30 May 2016

Three walks and a very tired me

On Saturday evening we joined Helen and Paul, Pippin and Honey and Sue and (other) Honey and some of their friends for a walk in the Constantia Greenbelt. Harvey was spending the weekend so he came too - although he looks a bit worried about what we are up to and I must say I was a bit worried too as it is nearly our supper time and I am sure the Food Lady has forgotten.
But on we went, with Lad up front, Harvey on a lead for the moment,
and me and the Food Lady at the back. Can you spot me?
Despite being supper time, it was lovely to be out and about and when we got home the Food Lady remembered to give us our (late) supper.
Then the next morning we set out for Groot Constantia to join the winter Scottie Walk. A blast of imaginary bagpipes, and out they marched with Estea and Knapie in front.
Come on Alph - this is no time for texting.
Now am I seeing double?
No, triple! Lad barrelled in there to say hello to the Gusses - I think they are called Augustus and Fergus. A lot of sniffing
and peeing on the trees, and we all settled down to a sedate Scottie Walk.
Here is Irene and Wally directing traffic in the Scotch mist.
And me at the back as usual, but putting my best foot forward.
There were lots of spider webs in these Blombossies (Metalasia),
and the vines were looking all autumnal and pretty for the Food Lady.
I met a new friend called Nala.
We had to go through this obstacle course,
so I just copied what Nala did,
and soon we were back on the oak-lined lawns.
We had a good time meeting our friends - some of them were happier to see us than others. This is Mila and her small brother MacGuyver.
And there, in the mist, was Estea with Knapie who isn't very happy to see anyone except his own family.
This is my best time as it means TREATS.
Some waited patiently
and others were more pushy! I am always first in the queue for treats and here is my favourite treat lady with treats for me. Nyummmm.
Now lets try the Gusses's mom - she has a bag full of treats too. Nyummmmm.
The Alph found a friend to talk about cars with,
while the Food Lady took some photos. This is Annabelle,
and Jock - with a friend.
Some of the walkers had gone a long way round, and soon appeared in front of the homestead,
and then we had to say our goodbyes to all the Scotties including my old pal Mac who is looking very handsome in his new coat. Then we went home to wait for Phil and Kerryn, and to skype our other human brother, Simon.
A little later on in the day, Phil and Kerryn arrived, and out came the leads and off we set in the Land Rover AGAIN. Truth be told I would rather have had supper, but a walk is a walk I suppose. We drove to Silvermine where we met Paul and set off up one of my least-favourite kinds of roads - sharp gravelly stone.
We saw lots of these fragrant Gladiolus maculatus flowers that open in the evening,
and soon found a path which was easier going for a small black Scottie. But I just couldn't keep up with the youngsters, and I kept worrying about missing supper. What is it with all these suppertime walks?
The Food Lady found some fluffy daisies - probably Geelgifbos (Senecio burchellii)
and hundreds of yellow and pink Oxalis species like these Oxalis commutata flowers to photograph.
The veld is looking so lush that it is hard to imagine that a huge fire swept through here just over a year ago. Only the burned flowerheads of some protea bushes remain to remind us.
The sun was getting lower and lower ...
and my tummy was beginning to grumble.
We soon found a spot for the humans to have some gee (a present from Lydia and the Timoneys) and tee - and for us to have some biltong and cubes which did very little to assuage my prodigious hunger. Phil, the Alph, Paul and Kerryn in the photo. But WHERE is the Food Lady? 
She is photographing these Red-listed (Near threatened) glads around our gee and tee spot - their name, Vlamme, means flames and it is very apt. Their posh name used to be Gladiolus bonaspei but now they are G. merianellus and they only grow wild on the Cape Peninsula and nowhere else.
And WHERE is the Lad? Fossicking around in the fynbos looking for rodents to kill.
And WHERE is Harvey? Not far away from Lad, sniffing the air for passing dogs.
And WHERE am I. At the Food Lady's feet waiting for food.
On the way home we saw a little yellow spider on the Gladiolus maculatus, all aglow in the evening light.
We arrived at the car, everyone just taking their time, oblivious to my hunger.
When we got home, eventually, Laddie killed a rat in the garden as it was trying to steal the cat's food, which delayed supper even further, but eventually we were fed and fast asleep in front of the fire.

24 May 2016

Up the garden path again ...

This morning we met at the Brooklands ghost village carpark for a short walk to the dam and back.
Pauline was waiting for us, and Sue and Honey arrived with Richard who is flying home back to Lucy later today.
The rock monsters and ghost villages here are rather creepy,
but not the tortoise smells and other delightful things to investigate,
like this little Sandkalossie (Lachenalia rubida or L. punctata according to Graham Duncan)
and lots of Fire Heaths (Erica cerinthoides) coming up in the recently burned area. Tails up!
The Food Lady led us all up another of her garden paths and soon we were lost in amongst large scary totem animals
so we got the hell out of there and retraced our steps. Just look at that Meerkat looming ahead.
Even this strange little grasshopper thing wanted out of there and hitched a ride on Richard's shoe.
Soon we were back on a proper road,
with a few distractions like these glowing Red Pypies (Gladiolus priorii),
until we reached the dam which is looking rather low again. Click here for comparisons.
Sue had brought from bubbles to celebrate the fact that Kate's thesis has been accepted and she is almost officially a PhD. Richard acted as Her Majesty's porter service and video cameraman and filmed us all celebrating Kate's achievement. The dogs, on the other hand, received a teeeeeny tiny bit of biltong. Mingy!
Here I am scrounging for something to take the edge off my hunger pangs.
We were serenaded by honking hissing Egyptian Geese who wanted to join in the general convivality.
The first proper walk the spaniels came on - Thomas the Cool and Aiden the Voice. They have to stay on leads as they haven't learned their names and never come when they are called.
Wait up!
Two black dogs leaving the dam. The spaniels almost count as black dogs but they are strictly speaking blue as in "blue roan" cocker spaniels.) Mighty posh.
Some pretty Dog Faces (Trichocephalus stipularis) were out.
And pretty soon we were past all the delicious smells, and loomy snary monsters and back at the ghost village.
Honey wasn't happy to share her car with offerings from the Food Lady, but Sue persuaded her that all was safe despite what the pee-mail on them might say.
When we got home, we suddenly heard a familiar voice at the gate,
and LOOK who came home to reclaim her kidnapped spaniels! We were all overjoyed (especially the idiot Lad). But all was strangely quiet after they all left.