Monday, January 31, 2011

Purple Crested Turaco

I made this video clip to share with you this magical sound we hear all day long, every day here on the farm.We have lots of Turaco's around here and I was wondering if they are in the USA as well....I couldn't get him in my sights,so it is a sound clip only.I am going to take a picture of one that isn't camera shy and post it! They are seriously beautiful birds,with purple,red,grey and green colouring. You do get green and blue ones etc in other parts of  the country. They are fruit eaters and I only have to step outside my kitchen and sit on the patio to listen and watch them...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sumpteous Seafood Risotto

I thought I'd share my seafood risotto recipe with you today. In case you have never made risotto before, note that it involves a LOT of stirring.... Most recipes call for a dry white wine but I prefer a sweet white, I also didn't have a shallot so used an onion instead. Saffron I had also run out of, so replaced that with turmeric! If you don't have fish stock, use a chicken stock instead. I have discovered a great tasting chicken stock with olive oil and sea salt added,don't add salt if you use blocks of stock as it is already salty! Popping out to the store to get something is not always an option for me as we live 27km from a decent grocer, so I have to improvise a lot of times! Even so,this risotto turned out great and even Cules (who doesn't really like seafood) asked for seconds!      
                                                                 Ingredients are..

Olive oil for frying onions etc, I used sunflower oil with a good old blob of unsalted butter added for taste!
1 Finely chopped onion or shallot
About 7 finely chopped mushrooms
1 Handful of flat leafed parsley
1 Tbs dried Dill
1/2 tsp of crushed chilies
2 crushed cloves of garlic
4 finely chopped tomatoes
250ml Risotto (Arborio) rice
2 cups of fish or chicken stock,I always have about double at the ready as I always use more stock than the recipe calls for! Always keep your stock simmering on the stove and use it hot.
150ml white wine,also use more if you like..
4-5 strands of saffron or 1 tsp turmeric
500gr of Marinara mix or whatever seafood you prefer

The Ingredients....

Off course I couldn't resist showing of my personal stash of flat leafed parsley!


Saute the onion,garlic,mushrooms and chilie until soft.

Add the tomatoes and dill  and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add risotto and stir to coat the grains.

Slowly add your stock a bit at a time,let it cook until almost all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice before you add more,continue adding a little bit at a time until you have used all your stock.

150ml white wine or more as preferred.

Add Saffron or turmeric
Season to taste; salt,black pepper and parsley.
Add the bag of Marinara mix and simmer for approximately 15 min,stirring occasionally until the rice is cooked through and all the liquid is absorbed

                                                               Posh Nosh for a cold Sunday evening!

Bon Appetite....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Just Because I Love You'all

Have a wonderful weekend!!!



Dung Beetle Art

Yesterday we fixed the cement floor of the crush where we dip and wash the horses. Imagine my surprise when I walked by a little later and saw this weird little cement ball slap bang in the middle of the new floor in making!

The latest fad among dung beatles is to cover their dung balls with cement to hide it from competitor's eyes...

Hollywood Walk Of Fame A La Dung Beetle...

Some more serious art....

The artist.....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fauresmith National Endurance Ride Winter 2010

Thinking back on the year that had been and what my best personal achievement was for last year I have to say that riding the Nationals for the first time was by far the most exciting,eye opening experience I have had last year! Neither my horse nor I have ever been there before but hubby had been there every year of his life as a Junior rider so it was nothing new to him but he was also still very excited for me and my horse, Stonecroft Ghost. Qualifying for it and then preparing for the ride involved hours of long, hard, physical work not to mention the mental and emotional strain of riding a super fit horse known for her temper tantrums, and for the first time ever having had to witness my husband almost killed not once,but twice by HIS very difficult, but brilliant mare. The first time she kicked in his ribs which penetrated his lungs while leaving the pre-ride vet check and the second time bucking him off so violently as another horse overtook her while on a training run,  that he broke his collarbone and one of the previously broken ribs...again...,he also fell himself into a really bad concussion. He recovered and also qualified for Nationals, but alas,his mare injured herself  playing in her paddock,just two days before leaving for Fauresmith! We left home a week early to acclimatize my horse to the Free State Winter,it is so much colder there than it is here in Limpopo Province. Cules had slipped into the role as groom for my horse and handled everything so effortlessly in a very professional manner. He would see us off at every vet check and then take the truck loaded with all the equipment needed to groom the horse and I to the next point at some far off destination in the middle of now where.  I was adamant to do well, i.e place in the top 30 lightweight riders after the 3 days have ended, so got a good talking to as I entered the first vet check on day one in exactly 1 hour 4 min! I knew my horse was right on track and continued at my own speed the rest of the way,not trying to prove anything other than doing the best we can in the safest way make a long story short by the end of the second day we were lying 15th in the lightweight division and at the end of the 3rd day we finished 11th! It was nerve wrecking to keep my horse from stiffening up overnight and not to mention all those vet checks! 10 of them all in all! As we were given the all clear at the last vet check there were tears and cries of joy and lots of celebrating all around, for Fauresmith is known to be the toughest test horse and rider can endure in the WORLD today!!

