27 June 2014

Birthdays and good times

Today is my birthday -
and we spent the morning at Fish Hoek with the spaniels and Omie Domes.
I am now eight years old! And I don't feel a day over two.
But it is also the day Dougal died - a whole year ago. Often, like when Laddie and I are digging in his favourite places for moles, I still miss him ...
and read the memorial plaque that the Alph put up near his grave.
But I remember the happy times we had together. This is him as a puppy with Sam, the Labrador I never met.
And with Tombi, the snauzer I never met either.
I think Doogs always thought he was a Labrador as Sam was his hero. 
This is him before his first hair cut - on one of his first walks in the fynbos.
And on the beach.
Then I came along in 2006 ...
and his life was never quite as peaceful again. But we had some amazing times together -
hunting in the fynbos,
barking ferociously at the neighbour's dogs,
chasing squirrels at Groot Constantia,
and making friends at Suiderstrand - although Doogs wasn't really the friendliest of dogs.
But he was my very best friend and I still miss him terribly. Rest in peace my beautiful brother.

23 June 2014

Midwinter on the mountain

On Sunday we didn't go on our usual morning walk because it was Arti's birthday. The Food Lady bought him a Scottie hottie,
and a Brasil World Cup soccer ball. We helped her wrap them all up. 
We also gave him a book by Niky Daly about a herd boy in the Eastern Cape called Malusi and a dog called Koko who saves a lamb from a fearsome baboon. I would SO do the same if I lived with Malusi.
We weren't allowed to go to the party, because Claude doesn't like any other dog except Maddie in his house, but I hear it went well. Here is Gabe watching Arti open a present from Edmund - drum stick pencils, a blank music book for writing down songs, and a book (with chapters) called How to train your dragon.
Luckily all was not lost on the walkies front, and we set out for a late afternoon walk above the Silvermine Dam with Paul and Pauline.
The Rice Heath (Erica lutea) was out in full force,
and so was a warm and balmy Berg Wind. We had to hold on to our hats at afternoon teatime.
Please lift us up! We are just small little dogs with short legs.
That's better. Thank you! At flipping last! Now at least we can see the view. And clean up any crumbs from the cherry cake. Laddie still is idiotic most of the time. I mean, can you look more idiotic than that!
The Food Lady found a new flower too - a midwinter flowering, twining Astephanus triflorus. Sounds a bit like the Alph's name. (Actually it means "without a crown" - stephane means a diadem or coronet in Latin).
We walked the amphitheatre walk around the dam,
where the White Sticky Heath (Erica physodes) grows. It is closely related to the rarer Green Sticky Heath (Erica urna-viridis) that we see often further south in Silvermine.
Looking south over Long Beach - Slangkop Lighthouse just visible in the centre.
There were fantastic smells on this walk, and I was SURE there were baboons up there ...
Paul's curly grass - Pentaschistis curvifolia.
Looking south-east towards Fish Hoek and Simons Town on the way down to the carpark. It was such a beautiful warm midwinter's day that we decided to do an evening walk more often in the future.

19 June 2014

Another happy birthday hike

Today, Monday 16 June, is Youth Day and, appropriately, we went for a walk with an unusually large (for us) number of members of that group. Setting out along the long gravel road are Thea, Bernard, Pauline, Antje and Katherine. Me leading ...
er, actually not really. Up front are more of the youthful (well, mostly) group - the idiot Lad, Richard, Lucy, Kate and the Alph.
Not another King Protea! (The name cynaroides refers to the protea's resemblance to an artichoke.)
The weather was cool and misty, but not too cold or wet and we soon climbed up to Berties Balcony 
where we celebrated Kate's birthday (which was yesterday) with cake and bubbles. Happy Birthday Kate! It was so fun -
and thanks for the cake! I made sure nothing was wasted - not even a crumb. I also managed to steal a few biscuits before the Food Lady was on to me. But we were all abandoning our diets/Tim Noakes eating plans this morning ...
Tea shot in the cave: Bernard, Thea, Antje, the Alph, Lucy, Katherine, Kate, me, Richard (hiding) and Pauline. 
A good way to celebrate Youth Day.
And we even got some attention and milk from Thea.
It was a rather cool and silvery grey day - perfect Scotty weather. This is the Coastal Camphor Bush (Tarchonanthus littoralis) in flower - looking back to Noordhoek Peak and Silvermine. 
The Lad had so much fun, and was really rather endearing. He has definitely improved since turning one.
Round the corner from the Amphitheatre we walked,
and right up to the top of Kalk Bay Peak.
There were so many enticing smells that I got a bit manic. I really wanted to go into this deep dark cave after some dassie/porcupine/caracal/baboon/rodent smells, but guess who wouldn't let me? Lemme, lemme, lemme! Such a spoilsport. 
But never mind, I had a lovely tummy cool in the path/river instead.
Soon we were overlooking a rather wintry False Bay.
Then we walked back down towards the road. More smells! Is this not the closest place to Scotty heaven?
Bernard's foot was troubling him, so he, Anjte, Thea and Katherine decided to stay on the gravel road and head for home, so we said our goodbyes and parted company. 
The rest of us carried on , jumping rivers and
meeting new friends.
Then the Food Lady took the wrong path, but we were quite glad because it shortened the walk a lot and we were all quite tired.
When we got home we still had plenty of energy to chase hadedas out of the garden, and clear the fairies off the toadstools coming up all over the lawn,  
and get down to a spot of mole control 
while the humans had a chilly braai of free range ostrich wors ("too salty for you lot"),
then on with the Alph's new fancy sheepskin "absolutely NO chewing" slippers, 
and a relaxing watch of the soccer world cup. What a life!