26 August 2013

Two black dogs meander through the mimetes

Today we walked up Steenberg Peak again. Its quite a pull, and I find it difficult to keep up with my idol, Maddie the Big and Beautiful Bouvier. It was just Alice, Maddie and us three today: Thea opted to stay in bed with Ruth Ozeki, Paul is doing chores, Pauline has a back and Sue is in the far north. And THE PEST stayed at home.
There were some crazy rock climbers out and about as we puffed our way up to Steenberg Plateau
past some Hangertjies (Erica plukenetii) and
on the other side, some Green Sticky Heaths (Erica urna-viridis).
We walked all the way to Muizenberg Peak. Here are us two black dogs and Alice on the top.
There were lots and lots of teeny tiny ericas, like this Wind Heath (Erica hispidula) with its protruding stigmas for catching pollen on the wind. (Hispidula refers to its hairy stems and means "with bristles" in Latin).
And, taking a stab at identification of the restios, today's Restio of the Week is the Tall Tasselreed (Staberoha banksii). (The male plant. Ahem.)
A fat leathery Bark Spider (Caerostris). I swear it was looking at us with a cat-like face - just asking to be bitten in two. Lucky for it, it was out of my reach.
There is still water everywhere - perfect for hot black dogs!
Meandering through the mimetes. These are Tree Pagodas (Mimetes fimbriifolius) that are only found on Table Mountain and nowhere else in the whole wide world (if you discount garden-grown ones of course).
The top of the mountain is full of them, and golden leucadendrons too.
The oddly named Chrysocoma coma-aurea or Golden Bitterbush just starting to flower.
Through a narrow gorge we went,
and down a sandy path,
past this impressive Gladiolus tristis flowering near the loo at the Wolfkop Carpark.
Back home I tried to get THE PEST to start behaving in a manner befitting a Scottie. Get off the compost heap at once! And you are NOT going to bite me again. (I am putting the wheelbarrow between us to make sure.)
Digging in a companionable truce for the moment.
Hey, come back with my carrot! PEST!
I think I will join the Alph and the Food Lady as THE PEST is driving me to drink.

19 August 2013

Over bank, bush, and scaur

This Sunday we walked into Cecilia Forest with Alice, Maddie and Paul, leaving the Pesky Puppy at home.
It was all slushy and wet and misty and rather beautiful as we came out of the forest above Kirstenbosch
and on to the contour path. Then the sun came out.
Me and Paul enjoying the forest.
This plant (Penaea mucronata) is called Noughts and Crosses - and I have always wondered why, but now I can see.
Drinking tea high up on Cecilia Ridge.
The restio of the week is Restio quadratus, with its four-angled stems.
For the first time since Dougal died, I thought I saw a fairy in the tops of the trees ...
Every little stream was in spate, and there was water cascading down over banks, bushes and scaurs*
and all the rocks were covered with moss.
We met our neighbours near the Cecilia Carpark, and they had a new puppy too, which then took all the magic out of my mind as I remembered that we had to now go home THE PEST. (I tried to tell the Food Lady to offer it to them too, but she ignored me.)
Back home I decided I had better teach THE PEST how to dig, as he is related to Dougal (and me!) so he has to learn what Scotties do best. So we dug out some onions for supper.
THE PEST with his onion.
Another pest we dug up with the onions - that made us both sneeze.
THE PEST removing the Food Lady's fleecy blanket from her chair,
and settling down to sleep after all that digging. Thank Goodness. Peace at last! He almost looks cute in his heart-shaped patch of sun!
*For those of you without a working knowledge of Gaelic, a scaur is a precipitous bank or rock; a scar.

18 August 2013


Lookee at what came walking up the garden path yesterday. A cute little white pup come to visit.
I was overjoyed - a friend to play with!
I look him exploring around the garden. He was a bit cheeky and bit me a few times, but I was quite polite and pretended to ignore him as I didn't want to kick up a fuss. I was sure he would go home soon.
There was a bit of discussion about a name for him. BruichLaddich was chosen - Laddie for short. And indeed he is short! But his teeth are sharp. I should have started to get suspicious when he arrived without a human - and it soon became obvious that this chap was here to stay.
I told him that the pool was out of bounds -even though it has a net on.
In fact, I told him that the whole place was mine and out of bounds but he just kept running around and having a ball with the Food Lady and the Alph - and biting me - so I went to my kennel for some peace and quiet.
I think he thought he had found another friend in this house, the silly pup. But I am NOT his friend - not with those teeth and that attitude. Who does he think he is coming in and taking over?

12 August 2013

Mad dogs and a Kiwi go out in the morning wind

This morning Thea came to our house and we all drove up Red Hill to the Brooklands ghost town carpark where we met Lydia, all the way from Kiwiland, and another Stephen - no doubt also the Alpha Male of his family! The Food Lady got the start a bit messed up, but eventually we established that Alice was waiting for us further up the road in the chill wind. Stephen set his fancy GPS and we were off.
We found Alice, Maddie and Claude at the dam - all ready for the hunt.
A bunch of roses in the fynbos? Nah, a teeny tiny doll's house daisy called Petalacte coronate.
Views across the Atlantic.
A plant that I can identify with (a bit) - called Rats Tail or Rostert (Babiana ringens). It grows a stiff "rats tail" that you can see sticking up behind the flowers, which is actually a perch for sunbirds who pollinate them.
Some more pretty miniature flowers - the Broad-leaf Clutia (Clutia alaternoides),
and a pretty Claudie - don't you just love the goatee? I was rather missing Dougal today - wondering if he was somehow out there in the fynbos and trying to find me.
Doogs, we all miss you so much. Where have you gone?
Tea photo - Alice, Maddie 'n Claude, Lydia, Thea, the Alf, me and Stephen. Stylish sandwiches the order of the day.
The restio of the week. (The FL is trying to get to grips with these Cape Reeds as they are apparently hugely important in fynbos.) This is a Thamnochortus of sorts - maybe fruticosus. Impossible things!
Another miniature flower - this one is the rather rare and special Thistle Protea (Protea scolymocephala).
We walked through stands of purple Erica parviflora,
and white Salt-and-pepper Heaths (Erica imbricata),
and saw lots of bulbs that gave us a spring in our step. (This one is possibly Babiana ambigua).
Waiting for the Food Lady, and a chance to check the GPS (we'd walked about 9 kms) and check for ticks,
uh oh, one on the Alf's trousers: a rascally Rhipicephalus.
Back down to the Lewis Gay Dam we went,
some of us without our shoes.
Alice and my two black Bouvier friends disappeared into the daisies for a swim.
The last flower - a single golden Ewwa-trewwa (Satyrium coriifolium).
On the was home the Alf identified this car - turns out it has the same name as my new friend from Tokai Park - Bentley.
We stopped at the tapas bar again for a beer and a selection of tapas snacks - and this time the FL slipped me a taste of octopus on a corner of Spanish bread. The Food Lady really liked the "Starry Eggs" tapas - "Huevos estrellados con jamon".
The floor does colour co-ordinate well with me. Tres chic.
Not too sure about this croc though.