Monday, December 28, 2015

Darting Buffalo and Nyala

With Micaela’s sights on vetinary school, she spent a week with Wighardt and their vet Rita.  They were quite busy with darting Nyala, both for medical treatment as well as relocation.  They also worked on one of our buffalo here.  

We have yet another USA Visa application successful with us being granted 10 year multiple entry visas.  I do wish that this was an online process too, as the trip to the embassy in Pretoria is never convenient!

The very old farm isuzu pickup truck that Ken and I used to go on honeymoon in, was finally sold and we were blessed to get a new Mahindra pickup for Ken.  It’s a bit of a workhorse, and nothing glammerous, but hopefully the vehicle repairs and maintenance bill will be reduced!  Camo has decided that it is HIS truck, and is on constant alert for it’s departure.  He severely dislikes the fact that it does not have an open window to the back, as he does love to jump between the back and the front of the pickup.  At least he has finally stopped hitting his head on the glass! :D

With more time at home, Micaela has been having some creative fun in our garden, and currently the nesting of the masked weavers in our fig trees, it makes our garden quite an entertaining place to sit.
Finally, we have been blessed with some really lovely rains, and the green lush wonder of the bushveld has returned.  Along with the birth of all of the young impala, wildebeest, hartebeest, blesbuck, and the many other game animals, we have been enjoying the births of all of the Nguni Cattle!  These little additions to our herd are a constant source of joy, and spending time in the kraal watching them play, is always a wonderful pastime!
As always, this time of the year everyone is looking for meat for their families, both for our staff as well others.  JohnD and Micaela have been able to do a fair bit of hunting, which they always enjoy! 
We want to take the time to wish each and every one of you a very blessed Christmas, and a 2016 that is filled with God’s provision, God’s protection, God’s peace, as well as His Joy!  For the Joy of the Lord is our Strength!

Micaela's 18th Birthday, Johnathan's last Oncology Appointment

Our beloved darling daughter celebrated her 18th birthday in our usual farm style, by having some of her close friends to visit for two nights.  We were blessed with lovely weather, and the annual bonfires were fun like usual!

Both she and JohnD continue to make us so proud with their really wonderful school reports, and all of Micaela’s hard work paid off with her final average being her highest yet!
Micaela, Mom and I went to the Merensky Mother Daughter Day this year.   
Johnathan Ball (in the middle)Tennis award 
On another note.....  Ken’s appointment with a local audiologist has confirmed what we have been struggling with for some time.  He needs hearing aids.  So he has been fitted with very small and incredibly smart little devices, that have given back to him sounds that he completely forgot existed!  It took about two weeks for him to get used to having these things inside his ears, but we are all so proud of him for persevering.  The bird songs, the crickets, the sound of tires on the dirt road…. And yes even the sound of bubbles (from diving into the reservoir on a hot day, having forgotten to take them out!!!) are all “new” to him. Best of all, he can hear us when we speak!
In November, I got a call from JohnD’s Oncology department Sister, to let us know that our beloved Dr de Jager is going to be retiring in January.  Our next scheduled appointment to see him would only have been in April of next year, but we decided that we wanted to head back to Pretoria again to go and bid him farewell and to thank him again for his incredible gift to us.  He gave JohnD a very thorough medical examination.  We are so very blessed to let the world know that our JohnD does not require any further follow-up appointments, and Dr de Jager was happy to say that we can classify JohnD as cured.  His files will remain in the Oncology department archives, should any future enquiry need to be made, but we can close this chapter in our lives!  God is merciful, faithful, and He is GOOD!  All honour and praise to HIM.

Australia Ferrar Family Reunion

Ken absolutely spoilt me and left me speechless when he insisted on my taking time to go to Australia to see my family. My eldest sister from Zimbabwe, Jenny, was able to join me, (thank you so much Derek!) so the two of us flew to Sydney to spend 2 weeks with my middle sister Claire and her family, and our parents. 
It’s been 2 and a half years since my parent’s last visit here in Africa, and with their current Visa Application process still pending, they are unable to leave Australia.
I was blessed beyond words to have catch-up-time with my dearest friend, Elizabeth! :) You Angel! Thank you so much for coming all of the way, and making time to come and visit.
It was just so special to all be together again, thank you so much for having us Pete!!!  It went by so fast, and we certainly loved being there for both Ben and Annabel’s birthdays.
From left to right at the back is John, Ben, Daddy, Pete. Middle row is Mom, Jenny, Myself and Claire. Front are Zara and Annabel.

Having not planned this trip to Australia ahead of time, I had very little time to acquire an Australian Visa.  On realizing that my online application was going absolutely nowhere, we began to panic. God did a real Miracle for me. Using my British heritage I was able to get an immediate online Australian Visa, the morning of my departure.  Yes, my nerves were a little frayed, but oh the joy of knowing that I would be able to go!  My visa in my South African passport was issued two weeks after my return to South Africa!  Fortunately it is valid for a year, so hopefully it will not go to waste! 

