Friday, December 26, 2014

The family Christmas day 2014

Dad and Mom, Christmas Day 2014
JohnD & Lady, Jo & Penny, Ken & Micaela... 
we couldn't catch Camo for this one... he was too busy fighting his Christmas ribbon! 
 Lady, Micaela, Camo, Jo & Penny :)
JohnD, Cathy & Micaela
Penny & Camo
 Lady Lou xxx our little "aristocrat"! 
 and the "baby"!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Christmas

23 December, 2014
As most of us do this time of the year, we reflect on the closing year, and look ahead to the new-year with anticipation and hope.  We also are reminded of each and every person who is dear to our hearts, both friends of many years, as well as new friends.  We are so grateful to each one of you for your involvement in our lives. Thank you for keeping in touch, and for your love and care.
We want to wish each and every one of you a very blessed Christmas Holiday Season.  May HIS presence fill your homes with love, peace, grace and an overwhelming awareness of the gift HE gave us! Himself. He really is GOD WITH US. J
I guess the biggest change for us this year was that both our children are now “out of the house” so to speak. They do enjoy Merensky High School and all of the social, academic and sporting challenges that they are faced with.  They have both matured, as living away from home will always do. We really are so very proud of them both.  I am sure the new-year will bring many opportunities for more personal growth, and they certainly keep us on our toes.  Micaela placed 5th in her Grade with her academic achievements, so she was very excited that all of her hard work paid off.  With the busy hunting season, we REALLY missed them a lot, as they have always been such a help in both the field and the lodge!
We had a busy hunting season, with many news guests and a few returning regulars. What a blessing each and every one of you were to us. Thank you!  We harvested two of our own buffalo bulls this year, which was a welcome blessing.  We hope to have a few more available for next year too.
The Nguni Cattle have continued to give us so much pleasure this year. 
We plan to attend the SEWE Exposition in Charleston again this coming February, and hope to also attend the Cattlemen’s convention in Arizona. J
Our fury 4-legged friends at the moment are our ever beautiful and sweet Lady, (miniature long-haired dachshund) who is now just over 9 years old.  Camo the “reprobate” ;) who is one and a half.  We have to keep him clipped as his long curly hair is a nightmare to keep clean in the bush!  He most definitely is KEN’S DOG! He is such a character and keeps us all very entertained.  Penny is our family “baby”, who is a Foxy cross.  We got her in June, and she is a very busy and LOUD little sweetheart!  We still have the two cats, Marmite and Kit-kat, who love to keep the dogs exercised!  They are both “bush” cats, Kit-Kat keeping the lodge mice free, and Marmite keeping our home mice free.
Dennis and Carol, are both very well. Keeping busy and still both active. What a blessing they are to us.  Cathy, (Ken’s sister) has moved back to the farm now, and lives with them when she is not travelling.  Lovely to have her around again.  Her daughter Kirsten, is now living in Cape Town, and is engaged to Oliver Moss.  J
We have had some lovely rain so far this season, and the veld is looking magnificent.  We await the birth of the buffalo babies as usual this time of the year… and thoroughly enjoy all of the little blesbuck, impala, wildebeest, hartebeest and other little ones running around in the bush this time of year.  We have had the coldest summer in a long time, and certainly a mild winter too.  We have only had the odd very hot day. 
Hopefully with the influx of all of our Christmas and New-year guests, we won’t have too many power cuts, or rainy days. 
Looking ahead to 2015, we don’t anticipate too much change ahead, other than wanting to lose the few extra kilos and get “fit” – whatever that means! J We have all been blessed with good health, and we believe that it will continue.  From the heart of the Bandolierkop Bush Veldt, we wish you all a very happy Christmas, and a wonderful new year.

Dennis, Carol, Ken, Jo, Micaela and JohnD xxxx

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Song

Mom sent me this link, and I did think it was well sung... a good message for this time of the year.
I hope you enjoy it too.

