Monday, December 27, 2010

Remembering HIM

Christmas has come and gone... amid three days of power cuts, thunder storms, and much rain. The veldt looks like a picture, and it is such a privilege to be in this quiet paradise, enjoying the farm, the birds, the new births, the butterflies, the quiet, and the joy of relationship with our Father.

Christmas morning, Ken spotted a new born buffalo calf! We have yet to photograph him/her, and hope to see the herd again soon!

We are so blessed in so many different ways. We are grateful for our family and friends - all over the world, and we pray that your time of reflection - enbracing the new and perfect year ahead, will be blessed with His Presence.

All our love and fond regards,
Ken, Jo, Micaela and JohnD xxx

Blue Jeans and Cruising Pleasure

We were absolutely BLESSED by the Sparrow Family - two yearling quarter horses. The gentle temperment of both of them is lovely, and we are enjoying the dynamics they have added to our three. Young Sir Prize is especially fond of "Cruiser", who is pictured here with Micaela.
"Blue Jeans" also enjoyed a cuddle, and she is particularly fond of being rubbed down. You can touch her anywhere!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Australia! 3 weeks & so many memories!

Pete - What wonderful memories - thanks so much!!!
Claire, Mom and I.
Zara with one of the chickens! Claire has 3 layers who kept up an amazing supply of fresh eggs!
Us with Ken's cousin Tracy, and her two boys Declan and Connor. It was such a special time of catching up.
Us with the Greig family, at Sea World in Brisbane. What a special day!!! Gary, Elizabeth, Daniel and Jonathan (our Godson).
Both JohnD and Micaela had a surfing lesson, joining up with Ben and John at their class. Just a quick lesson on the beach, and both of them were standing on their boards, within an hour!!!
We took to the beach at every opportunity we got. Sydney is surrounded by the most unbelievable beauty. Thanks so much Pete & Claire, for trecking all 12 of us all around!!! ;)
Elizabeth (Womble!!!) and I on Kings beach in Brisbane. 20 years of wonderful friendship and so many miles between us - really doesn't change a thing!
Beautiful sunny Sunday, the 12 of us took to the trains, buses & ferries, painting the town red. So many beautiful sights, sounds and places! Experiences and memories to treasure forever!
The three boys just burned it up, every waking moment! Dunno who got the most worn out of the three of them! ;)
Yet another amazing beach - with too much fun to be had...
Annabel & Zara on my lap, getting their nails painted.
All six kids together, this is what it's all about!
Claire and I got the giggles!
Daddy and I at the airport.

Out on the farm an hour from Sydney. At the back - Pete, Claire & Ken
Middle - Micaela, Dad, Mom & me. Front - Ben, Annabel, JohnD & John

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Catchup... ? ! :)

We had a lovely day with Mom, on her 70th birthday - celebrating with family and friends. We had a light lunch at the lodge, and despite the short notice, we had a wonderful turnout. Mum has not had her hip replacement op yet, as it had to be postponed. Hopefully they will re-schedule it for early in the new year. This picture below has (from left to right) Jo, Chantal (back), Rachel, Mom, Ken, Micaela, JohnD, Richard, Dad & Angela.Mum's circle of friends.
JohnD's surgery went well. His thick head of hair is quite something! ;) He is 100%. Thank you LORD!
The long awaited arrival of "Sir Prize" was an extremely special evening! 10pm, all of us were out in the back paddock, under the most amazing stary sky... and Jasmine allowed us to stroke, talk to, kiss, and handle her beautiful little wet colt. She is a wonderful mommy!
Micaela thinks he is the most PERFECT horse in the world. She lifts his feet, has a little rope halter on him, grooms him, handles him, hoses him down, takes him with on rides, and kisses him lots!
We had fun in Kariba with family at the end of August. My parents visited from Australia, and we spent a few days fishing. JohnD and my father were the only ones to catch a tiger!
Here is a picture of Jenny, Derek, Michael, Myself, Kyra, Micaela, Ken & JohnD.
After a month and a half of internet problems, and being BLOCKED at the server... my difficulties have hopefully been sorted. Sorry for the long silence. I somehow got a terrible virus that just knocked me off the system for ages.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rejoice with us!

Rejoice with us - JohnD's x-rays taken yesterday are all clear, and there is no sign of any further growth. His Oncologist is happy to remove the port, so they have scheduled his surgery for Monday afternoon. God is good!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rachel's 13th!

Oh what fun... a birthday party, with a "Medieval" dress up theme. JohnD used his duiker skin from the duiker he shot - and made a quiver for his bow & arrow. Carol was AMAZING with making his "Little John" outfit. ;) Micaela went as the "milk maid" - and she won the prize! The anticipation of the party went on for weeks, so by the time Saturday moring rolled in - they were just fit to be tied!I also was very amused to see the dressing up of our little Maddie! Who says that only cats and dogs can be dressed up as princesses? You can't see it here, but Mommy is firmly tied up for all of this. After my incident with her, the kids have a healthy respect for that Mommy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Weekend hunters...

