Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Ferrar Force.... expanded!

My "middle" sister Claire, together with Pete, Ben, John, Annabel and Zara arrived with us from Australia on Sunday 25th of November... hence my very quiet spell!  I took them back to the airport in Johannesburg yesterday, and will never be able to share all of the news, happenings and experiences.  It's been a very busy three weeks.... good in every way!  My staff have been amazing, and as I reflect on the goodness of our Father, I am reminded again how privileged we are to be able to celebrate family.
My "oldest" sister Jenny, together with Derek, Michael and Kyra were able to join us for a week too, at the beginning of December, so we had a very special time. Sadly Derek and Pete both had to get back to work, but it gave us 3 sisters and our 8 children, sufficient time together to reconnect!
Needless to say.... the children kept us busy - ranging in age from 15 to 4.  I'll be working through all of the photos, and will post the highlights!  I think that our four young lasses are the most beautiful little ladies I have ever seen, and all four young gents have to be the most handsome of men.  What a privilege to be part of such a special and treasured family.  It will take some time for me to quit crying... I don't know when we will all be together again.  It all seems to empty and quiet now, and breakfast for only 4 seems hardly worth it!
We also had my Dad's brother and his wife, plus two of my cousins join in with their families for a weekend... so we really and truly had bums in every bed, and much laughter and competition around every meal.  A full house is truly a blessing from God, and the laughter of children to be treasured above all.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of our very dear and treasured friends and family,
We are so grateful to have you all in our lives and we thank our Heavenly Father for you all.
We pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, and that you are blessed with His presence and provision.
Fond regards,
Ken, Jo, Micaela, JohnD, Dennis and Carol
Champ, Lady and Little Snip xxx

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rifle Licence Renewals

In case you can't see it... the hat says "GRADE A CERTIFIED RIFLE LOONEY"
I believe the change in climatic conditions world wide has to be something to do with the fact that after our initial applications were submitted in March 2008, we finally OFFICIALLY have all of Ken's rifle licence renewals in our sticky mitts!  Four years later, three different submissions, two different offices, and finally someone in the District Firearms Office knows what she is doing! Well done Louis Trichardt DFO! Our faith is restored. ;)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

USA Elections

To all of our very dear friends and special family in the USA during the elections... we are thinking of you all!
Champ is almost fully recovered from his bite, and is doing wonderfully well! Here is a picture of him that I took this morning!
 The work at the top of the hill on the Wegkruip side continues... it won't be long and the kraal will be finished!  It sure is a lot of poles to plant! ;)
 Here is a recent picture of little Jean and Wynandt Martin! These two little ones are growing so fast!  We are looking forward to seeing them again some time soon!
 Micaela started with her year end exams today... holding thumbs for her!  This picture was taken this weekend at the Klein Kariba cattle auction.
Sofie, Agnes and Julias Jakobsson visited with us Sunday and Monday! It was so wonderful to see them again, and for the kids to catch up! They had lived here in SA for a year while JohnD was still undergoing chemo.
Its sunny, hot, and beautiful!  I think I would bore you if I put pictures on of every little calf born, but I just have to add this one - as he was born to Micaela's cow Hart.  She has not named him yet, but he was born last week.
Well, big hugs to you all! Lots of love from us "Balls in the bush!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Puff Adder Bite

It appears that our beloved Champ is determined to make 2012 a year to remember!  It started with the amputation of his left back leg, in February (after the accident).  He then really took a dip with his recovery, remaining quite underweight - despite many different feeding programs, and medication.
On Sunday, we noticed a small wound on his head, and thought he might have been bitten by something - maybe a tussle with another dog. Our little Snip is having her first  cycle, so they have been rather active!
On Monday, a lot of swelling had accumulated, and we took him to the vet. They said that he was showing classic signs of a puff adder bite.  We have absolutely no idea how or where it happened.  
Poor guy - he looks way worse than he feels.  He has still been very excited to go for walks, and has not lost his appetite, so we are trusting that he will make a full recovery! Thank you Lord for modern medicine!
In going though some of the photos of the most recent hunt, Ken thought it would be fun to add this action picture to the blog!  Craig and Allen wanted to learn how to play cricket, so John-D and Ivan taught them.  Snip was desperate to play too, but eventually had to be banned from the game!

