28 December 2008

Burrs, pines and a lazy Sunday

Today - Sunday - was spent with the humans lying in bed and reading till noon. It was thundering a bit and Dougal was on the bed too (shivering!). Then we went for a walk around the block after the rain, which was fun because there were lots of puddles and smells.
Last Sunday we went for a walk in Cecilia forest, but it was quite hot. We saw lots of blue flowers and the Food Lady was a bit sad because she dropped her camera the other day and broke it and the shop says they can't repair it. She was using Simon's camera which is not very good. Here are two pictures of a blue sceptre (Aristea capitata) and comb flower (Micranthus alopecuroides) both growing in the pine plantations.

The previous Sunday we went to Daisy (a house) and got COVERED in burrs. Here is a photo of Dougal full of burrs. We went for a nice walk up the hill behind the house, and the Foodlady took lots of photos (before the camera broke) including these funny brown flowers called Jamesbrittenia albomarginata. (James is the name of Dougals worst enemy - a black schnauzer with too much attitude.)

08 December 2008

Mr Gus, kids and a train with a face

Although we didnt get to go for a walk yesterday, it was a FANTASTIC day. It was Gabriels birthday so there was lots of action. Firstly, a train with a face arrived - YAY wheels to chase. Then lots of kids arrived - YAY food and fun, and then, joy of joys, Mr GUS arrived.

I LOVE Mr Gus.

Dougal tried to have a fight with Mr Gus but Mr Gus just fell asleep, and it kind of fizzled out, so Dougal had to go and play rugby with the kids. But then a balloon popped and that was the end of Dougal's fun until Norbert and Edmund arrived with a sack of crawling sea creatures that smelled and tasted most delicious after the Foodlady (looking hot and bothered and saying a few ugly words) boiled them for lunch.

19 November 2008

Amazon Forest, food and moles

Sue set a rather cracking pace up what the humans call the ‘mule track’ (though I think they meant mole, and I have never seen a mole walking on a track and besides, moles are pretty blind). Not even I could keep up with her. Perhaps she was scared of seeing a giant mole and didn’t know that Dougal and I would soon sort it out! Our humans and Alice and Paul were also there. We all managed to make it up the mole track and collapsed in the coolth of Amazon Forest. I managed to find a treasure trove of tidbits under the seated area of the boardwalk, although my humans did not share my joy and muttered about littering. We had quite a feast with Alice's Chelsea buns, Paul's dates, Sue's biscuits, Alpha Males's wine gums and the Foodlady's rusks.

It clouded over somewhat and we finished this nice walk (although there were not enough other people and dogs for my taste) with a lovely cool breeze keeping the dreaded heat exhaustion at bay.
The Foodlady put these two flowers on the blog. One is the Cape bluebell or Wahlenbergia capensis, and the other is the kaneeltjie or Pelargonium triste, that has a distinctive smell of cloves suggesting that it is pollinated by long-tongued moths in the night. (But not moles or mules).
Ps. We don’t really enjoy the boardwalk as it is difficult to control our back legs and they keep slipping in the gaps. But we were mindful of the conservation of this delicate area and stayed on them. (Besides, the Foodlady said that we would fall into a CAVE and disappear forever if we didnt stay on the path. Perhaps that is where the giant moles live?)

11 November 2008

No snakes up Slangkop and no cobras in Cobra Camp, only snake stem pincushions

Another new walk for us at Kommetjie.
Sue, Lucy, Richard, Thea, our humans, Dougal (and, of course, me) set off along this path towards the Slangkop Lighthouse that had a dog for ever 50 m or so! What joy.

Then we veered up onto the mountain and zigzagged our way up to a motley collection of buildings that used to be a radar station in a far off human war. The humans got a bit anxious because the buildings are perched on the very edge of the cliff. They snapped on our leads and dragged us off - then let us off again on a path that was just perfect for us heath-loving Scots.

Even the pincushion bushes were really low down (they are special creeping ones called snake stem pincushions Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron) and it was easy to chase mice and, joy of joys, TORTOISES! I even got to have a quick chew of one before it was confiscated and I was most unfairly ticked off.
There were lots of them in all shapes and sizes.

Check this bagworm! Like tortoises it carries its house round on its back. Its actually a caterpillar of the moth family Psychidae.

We stopped for tea and rusks near a rocky outcrop with a shady cave for us.
Here is a rare photo of the Foodlady.

The Foodlady was quite excited to see this little plant with a fun name of bloucabong (Lapeirousia corymbosa).
Coming down again was hot and thirsty work, and we took advantage of any shade we could find.

Back at the beach, the humans had a good look at the Hoerikwaggo Trail tented camp near the lighthouse (the Foodlady has more about that on her blog http://veldfloraed.blogspot.com/2008/11/hoerikwaggo-trail-tented-classic.html but we Scots were too hot to even take much of an interest in the boardwalk dogs. A quick cool-off in the cold Atlantic was most welcome too - although we don't really enjoy water that creeps up on us and then mysteriously disappears.
For more information about the walk, Cobra Camp and the Slangkop Lighthouse, go to http://www.hikecapetown.co.za/bestwalks/EWCobraCamp.htm

03 November 2008

Elepant's eyes and spiders

Yesterday Sue, Lucy-the-vet, Richard, Alpha Male, the Foodlady, Dougal and I went in search of an Elephants eye which was crazy because we only found this HUGE cave which was filled with people and a rather hyperactive staffie.

