Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bushpig hunt!

 I went with my husband on a bush pig hunt today! I dislike hunting,I believe in live and let live. I always thought hunting with dogs to be cruel, today my eyes were opened. I never knew that you had a pack of dogs specifically trained for hunting bush pigs,one for big cats or one for humans as in anti poaching and such. Today Cules took me to the property of a PH who has a pig pack and a cat pack who does problem cats in certain areas all over Southern Africa. I understand men have different attitudes towards certain things in life, but could never understand the hunting thing...So we woke up at 3:30 this morning and drove to the farm were they were going to hunt bush pigs. On arrival there the dogs were fitted with training and/or tracking collars and followed the men out into the bush. I have never had the opportunity of meeting Gavin's fiance Julie but today we were both there and were given the task of driving the observation vehicle and were handed the radios, I have never before operated a radio so it was quite cool after I learned how to use the darned thing and was soon chatting away to the hunters until told to shut up so they could speak to one another...Julie and I drove around a corner and there...30m in front of us were a pack of bush pigs standing quietly listening towards the dogs and hunters.. After the initial shock Julie tells me to get out and observe which direction they go so she could drive to south road and observe from there..I gave her the look and said,.. "s$%t ...WHAT?"  She says, "what, are you scared?"  I go , "did you see the size of the male pig,it was huge!" you go, I will drive to South road where ever that is! She says..."it was huge and agitated" I go "DUHHH!" So we both sat in the Landrover and radioed the men! We dashed madly all over the place as instructed over the radio to stay close to the (very expensive,imported) dogs and at one stage I caught sight of them working the spoor(sitting on top of the landrover's roof, hanging on for dear life! What a sight it is to see well - trained dogs working away! I got so caught up in the excitement and felt the adrenalin rushing through my body...Wow, Wow, wow... Well, after 4 hours the pigs got safely away and men and hounds had a decent workout and I was happy that no-one got killed! As I am writing this hubby is sleeping on the couch and the hounds are sleeping away in their pen,I sure like to think that the bush pigs are doing the same...
Happy weekend everyone!

Getting their training and /or tracking collars fitted.

Eager to start the day

Gavin has got "The Look" mastered down to a T whenever Julie drives to fast over a hobble in the road!

The beautiful Julie.  Sorry I cut her head in half,I was sitting on top of the landrover' roof at that stage!

Foxhound Liza cooling off afterwards

Phoenix,the Dogos.(not sure about the spelling) Imported from Slovakia

These are Gascon Saintongeois, the female in the middle is imported from France!


Shaking off..

The Cat Pack

The dog with the leopard paw ice branded on his ear is Jet, an American Plot hound X Blue Tick. Gavin's best cat dog.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lots Of Self Pitying Faces Around Tonight!

Minki before....


Look I'm still standing...La la laa...!
This sight just killed me!
Well,she's out now..,down..,flat...and sleeping!

Can we go home now?

Go away..I'm sleeping

What you want??

I can't open my other eye...

The Smooth Terrier.
I forgot to count her! We had six dogs at the vet today!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Feel Like a Butcher!

Tomorrow morning Cules and I are taking FIVE dogs, or no,four dogs and my baby girl Minki, to be spayed! It is going to be a bloodbath. Kennels have been brought up to the house, so every dog can be separate and convalesce on its own,Minki will be staying inside the house as always off course.My heart feels so heavy knowing how sore she is going to be for a long time. I feel guilty.... She sleeps on my bed and I don't want to have to lock her up when she is on heat. So I am having her spayed....I am cruel..She doesn't suspect a thing,wait until I take away her food and water later tonight..and keep her away from it in the morning...she's going to hate me!

First seaside holiday

This is how dogs dig on the beach!

