Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Shi-awela Video by Everett Presson

It's such an awesome video, thank you so much Everett and Margaret - we LOVED having ya'll with us. 😊
(I wish I knew how to insert the actual video here, but hopefully this link will work!)

Ken & Jo, Margaret & Everett

JohnD Ball Matric Photos 2018

A little late, but here they are...  JohnD's Matric photos. We couldn't be prouder. Well done John! The celebration of your finishing your high school might have been prioritized that night of your matric farewell, but actually I think it is REALLY celebrated by you every day now. 😉 Enjoy your new adventure of discovering your world, and all of the gifts and talents that Father God has blessed you with!

 Dee Anne Preece and JohnD

 My Micaela and My John 💖

The Preece Family, and us - it was a fun afternoon 😊

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2018 USA Here we come!

We are a few days away from our departure.  We will be spending time in Louisiana and then we will then have a quick overnight in Atlanta and then head south, making our way towards Charleston for the South Eastern Wildlife Expo. This year it will be 16th through to the 18th February.  We will be exhibiting in our usual spot in the Sporting Village Tent in Brittle Bank Park.
Please come and see us! We would love to catch up with you again!   It is hard to believe that we are coming up to our 23rd year exhibiting at SEWE!

We had a most unfortunate incident in December - our office laptop was stolen from the office.  Sadly I have not been as diligent about backing up my valuable information as I should have been. It's been an immeasurable loss, and as I try to re-build my database of contacts, I really need to ask each and every one of you to please email to me your most recent contact details:
Updated contact telephone numbers, email addresses, birthdays, etc.  I would be MOST grateful!

Since our last update so much has happened. Our Micaela was admitted to the BScV program, and is now studying at Ondersterpoort as a second year vet student. She experienced her very own miracle, straight from our Father God, and we are so grateful for His grace towards her in this all.
Our JohnD is now a senior and has 10 months of High School left! He is working hard, and we are so very proud of him.
Dad and Mom are both well, and joined us on a journey through Kruger National Park, Swaziland, St Lucia and then on to the Drakensburg. It was a road trip of note, with lots of time in the bus together.
What a blessing that we were able to make the trip together.
We have had a very dry summer so far, and are in desperate need of rain, like the rest of South Africa.
We look forward to hearing from you all, and this comes with much love. The Ball family

Friday, June 2, 2017

OH LA LA!!! Oh Happy Day :)

After many years of being unable to travel, my beloved parents were finally able to visit! Thank you to our Heavenly Father for a miracle with their application for a travel visa being granted.  We had such a wonderful time catching up and it was all over too fast.  They are both fit, well, and looking
great!  I pray that they will be able to visit annually, like in the past.

Our Micaela is thoroughly submerged in her 'first year' Biological Sciences courses at the University of Pretoria, and managing to keep her head above water! Lots of new ropes to swing from, and she seems to be enjoying all of the challenges. This is certainly a new BALL GAME for her, and one she seems to be "playing" quite well.  JohnD is very glad to have his learners driver's licence.  I guess I'm getting "old" now, if "even my BABY is driving!!!" :( ... to quote Micaela!
BoyDog (AKA Camo) was very glad to start hunting again this month, and he certainly has a way of winning friends and influencing people! It's quite common for him to sit around the fire in the evening, enjoying the conversation, as if he were one of the 'boys'.... well, I guess he is! ;)  Al Finch and Skip Montgomery... so wonderful to have you here with us! :) Thank you for coming again. So good to have you back.
We had the 4th year Agricultural Students here from the University of Venda, for an information session and training hosted by the National Nguni Society.  Ken enjoyed showing off our beloved cows, and the students all seemed to enjoy the day.
With a full day in the bush at the corral, we were anxious about the need for ablutions, so Ken "made a plan" for them...  
And our David Hendrix from the USA has graduated SUMMA CUM LAUDE!  Having spent several summers here with us over the years, and many hours in our home and around our table, we feel awfully proud of him. With the amazing technology, we were able to watch him online, receive his degree. Well done YOU David. :) Standing ovation from this side. 
Our winter calving season has begun, and we have a few beautiful little ones!!! We never tire of them.  We also have 8 buffalo babies so far this year!  The herd is doing well.
We had the pleasure of Hendrik's group again in May, and especially the joy of these little ones, who certainly enjoyed the bush and the culture of campfire stories and songs.  The uniform look of these little guys in their hunting cammo with their big smiles and enthusiastic energy is quite special. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Shi-awela Marketing 2017 Ball Family News

