Category Archives: Cape Town

Storm Front

Red Skies 1

Haiku 58

A beautiful sight

Clouds amass in red sunset

Presage to a Storm

.

Did you know that Cape Town is referred to as The Cape of Good Hope?

Did you know it is also referred to as The Cape of Storms?

Red Skies 2

We get some tremendous gales down here at the tip of the African continent. We are the first outcrop of land to take the brunt of those Antarctic storm fronts that come rushing in from the south west.

We are used to it.

When we talk about it being a bit windy, you can be sure the trees are bending furiously in the gales and your breath is whipped from your body when you walk abroad.

Red Skies 3

This year we are particularly grateful for each and every one of these storm fronts that actually does hit our coastline.

Last year, time after time, they passed by south of us, taking their tantalising rain clouds with them.

Last year was the third year in a row that we received a lower than average rainfall and the drought hit us hard.

So far, this year promises to be better. Already we have had more rain than the same time last year. The total dam levels in Cape Town are at 26%. This time last year they were at 19%.

And Capetonians are continuing to save water like crazy. We are still limited to a maximum of 50 litres per person per day.

This is what has saved us; so far.

We can only hope that our rainy months of June and July fulfill our expectations and the dams replenish enough to last us through to this time next year.

Bring on the storms!

 

post script: You can read about how different our winters were back in 2014, in two of my early posts: Give a Dog a Bone and Cape of Storms.

 

Advertisements

Casualties of Drought

Drought 1

Sadly not all my plants have survived the on-going drought here in Cape Town.

This is mostly due to my negligence.

A case in point is this spiky bush that has lived in a giant plant pot for years. It produced tiny little white flowers and then little red berries.

Tomatoes 1

In times of good rains it produced little bulb-like nodules near the roots that looked like grapes, where it stored excess moisture, so it could survive times of drought.

I rarely watered this plant, maybe tipping the last drop of water from the watering can onto it occasionally. I could see it was very happy with multiple ‘grapes’ full of water.

Drought 2

But I have been unobservant.

One by one these ‘grapes’ must have been used up as the drought progressed and the emergency water supply for the plant disappeared.

I never even noticed.

Drought 3

All that is left are dried out dead twigs.

The green leaves sprouting in the pot must be some of my bulbs, freesia and sparaxis, that usually flower in spring; September. I have no idea what they are doing now.

There were a few other plants that also died; a dianthus I kept in a large tea cup; all the pansies and violetta.

And my old Jasmine.

Drought 4

I was very sad to see this one go.

.

Other plants have survived against all odds:

Son of Shrimp Bush survived, because I did think to throw a little water his way now and then.

Mr Spaghetti Legs’ little fynbos plant survives. Any spare water I have I give to him first.

For the rest, my garden is looking pretty good.

Surprisingly, it bounces back lush and green after even the most meagre of rainfalls.

All in all there are more survivors than casualties.

 

Autumn Vistas

Autumn view

Autumn Vistas

Cloudless sky of deepest blue

Emphasise the changing hue

Though the colours mostly seen

Are the thriving Evergreen

.

 

Some trees realise that winter is approaching here in the Western Cape and shed their leaves.

The rest just carry on regardless.

 

post script: You might be wondering where are all the golds and reds of a northern autumn? Few and far between down here! However, there is a distinct bite to the air in the early mornings now and it is chilly enough for me to stand on my stoep and see my breath! Minimum temperatures have plummeted to 14C and should even reach as low as 11C tomorrow!

Seriously though, 11C feels a lot colder here than in say the UK. I don’t know why; air pressure, humidity? 

 

Autumn in the Cape

Autumn in the Cape 1 – Impatiens

You might be forgiven for thinking that this looks just like spring!

Autumn in the Cape 2 – Hibiscus

That’s the trouble with living in a Mediterranean climate; the autumns and winters are mild.

Autumn in the Cape 3 – Honeysuckle

So how do you tell when it’s autumn in the Western Cape?

You can always look at the calendar!

 

Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass 1

This is an untouched photo. So what is it, if I haven’t been playing around post production?

Well, it’s a very rare phenomenon. Something we don’t see that often here in Cape Town. Something we thought we might never see again!

RAIN!

Specifically, it’s a close up of my window with rain running down the outside of the pane and the poinsettia in the garden in the background.

Through the Looking Glass 2

Here is a view of the syringa tree.

Of course, you would have guessed sooner if, instead of a nod to Lewis Carroll and Alice, I had gone with my alternative title: Looking Through the Glass!

Yes, we got good rains on Wednesday; one centimetre. Heavy enough to soak the garden and even raise the level of my pool a little.

Hooray!

Through the Looking Glass 3

Above is Window Pane Art!

Little Monkey didn’t know quite what to make of it. She kept wanting to go outside, as she normally does all day long, but stopped two steps out on the stoep, hanging her head and blinking her little eyes as the heavy rain drops spattered down on her. She turned round and came straight back in again!

More rain is forecast for next week. I wait with anticipation to see if any of this will finally raise the level of the dams. The total amount today stands at 20.6%. 

I have never watched the weather so much my whole life as I do now. Several times a day I check the Norwegian weather site’s ten day forecast, in the hope that rain for Cape Town has miraculously appeared there.

Through the Looking Glass 4

Many of you in the North may think the above photo is such a dreary outlook; I’m sure you are all heartily sick of your cold, wet or snowy winter. For me, it was a sight for sore eyes. I couldn’t stop looking outside, or standing at the open door and enjoying the freshness.

I’m also happy to report that it rained without my having to resort to doing a Rain Dance in a grass skirt, as suggested by one of my fellow bloggers. (Thank you Mitza!) Though I think another blogger may have Rain Danced on my behalf. (Probably not in a grass skirt!) (Thank you Scooj.)

.

GOBBET

Here’s an extra little bit of information for you. We had fires raging in Cape Town a few days ago. The first I knew was the acrid smoke I could smell right here in my house. (Quick check to see there was nothing burning in the house!) It made my eyes sting and water, and stuck in the back of my throat making me cough. Being asthmatic, I may overreact to any air pollution, but still, it was bad. Looking outside, you could see that distinct yellow tinge to what looked like clouds, but was actually smoke.

One of the fires started at Skeleton Gorge above Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. At first it was thought that it was arson. Sadly a lot of fires are started this way.

However, further investigation revealed that this particular fire had natural causes; a massive rock fall. Apparently some large boulders had come loose and crashed down the mountainside, causing sparks as they hit other rocks. This was enough to ignite the bone-dry grasses and veld. Fire!

The firefighters are amazing and quickly extinguished that fire, only to have it flare up again and again over the next few days as it spread to other areas.

So the good rains on Wednesday were very welcome. Hopefully they have put out the fires for good now.

We live miles away from those fires and it was bad enough here; I can only imagine how horrible it was for the people living right there and the poor firefighters themselves.

I am surprised we have not had more fires, with our hot temperatures and the vegetation so dry from the drought. Hopefully we will get even more rain now as we head into winter and our rainy season.

But if any of you wish to perform a Rain Dance on our behalf, please feel free!

 

Autumn’s First Gold

Vine Leaf Autumn Gold

 

Haiku 51

Catching golden sun

Tucked in lavender for fun

Has Autumn begun?

.

I found a few golden vine leaves caught in my dried up lavender. The morning sun was just starting to illuminate them with its warming rays.

Autumn in the Cape is a beautiful, albeit short, season.

Temperatures start to drop now. I may have to dust off a jersey!