Our Family Holiday in Mozambique

During the September / October school break, we had the privilege of taking Ken’s folks with us to Mozambique for about 10 days. We have not had a holiday with Dad and Mom since the kids were very small, and we used to head up to Zimbabwe for family Christmas celebrations.  It was a really lovely break, and the wonderful weather, beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and plenty of rest was good for all of us! 
Louis du Preez was kind enough to take us deep sea fishing on two different occasions, and my goodness were we blessed with some tremendous fishing experiences.  My two men were WORN OUT!
 Here is Johnathan with his beautiful Yellowfin Tuna!
What an awesome experience! Thank you Louis.  We had countless sightings of dolphins, whales, and even turtles.  The fishing was just awesome.
Ken caught a Dusty Shark, and you don't even want to know what I said when they were landing this big Mamma!  I squealed like a girl to say the least.  Ken's always wanted to catch a shark... and boy did it wear him OUT!
 Ken was also completely blessed to get this GT  (Giant Trevally)
 And Louis was awesome in helping Micaela get this Amber Jack!

Shi-awela Hunting

What a  joy to host Will and Lynn Paulsen for a week, with time in Kruger National Park, that I had the rare privilege of enjoying too!

Jim and Terry Beach from Charleston joined us again for their 2nd safari, and that was a lot of fun again! J  They also got to spend some time in the Kruger National Park, and up close to the Limpopo River for Eland.  
Wighardt helped us out on this hunt, and they bagged some beautiful trophies!
Camo was on duty like always, but was seldom needed, as Wighardt brought his pointer Jessy to help out.
 Our local resident Duiker at Shi-awela.
 Buffalo in Kruger National Park.

Our Lodge kitchen has got a new “pre-loved” fridge, thanks Cathy!  With Cathy moving back to the farm to stay with Dad and Mom, her fridge is a very WELCOME addition to my kitchen there!  Micaela has the joy of her microwave and blender at Merensky, as with her now being a Hostel Prefect, she has her own room, and has the space for it!


We had yet another successful Game Capture, despite conditions so very dry, it all went smoothly.  We were abundantly blessed with early rains, and this gave immediate relief to us all, with not only temperatures dropping, but also the fire risk decreasing.   

We have also added another 3 Sable to our little nucleus here at the lodge. While I was in Australia, Wighardt also off loaded another 2 Sable to join the others in our growing herd, and early December he delivered another one. So, we are now up to 8 Sable in total.
Mom was able to go to England to see her sister Georgie, which was a big blessing to everyone.  It’s been many years since they have been together.
Mom's birthday lunch.

Johnd’s grade 9 drama team won diamond in the Eisteddfods.  It is fun to watch them all operating out of their usual character, and JohnD certainly has enjoyed the challenges of taking on different characters!  With both Carol and Anne’s (his Grandma and his Gunna) passion for the stage and acting, it’s great to have the interest in it continue.

Kirsten’s (Cathy's daughter) visit was another delight to us all, and was just way too short.  We tried to tackle completely re-doing our website, and got about a quarter of the work done. So that is next on my list of priorities.


We had the joy of hosting Stephen Michel and Anita London for a week, with Stephen doing some bow hunting.  The 10 years since his last visit has passed so quickly, and with our subsequent sailing trip in the Seychelles being such a highlight, we had planned an ‘action replay’.  
We met up with Ken and Dawn Bartizal in the Seychelles, and had absolutely spectacular week altogether on a yacht.  Great company, excellent weather, beautiful views, amazing snorkelling, and fishing too!
 Our ocean view room.

 My Ken seemed to have the LUCK on the line, with bagging these beauties….
All of which were EXCEPTIONALLY nyummy!
Dawn is an incredible cook!  Fresh Fish never tasted better :)
 Thank you so so much Capt Steve!!!

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Family time is soul food!

My cousin Denise and her family from Scotland joined us for a week! 
 Young Vaughn was David’s shadow!
We really cannot underestimate the impact of allowing children the privilege of exposure and time in the bush. Naturally time behind a .22 rifle is also highly beneficial. J  I think young Vaughn must have spent about 500 rounds, and it really wasn’t enough! 
Denise had lots of fun with the giraffe.  How many hundred pictures were there DD?

 Micaela has also been doing a little hunting for the pot! :)
Our Micaela was chosen as both a School and a Hostel Prefect at Merensky High School.   With her sights on veterinary school, she declined selection of school prefect, and has opted to only take up the Hostel Prefect responsibilities, as this will give her more study time.  Above she is performing at the annual Merensky Popups.
JohnD won himself R50 and first place in the dance category at the Merensky POP UPS with his and Rentia’s dance. 
David headed home in early August, and we are sure he was glad to be back with his family, and get back into the swing of things at University.  I know we have already missed having him around. He managed to get some nice trophies while he was here too! 
Don’t quite know what got into us, or should I say ME…. But I just found the energy to paint the outside of our home. Can you believe that we have been living here for 23 years, and we have white-washed the outside a few times, but we have never painted.  Now I know that there are many theories about using PVA paint over white wash and I’m sure I possibly broke all of the “NEVER” rules…. But I sure am glad that we did it. A change is as good as a holiday! J  Just LOVE our little old home in the bush!
And with all of the activity and improvement, while Micaela and JohnD were at school one week, we moved the office and JohnD’s room around, so he now enjoys a bedroom with only one door and three windows – with the best view in the house… and we have an office with one window and three doors!  Real thoroughfare, but it’s working better.  The best "up side" is that I can close the door on my teenage son’s room, and not even think about what’s going on in there!