We had another 15mls of rain last night, after a terrible wind storm. We have been so concerned to see all of the damage and the horrific ravaging of the NY area by "Sandy".  Our little wind storm was nothing, but it sure had us praying anxiously, and fully aware of how quickly weather conditions can change.  Thankfully there was no damage.  We have had 3 and a half inches to date, which is more than last year's total rainfall!
Our hearts go out to all who have been affected by Sandy, and we are praying for your safety.
Micaela will start writing her year end exams next week, and will finish her grade 8 year at the end of November. John-D will finish his grade 5 year at the end of November too! Luck for him, he does not need to write exams like she does!  He will be playing in the tennis tournament in Polokwane again at the beginning of December.  He has bought himself a new tennis racket, and practices at every opportunity he can!  
Big hugs to you all!  Keep in touch, we love to hear from you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Calves and Beautiful rains

My goodness the little weavers are busy this morning, and the veld is just screaming with life and joy.  This really is such a wonderful time of the year.  We have beautiful warm sunny weather, dynamic and stunning sunsets because of the clouds, and of course all of the new life!  What a joy to be alive.
The first of our new calves was born Sunday last week, and we are expecting an "avalanche" of them to come in the next two months!
Ken has been very busy with the soft ground, making preparations for the building of the new cattle kraal.  Despite the long hot days, its so rewarding to see the progress!  Micaela and JohnD both just have until the end of November, and then their grade 8 and 6 school years will officially be over!  Micaela recieved a total of 5 certificates at the prize giving last week, and we are so proud of her achievements this year.  What a long way we have come from home schooling for her first 7 grades, and now public boarding school!  She is still so happy there, and just loves it all.
JohnD has continued to school with Kobie, and it has been going really well - considering the monotony of being the only pupil.... I guess for him, being being consistently in the TOP 10 is easy! ;)
We are so very excited about the news of my sisters coming to visit us with their families - from Zimbabwe and Austraila! At the end of November and early December, we will all be together again - with the 8 children / cousins being able to spend some quality time together. We are all so looking forward to it!
Blessings to you!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

...... no title

Schools are back in full swing now, and during the 10 day break, Micaela and JohnD had the opportunity to go to the Jame's home up in the Soutpansberg Mountain for a three day "horse camp". They had a BALL! Came home absolutely exhausted, filthy, happy, and very stiff!  Will hopefully get some more photos from them soon, to share.  They not only spent lots of time riding, but also swam, climbed, and just got worn out! ;)
I found this picture online... it was a formal we went to for the Air Force 90th Birthday celebration two years ago.... we so seldom get dressed up, so thought it would be fun to share!
It's pretty cold here today, windy and overcast.... we are praying desperately for more rain.
Big hugs to you all!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

20th Wedding Anniversary!

Oh wow, what a fun safari... Craig and Allen, thank you so much. We had a very successful hunt, with happy hunters every day - despite some rainy cold days.  Snip and Champ certainly were kept busy, and Snip is showing amazing potential...  Now Ken officially has 2 PHD's!  (Professional Hunting Dogs!) ;)
JohnD was very involved with this hunt, and it would be impossible to recount all of the small stories collected over the past ten days! Needless to say "reflections" took quite some time, and we certainly are proud of how he is growing in his own hunting skills! 
Ken and I were so blessed to be able to go through to Merensky for Micaela's prize giving for her Tritech project. She was awarded Silver, in the National competition, along with many other talented children. We are so proud of her!
Tomorrow we celebrate our 20th Wedding anniversary.  We truly are blessed! We have so much to say THANK YOU for, and we give our Heavenly Father all of the glory.

Friday, September 14, 2012

JohnD's Zebra Hunt...

