Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Last Post... 2014

We have spent the whole day working the cattle.... January 1 is the next breeding season, so we had to have all of the cows that have calved and heifers injected, and separated, ready for their next three months with the bulls.
We are all totally bushed!  We came home late, filthy, and tired... but at least we know that it is behind us.  With so few staff members on duty this time of the year, it's all hands on deck!
We wish you all a very blessed and happy 2014.  May your barns and vats be filled, may your home ring with laughter, and may the peace of Jesus abide with you!
We send our love from Africa
 Well our Scallywags shot her first animal. Guided by JohnD, she made a very good one-shot-kill on this management Impala Ram.
Micaela's big smile! She made a great shot, and was very excited!
"Lady Lou"
And "Camo"!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

A very Happy Christmas to you all, near and far. As the whole world slows down and the year winds down, this time is always one for reflection... As we look back on the Faithfulness of our Heavenly Father, we CELEBRATE not only HIS ETERNAL GIFT OF RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM, we can also celebrate our own personal relationships!  We certainly are blessed with so may precious and treasured family and friends - right across the world. Each one of you is precious to us, and we value your place in our lives. THANK YOU!  May the year ahead be one of breakthrough and joy! May your lives Glorify Him always! We love you.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nelson Mandela

Wow. We stand with our entire Nation - and can only say a huge big THANK YOU FATHER, for the blessing and legacy that we have all come to enjoy, though Nelson Mandela's unselfish life. We know that ONE PERSON truly can make a difference. We also know that a life dedicated to Christ, can be extraordinary, and change nations!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello to the special folks who still check in to see what’s happening in the bush!
I mentioned in my last post, the switch to Windows 8 has left me feeling devastated and frustrated beyond words. My entire address book of contacts has vanished. Please… if you have a moment send me an email on my new addresses, and I will reply as soon as possible.  Please also send to me your newest contact details : cel telephone number, home telephone number, current home address and best email address.  I also have been unable to transfer the emails… at first we tried Windows Live Mail, but there was a mess up with the transfer. Then we tried Outlook 2010, and that’s even worse.
I have also learned that the email address shiawela@gmail.com is completely unreliable. My outgoing messages from this account seldom get through. Apparently this is seen as a foreign language and is blocked by spam filters online – the message won’t even reach your spam folder in your email app! In some cases I have to send an email five or six times before it is received. I have opened two other new email addresses, so please be sure to add joanneball21@gmail.com and joanneball21@outlook.com to your address book so that my emails will actually get through to you. 

Aside from all of that!  We would like to wish you all a very happy THANKSGIVING!  We pray that you are blessed to be with your families, and are able to celebrate together.

We took our first five studd heifers to Klein Kariba for our Northern Nguni Club Auction. We learnt so much through this experience, and enjoyed a weekend away with the kids at the resort.

 We have done some thatch maintenance at the lodge. This has taken WAY longer than it needed too. We sadly had to switch contractors, as the initial work done was despicable.  The two valleys on the main lodge roof have been leaking.  One valley they have now actually removed the grass and put in a zinc gutter.  The gutter works really well, except that the weaving of the old thatch with the new thatch has not been done efficiently, so it needs to be done again… the mess is indescribable.  
While we were busy working on the rondavel roofs, JohnD discovered the #3 room has a little tenant - a Genet was living in the roof above the bathroom. He has his own entryway above the geyser!  This is a first for me! We certainly have had other little critters living in the lodge rooms in the past, but this is a first! I would say he is a welcome guest, as he would keep the mice and shrews away, and certainly wouldn’t mess inside at all. J
 We had the joy of Belk Daughtridge and Ann visit with us last week…. They have visited the Victoria Falls, Kruger, Venda, Tzaneen, and are now in Cape Town.  We were blessed with lovely weather while they were here!

We were also blessed in August with the visit of my family from Scotland, Potchefstroom and Zimbabwe.  What fun for the cousins to all be together again… both my generation and the children’s generation!
During the September School Holidays, we completed the cattle craal as a family!  Ken had done so much work on it last year, but then was stopped by very painful tennis elbow, and very painful shoulders.  We have been seeing a Chiropracter that uses the activator and this has helped him so much!  As we were unable to go away, we all decided it would be a good project to tackle.  It was lots of hard work, and it probably took Ken slightly longer with myself and the kids helping him, but we sure do enjoy seeing the fruit of our labor!  All that is left now is for the scale, body clamp and loading ramps to be built / installed.  Not sure when that will happen, but for the rest, the craal is working beautifully!