Fashion icon

Protecting our campsite at endurance races

Travels the country with Mom and Dad

Monday, October 25, 2010

Of Country Roads, Bushfires and Tortoises

Travelling along a country road over the weekend we noticed that there were a lot of tortoises on the move. Every year it seems that right after the bush fires comes the first rain,followed by juicy new grass shoots. I am sure that is what had the tortoises going along everywhere!

Are you sure you made an appointment with the owner of this property??

How on earth did they survive the fires,everywhere I looked the earth was scorched. This one had no visible burns on it at all!

Leila's first encounter with a tortoise!

Even this tiny little one survived the fires, yay! I wonder if it is a baby or a tiny species. Look at the wonderful patterns on it!

Country roads..... Notice the vast burnt areas of bush, how do these tortoises survive? Surely they cannot outrun fires of this magnitude.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Teaching The Young Hounds To Track

Cules and his friend Gavin went out into the mountains to teach the young hounds some tracking skills. I opted out because it involved hours and hours of walking and running up and down valleys,through thorn bushes and never knowing what the hounds might scare up under your feet! The dogs all have tracking devices on so if one gets lost you have to go find it, that may turn into searching long into the night in dangerous terrain.

On arrival,waiting to have their tracking devices fitted.

Encouraging the Boss!

The tiny white spot in the far distance is where they left the truck!

The kind of terrain to negotiate down in the valleys

Gavin looking to find tracks with the more experienced hounds. Once again the hounds all behaved very well and stayed close to their handlers so no-one got lost!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jessica's Prom Nights!

So Jessica had two Proms to attend the last couple of weekends. I decided to post photos of this last one during the weekend because it was a very special "do" for her and her buddy. It took place in Pretoria,about four hours drive away from us and the top 2 newspapers in RSA covered the event!

They arrived in a Shiny black Hummer. What is it with my girls and Hummers???

She left her shoes and Roses lying about and Jaques' Mom took a lovely pic

Climbing on statues to pose for prom photos is not allowed you know!

The back of her dress. She designed her own dress!

The city of Pretoria's nick name is "Jacaranda City" because of these trees everywhere in the city!

Oops,there's a security guard coming this way ...,get off quick!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dogs On a Sunday Outing

Whoo hoo ! Going on an outing!

We took the dogs for a run in the hills surrounding our farm today. I have never seen the four young hounds out working in the bush and was very much surprised by how calm and obedient they were,staying behind the vehicle and not straying away on every scent they picked up. They are being trained to be tracking dogs one day.

Just to give you an idea of how dry the African bush can be this time of year, hard to imagine that by December this dry veld will be covered in lush green grass.

This is Cules at his happiest....

A welcome drink of water after all that running

Off course Minki had to reward herself with a ice cream when we got back home....

I hope you all had a wonderfull Sunday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rain,Rain ,Rain!

We have had our first decent rain in about six months last night, I listened to the thunder and lightning most of the night. So looking forward to not having to dust every day! Minki didn't like the noise one bit. Everything is newly washed this morning. I can't wait for the new grass shoots to show,the horses and goats are going to so enjoy them. I have included  photos of two of my favourite trees in the garden.

This is a indigenous tree in my garden called the "Raasblaar" It is covered in Wisteria like blooms this time of year. Those flowers smell heavenly.

Mr Frog came to visit my Rock Garden

 Mr Frog on his way


This is the Rhodesian Mahogany, we have lots of them around our homestead and they provide as with welcome shade during our hot and humid summers. The bats also love them.

Ducks Out!

We let the ducks out of their coop for the first time yesterday. Their appearance made for some comical reactions from the old inmates...

Hooplah! Get into single file everybody,quick about it!


What the...? she not pregnant, just a little chubby and very lazy by nature

Minkie Horse (yeah there's a Minkie Horse and a Minki Dog on this farm!)


The ducks were blissfully ignorant of all the excitement they were causing...


Can we eat those..?

Charlie the Rooster

You keep away from MY women you duck thing you!
Yes you!

Making their own little puddle

Ducks consider a leaking pipe a blessing!