11 September, 2012
Hello, my name is Johnathan Dennis Ball. This is the exciting story of my Zebra Hunt.
It all started on Sunday, the 9th of September, 2012. We had just had guests leave, and Dad and I had the opportunity to go hunting. We left home at about 2o’clock, and went to the koppies to look and try to see some zebra. Way off in the distance we saw some zebra in an opening. So, we got the 30.06, (shooting a Winchester spring barns x tsx 150grain). After walking about one kilometer we saw them in the bush … we crouched down to try to prevent them from seeing us.
We tried to get to another koppie just behind them, so that we could see them better, and we had to take our shoes off so that we could walk quietly without scaring them! We eventually had to go down on our bellies and stay really low. After about 30 minutes we saw they weren’t looking our way, so we got set up to shoot. Unfortunately, we did not get to shoot but, when they were not paying attention we were able to get to the koppie…. Sadly the rest of the herd saw us and ran.
Then we decided that I would go up the road slowly to see if maybe they were still there, and my dad would go and get our shoes. So I went up the road and must have spooked them. When my dad caught up with me he climbed a tree to try see where they were, while I put my shoes back on. As he got up into the tree, he spooked them, and we heard them running! I immediately got ready to shoot in case they crossed the road. Unfortunately, they didn’t cross the road.
We walked down the road and then turned left and saw that they had crossed that road! So…. We turned around and back left and walked half a km and turned back into the bush. After walking another half km, we came to a blue wildebeest skull. I looked up and saw two waterbuck. My dad told me to stay on the zebra tracks, while he went to get the blue wildebeest skull. When the waterbuck ran off we heard the zebra run off as well! We kept following the tracks and saw where they were walking on the road, so we followed the tracks and after about three minutes, we saw them in the road.
Luckily the road was windy and the wind was in our favor, so we crept a little closer and we set up to shoot. The three zebra in the road, stood right for me to shoot and my dad said to shoot the middle one, but they all moved before I could shoot.  So, we waited a little longer and saw a nice zebra in the bunch and my dad said if it comes out on to the road, to shoot it … and sure enough, it came out on to the road. Facing us, I shot with a beautiful outcome… a 99 yard shot! Just as I shot, the dog went flying out from behind us to find it. We listened for the crashing and the barking to indicate where it might die. I reloaded the gun and we went to go and look for it and we found it right next to the road, dead.
We took a few pictures and called my Mom to come and bring the truck and the camera. So we waited and when they got there we took some more pictures, loaded it up and we went home.
This is my story of the Zebra Hunt! Thank you again Uncle Gerold. It was a lot of fun.
Love Johnathan

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big Buffalo Bull.... and little sneaky Snippy

This little Snip just has no idea that the buffalo are not like the cows that she has come to love and play with! She bounded out of the Landy today, thinking that they were going to be excited to see her, and were going to lick her nose just like the cows do...
Well she got a little surprise when she realised they didn't want her around and she made it out fast enough and hid under the Landy...
Talk about learning!!!
We have been so excited to welcome Craig Smith and Allen Wells. They are with us from North Carolina. This is their first African Safari.  :)
We saw the clipping of Micaela in the Letaba Herald today! There is a nice write up...  Let's see if I can get it on to this.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A few photos! :)

 JOHND with the Harris' Zebra! Thank you Uncle Gerold :D
 OH YES, MISS SNIPPY WAS VERY EXCITED.... she had us in giggles!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


For the first time in my 20 years living here, we have had 25 mls of rain in SEPTEMBER!!!  Thank you Lord for the blessing of such wonderful, gentle, soaking rain!
We had our power knocked out for three days, but hey! IT'S BACK ON NOW! :)  Yippie.  Now we wait and watch the miracle of the transformation around us....

We had another special blessing for JohnD.  Gerold and Pat Harris have a friend who wants a Zebra skin rug, and they asked JohnD to please get it for her. :) So our young hunter, together with his DAD, was very blessed yesterday evening after an hour and a half long stalk from the kopjies.  He made an absolutely perfect "dead centre" shot in a very tricky situation, and was rewarded with a beautiful stallion.  Pics to FOLLOW!!! 

A little quiet time...

I have had this in drafts... waiting for the pics. Sorry, but will post them later when I actually get them!!!

What a joy and a blessing to have family here! Oh how we miss them all. We have had some quite time now, and were able to get some Waterbuck and Wildebeest captured... the weather was not that cooperative, so we were not able to capture all that we wanted to.... bit too much wind.
We had the joy of experiencing the SA AirForce Weapons Capability Demonstration, and Ken got a few really neat pictures!
Much needed catchup in the filing and admin has kept me out of mischief, and we have thoroughly enjoyed watching our little Snippy learn all sorts of important lessons in her young life!  We laughed ourselves silly the other night when she bit through the light cable, and dashed out of the office, without even a yelp.  We couldn't understand why the sudden exit... but when she came back in licking her lips, we suspected something was up. :)  Needless to say she has not chewed the light cable again. 
Micaela was blessed to go to the Pretoria Show last weekend with Merensky's Agricultural class. They were showing the PinZyl Breed of Cattle that they have at the school.  Well, we were delighted to hear that she placed second for showmanship - beating all of her seniors, and was asked to please represent the school this week for the President's cup final, as some of their cattle went through to the finals. I can't wait to hear more about it this weekend when she comes home! 
We are looking forward to our next safari next week, and will have the pleasure of Craig and Allen hunting with us for their first time! :) They are from Charleston... hopefully this overcast weather will lift for them, and we will have some relief from the dry, dusty and hot conditions.
Big hugs to you all!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

July family fun!