Monday, December 1, 2014


We are thinking of all of our very special friends in the USA and we wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We are grateful for your involvement in our lives, and are so aware of Father's faithfulness to us over the years, and your part in it all.
Our beloved Micaela and JohnD have finished yet another year of school. This photo was taken at the hostel year end function.  It is hard to believe that Micaela only has two years left of school, and JohnD only has 4 years left. We are so thankful for the wonderful school that we have the privilege to be a part of. 

Micaela has excelled at both her academics and sports and she is holding thumbs to have placed with the top 10 for her grade again.  
JohnD also had a good year, with lots of adjustments and learning the ropes. He enjoyed the hostel life and the sports, and certainly has made us proud! He has applied himself with his studies too, and we are so thankful for Father's faithfulness, and his good health. 
Nothing quite like a bonfire!  We enjoyed our very first bbq at the craal. We are so thankful for the wonderful rain that also came this weekend. Much needed and so refreshing.
Micaela celebrated her 17th birthday this weekend too, with some of her friends from school.
The young chap on the far right of this photo is her sweetheart, Jean Le Gransie.  
Dad and Mom are both well, and in great health. Ken and I are also well, and we are so grateful to our Father for His Grace and Mercy.
We have a busy December ahead of us, and are so looking forward to the Hendrix family joining us again after Christmas, with friends of theirs. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

War Horse

There really is nothing quite like a first class Theatre production, to thrill and inspire us.  I was so privileged and blessed to have been part of a group of women from here in Bandolierkop, to head down to the big city this weekend for a very special outing.
Inge, Xanthe, Tanya, Des, Marisha, Landi,  Susan, Anna and me :)... We had saved and planned for it for the best part of 6 months.  We left the Lalapanzi Hotel on Saturday morning all full of excitement, laughter and friendship... making the four hour journey to Monte Casino in a combi. We stayed at the hotel, and enjoyed some down time in the shops, before dinner and the show. We were completely captivated by the War Horse production, and loved every single minute of it. Oh how I wish I could get more tickets... I would drive back there tomorrow with my hubby and kids, and whoever else I could get, to go with us!
 No photos may be taken, so it's very easy for me to just download some off the internet...
 The skill of making these puppets come alive is just breathtaking!

YES - this was a real highlight for me!  Thanks so much Tanja Richter, and all of the ladies who made it so memorable!  Will do this again in a heartbeat!
AND - to just perfect the weekend, we have finally had some beautiful, soaking, gentle rain! It's pretty cold now, but at least the rains are around.

Klein Kariba Annual Auction

I guess I am not the only one to wonder what happened to 2014!  We are already half way into November, and with only two more weeks of exams for the children the December holidays are almost upon us!
We had a busy October, with a last minute hunt coming in. Great to have Tommy Morrison and John Cross visit with us. Thanks guys!
Our trip to Klein Kariba at the end of October, for the Northern Nguni Club auction was uneventful. Lovely to get away and to reconnect with our fellow Cattlemen and Cattlewomen! :)  We are not the only farmers longing for the rains.  The earth is groaning for relief all over Southern Africa.
The children had their prize giving at Merensky, and both of them made us so proud all over again!
Micaela is part of the school band that was started in the third term.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Youth Show Merensky High School

We have another short school break coming up at the end of the week for 10 days, and Micaela will be off to attend the Youth Show with the school show team. Sadly we won't see much of her these holidays. She really enjoys working with the cattle, and their school team represents the Limpopo Province.  Here is a photo of her with one of the PinZyl cows that is part of the Merensky school herd.
They get a good scrubbing for the shows.
We got to do a little fishing this weekend, much to all of our enjoyment, and especially JohnD's delight!  We spent the day with the Preece family on Saturday. What a special place they have! He caught a really nice bass.
We have our annual TB and CA testing of the entire herd of cattle tomorrow, so we will be kept out of mischief! We will also pregnancy test those cows who will be going to the Klein Kariba Northern Nguni Club Auction, at the beginning of November.

