27 September 2011

Spring cleaning at Daisy

On Saturday - Heritage Day - our humans took us on a spring cleaning weekend visit to Suiderstrand. On the way we stopped for breakfast at Dave's Country Kitchen on the Red Windmill farm shop and nursery just outside Napier where we were able to do some exploring while the humans had poached eggs and Brie cheese and scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.
Then we arrived at one of our favourite places in all the world - Daisy Cottage. It was surrounded by flowers. These purple ones are Sour Figs (Carpobrotus acinaciformis).
Lots and lots of Wild Cineraria or Strandblommetjies (Senecio elegans),
and lots of Felicia amoena subsp latifolia with hairy leaves.
The Alph got down to the business of fixing the loo ...
while we waited very patiently for a walk. Hurry up!
The Food Lady was doing some flower photography. These Sebaea aurea flowers are only about 10 mm wide. Come on!
This is Hottentotskool (Trachyandra divaricata). Now can we go? Please!
At last they set out. It was quite windy and there were lots of bluebottles and stuff on the beach including a dead seal or two - all the better for us to smell.
We noticed that they were doing a bit of dune reclamation to repair the damage of decades of beach driving here. You can see Pietie's se Huis (re-christened Lagoon House by SANParks) in the distance.
More Strandblommetjies (Senecio elegans).
A dip in Papkuil. We are always relieved to find that dogs are still allowed here! The SANParks restcamp looked pretty empty although there were a few people in Pietie's se Huis.
The local fisherman always leave these pretty Pyjama catsharks on the beach to die - which is terribly sad because they do no-one any harm and play a vital role in the ecosystem. SANParks should try and educate the fisherfolk because we see scores of them discarded on the beach. They could easily be thrown back again. According to George Branch pyjama catsharks are nocturnal and are usually found on the seabed in shallow rocky areas. They eat small reef fish and octopus. You often see their brown egg cases that are attached to seaweed with tendrils.
Dinner alfresco.
As Heritage Day is now known as National Braai Day, we braved the wind to set up the braai,
and while we did some mousing in the fynbos, the humans sipped wine and enjoyed the view from Daisy.
Me and the Alph.
The next morning it was a bit drizzly. The Sebaea aurea plants were well and truly closed when we set out for our Sunday morning walk
through the streets of Suiderstrand - marvelling at some of the hideous buildings that pop up there.
but pretty soon we were out of suburbia and into the veld. More strandblommetjies lining the road up to the water tanks.
Nemesia affinis flowers.
Up on the limestone ridge, it started to get warmer and the sun came out but out to sea we could see a thick bank of fog. Here is Dougal mousing behind some Kapokbossies or Wild Rosemary (Eriocephalus paniculatus) bushes.
This bright red tuber is from a Wachendorfia paniculata plant which clearly shows where the family name Bloodroot comes from. I wonder what makes it so red?
Another interesting red plant for the Food Lady was this member of the Hibiscus family, Hermannia trifoliata.
Another daisy growing up on the limestone slabs: the Sea Strawflower (Helichrysum retortum).
We soon found ourselves on the very nice hiking path up here - the Rasperpunt Hiking Trail. There are slabs of "Bredasdorp Formation" limestone that precipitated out of the sea about 5 million years ago which is quite tough on our Scotty pads.
Tea overlooking the wreck of the Meisho Maru, The fog bank was still out there looking mysterious.
It was getting warmer and we were both happy to get back to the sea. We had a dip while the humans did some bird watching.
Stopping to smell the flowers ...
A teeny tiny Thread Iris (Moraea setifolia).Hundreds of them growing on the path of the trail.
Back to Suiderstrand.
We all admired the shiny new blind. Then it was time to go back to Cape Town and Dawnie who stayed at home with Simon who looked after her and the cat.
The fog bank was also hanging around Table Mountain when we got home.

18 September 2011

The Gnidia

A day ago, last Sunday, I was strolling in the fynbos,
When I met a dog who thought he knew the lot.
He was laying down the law about the habits of proteas,
And the number of anthers a watsonia has got.
So I asked him, "What's that flower there?".
He answered, "Oh, it's a struthiola".

I might have gone on thinking that was true.
If the flower in question hadn't put that dog to shame,
And remarked, "I ain't a struthiola. I'm a g-nidia".

"I'm a g-nidia,
I'm a g-nidia,
The g-nicest work of g-nature in the veld.
I'm a g-nidia,

How are ya?
You should g-now just what is growing in the green belt."

"I'm a g-nidia, spelt G-N-I-D-I-A.
I'm g-not a daisy or a berzelia. So let me introduce,
I'm g-neither pea or paranomus,
Oh, g-no, g-no, g-no, I'm a g-nidia!"

I was on holiday once down at Agulhas-On-Sea,
Whence I travelled on to Suiderstrand it was actually.
And the second night I stayed there I was wakened from a dream,
Which I'll tell you all about... some other time.

Among the pretty flowers in the garden out the door,
Happily bobbing in the wind was a bloom I thought I knew.
A Disa? No, it's not a disa. An gladioli? It's unlikely, really.
Could it be an arum lily?
When I seemed to hear a voice: "I'm a... g-nidia..."

"I'm a g-nidia,
A g-nother g-nidia!
Sometimes called a daphne or a saffron but
I'm a g-nidia, How are ya?
You really ought to g-now now whats what."

"I'm a g-nidia, spelt G-N-I-D-A,
Don't call me a vygie or a ruschia.
G-nor am I in the least,
Like that dreadful sparaxees,
Oh, g-no, g-no, g-no...
Oh, g-no, g-no, g-no... ,
I'm a g-nidia...
Oh, g-no, g-no, g-no... , I'm a g-nidia!

With humble apologies to Flanders and Swann.

Champagne in the rain

A cool morning for a walk up Steenberg with Sue, Kate and Greg from Canada, Paul (yes - Paul was back as his back is a bit better) and Pauline, us and the Alph and FoodLady. Looking back over the wetlands of Zandvlei and the False Bay coastline.
On the way up we saw some Painted Ladies (Gladiolus debilis)
and some halfmens? Nah, just the daisy Oedera imbricata.
Lots of Erica pyxidiflora on the central plateau over the ridge ...
in fact hundreds!
Paul was interested in this tiny red, mat-forming mesemb that we think might be an Aizoon.
Sue and the Alph with the storm clouds over False Bay about to engulf us.
What with the storm looming and this Triceratops rearing out of the rocks, I was just a bit worried that Dougal might be snared (Arti-speak for frightened).
Erica plukenetii
and a toothy Lobelia pinnifolia.
Greg snapped a few shots before the rain rather spoiled things,
as did the Food Lady with this Helichrysum helianthemifolium.
Then Kate produced a bottle of bubbly for tea. Just look at Dougal with his tongue hanging out waiting for some champagne and rusks. Actually we all felt like that. It was quite a pull all the way up to Muizenberg Peak. It was fun celebrating Greg being in South Africa,
except Dougal didn't like the champagne cork popping. 'Save me Food Lady" he is saying. What a drip.
But wait, WHAT IS THAT RUSTLING IN THE FYNBOS! Tea shot. Paul, Sue, Kate, Greg, the Alph, me and Pauline.
Then it started raining harder, and we all had to get going.
Kate and Greg climbed up to the trig beacon with Dougal (who wasn't meant to 'cause its quite steep up there, but his head was a bit scrambled after the popping champagne cork).
Once we were down, the rain seemed to lessen slightly, but you can see a drop or two got onto the lens. This is a drippy and wet Pincusion (Leucospermum conocarpodendron) taken by a wet and drippy Food Lady.