up the cliff and Andreas-from-Cyprus shinned up the mountain to photograph it for her ...
Disa richardiana! Never before seen by the Food Lady. Apparently they are one of the few orchids that can open and close their flowers - and these ones remained resolutely closed!
And growing nearby - some Disa rosea buds. The Food Lady says I must extend her thanks to Andreas-from-Cyprus for taking the photos.
And ANOTHER rare plant that the Food Lady has never seen was this Pseudoselago peninsulae which is only found on the Peninsula and nowhere else in the whole wide world. It seems rather like fire as there was lots of it up there.
Taking a breather after all the orchid excitement.
There were lots of these not-so-rare Goue-trewwa (Satyrium bicorne) orchids around too.
Here they are toiling up the path which was lined with Honeybush Tea bushes (Cyclopia genistoides). The hill in the middle is the head of the elephant from the other side.
All the Honeybush Tea flowers proved too much so they stopped for some Honeybush Tea while Andreas-from-Cyprus climbed up the Elephant's Head.
There he is in the mist and rain ...
close to the cairn on top.
Tea without ME. Sue, Pauline and the Alph.
The Masta Boys (minus Lonsi) guarding the new expensive hunting green, stainless steel Stanley flask. Don't they look fearsome!
And one black dog without her friend. Never mind Honey, I hope to be back on the mountain soon as I really am not as old and decrepit as the Food Lady thinks I am. 
There were lots of China Flowers (Adenandra);
and these flowers look like China Flowers but are instead Disa fasciata. Nothing is known as to why they mimic each other.
Harvey trying to look like the Easter Bunny.
They squiggly path up to the mast. Andreas-from-Cyprus still hadn't come down the hill and Sue was starting to panic as the mist was closing in,
and the mast was disappearing so she thought he would get lost.  
So the Alph shouted for him to come, and Harvey and Laddie were alarmed ... 
and even the rock monsters were alarmed.
But he hurried down to join then again.
Then the Alph needed to get home in a hurry so they said goodbye and set off down the path past the mast at a lick - but the Food Lady saw this amazing site of China Flowers growing with their mimic Disa fasciata.
And she had to take a whole lot more photos while the Alph left her in his dust. This is the disa,
and this is the China Flower (which is a member of the buchu family).
Then she found some MORE Disa richardiana flowers on a mossy, drippy cliff. Also tightly closed.
A quick drink at the bottom,
a quick look at the Watsonia coccinea flowers at the end of the Lookout Path,
a quick photograph of a Marsh Bell (Gladiolus ornatus),

and they were back in the carpark. This freak looks a bit like a cross between a Scottie and a Bostie.
When they came home Harvey climbed straight into bed,
and I ignored them (for a bit) to teach them a lesson. But I must say, I did enjoy my peaceful bone.