Can you believe it, Ken and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary last week! Lots of wonderful memories and so many blessings to count!  We really are so very grateful for all that we have from our Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Posting Pictures, Summer Sun and "What-a-lot-we-got"!

What-a-lot-we-got: New friends, Wonderful memories, Special trophies, and all of the catch-up too... farm work, office work, spring cleaning, building maintenance... okay I will stop. The list get's longer each time we review it! My golly gosh it never ends does it?
We said a sad goodbye to Rick just over a week ago. He was our closing hunt for the season, so it has been pretty quiet at the lodge. The storm of neglected farm work, and behind office work seems to be calming down a little, and we are starting to feel a little rested! We loved each and every one of our special guests this year, and really were blessed. Thank you to one and all!
I really don't know how to catch up the blog news - so I am going to just post a few pictures and add captions, as I think of the news!

 Dad helped me install a dishwasher at the lodge! :)
 We opened up all of our boundaries with a substantial fire break!

 Little Penny is growing up so fast! She is a busy little blessing!
 Penny keeping Micaela company while she was practicing her guitar.
 Thanks Uncle Rick for this very special hammock!  Talk about competition for time in it!
Micaela and JohnD did so well with the recent Tri-Tech competition at school and won best in their Environmental and Social Science category. Their project was called "Re Tired Tires".
Oh dear! This photo caused great hilarity with a joke Ken played on Micaela.... saying that our beloved CAMO had been arrested for breaking and entering.  I guess she was distracted (being on her first date) and she believed his story.  Truth be told, we have had so much difficulty with poachers, that when the dog unit came to lift the tracks of the poachers, CAMO would not stop bothering the police dog. So while their dog was working, CAMO got a little "time out" in the police van. Much to his disgust!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

June and July Hunting Highlights

Oh boy oh boy !!!  8 Safaris since I last wrote.  LOTS of special memories and treasured new friendships formed.  Each and every group leaves a little of themselves with us, and we sure do hope that they take a little of us with them too!
We have Wikus Bezuidenhout helping out now, as it has been hectic going for Ken to continue on his own. He has been hunting non-stop since March, and so much of the farm work has just got behind.
We loved having Brian and Dannette back with us, and Brian harvested one of our mature buffalo bulls during his hunt.  Both Ken and Brian were dreaming buffalo by the end of the hunt!
We had the joy of some of our local friends and family visit and hunt too, keeping us all out of mischief every single day.
Micaela managed to squeeze in a camping weekend with her friends too, during the school holidays.
Both she and JohnD helped with catering and hunting during the holidays, and were such stars! I so miss them when they are away at school.  They sure do help a LOT when they are home.
Kenny and Beverly Cole together with Bill and Angie Jordan also enjoyed a wonderful BOW hunt, with Kenny successfully bagging (among many other wonderful trophies) - one of our buffalo bulls with his bow on the last day, making a perfect heart shot. So much excitement, and LOTS of wonderful memories. Beverly also did some hunting too.  We have a freezer full of BUFFALO meat! My very first attempt to braai some of the rump was a bit of a disaster. The sausage certainly is good. THANKS KENNY! :)
The Applegate Family enjoyed a photo safari here, followed by time in Kruger and Thornybush. So many stories, shared laughter, and LOTS of photos. I believe I have permanently corrupted their UNO GAMES from now on!  I had the joy of taking them into Kruger National Park this time, as we had a new hunter (Mr Robert Wayne) arriving the day before they were due to leave.   Robert and Wikus didn't waste any time, and managed to get all of their hunting over quite quickly, so they were also able to enjoy some time in Kruger Park too.
Robert was followed by Clemens and Maria Wouters from HOLLAND, who also felt like family to us all! We certainly are blessed to have so many special folks, contribute to our lives, our business, and our family. Thank you so much to each and every one of you.

