26 October 2015

Bubbles in the mizzle

Kate and Richard joined us on Sunday from Canada and Cornwall - as did Sue and Honey and Paul from Rondebosch and Pauline from beyond the warzone of Masipumelele. We were very happy to see everyone.
We were expecting heat but it was a cool day with a light misty drizzle instead - perfect for me. There were lots and lots of flowers emerging from the burned veld - this glowing Rafnia angulata for example,
and these tall silenes with the strange name of Silene pilosellifolia.
The Food Lady was on a quest to find rare and interesting orchids that like to flower after fires. There were quite a lot - like this not-so-rare, but lovely Disa bracteata.
We climbed up towards Steenberg Peak, looking back towards a misty Table Mountain to catch our breath/admire the view/photograph flowers every so often.
There were several bulbs flowering too - like these Geissorhiza bonaspei,
and beautiful grasses - like this Wire Grass (Geochloa rufa)
and pretty shrubs like this Podalyria - possibly P. argentea.
The Fire Heaths (Erica cerinthoides) were out - some with unusual white tips,
and we found some more orchids like this scented White Satyr (Satyrium candidum)
with a large dollop of sticky yellow pollen at the tip waiting for some unsuspecting moth to come and collect it.
The humans decided to cut across the top towards the Fat Lady as no-one felt like a long walk in the mizzle as some of us are unfit and others are recovering from colds and other illnesses. But where is the path?
We tried to help but couldn't reach a decision. I had the strangest feeling that something was watching me - and not just the Food Lady and the Alph who were keeping "an eagle eye" on me after my exploits last time.
Finally we located the path and I discovered this creepy rock dinosaur monster looking sideways at me. Yikes.
We managed to chase some peeps out of our tea spot and shelter from the mizzle in the Fat Lady Shelter: Honey, the Alph, Richard, Kate, Laddie, Pauline, Sue me and Paul.
Kate had brought some bubbles to celebrate her and Greg's wedding a few weeks ago,
as well as some wedding cake which was apparently very yummy even though Kate said half her guests weren't too sure what it was. This lot knew very well, and ate it all up very quickly without offering me a crumb!
Laddie soon found a friend or two. Or three or four.
We were soon on our way down again, and while the Food Lady was busy with photographing the Fireworks Flowers (Dilatris)
I tried to hide behind some grass and disappear again, but I was discovered: 
my cover blown by a noisy Malachite Sunbird shouting at me from a rock.
A last photo for the Food Lady - a rather unusual little Wax Twiner flower (Microloma tenuifolium) in a burned protea bush -
then it was back to the cars and goodbye.
When we got home it was still nice and early, so the Food Lady planted some seeds which Laddie and I re-arranged later. "What were you thinking of?!" she shouted at us. Well, Laddie was chasing a gecko that went under the box and I was thinking that there just might be some tasty egg left over in those eggshells. What is all the fuss about?

12 October 2015


Apologies for the late post but things have been a bit hectic and busy at home - and due to my lack of opposable thumbs, I cannot operate the computer without help. But we are getting there ...
LAAAAAST Sunday we went for a walk up the Old Mole Path (still no evidence of moles!) to Echo Valley, via the Jojolu Path and the Amphitheatre to Spes Bona forest and back down the Old Mole Path. Harvey, as you see, was very happy to see Tessa, who joined us with Thea. Phil, Alice and Maddie came too, and so did Paul and Pauline.
It was rather misty to start with - we  could hardly make out the beach huts on St James Beach far below.
But it was sunny it patches, and the flowers were out - lots of shiny yellow Gansgras (Cotula coronopifolia),
some rather special Satyrium bicallosum orchids,
Red Hot Pokers (Kniphohia uvaria) coming up through the burnt bushes along the stream,
and lots of fire-loving Appelkoostulp (Moraea ochroleuca) on the Jojolu Track.
Halfway up - Me and Maddie with Alice - looking back down Echo Valley.
Me and the Lad exploring the entrances to the scary, snary caves. The Food Lady was a bit anxious as there are lots of caves here on Cave Peak - apparently Table Mountain has the largest sandstone cave system in southern Africa.
Paul surveying Fish Hoek in the mist from Cave Peak.
This little Fire Storksbill (Pelargonium althaeoides or chamaedryfolium or whatever - the taxonomists can't seem to be able to make up their minds on this name) is flowering everywhere in the burned veld.
More misty vistas from the top.
We went along the path that goes past the entrance to the Devils Pit cave.
Tessa and us were a bit freaked out.
Yikes! A rock monster with a gonk.
Luckily it was soon teatime and all thoughts of monsters and devils went out of my mind when the food arrived. Yummm. Biscuits from Beth,
but sadly none came my way as they are apparently human biscuits.
Harvey and me were most disappointed. I mean, that is just NOT FAIR.
The whole gang: Phil, the Alph, Harvey, Tessa, Paul, Thea, Alice, Maddy and Pauline. Not sure where that idiot Lad was - looking for a cave to fall into no doubt.
I was waiting patiently for MY Scottie biscuit!
We carried on to Spes Bona Forest where the pathetic SANParks lot haven't had the energy to replace the burned sign to the entrance to the forest - even though the fires were six months ago. (The Food Lady says they are too busy sitting on their butts in offices thinking up their idiotic forms and silly rules to get down to anything useful.)
There were a few burned planks just as you enter the forests (again, we are not sure why they haven't been replaced after six months - but maybe saving up for bigger and better cars for SANParks officials is more important than replacing two planks on our world famous Table Mountain).
Anyway, once inside, the deep dark forests were still the same - not one flame managed to get in here.
Out again into the sun - and more daisies - these ones are Wildewitmagriet (Dimorphotheca nudicaulis) with their coppery-backed flowers.
At the bottom of the Spes Bona Path, the boys were waiting for us to catch up.
The Food Lady found this large Black Girdled Lizard (missed by me or it might have been a dead large lizard!) to photograph,
while Maddie and Laddie found a Kerry Blue to play with.
We carried on down - past these Renostergousblom (Arctotis acaulis) daisies with their golden-red-backed petals,
and as it was rather hot, when the boys stopped at the bottom of the path for the others to catch up, I wandered off to look for some water ... and got a bit distracted by delicious smells and tinkling steams and good places to roll in, and some more enticing smells ...
and when I re-joined the party, there was lots of shouting and telling me I was a BAD DOG. A very, VERY bad dog to have been missing for HALF AN HOUR! And was I DEAF? OR JUST PLAIN STUPID? Did I know that I had given everyone A HEART ATTACK? And that the WHOLE BLOODY MOUNTAIN was SEARCHING for me? What a fuss.
Anyway, off we set again, with me firmly attached to a lead. The Food Lady managed to take a few more photos of the flowers - like these Satin Flowers (Geissorhiza aspera) that were out in full profusion in the warm sun.
When we got home, Phil gave us some exciting gifts from his and Kerryn's trip to London. (Kerryn was still overseas - in Canada - and Phil was off to Johannesburg the next day, so we had the crazy Boston Terrorist for another week.)
We also had a call from our human brother in Korea which always perks the humans up a lot.
I am looking forward to trying out these biscuits - this time they are for dogs and not humans.
I even got into Harvey's bed as a hint, but I am afraid that no treats are coming my way for the rest of the day as I have been such a BAD DOG.