Nicol, Karia, Jean and Wynandt came to visit for a few days! What a joy to see them all again, and to have fun watching the little people.
We are coming up for Micaela’s 16th birthday tomorrow. I can’t believe that my baby is already is 16! She has a few friends coming over for a few nights, so it will be fun to have the house full again. She has planned all sorts of things for them to do, so we are looking forward to it all.
 JohnD is now taller than Micaela!
Camo is getting bigger and is a source of much laughter and joy! He is quite different from any of our other little dogs.  He and JohnD are well matched for their energy levels!
 Rick came to see us again, and brought Joseph Smithson with for a some fun management hunting.

During the drier months this year, like usual, we fed the Kudu and Nyala daily.  Ken came up with an awesome idea for feeding bins for the game. These hanging feeders are kept off the ground so the warthogs cannot get to the feed. For the browsers they work really well, and they are so inexpensive. By using recycled  tires, we get four or five feeding bins – depending on the size we are making.  We got JohnD involved and we asked around town if others would be interested to sell them. Well, it turned out that JohnD made about 50 for orders! What fun.  It kept him out of mischief for a while. Now with the rains having come, we are not feeding any more.
JohnD had his year end “concert” performing on the drums. We are so proud of him! I sure hope that this clip will load
Okay, so this rather longwinded update has you slightly caught up… I am hoping that all of the news and the few photos will make up for the months of silence!
Big hugs to you all, have a WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING, and please write when you can so I can add your address, and hopefully you can add my new addresses.
The Ball Family

Monday, September 23, 2013

Windows 8 ..... (did you hear the sigh?)

So with my "trusty rusty" finally just too old and too tired to work any more we are now on a new machine, and a new system. Pity it can't be a new user too... as this bird needs to go for lessons! I am not kidding. Each time I sit down to do something really important, I leave this machine feeling like I have just climbed Everest.... with my brain!
I am not going to complain too long.
I have NOT managed to transfer all of my data successfully - despite taking it to the professionals... some stuff has just gone!  I have no clue where to look for it all. :(
Hopefully now that I can find my way round it, I can catch up on all of the things that have not been critical!  Sorry to those of you who still check in on us now and again. I hope you will regain hope. More news and photos to follow soon.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Volunteer farm work

David Hendrix is visiting with us for his summer, between his graduation from High School, and starting his studies.  He hunted with us last year, with his family from Charleston, and two years prior to that too. It is such a joy having him here, and he is like a son in our home.  Marilyn and Grady, you have much to be proud of!  He has been doing quite a lot of hunting, with the various groups of local hunters that we have had over the past number of weekends.   He has got to know the farm very quickly, and it is great to have an extra pair of willing and able hands around.
I really should have a photo of David hard at work in the cattle craal, but I don't have one! I do have this one.... he has systematically THRASHED JohnD, Micaela AND Kenneth at Speed... he has obviously had many more hours playing this game than all of us combined.  Micaela had some fun doing his hair, while he was engaged in battle with JohnD. It appears that once you start a race, little will take your attention away from the goal of winning!

Photo Shoot in the bush!

Micaela and two of her girl friends had some fun this school holiday taking photos here in the bush. I was designated the photographer, and I have to admit I was quite tickled with some of the pictures!
This is Micaela and Alicia Prinsloo - a friend of hers from Merensky. They are in the same grade, they are both in the Agri Merensky Club together, and are busy doing this year's Tritech project together. Alicia visited us for a week, and she was an absolutely delightful young lady to have in our home. The taught us how to make "tamalekies".... a very sticky boiled toffee like sweet that is quite moreish, and will certainly remove any loose fillings you may have!

 This is Micaela with Bianca Spies. They have been friends since they were both in Kindergarden, and she is like a second daughter to me. Just adore her!
 In the Cattle Craal....
 The Reservoir.....

 Playing on the railway line and also on the windmill behind our home!
 Talk about a lot of energy....  I don't know who was more tired... them or me!

Tragedy again...