Dad and Mom are keeping well, and Ken's sister Cathy is visiting.
The August winds have arrived, and Ken spent most of yesterday fighting a veld fire.
The Cattle are now in the spring breeding season.
We finally have Ken's camera back.
Penny is growing up so fast! Full of mischief and fun. Micaela has taught her to "high five", shake and "high ten"!
Camo has been "snipped".  He has had a rough month, with an injury to his neck and an abcess on his cheek.  Hopefully he is now on the mend.  Lady is still her loving, sweet self!
My office work is so far behind, and my desk a bit of a war zone!  My days roll by so fast with one meal melting into another...  Big hugs to each and every one of you - FROM THE BALLS IN THE BUSH!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Little Penny

We are right in the middle of our hunting season now. We sure are keeping out of mischief! Ken has been going non-stop, as have I. :)  It was so special to have Brian and Dannette Reed back again. They hunted with us in 2011. We also had the joy of Russ & Patty Perkins at the beginning of June.
We have a new addition to our little family!!!  "Penny" is a little fox-terrier puppy that we got on Friday last week from Wighardt. She is the puppy of Snip's sister, so looks quite like our little Snip did, except she has a brown face. She is very cute of course, and terribly spoilt.  There is nothing like a little puppy in the house for the kids especially at the beginning of their long school holiday!
We have just finished quite a large under-taking to widen the fire-break around our entire perimeter fence, so that is a relief.  We hired a large machine to do it, as our labour force is not large, and trying to do it by hand would have taken years! We have also recently broken a section of the concrete counter near the wash area in the lodge kitchen, in order to install a dishwasher there! J  Dad and I tackled this project together, and while we have yet to finish the “cosmetic” finish, the machine is at least operational! YAY!!!  I so love the purr of a dishwasher in the evenings, knowing the staff don’t have to face the mountain in the morning.
We had our first fire of the year today, along the N1. A very kind motorist must have put it out for us, and then called to say that we need to just check on it. Fortunately Ken had just slashed that entire section, so it was relatively simple.
Both Micaela and JohnD are well, and they both enjoy school.  We are so glad that it is now the winter vacation for the children. They have 3 weeks off school, and will hopefully be kept busy helping us with the hunters.  JohnD is especially helpful with the hunting, and is proving himself to be very accomplished in the field.  Micaela is just awesome and can be given so many things to do, and she is just a trooper!  JohnD is now taller than all of us and wears his Dad’s clothing…. But sadly he cannot share shoes any longer, as he wears a size 12 shoe now!
The cattle are all well, and keep us busy too. We have just a few more expected calves and then our winter calving is finished. We had twins “born” last night, but the poor heifer had tremendous difficulty with the second one getting stuck. We finally managed to pull him out, but he had died inside. She at least has a little heifer to nurture and it might take a day or two before she is back to normal. She really had a tough time. We are so lucky we didn’t lose her too. It is her first pregnancy.  
Dennis and Carol are well, and both keeping busy.  Carol plays bridge about once a week, which is great for her, and she has just finished a beautiful, reversible quilt which she gave to JohnD for his birthday. She is so talented.  Dad also keeps busy, and they both help so much with errands – especially now while Ken and I are both so busy. Sadly Ken's camera is still in the "shop" so no photos yet again. I am sorry!
Well, this comes with lots of love. We are having quite a mild winter, and the sunny days are welcome!
Love to you all!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cape Town Wedding, and Russ and Patty Perkins