Keeping up to date is way easier, when done often... I desperately want to fill you in on all of the details, but now that it is all so long ago... my rusty memory is not playing "ball" with me! :(  So I guess headlines will have to work ...
It was wonderful to welcome the Harris Family back - Gerold & Pat - but this time they brought two of their children, with spouses and 7 grandchildren on a whirlwind adventure! They started in Thornybush, then went into Kruger, did quite a bit of hunting here, moved up to Vic Falls, and then headed down to Cape Town.  I can only guess at the total photo count between all of the cameras and all of the people! We had an 11th birthday in the mix too, very successful young hunters, plus happy faces around each table.  What a joy to see a family so alive and so well connected!  Well done Gerold and Pat! My hat is still off to you, and to your special family.
Followed close on their heals, we had the Hendrix family - another return home coming for us, which was just as special!  We just adored all of our time together, and it is always sad to say goodbye...  David got his heart's desire - prized Gemsbuck - "and then some" bagging some really special trophies.  We look forward to your return again next year.
With the wealth of medical information we could glean having Grady and Marilyn here during our very sad ordeal with our "Gravitas" - (our herd bull which we lost), we were so grateful for their insight and knowledge.  Thank you so much!  For it ALL! 
It was then our privilege to have the Van Doorn family here again for the long weekend, and so special to reconnect with friends and fellow hunters...  time always seems too short, and yet so full!
We now have a full house again, with my parents here, and my sister and her family from Zimbabwe. I so miss having Micaela here, as with her away at boarding school - it just doesn't feel right! :(  But we are so grateful to have this time together, and recharge the family "cement" and "glue" that makes us who we are.  My sister in Australia and her family are being sorely missed!!!  We are so very blessed to have everyone well, healthy and strong.  We are so grateful to our Father, for His hand over our lives, and His provision.

Yes, I'm behind in my office work! Yes, I'm behind in my crossfit! Yes, I'm behind in many things, but I'm FAR AHEAD in a heart full of gratitude... ;)
Be blessed!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Riding the Roller Coaster!

I guess in Disney, you can choose to ride, or not... but it seems that this rollercoaster ride was one that caught all of us up, and we are still on the tail spin now.... just getting off I guess!
Very sadly for us, we have lost our beloved LEB Nguni Bull to a broken back. We bought him in May, 2010, and he has been a busy bull - siring some magnificient calves for us.  We do not know how it happened, and we do not understand... but we are very sad... he was a magnificient animal, and we will sorely miss him in the herd.

Lots more news of July, but for now, this is all I can write or think about.
Will try write more again soon.
Love us xxx

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Ken! :)

I am sorry that I have not made time to update this till now. We had a busy week last week, and with my Mum visiting from the USA, we spent most of our time at the lodge, cooking! :) Ken celebrated his birthday, and we got him a new camera that is hopefully going to make up for the lack of photos recently! 
We have just loved having Ed Lowndes back here again, and this time with Brian. We did lots of story telling, and lots of laughing! Thank you Ed! We miss you already!
A recent picture of Micaela
 and JohnD
and let me introduce you to " Snip" - the newest member of our family. This pretty little girl was a gift for Ken, from Wighardt - Ken's friend from Merensky High School days!
Just awesome to have Ed Lowndes (left) back again, and this time with Brian :)  We laughed a lot this week. Happy birthday for Ed too for the 2nd July... and of course Happy 4th of July to you all in the USA.
JohnD and little Snippy playing on the grass at the lodge.  Oh it is great to have another little puppy around. Look out socks and shoes... don't be left lying around!
JohnD guided Brian on this gnu. They both had a lot of fun, and JohnD was mighty chuffed to be a part of it.  The elusive gnu has yet to present JohnD with an opportunity, but I guess it's just a matter of time till he get's his own one!
Big hugs till next time! :) Love Jo

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Look who we spotted.....

