Category Archives: Cape Town

All Roads Lead To . . .

Vineyard

. . . Elephant’s Eye Cave!

The grapes have been harvested for the next vintage of wine and these rows stand empty in the vineyard, as the leaves slowly turn to orange.

I thought those if you in the Northern hemisphere awaiting your Spring, might like to see a typical Autumn’s day here in Cape Town.

The mountain in the background looks like an elephant lying down, with its head on the left. The cave is in the position its eye would be; hence the name Elephant’s Eye cave.

 

Dust Devil

Vineyard 1

Vineyard 1

Sitting in the shade of a massive tree with my friend, overlooking the rose garden and vineyards, I noticed dust clouds billowing in the distance.

 

Vineyard 2

Vineyard 2

At first all I could see was the dust cloud, but then I became aware of a tiny object moving in front of the dust; it was a tractor.

Nothing epitomises the lack of rain more than watching this tiny machine drive up and down the narrow pathways between rows of grape vines, engulfed in dust clouds.

Vineyard 3

Vineyard 3

It was not spraying crops. The clouds are red dust.

The wind easily picks up the red dust that used to be earth, swirls it around in a Dust Devil and spreads it to the four corners of the universe, never to be seen here again.

We need rain.

How else is this crop of grapes going to survive well enough to become tomorrow’s wine?

 

Fragrant Frangipani

Franjipani 1

Franjipani 1

Many plants are shrivelling up and dying in the heat and drought here in Cape Town at the moment, but my frangipani continues to bloom beautifully, regardless.

Franjipani 2

Franjipani 2

Every year in January this massive bush unfurls new pink flowers, wafting an exotic scent on the evening breeze.

 

You can read more about my frangipani here.

 

Mystery Visitor

Cape Canary 1

Cape Canary 1

I spotted this bird on my garden face recently. I grabbed my camera and managed one shot before it flew off. As usual, I was inside the house in the lounge and shooting through the window.

The camera had hardly switched on before I was forcing it to function and the bird flew away, so the photo before tweaking* was really blurred; see below.

Cape Canary 2

Cape Canary 2

I could tell by looking at it that it wasn’t one of my usual visitors and I thought perhaps it was a Cape Weaver, which I have seen very occasionally in the past, but something about it just wasn’t quite right. This bird is smaller and has those grey markings.

After searching through my Newman’s SA Bird book and google, I think I have finally identified it.

A Cape Canary!

You can watch a short clip of the Cape Canary, Serinus canicollis singing, here.

I love to see all these new birds in my garden, but wish they’d stay around a bit more so I could get a decent photo!

 

post script: I don’t put a bird feeder out in my garden, because I don’t want to actively encourage birds to visit here when I have Little Monkey, who will always chase them away and catch them if she can. However, I do have a bird bath, because water is scarce, but they can access this from the trees, so are relatively safe. I’ve never seen LM try to catch birds in the bird bath; maybe etiquette at the water hole?

*post post script: If you’re interested, I improved the image by sharpening the contrast and adjusting the saturation and colour levels, on PowerPaint 2.50. I was pretty chuffed with the results, as my original photo was very blurred and according to google, sharpening an image is really difficult. The funniest account I read on how best to sharpen a blurred photo simply said to take another photo of your subject, but in focus this time! 

 

Crunchy!

LM 29 Nov

Lawn 3 and LM – 29 Nov

Those of you in the Northern hemisphere who experience frosty weather will be used to the ground being crunchy underfoot.

You might be surprised to learn that those of us here in Cape Town, in the Southern hemisphere, also find the ground crunching under our feet.

But this has nothing to do with frost or frozen ground.

Nope.

We have severe water restrictions, because it just didn’t rain enough last winter (our rainfall season) and the dams are extremely low. This water has to last the whole summer season stretching out in front of us for the next six months before any rain can confidently be expected to fall again, in our rainy season in July; next winter for us.

The following series of four photos show the rapid dehydration of the grass on my lawn over eleven weeks.

Lawn - 7 Oct

Lawn 1 – 7 Oct

We are at level 3 water restrictions. This means no hose pipes and no watering the lawn. You can water plants with a watering can on three days of the week either very early or late in the day for an hour.

Lawn 2 and LM - 15 Oct

Lawn 2 and LM – 15 Oct

It is survival of the fittest for the plants out there.

Fortunately, most of my garden has indigenous plants that have survived many years with little water. It is just my rose bushes that I water a little once a week; and the new Erica bush my husband bought me when my old boy Mr Spaghetti Legs died. This little bush, although indigenous, has not had time yet to establish its roots, so I watch it like a hawk and water it a few times a week to ensure the roots do not dry out. It doesn’t need much water, but it does need some!

Lawn 3 and LM - 29 Nov

Lawn 3 and LM – 29 Nov

Still, this leaves my poor lawn shrivelling up and dying in the endless heat. This is very sad, because we had been nurturing the small patches of good grass; (see Rejuvenation. ) and they are definitely larger than last year. If I had water I would regularly water round the edges of these patches to promote their growth. Sadly I’ll have to watch as even these patches now die off.

Lawn 4 and LM - 23 Dec

Lawn 4 and LM – 23 Dec

On our walks now, Little Monkey and I crunch our way round everyone else’s grass verges that are already more brown than green.

Climate change?

Absolutely.

 

Happy New Year 2017

Skein of Geese Sunrise 1

Geese sunrise

As the sun sets on 2016 and rises on 2017, I’d like to wish my WP friends all the very best as they fly off into a new year.

Thank you for your friendship during this last year and here’s hoping the coming year will be a good one for you all, with health and happiness.

Cheers from Scifi and Little Monkey.

Happy New Year!

 

The Blues

Hydrangea 1

Hydrangea 1

My ancient hydrangea usually produces lovely blue blooms, but occasionally it has the odd pink one too.

Hydrangea 2

Hydrangea 2

I thought it was supposed to be the type of soil that determined whether you got blue or pink, but it seems my old bush just does its own thing!

Hydrangea 3

Hydrangea 3

This little bush is decades old and was already here when we bought the house. It never seems to get any bigger, but just keeps on producing lovely blooms every year.

And to demonstrate how harsh the sun is and how quickly these poor flowers wither, even though the bush is in the shade for most of the day, here are two photos for comparison, taken a mere 11 days apart.

Hydrangea 4

Hydrangea 4

Hydrangea 5

Hydrangea 5

Sadly, with the severe water restrictions we have at the moment, I am not able to water my hydrangea as much as usual. However I’m sure, being a true survivor, it will weather this drought, as it has others in the past.