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 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 and 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