On the 4kruip trail camera on the 10th of June!  :)  Seems he has been around there a lot lately... hope s/he stays away from our cattle! ;)

Winter has gripped us all, and by golly gosh is it chilly.  Thank goodness for the sunny days.
The kids have just two days of school left and then they have their winter school holidays for three weeks. We simply can't wait for Mom and Dad's arrival from Aus.... Ken will be collecting Mom from Joburg with Ed Lowndes and Brian. (They will be with us for a week. Ed hunted here two years ago, so it's gonna be lekker to welcome him back!) Mom will spend a week with us and then head to see Aunty May (Mom's sister) in East London while Dad is in Sudan.

Keep warm, and write when you can! We love hearing from you! Love from us all xxx

Monday, June 11, 2012

30km Mt Bike race : SOUTPANSBERG!

I don't know who was more surprised... us or JohnD! He completed the 30km Mt bike race on Sunday morning, coming in around quarter to 12. 3 hrs + 45 mins later. It was freezing cold, and a very tough and tactical race. We are delighted that he did so well.  He is so sweet, and didn't even once say "Mom I told you so!!"  He certainly seems to have been bitten by the bike bug, and I somehow don't think this will be his last race!  WELL DONE MY BOY!
So sad saying by to Ben yesterday too.  He is now off for the start of his Eco Life Adventure.  Sorry for the dark / poor quality pictures - they are from my phone!
Mike and Betsy Carroll arrived yesterday too, and he started hunting this morning.  They had some great sightings in Thornybush, and from us they head off to Mozambique for five days... Vic Falls for two days... then Cape Town for another five days... :D 
Winter is here... brrrrrr  with about five layers of clothes on - thank goodness for the sunny days!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spiral Horns and Sunny days

Hello there - I just have to share this with you! JohnD went entirely on his own, and made such a great shot on this beautiful Kudu Bull - we are all so proud of him!  And yes!!!!! Champ is doing so much better. You can see him in this picture too. He is slowly gaining weight, and really has got his bounce back, and his wag too! His coat is shiny again, and he is a happy dog!  Lady is convinced that I put different food in his plate every meal time, so we do laugh at the two of them eyeballing eachother's bowls!
It's awesome having Ben here again - third time :) He is here with us for just a week. So exciting to see his full program - He is going to have a blast! He is doing a 22 day Eco Life Program, and will be travelling quite a bit around Limpopo.  He managed to get this really beautiful Nyala on Monday, so that was an answer to prayer.  They can sometimes be a bit tricky!

Micaela is in the middle of exams. They have another two weeks of school, then they break for the July holidays! :)  They have worked very hard!
JohnD is getting very excited, he plans to ride in the Kremetart Cycling Race this weekend. He wants to do the 30km mountain bike race... but I really think it is will be too much for him!  We currently are "locking heads" over it.... but I have a feeling i'm gonna win this one! He has only had his bike (THANK YOU AGAIN ILSE!!!) for about a month, so he is not fit enough to do such a challenging race.

Big hugs to you all!!!!! :) Winter is here, it's cold and sunny. Clear skys, and very crisp mornings. We have a full camp with all of the cyclists this weekend, and then we are excited to welcome Mike and Betsy here from Charleston.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Champ - our Champion!

Please say a prayer for our little tripod... he is quite under the weather at the moment, and we have been very worried about him.  We had him at the vet yet again. He has been so dizzy, and off his food. He is running a little fever too, and we hope that he will perk up soon! 
It's pretty "dadgum" cold here, and for those of you up in the northern parts - yes 8 deg C is very cold for us!  Winter has certainly moved in, and we do wonder if this means that the rain possibilities have now departed.  I know miracles still happen today, and there is no greater space for a miracle - than in the face of impossible circumstances! ;)
We had such a special time with Gabie & Andy Ingraham, and Kay Falls! My oh my - what a week. We had Erin visit Limpopo Province (she is the lead actress in the movie FIREPROOF) and she came to speak at our church! We all went on Saturday night, and Sunday morning. What a blessing... and what a joy to see so many folks commit themselves to HIM. I managed to get this snapshot of us with her. What a special Lady!