                   My camera was set on VGA so the quality of pics are not too great.

Approaching the first Vet Check on day one

Getting ready to leave on the second leg, it was really cold OK!
Can you see I come from a Show Jumping background? Yes,the white, super expensive breeches is a dead giveaway! Well not so white in all that dust...

Nr 9069 is us!

Ghost munching away, warmly wrapped up..There were so many vehicles at the vet checks that crews had flags on their vehicles so the riders could see where to find their crews as they came in!!

Look who was there to encourage her Mama! I think I had just saved some other rider's lunch there...

Start on the second morning,I was so cold I had the giggles there...

Start on the last (3rd) day,that's us on the right.

It's a long,long road.....

Finishing on the last day accompanied by a bunch of Junior riders

After 3 gruelling days,cooling the horse down for the very last vet check,lots of horses fell out here...absolutely heart breaking after 3 days of extreme effort from horse and rider.

Team work! I ran off to fetch my vet card!

Our hearts pumping blood like you wouldn't know!!

Please trot out straight and true old girl...Cules and I were both sending up lots of prayers there at that moment!!

We did it!!! 201km's done and dusted! Averaging 20km/ph over 3 days!

I didn't have a lot of words to say here...Huge, big old lump in my throat...just thank you,thank you, old girl.......
It all felt too surreal,I couldn't believe we had actually done it!

Did I tell you I love my horse?

Charlie the Rooster

Nobody wants to be my friend.....all the hens run away and hide when they see me coming today...

What....? You will be my friend.., really?

OK, then I'll just sit here on your lap for a while.....Pass us a sip of that brandy and coke

Can I come sit on your lap too...?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Trimming The Goats' Hooves

I caught Cules at it one morning having abandoned his gumboots 'cause they stank and going about his chores barefoot all day......

A little unconventional I say...but effective!

The goats bend the branches of thorn trees down with their front feet so always have thorn inflicted injuries on their feet,not to mention bacterial type infections due to all the rain and muddy conditions.

Good ad for Japanese steel!

Minki is always right there where the action is, she loves the goats..

Naked Redneck??

Be Warned!....The following pictures might put you off chicken meat for life.....!

The other day I accompanied Cules to a farm where he was called out to shoe a horse and saw these amazing,funny chickens. They are indigenous to Africa and some have feathers that grow towards the front and some have no feathers at all!! Zoom in on the one in the background on this picture, he was quite wild and running hither and dither with me in hot pursuit giggling so much I was almost helpless,but I couldn't get a decent picture.....he was hilarious!
His skin was blood red and he had very little feathering.....Almost like he was blushing...

How to describe this one......? He was tame and chatty. They are not sick or diseased,Cules shoes horses there all the time and knows the chickens. I couldn't see myself picking this one up and cuddling it!

Who's naked??

Friday, January 21, 2011

Floods 2011!

This is some body's showjumping arena in Sandton, Johannesburg!

I don't have a scanner so I took a picture of our local newspaper reporting on the floods in our area.

Ponds forming everywhere...

Our big dam showing the point where the dam wall broke...

Here you can get a good idea of the damage done,a whole ecosystem,birds nest etc...Showing the water still coursing through quite strongly...

These pictures where taken this morning,so the waters have lowered considerably since Saturday morning when the wall broke.....

It is impossible to get close enough to take pictures from all angles......

Fixing will only happen late in the next dry season as no TLB or machinery is going to get in there now!