We very sadly lost our beloved little Snippy to a very tragic accident. She was run over in the middle of June, and we can not even begin to tell you how much we have cried for her. Ken still finds himself looking for her in the bush, when he is with the cattle, and especially first thing in the morning when she would always wake us up with her little noisy yawn.  We have never in 21 years of marriage, had a little dog, that crept into our hearts and home like she did. She lived life to the full, and was one very lucky little lady, to have been Ken's dog.  We had her for a year, and she "cottoned onto the hunting" quicker than any dog we have had.  She adored Ken with more passion than me, and I would often wonder if she thought she was his first love!
We are grateful she did not suffer at all, but was killed instantly. 
Not even four days after the accident, David (Ken's cousin from Johannesburg) completely blew us away, and blessed us with this tiny little bundle of love. We have called him CAMO. He is a wire haired terrier, and  he is Ken's new little "hunting dog"... although it will be a while before he does any hunting!  He is growing so fast! He is an extremely clever little fella, and he has all of us COMPLETELY IN LOVE!  He is like a cuddly little teddy (with sharp teeth), and he is so full of character.  We can't wait to get to know him more.  He has started getting to know all of the cats.  I believe that they (the cats) are very relieved that Snippy has gone. She terrorized them mercilessly!  Camo has got stuck under the fridge in my kitchen twice already, and he just LOVES to sleep curled up on my shoulder under my hair. It reminds me of our little mongoose.
He has finally figured out how to climb down our front veranda stairs, and he gets so excited when he makes it all by himself!  He really is my shadow at the moment, as Ken is out all day, so I have been enjoying the adoration of another little one, to keep me out of mischief totally!  He has not made the long walk to the lodge just yet, we are wanting him to get quite a bit bigger before he starts venturing out.
 Yes, We have yet another long haired dog... between him and Lady, I believe I will become quite a pro at "doggy parlor days"!  I watched him today trying to take a burr out of his foot... well he succeeded, but it then got stuck under his chin!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tribute to Stuart Carty

What sad news we received yesterday, of the passing of Stuart Carty.  What a very special friend, a treasured brother IN HIM, a special mentor, and a passionate hunter.  Ken first "guided" Stuart when Ken would have been about 11 years old.  When we made our very first trip to the USA in 1995, we landed on Stuart and Martha's door, and sort of "adopted" them as US Parents. They opened their home to us, and helped us get started in the US hunting market.  Our hearts are sore with you Martha, and we so appreciate the incredible man Stuart was.

What is happening in the bush?  Not a whole lot, but a few little bit of news -
What a blessing to have my Mom here for a week all to myself, and now my Dad! He spent some time up in South Sudan, and now on his way back to Australia, he is here for just under two weeks. Sadly he heads home on Saturday, so our time is almost up.
Dennis turned 75, and is in great health! He and Mom keep busy with all sorts of appointments.
Micaela is busy with her 2nd quarter exams. JohnD is preparing to race in the Kremetat cycling race this weekend.
Ken had a fun road trip with Micaela's school Merensky - going to "Nampo". This is the biggest agricultural show in Africa.  Merensky sends a group of their agricultural students, with the Agricultural teachers, every year to the show.  They had an extra seat on the bus, and were quite happy to let "Micaela's Dad" tag along! ;)
The Sable have settled in nicely, and appear to be frequenting the lodge, which we are very glad about. I have YET to see them, but with one of his walks this week, my Dad caught glimpse of them.
We have had a few more little calves from the cattle.  All just tooo beautiful for words.
We have had quite spectacular weather, and are not in the grip of winter just yet! Hunting has been very slow, so we have been using the time to catch up with lots of "other" things.
Please forgive my slow progress on getting the website sorted out... I am learning how it works, and i can't believe how much time each little change takes!
Big hugs to you all, us xx

Monday, May 6, 2013

Aardwolf sighting

While Ken and Terry were hunting, Ken was totally blessed to get this amazing picture of an Aardwolf in the daytime... complete with the flies!  
How is this for a portrait? ;) I didn't even know Dassies had teeth!!
 And this little lady... well she is just the LOVE of Ken's life...  I don't know who adores who more... him or her!
 The flowers this time of year are just tooo pretty for words!

 And it's always great to see the jerrys!

Fishing with Grandpa and Hockey...

Last day of the school holidays, Grandpa Ken and JohnD managed to squeeze in some fishing north of the Soutpansberg.

 Micaela had some fun ... she is reserve for the U16 A team, and Center link for the U16 B team.
 Our windmill here at home (water supply for the lodge and house) needed a complete service / overhaul... talk about a job!
 Some more pretty pictures...

 Awesome having Terry Blauwkamp back again with Jo. This was their 8th Safari with us.
One unluck Rock rabbit (Dassie), and one happy python...