Here is also the long awaited picture of little Wynandt Martin, Nicol and Karia's youngest son. Sorry that this has taken me so long!
Mom is doing well, and actually doing quite a bit without her crutches now. She is amazing! 
The cattle are keeping Ken busy, and we are in the process of selling our commecial herd.  Our first and very special  bull ABRAHAM, whom many of you knew, was sold this week! :(  So sad for us all. He served us very well.  We had him for about 6 years.  He certainly sired a lot of female calves for us!
Not much other news to report... hope this finds you all well!
Hugs from us in the bush :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May, or may not? Yes, Definitely MAY!!!

Sun is out in bits and pieces here... lots of clouds around. Ken is on standby to do a game count, but the weather is not cooperating! Yes, we are still very dry. Yes, we are excited to see the miracle that will take place this year... only GOD can understand how the veldt and game will get through this all. Oh how we need his wisdom. Some say that it has not been this dry in 85 years. 
We had a lovely time with Terry and Jo, and the first morning out, he got his 500th animal in Africa... a bushpig! He didn't bring the rain as promised (like in previous years)... but I guess that would be a tall order. ;) It was so awesome meeting little Wynand Martin - and Jean has grown so much too. Why am I so useless at taking photos??? Hmmmmm
The camp has been busy with local business, but I have not been involved much. Trying desperately to play catchup with my office work. :( I'm not winning, and those of you who know me - can appreciate how desperate it makes me. I am a sore looser in any "game"... by golly where do the days go to?
Tomorrow Carol / Mom, JohnD and I head down to Pretoria for the day only. Mom has her checkup appointment with her surgeon, and JohnD has his 6month check up with his Dr. We will be gone the whole day, and I am looking forward to all of their good news!
Tomorrow we also have the arrival of some new and special folks - our next guests.  Gabie Ingraham, his wife Andrea, who are travelling with Kay Falls. :) These are all folks who have not come to Africa before, so we are looking forward to sharing our home and beloved bush with them!
Other little snippets of news : the cows are doing well, and we have had a few new little ones born lately, but not many.  The development of the Wegkruip side back into a "Cattle Farm" is going ahead full steam, and keeping Ken busy!
Micaela's first quarter report was overwhelmingly good, and we are so proud of her! She is still loving it all, and facing all of her challenges head on and learning lots!
I'm loving my new workout program that Rick got me hooked onto 'CROSSFIT', and I try to keep up with the workouts that they post on the internet. I've seen amazing progress in my own ability in such a short period of time, and I'm working in improving my strength! THANK YOU RICK!!!!
Well, I hope that this finds you HAPPY, and making a point to enjoy each and every challenge that faces you today.  If you don't find a way to enjoy it, then go back and find where you lost your joy - pick it up with both hands, and don't let it get stollen from you again!
Love Jo xxx

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Open Season!

Well, hello again!  I have not forgotten about you all, but have been rather challenged to put my fingers into gear! Sorry. We had Rick here for three weeks – and boy oh boy did he do some serious disciplining of the gnus, impala and jackals. You see – some of them insist in pooping in the roads! Well that is the excuse anyway…  In the three weeks, he bagged 32 animals, and virtually all of them were one shot kills… only one gnu needed a second shot! He really is quite the marksman! It is always sad to say goodbye, but hopefully we will have the pleasure of his company again later in the year!
He spent loads of time, teaching me how to do all of the “cross-fit” exercises. He makes an outstanding coach, and I am now thoroughly convinced that this is really a phenomenal way to exercise and start each day. Quick and effective work outs, and I have seen such amazing improvements in my own strength and flexibility, I intend to continue as long as possible! Well done Rick!
JohnD has bought himself a new “pre-loved” mountain bike - inspired by the Munnik Meercat Mountain Bike challenge held just up the road mid March. He loved it! Borrowed a bike from the Ivy's, and came home determined to buy his own. The ones he has been riding are not as user-friendly or comfortable as the one he now has! Micaela has also bought herself a new “also pre-loved” phone – thanks Herman!!! Her previous phone just couldn’t handle being dropped so much! She got her very first report last week from her first term, and her overall average was 69.5% for all of her subjects. We are so proud of her… that is with being absent from school for three weeks, as well as the huge adjustment from home schooling to public boarding school.  Well done our "Scallywags"!!!
I have hopefully got myself a new “in training” cook. My cook (Augustina) for the past 10 years has a very ill mother, and she has opted to stay home and care for her. This leaves me rather tied up, with having to train and spend LOTS more time in the kitchen, BUT that is not a bad thing. Over time – all systems need to be adjusted and improved, and my systems are no different.
My sister Jenny, visited from Zim last weekend with her family! So lovely to see them all again. The two boys (JohnD + Michael) completely wore out Monopoly, which was fun. I remember the Monopoly marathons when we were growing up! Kyra is growing up so fast, and is such a beauty.
We have Terry and Jo arriving tomorrow for the long weekend, and we currently have Matthew Greef in camp with his guest… so it has been pretty busy. They are bow hunting, and have bagged two nice animals in just two days, so that is great! Nicol and Karia will come through on Thursday with their two boys, so we will finally get to meet young Wynand!
Hope you and yours are all well, happy, healthy and keeping out of mischief! ;)
Big Hugs from us in this dry and rain deprived part of the bush xxx