Ivan came to visit over the weekend, and for the first time ever, the two boys went off hunting on their own! They got a few guineafowl, and a duiker!!! It took them most of the morning to skin the duiker out, and clean it all up! Needless to say, Ivan's family had guinea for dinner Sunday night!
The kids also figured out that the horses are way more cooperative in the cart than the donkeys!!! Talk about a mean speed... Somehow I think the donkey's cart days are now over.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Maddie's arrival!

YES!!! Little Maddie was born. Micaela, Matt and I all got kisses and hugs from her this morning. She is just too cute for words!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Big Mistake!!!

I went to donate blood on Monday, so chuffed with myself for "doing my good deed" and made the terrible mistake of going to the Post Office afterwards to collect a parcel for Mom. Well, unbeknowns to me... standing still (in a queue) right after donating blood is a guaranteed way to get a blackout! 100% :( YUP - you guess it. I went down like a ton of bricks, and whacked my head something cronic. Talk about painful way to learn what not to do. The nausea, dizzyness, congestion, bruising, sore neck, and massive egg are not typical side effects of donating blood - oh golly I long to feel normal again! The staff there were so very sweet, helpful and caring. A friend drove us home. Don't make my mistake!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This and that...

How is it that time just seeps away from me, every day... and no matter how good my intentions are to record all of the important little things; they simply are not enough? Just a few pics to share with you all...
Ziggy (a young mare) is still great friends with Jasmine & Chloe. She is in the background.
Ken's been really busy building a crawl for the cattle. We now have 5 BEAUTIFUL Nguni Calves, and the "nursery" is at Dad and Mom's (Silverbank).
Matt Fulmer is here with us from SC, and he has joined us for a month. It's been great having him here, and he was fortunate to experience first hand the capture that was on the go the full first week he was here! He has had some close encounters with the buffalo too!!!
Micaela and Kyra riding.
Can you believe this ICE!!! Yes... waterholes frozen. None of us were particularly excited... we just shivered and stayed inside!
We got some painting done on my stoep and passage! We have also started the major job of re-painting the lodge. Oh boy is that a big job.
The kids thoroughly enjoyed Derek, Jen, Karin, Michael & Kyra's visit last month!
Guess who made friends with the pilot? The cold spell really dried out the veldt overnight!
How low CAN you go? !
Stripes (a young stallion) who is blind, has adopted the Nguni heard, and stays pretty close to the crawl. He paces in circles, if he senses anyone approaching... we guess a snake got him last year.
Phat Tire is doing well, and LOVES all of the children's attention. The donkeys are doing well, Zoe still has not had her foal. She seriously looks like she is going to pop any day now. Poor little thing!

Friday, July 9, 2010

P.T.L. Another "ALL CLEAR"!!!

Oh God is Good!  God is Faithful!  We are celebrating yet another "ALL CLEAR" report from JohnD's Oncologist.  The two of us drove through to Pretoria yesterday for his second checkup.

It was good to hear those words... and healing too!

My heart is happy. Our boy is OKAY!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Micaela's sense of humor...

I keep forgetting to share this with you... Micaela really has a quick and dry sense of humor!

When it comes to our lunch table - we usually only have one vinegarette salad dressing on the table - not five different choices.... like the folks from the States are used to.

When one of our new guests asked if 'the salad dressing was a vinegarette dressing' - she chirped - yes, we only serve female salad dressings here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Growing Herd

Amazing that I have not yet posted this photo correctly of the really special hog that JohnD bagged just the Sunday after all of our guests left. He was so very excited!
We are the proud owners of yet another little nguni bull born this morning. He is called Rocky... the Vosgatters came to visit (my cousin Bren and her family), and JohnD got to name this new young Bull... he wanted to name him after cute little Roxy - his 2nd cousin!!!
I'm very glad to report that Micaela's Jasmine is now through the 'woods' and is recovering from Horse Sickness.... for those not living in Africa - it's like a Horse Malaria. Sadly it claims a lot of really good horses each year. Our little tough mare is just amazing...
It's positively freezing here.... all sane people are wrapped up in winter woolies - tucked under feather duvet covers!!! I don't ever remember a winter this cold :(

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Little Virginia!

Oh yes, we have a new little heifer calf, who was born while Charlie and Virginia were with us... actually the day before they left. With Ken hunting, I'd been keeping an eye on them, as I knew it was close. It would take me about a half hour to walk down to their camp... find them... count them all, and then walk home. They are such a quiet and peaceful herd of cows, and really are very friendly!

On Sunday, Ken and JD were able to go out hunting again, and JD made a really great shot on his first hog! :) Great excitement all around. Thanks so much Terry - for all of your hard work on the 222 - it really made all of the difference!