We are excited to have Russ and Patty with us at the moment, and they just returned from Kruger. They had some lovely sightings, and have now experienced some of our REALLY CHILLY winter days. The weather turned really cold today, but at least the sun is shining.  I believe I will need a full long winter coat tonight. I do feel sorry for those who sadly don't have one.
 :) The kids are home, and are nose to the books because of exams. They have 3 weeks of school left, and then they break for our 3 weeks of winter holidays.
Ken's camera died about 20 days before the warrantee expired, so we are without a camera at the moment! Sorry no pictures again.
I had the pleasure of going to Cape Town for two days. My cousin had his final wedding (third one) to celebrate with South African family. He lives in London and has married an Irish Lady, so they had celebrations in both London and Ireland.  We were delighted to meet her and get to know her.  I travelled without my man and kids, they were left to hold the fort!  I believe they missed me... as Micaela said that she didn't think that I should go away again...  I absolutely LOVED seeing all of my family again but it was way too short.  It is such a beautiful city, and really is a world of it's own.
The weather there was damp and cold!  We celebrated in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which was a first for me! Just beautiful.
Well dinner is calling, so I'd best get moving if we are to have anything for supper!  I believe some French Onion Soup is on the menu.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May Magic ...

Oh yes!  It is a lovely time of year. Our winter calves have been coming with one and two born a day for a few weeks now. They are just so very cute, and with lots of little heifer calves so far, I have a happy farmer!
We LOVED having Sayle Lewis and Stuart Crawely with us from the South. We have been having SD card problems and my photos seem to slip into an unknown zone so I can't even share a picture with you! I have re-formatted it, and hopefully we won't get that error again.
Dad and Mom celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary today.  What an incredible blessing and a Godly Heritage they have given to us! May there be many more.
They are both well, keeping busy, and we are so proud of them both.  During last week, Mom played in her very first All Day Bridge "tournament" (I don't know what to call it!) and she WON!  We had all prayed for her, and she didn't only win, she had probably the highest score ever. We were all tickled PINK! 
We have a huge monster like machine working here at the moment, clearing our boundary lines of encroached bush. It's quite something so see how much bush it can clear.  There is going to be A LOT of work ahead of Ken, but this will certainly make a huge difference to his slashing every year, and it will improve our property fire breaks.
On Sunday, it dumped a huge Naboom (Euphorbia) onto the fence line by accident, and so our staff have been learning under pressure, how to repair broken fences!
The kids hockey season is coming to a close, with only a few more games ahead of them.  They have both done well, and love it!  John-D has been so helpful with some of the South African hunters that we have had this past month, and has earned himself a little extra pocket money.  Micaela had Entrepreneur's week at school last week, and she together with her friend also made themselves some nice pocket money selling ice creams!
Well, the impala are in RUT, the warm sunshine is so welcome during the day as the nights are now so very chilly! The grass has turned golden and the brilliant green of summer has faded.
We are looking forward to the Perkins arriving with us for their photo safari on Sunday.
We hope you have had a happy MAY!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Where oh where has my website gone?
Where oh where can it be?
All the photos, words, documents and info,
Where oh where can it be?

Can anyone help me? How does an entire website just disappear off the face of the web?
This is now the third time.
So I guess I am doing something wrong.
Oh if I could just have back all of the time that I poured into trying to work out the "do it yourself" website program.
So we are right back to square one.

Monday, April 28, 2014

9th Safari - Terry and Jo Blauwkamp

Welcome back Terry and Jo Blauwkamp.... 9th Safari with us, and we have just BEAUTIFUL weather for you this year. :)  Let's hope it stays this way.
Without a doubt, winter has moved in, and the temperatures are plummeting!  It's awesome to have the kids home again for a week off school, with all of the public holidays.  JohnD got to spend some time with the Preece family this past weekend after an away hockey game.  They had a ball! Ian, Nikkie, De Anne and Kayle had come hunting here the previous weekend, and De Anne shot her first animal - a Kudu cow.... followed shortly thereafter with an Impala ram.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Field Hockey, and the MHS Valentine Ball photos