Monday, April 9, 2012

Just have to share these lovely pictures that Uncle Ted took! Thank you so so so much! :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rick is here !

Rick arrived about a week ago, and what a joy to have him back! It's been over a year since his last visit, and considering he has been coming (almost) annualy since 1995... it was about time! He has already half filled the cooler, so he has not wasted any time! The Jackals have also had a knock in their numbers... which is good!
We are still very short on rain, and have noticed the change in the season. Already in late March, many of the leaves have turned, or fallen, and the chill in the air has announced the arrival of "autumn"... and fast approaching winter.
Micaela is home from Merensky for her Easter holiday, so it is really lovely having her home again!
Mom is doing really well after her operation, and we are all very proud of her. The healing does take time, and she is doing better than I remember her doing after her last operation in 2011.
Our little squirrel is called Murdock... he has survived really well so far, and has discovered how to find his way throughout the house! He just loves to cuddle and would far rather be tucked in bed with us, than in his own bed, so he is quite sneaky at bed time!
Send us your news - we would love to hear from you!
Big hugs from us all here in Bandolierkop!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A few photos that survived...

Micaela, JohnD, Jo and Rick... @ Epcot :)

Our last evening with the Ford family ...

Uncle Ted & Micaela at Paula Dean's restaurant...

Our newest little treasure...

It's the wrong continent Micaela... you can't look for any princes here in Charleston!!!

Thanks Uncle Ted, and Ralph! ;)

The Ball Family... Feb, 2012

Micaela with Rick.

Hugs to you all... please remember our email address has changed. shiawela@gmail.com

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another new BABY :) & Internet agony >(

Yes, a tiny little fury 4 legged creature is curled up sleeping close to my heart! We have a baby squirrel. Looks like a little male. He fell from his nest, and was completely COLD when I got him. So - it's two nights along, and he is doing great! Eyes open, and drinking well. I think he is about three weeks old already.
On a very frustrating / sad / infurating note - my 17 year old email account has been compromised. In the last week, I've been bombarded with over 2000 undelivered messages. I have sadly had to delete the mweb email account, and have opened a new one. It is effective immediately. Please update your records! My new email address for ALL correspondence is shiawela@gmail.com
I have yet to copy my address book accross and send you all an update, but I will try to get to this. I have so many critical email messages that need to be sent out and I am physically unable to get to them all immediately. Please bare with me. If you are waiting to hear from me with your itinerary and contract, please send me an email to my new address, as I can then reply to your message and it will automatically add you to my address book.
I look forward to hearing from you... and so sorry for any inconvenience to you about this problem.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Home sweet home & a new precious life!

This is going to have to be headlines!!! Sorry folks, my rambling days will come again, but with so many emails needing to go out, this is all I can do right now...
Home safely, after 3 weeks away - what a joy to have shared this trip with the kids. Disney World was just amazing. THANK YOU RICK!!! It was awesome... Will load photos when I can.
Biz and Shawn's wedding was special beyond words. What a joy, honour and privilege to be a part of it all. My photos all seem blurred and it appears we were having too good a time to stand still for any focus... ! But I will share what I can when I have sorted through them all. She looked amazing - yes OUR BIZ IS MARRIED!!! Wow. I know I was not the only one with "Wedding Withdrawals" when it was all over. I cried so much - all with JOY! Thank you so much Ted and Rosemary - what an awesome and treasured time... memories forever!
The two weeks in Charleston FLEW, and many special friendships were rekindled - thank you ALL! We just love ya'll, and you know we will be back!
Dad and Mom are very well, and as always - our amazing support and back up. Thank you for everything!
Our dearest Champ had to have his back leg amputated, so we are nursing him now. It seems that his little foot was not functioning any more and with all of the dragging, it got infected, and would not heal.
We have another baby buffalo - a bull :) born about two weeks ago!
Nicol and Karia had another son today!!! Wynand Victor weighed 3.33 kgs and is 51 cm long. Another beautiful little baby!
Micaela was very excited to get back to her beloved school and friends. JohnD also back working - they both now have REALLY experienced jetlag, and it's quite funny
Conditions here still very very dry. :(
Big hugs to you all - the BALLS IN THE BUSH!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brilliant Bush Bulletin!!!!!!