We had tea in the throng, and then said goodbye to half of the party who had to go home to lunch. The Foodlady and Alpha Male then walked us up to the Constantiaberg mast - which at 928 m is almost as high as Maclears Beacon (at 1087 m it is the highest point on Table Mountain.) The tip of the mast up here is actually the highest point on the Cape Peninsula - 60 m higher than Maclears Beacon.

It was lovely and cool. We saw some amazing furry proteas called the brown bearded protea, Protea speciosa.

The Foodlady was taking a photo of raindrops on a funnel-shaped spider web in the path when a spider came running out but unfortunately it was so tiny it was difficult to photograph (or eat) but you can just see it in the photo in front of its tunnel. According to Norman Larsen (an arachnologist at the South African Natural History Museum) it is Euprosthenopsis pulchella - a very common dark brown spider with dorsoventral "GT" stripes.

Coming back to the Silvermine dam via the top of Blackburn Ravine we bumped into lots of dogs which was just the best (although with Dougal one is never too sure when a situation could just get out of control). This one here (top) had just arrived from TEXAS, in the USA.

For more information on the spider, go to http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/arachnids/spiders/pisauridae/euprosthenops.htm.

28 October 2008

Along the Hoerikwaggo Trail

Well that was quite a walk. Thea, Sue, my two humans, Lucy-the-vet, Richard back from England, Hanneke from Holland and Dougal and I set off soon after 8 am from Constantia Nek Restaurant, and walked up this rather strange corridor between two fences with an escort of lots of jack russells and that fox terrier that Dougal wanted to lay into earlier. It was very hot and treeless as we walked up to a place that sounds a bit like my humans' serious swear word (Vlakkenberg) and I was really pleased to find 3 ladies to shelter under (you can just see me in the photo at the top). Then after a quick dip in a little stream, things got better and the fynbos came back and we eventaully got to this lovely rock with moss and orchids, and had tea while the humans oohed and aahed at the view.

The Food Lady did her usual thing with her camera, and took lots of flower photos including this Satyrium bicorne orchid (above) which has a funny common name of Ewwa Trewwa and this yellow ixia, Ixia dubia. There were lots of insects about for the Food Lady to take photos of too - this one above is of a net-winged beetle with another gogga on its back.
It got a bit hot for us, and the humans kept throwing water at us which we DON'T like. But I suppose it did cool us down, and when we came round the corner and saw Hout Bay harbour and the sea-which was just squirming with whales-there was a bit of a breeze and some shady spots to regain our Scottie composure in.

We made it down to East Fort and into the Land Rover, then we took everyone back to Constantia Nek to their cars. Then at home we all collapsed (well almost - I still had to do a bit of barking at the gate).
*for more info on net-winged beetles and other goggas, see http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/beetles/lycidae/index.htm.

21 October 2008

More photos of Georgie, the wonderfully long-legged Bouvier who I want to be like when I grow up.

Me with Tammy

When I am not walking I like sleeping on laps. Here I am with Tammy when she visited us in Cape Town. Dougal is on the floor as he doesnt do laps unless there is thunder in the air. (I dont mind the thunder, but then Dougal is not as tough as he likes to think he is.) Posted by Picasa

20 October 2008


Really sad news.

Georgie the beautiful bouvier and my role model, died this morning at about 6 am of a heart attack. Luckily for her it was peacefully,and at her home. She had had a nice walk on Sunday and had eaten supper and had a normal night. Then according to Alice, her human, she just fell over this morning and was in a bit of distress until she just stopped breathing.

I will really really miss her. I know she thought I was an irritating upstart and said "Buzz off" when I was in her face too much, but I loved her and wanted to be just like her when I grew up. My humans are pretty upset too.

Georgie was 14 years old. This photo is of Georgie on one of our walks up Steenberg Peak. There is another photo of her lower down in my list of best friends too.

Puffadders and walking bones

What a weekend! We went with our humans to our grandparents's cottage in the Cederberg and Dougal showed me how to hunt for tortoises which was just amazing. They are chewing bones with legs - and there are lots of them all around the cottage. The Food Lady was a bit irritating becuase she kept on taking them away from us. Then we went for a walk and we found this long, fat snake and were just beginning to investigate it when both humans started yelling at us and dragged us away from it. Apparently its a puffadder and is definitely a no-no. We had a fantastic walk to the pools where there were lots of people - including some kids which was nice as I love kids. Dougal was a bit grumpy as he doesn't like the water - or kids. But I had a swim (not quite intentional but it cooled me down as it was very hot).
The Food Lady took lots of photos as there were lovely flowers - including lots of these Paranomus bracteolaris bushes.