The winter sports have started at Merensky, and both Micaela and JohnD are in field hockey teams. JohnD played his very first game on Saturday, and their team did well considering they are all fairly green to the sport. JohnD plays left link, so it's LOTS of running. Micaela also plays Link too.  I thoroughly enjoy standing next to the field and shouting for their team.
We loved the company of the van der Gryp and the Dyason families over the weekend too, and celebrated Saartjie's birthday all together.  It's been quite a number of years since we all got together. Silly really, as we all live relatively close, but our busy schedules seldom have time.
The repainting of Micaela's room is almost finished, and I am getting quite good at it all! I'm rather tired of the smell though.  She certainly is excited to have it all fresh. I somehow think it won't be long and JohnD is going to want the same!
Camo is completely healed up thankfully.  With winter approaching, we have not clipped all of his fur again. My goodness - in our bush his fur is like Velcro!  Shame, it's not fun for him getting combed every night, but he is learning that it's to his benefit.
We finally got the photos of the kids from Valentine's Ball...
 JohnD with Alicia.
 Micaela and Alicia
 My two treasures!
Micaela with Kegan
As always, it's good to have the cattle all in the craal... the incredible rains and abundant grass has them all in just BEAUTIFUL condition.

Monday, March 31, 2014


Hey ho!  What a way to go.... YES :) I am actually making slow  S L O W progress on getting our website up to date. 
Suggestions are welcome (within reason!)... I am VERY technologically challenged!
I have got LOTS that I still need to do, and photos that I want to add, but at least my contacts are finally showing!  I had saved it as a page, but somehow no matter what I did - that page didn't want to show! I have no clue how to change the banner and put our logo there, but I will figure it out.

We are loving having the kids home! Micaela is re-decorating her room. What a MAMMOTH (complete with all of the wool!) job it is.

We just had Carl and Karl Landauer hunt with us this weekend, and JohnD certainly did us proud!  My goodness me, I don't know who wore who out! Needless to say, he has been pretty tired most of today.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kirk Shields and Milt Stratos

It is with great excitement that we welcomed Kirk and Milt the South!  Yes our hunting season has officially opened, and we have been very blessed with sunny and cool days. Very little rain, and some successful hunting!  Sadly with John-D away at High School, Ken does not have as much help as he had become accustomed to.
Little Camo took a turn for the worst, and came down with billary (tick bite fever) the same day they arrived, so he had to spend a night at the local vet. He took it easy a few days, and was able to go with Ken today. It will be a while before he is back in top form, as he also has glandular fever that he is recovering from. Shame!  Our Loving Lady continues to be her gentle, wonderful, sweetiepie!
Micaela and John-D are in the middle of their first quarter exams. They will break for a short 10 day school holiday on the 28th. Yippie! :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Willem and Fiona Nicolai

Just a little word of thanks to Willem and Fiona from Scotland. What a joy and a pleasure it was for us to leave home knowing that they were here as a helping hand to Dad and Mom.  Both Lady and Camo also enjoying having them around, and most especially Micaela's kitty Molasses! They were able to enjoy the bush, sunshine, (and lots of rain!) the freedom of having family and friends visit, and just the wonderful warm South African weather!
Willem did a little work on the old brown landy, and we are very pleased to have that in action again! Thank you so much Willem. You are a star.

MHS MOOPOO and Interhigh Athletics :)

John-D going through the MOOPOO.....
Yes, It is filthy water... complete with LOTS of poo from the MHS "moos" on site!  One of the initiation traditions at Merensky High School.  All newcomers to the school (young and old alike) have to go through the pool of mud and cow dung as part of being baptised as "True Blue Blood Plasies".  All of the helping hands are ready to dunk those who do not sufficiently immerse themselves in the water!  Luckily John-D is no stranger to muddy farm water, or cow dung, so he didn't waste time diving right in!
 After the grade 8 newcomers finish the school concert for all of the new parents, they have a ceremony where they are given their certificates recognizing them as True Plasies, and they each have to ring the COW BELL.
 Micaela placed 3rd in the 100m hurdles, and 2nd in the 100m sprints. Both of these events were in the drizzle.
 Sadly the heavy rains set in and the rest of the events had to be cancelled.