Sunday, March 29, 2015

Multiple Walks and Italian Ancestors

In this week's blog I will share about a very nice outing we had with ouma Elna during February.  Nature in many forms (such as ocean, mountains and forest) are both very close to us and we made a day outing of exploring the variety. Thursday February 26th we left at 7am for George, our first stop on a one-day tour of Victoria Bay, Wilderness and the Knysna forest with my gran. We popped in at Vic Bay just so my gran could see what it looks like; she thought it very cute and cosy, and adored the houses right next to the beach. We had a nice and short stroll along the paved walkway.

 The pier.

Vic Bay.

Next we drove to Wilderness, which is very different from Vic Bay with it’s loooong white and sandy beach.... After a delightful walk along the coast (skipping stones on the water, getting wet and dissecting Cnidarians, Gastropods and Bivalves (jellyfish, ‘sea snails’, and mussels and such...sounds impressive though doesn’t it)), mom, dad, gran and Theuns drank tea at the fancy beach restaurant and Maarten and me went for a swim.

Wilderness beach.

Onwards we drove to Knysna, where we had KFC for lunch, and then departed for Gouna, located in the beautiful indigenous Knysna forest.

In the Knysna forest, we hiked a part of the Terblans Nature Walk on Kom se Pad, an area made famous by Dalene Matthee in her Forest Book ‘The Mulberry Forest’ (1987) in which Gouna and Kom se Pad features. Her other Forest Books include her most famous book, Circles in a Forest (1984) as well as Fiela's Child (1985), and Dream Forest (2003).  The Mulberry Forest book bought publicity to the fate of several Italians who came to South Africa in 1881 in hopes of starting a silk industry. Persuaded by government under using false pretences, the Italians who arrived here were shocked when they realized they were expected to cultivate mulberry trees and start a new life in the untamed Knysna forest, which in those days still had lots of wild elephants!

Into the forest on Terblans walk.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Horse Business

We've had our ponies for 36 days now, and much progress has been made! Every day Brendon and Breyton (the farm foreman's sons) come help us handle the horses, by just stroking and giving them grass and treats, following the concept of just a little every day. Arend (the stallion) has been stroked and fed quite a lot, and we can now even put a halter on him. Valk (the mare) has also improved drastically - in the beginning she would stand in the far corner of the camp if you even tried approaching her; now, she will come close enough to eat grass out of your hand (but always slightly behind her mate).

In the beginning... They stayed far away. 

A neighbour's horse handler that came to look at their hooves. He was so comfortable around them and once again showed us that if you've got the confidence and know-how, everything is easier. 

Mucking is a daily job. 


Getting some exercise. 

We put her in a small enclosure for 2 days, so that we could offer her grass/treats without Arend eating it all up before she could summon enough courage to come closer. 


Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Very Eventful Weekend

February 28, March 1-2 was a very exciting weekend for us - we drove to Stellenbosch and around Cape Point, visited Kirstenbosch in Cape Town, saw friends, and had a milkshake at Matjiesfontein. Here follows the story and plenty of photos!

The whole trip's origin was to take my gran to the grand (exclusive) opening of an art exhibition in Stellenbosch, where one of her paintings was exhibited. Saturday we officially had our tourist 'hats' on and spent 10 hours in the car. After dropping ouma off at her sister, we drove around Cape Point from Muizenberg to Cape town - a beautiful round trip to fit into a day.

Our fist view of False Bay when we came over Sir Lowry's pass.

Random windpump in the middle of a lake near Stellenbosch. We joked that it worked too well. 

Driving on the beach at Muizenberg, literally! 

Passing though the different suburbs eg. Kalk bay, St James, Scarborough, Kommetjie etc. Each little town had its own atmosphere. 

We stopped at a fish-fair in Kalkbay for lunch; the smells from braai-fires were just too tempting.

A battleship! Simon's Town is one of South Africa's Naval Bases

Everywhere all the trees are a testimony to the famous Cape winds.