Congratulations to all of you in the United States of America, on your new president. We surely stand in awe to see how your democracy works in the USA.  We certainly could do with our South African politicians taking note! We have had 12 years with the same government and up north in Zimbabwe they have had 37 years of the same president.  Surely ya’ll can celebrate in the way your system actually WORKS!!!  Change is always good, and somewhere between the two extremes is the balance that gives you the wonderful country that you have! GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Ken and I will be travelling to Grand Rapids this year, and we are so excited that we will both be able to attend the Grand Rapids SCI Chapter event in Holland MI. It has been YEARS since we were able to attend this event together. J We do hope that we will get to see you again?  We will also be heading to Charleston for SEWE like usual, and we are excited to catch up with everyone there too.  Please come and find us at our usual spot, inside the main large Sporting Village Tent at Brittle Bank Park.
Such wonderful news for us with our Micaela (now 19) graduating from high school with distinctions in all of her subjects. She worked incredibly hard, and finished on a very high note at Merensky!  She is enrolled at the University of Pretoria (four hours from here) for her next step in her education. She is planning to study to become a vet, and she will be doing the parallel BSc course this year at TUKS Hatfield Campus. She will be staying in residence to begin with, and we are excited for her next big step. She is busy packing and will be ‘leaving home’ next week!

JohnD is now 6’2” tall, our gentle giant. ;)  He towers over all of us, and it’s quite something to see him hug his Grandma!  He is now in Grade 11 at Merensky, and continues to love any time spent hunting or fishing, and would rather attend hunting and fishing classes than math (pity they are not available!!)  He has a busy year ahead of him, and we are so proud of him too. What a blessing he is to us all.
We had a wonderfully quiet Christmas, and were able to give most of our staff leave, as we took no Christmas bookings this year.  The lack of electricity and internet, it was quite interesting.  Our power supply is always challenging this time of the year when we get lots of rain. Yes, we have been blessed with amazing rains, and we are so grateful for the beautiful transformation of our bushveld. All of our summer Nguni calves have come and they are just as beautiful as always!  We also have the delight of baby blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, impala, blesbuck, and all of the other plains game!  We wait patiently for the first signs of when the buffalo will calve, although we suspect it will be closer to March before we see their young.
We had the incredible privilege of hiking in the northern Drakensburg mountain tip here in the Tzaneen area with a friend for four days over new year. What a blessing!
We had a very busy 2016, with lots of wonderful memories being made with new and repeat guests. Thank you to each and every one of you for your support. We certainly could never do what we do, without you!
Ken’s parents Dennis and Carol, are both very well, and continue to keep themselves active and involved. They are such a blessing to us, and like us, live for having the children home! Carol has been teaching us how to play Bridge. My what fun we have had!  My parents got the incredible news that they are allowed to remain in Australia! What a long story that was, and what a miracle. We are over the moon that they are able to finally leave the country, and come out to visit us in April, so we are all looking forward to seeing them again!
This comes with much love to you, and we are so grateful to have you as part of our lives. Thank you for your friendship, and God bless you and your family.    Ken, Jo, Micaela and JohnD xxx

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Merensky High School Metric Farewell 2016

Micaela Ball, Just ALL BEAUTIFUL MY ANGEL! :) So proud of her. She is writing her Matric exams now for the next few weeks, and will be done by the end of November.
 These photos were taken for the Matric Farewell Dinner. Here she is with JohnD.
 Below she is with her date for the evening, Marco Strydom.
 And Ken... :) Love this one!

We also had some fun taking photos here on the farm beforehand...  It's still pretty dry. Rain would be most welcome!

 Micaela and Alicia had some fun in their gowns, taking all sorts of photos ... both such beautiful young ladies.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


…..I completely understand if you don’t even check anymore! Forgive me? I hope that all of these little notes make up for it. I struggle to get around to everything that I need to do.
I’ve completely given up on the idea of trying to resurrect our website. I’ve been blocked out of wordpress, and it’s not possible for me to go through all of the work of setting it all up again, just to possibly lose it again next year.   It would appear that the websites that are based on the use of programs that are free and “user-friendly”, are also abuser-friendly too, and easy to hack.  So, it’s my plan that we use this blog site until I am able to find someone who can build us a website, without using any of the free and “easy to hack programs”. 
Stop press!!! I have finally opened a Shi-awela Facebook page, and an Instagram page. I am learning…. So if you have posted something there, and I have not responded, forgive me!  I still have to cook breakfast, lunch and supper for our guests every day, I still have to run the school TAXI Monday and Friday, do all of the shopping and I still have to keep an eye on things at the lodge…  so the admin / office work happens in between as and when I can.
I am in the process of sorting photos, and getting my thoughts together to try and bring ya’ll up to date from March, so will add some more posts as soon as I get them ready.

Thanks for checking in and watch this space ;)