Ken and Micaela took a drive this afternoon. Ken was up one the kopjie (Fort Biff) and Micaela was sitting on the ball valve at the waterhole. The herd of buffalo came in to drink, and she very quickly got onto the truck. She saw first hand our newest little baby buffalo, whom she named "Merensky". This little lady did a wee in front of Micaela so we KNOW she is a girl!!!
Micaela came home from bording school again this weekend and she is just as happy as can be. She loves her new school and is adjusting well. THANK YOU LORD!
We leave for the USA on Saturday night, so just a few short days left. LOADS to get done, but we are all getting excited. The children will be joining us in the USA this year. We will spend our time in Charleston and Atlanta.
Biz is getting married the weekend before SEWE, so we can't wait to celebrate with the Ford family! - - - In haste! Love Jo xxx

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Merensky High School

Well, today finally came. Micaela is at school... we will see her again on Friday. She had great fun unpacking her trunk, and getting settled. She and Carissa both appeared to be very excited!

In this picture : Alex Godrich, (also a previous Home Schooler), Micaela and Carissa Ivy. :) She also knows two others (Duane Drosky and Shawn), so does not feel lonely at all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Open Doors and saying goodbye

Micaela's beloved Sir Prize... loaded like a dream. His very first ride in a horse box, and Cruiser and Blue Jeans are with him. I was so amazed... Ken met Bro. Douglas at one of the cattle auctions, and M started emailing him about the three horses some time back. He breeds endurance horses, and was interested in Blue Jeans, as a breeding mare... He came with his PA whose son is also going to Merensky next week, so the two kids had LOTS to talk about...

Here, she saddled Rocky for her last ride.... our very dear friends, the Spies family, want him! Her best friend's (Bianca) Father, (Hannes) came and rode him... and came back today to collect him.

When I started praying for a horse for Micaela, this horse was the answer to all of what I wanted for her. As much as my heart aches... I know that he is going to be ridden, well loved, and be able to play polox again - which he loves! He has so much go in him... and is just too much of a handful for me! With her going away, she is actually relieved that all of them have gone to places where they will be well loved, and ridden.

So her trunk is packed... her uniform and all of her things have her name sewed on, and she is ready! Tuesday must just PLEASE COME QUICKLY for her... Her dorm buddie has been picked, and we head to Merensky Tuesday. They start school on Wednesday.

Hannes came this morning to load Rocky, so it has been a busy morning.

He loaded so easily. :)

And of course Micaela is delighted that she will be able to see him when she visits Bianca!

Smile for the camera Rocky!!!

If she wants horses again when she finishes with boarding school, then we will look at getting more for her... but I just don't have the same passion for them as she does, and I am too scared of falling (at my age!) off such a large and strong horse!

We head to the States for the month of Feb as a family, so I have much to get done! This computer and my desk feels like it has me trapped in it's clutches. To all of you reading, in the Charleston and Atlanta area, we just can't wait to see you again! We will be in Charleston for Biz's wedding on the 11th Feb, (Micaela has been asked to be an Honorary Bride's Maid) and will be there the week between it and SEWE. Our booth will be at the Sporting Village at the Brittle Bank Park like usual. Please come and see us all! It will be the kids first trip with us. I know we are all looking forward to it.

We are so sad that we will not get up to the Michigan area like we have done for so many years... so please forgive us? We will look forward to hearing your news, and will definitely try to be back there in 2013! The SCI dinner dates clashed with the Wedding date sadly.

I have not got around to sending out personal emails yet, and hope to do that soon. Big hugs to you. From a very dry and dusty part of SA...

ps - we had a fire on Tuesday!!! The kids both helped fight it, as did many of our neighbours. Phew! That was very unexpected and not nice. We were all quite stiff for a while!