Kids finished all of their tests today, so school is officially closed. While in town today, the noise from all of the "VUVUZELLAS" was just overwhelming! There is great excitement all around with the opening on Friday. I sure am glad I don't have one of those things here... and think anyone attending matches should also go armed with ear protection... they make a horrid noise.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Winter has arrived

It's out with the mink again... shew it's cold. We had rain again last night...
Doug Bigge still managed to get his wildebeest yesterday and his zebra today - so at least the cold weather has not affected the hunting. He and his father will head home to KS on Tuesday.
We have Charlie and Virgina Ipock here on their honeymoon - from SC. :)
The kids have been working really hard this last term with Kobie. They had a field trip on Friday, where they went to the local news paper / radio station where they broadcast. They also got to spend some time in a Learning Centre too, which was a first for them.
Twitter - sadly - has not been seen for about five days now. No sign of feathers either, so I really don't think that the cats got him. I wonder if it may have been a hawk. I just can't imagine that he wouldn't come in to say hello anymore. I've called and called - but there really is no sign of him anywhere. :(
Dad celebrated his 72nd birthday yesterday, and we enjoyed a lovely lunch with Mom and Dad. They celebrated their wedding anniversary this week too!
Not much more news this side!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Growing Herd...

Can you believe it! On Saturday we purchased a herd of Nguni cattle at the sale in Polokwane.
17 heifers and 1 bull. On Monday, one little bull was born, and a 2nd bull was born yesterday!!! Two very cute little babies!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Note worthy news...

Okay - so it's been over a month! I'm sorry. You have no idea how much work goes into keeping everything ticking when some staff members are off sick... My poor Esther was home for a month. I have been burning the candle at both ends. Quite literally - with so many power cuts, it's always off the same time as when I have time in the office!!! :( Beginning of April saw our hunting season start... with a very big bang... Thank GOD ABOVE that Buffalo Bill has finally met his maker. You have no idea how much relief floods each and every one of us - every time we cross over that grid. He went out with a big charge, and after much excitement (and a few shots of schnapps for the German hunter) - it was all over!
All of us were on site after the dust had settled, and Micaela asked Ken if he was quite sure it was dead, before she was willing to pose behind it!!! Even little Jean was there...We had our first German volunteer with us for three weeks - what a delightful treat for us. JUTTA COME BACK!!! We miss you so much. She did an absolutely amazing job painting the lodge kitchen for me, and sanding some of my wooden doors. She makes the most awesome Milk Tart & home made Chocolate Sauce! I really don't think that there is anything that she cannot do! I feel like my right arm is missing...As of beginning May, the children have started full time with Kobie - their tutor. Mom (Carol) is going to continue with three of their subjects, and Kobie will do the rest, giving both Carol and me, MUCH more time. We had a lot of elbow grease and time go into clearing out / cleaning up and "re-decorating" Dad's old workshop at Silverbank as a school room for them. Micaela knuckled down and helped Grandma with sewing, for some patchwork pillows. It is such a happy place, and their first week seems to be going well! Will have to take a pic and post it too.Beginning of April, we were delighted to have Mark and Gayle join us again from Grand Rapids. Their third safari with us - just fun hunting for management game. Despite the heavy rains, and wet conditions - they got quite a bit of shooting in.David & Jerimie Jackson from Charleston were next - with 10 days of management / trophy hunting as a second to all of the practical jokes and mischief that can be imagined! What a fun hunt!What a joy to have Terry & JoAnn Blauwkamp from Hudsonville MI back again this year for their 5th safari with us - also managment hunting ... boy did the rain & power cuts test everyones deadication!
We have Ken Ellegood & Vic Lyzack with us at the moment... you have no idea how jealous I am. They saw leopard two days ago at Supia (one of the spots in the bush)!!! Of course they DIDN'T get a photo!
We are pretty full for May, and have the Wise family joining us next, followed by Phyllis & Deb... then the Crossland family, the Bigg family, and then newlyweds - Charles & Virginia.
On health - we are all doing well. Carol is going to be 70 this year :) she is well, and such a blessing! Dennis has been amazing with helping with the staff on the farm, and getting things lined up for the introduction of an Nguni herd onto the eastern side of the property in the near future. Ken is well too - keeping busy between guests / hunting / staff / office... :) I'm still loving little Twitter - he is just amazing. He was caught by the cats twice, and rescued / survived both times. We hope his is wise to them now! He is let out of his cage in the early morning, and he comes in quite often during the day, to say hi, get some treats, and enjoy a little cuddle. He usually comes in at dusk, and gets his last treats for the day, and then gets put to bed!
Micaela and JohnD are both well. Enjoying the farm, the horses, the DVD's that Uncle Terry and Aunty Jo bought!!! ;) Both horses are really well!JohnD got another Impala the other day! :) He made another good shot. His hair is coming back quite dark!!! He wants to keep it short, so he had his first haircut the other day.
Big hugs to you all from this wet, green, lush, chilly and amazingly beautiful part of Africa!