Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spirit's Progress

Spirit arrived in October last year - he'd followed his hero Mutt home from who-knows-where - an endearing character, he settled in immediately.

I spent Christmas in the desert and when I returned home in January was glad to find him in good health. He's almost at full adult size now.

I've noticed though, that at times his tear ducts seem a bit 'weepy', possibly caused by pollen or something from his wanderings in the bush - I'll ask the vet to check it out when he goes for the snip next month.

Spirit hunting - he's very alert and investigates anything that moves.

I'm glad to see that he gives the chickens who have babes a wide berth - he was probably beaten-up by a hen when he tried to go for her chicks.

I think he has some Dog in his bloodline - If I go for a walk he follows me around like a puppy, racing around and zooming up and down trees.

Whenever Spirit sees Mutt he jumps on him in a play-attack - Mutt usually growls and runs off, seeking shelter in the bush.

This was the first time I'd seen Mutt lose his rag with Spirit and beat him up. Spirit retreated a few meters and looked stunned but, it wasn't long before he was pestering Mutt again.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let's Hang-Out

When I arrived home in January, Stretch visited and found this Bat hanging-out on one of my uncompleted inner walls - judging from the droppings on the ground it had been roosting(?) there for a few days.

When I was a kid, someone told me to be careful of Bats because they can get tangled-up in my hair - I know now that this is probably an Old Wives Tale but, because of this and together with the Vampire associations of folklore, I've generally given them a miss.

I often see Bats flying at dusk but, this was the first time I've been able to get close up and personal with one.

I have no idea what species it is but was surprised by it's beautiful markings - I've always thought of Bats as being pitch-black.

It didn't seem to mind my presence - I'm sure that I could have reached out and touched it but was afraid of disturbing it.

What a strange looking face it has hey?

It hung-out on my wall for a few more days and then, one morning, it was gone. I hope that it just relocated to another spot and hadn't become the prey of some other creature.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Sea

For a few months now I've felt the urge to be by the sea again, so, when the opportunity arose last week to visit Lüderitz, a short 300km drive to the Northwest through the desert, I grabbed it.

I must admit that, after viewing the recent horrific events in Japan, I approached the ocean with a small degree of suspicion.

We spent two nights in the old Lighthouse Keeper's house at Diaz Point, a few ks west of Lüderitz. The lighthouse is fully automated now but, the old house (right center in the pic with red wall and car is front of it), has been converted into an accommodation unit.

In the foreground is the camping area, the buildings to the left are all derelict.

There were many ghosts in the house and, indeed, the whole area - more about them in a later post.

There are a few small protected beaches close by, set amongst the rugged rock formations characteristic of this area.

After arrival, it took me only a few minutes to chill completely and, on the second day, I lay down for a few minutes nap and drifted into a deep, three-hour long sleep - it's been awhile since I've felt so refreshed upon awaking.

There were countless photo-ops around the weathered, abandoned buildings. With the mist coming and going the whole world seemed gray at times and pastel shades predominated.

A white sand dune with plant life seemingly climbing to the top boosted by smaller dunes around their bases.

A close-up of one of the plants which, like most of the creatures here, depend on moisture from the mist for their survival.

A seal colony on the small island opposite the lighthouse - it was fascinating to watch them frolic in the sea then try to climb up to drier areas, many of the smaller ones having to make numerous attempts after being washed off the rocks by big waves.

A crayfish boat passes, bringing back memories of when, in my youth, I'd worked on these vessels for a year.

This is so different to my normal environment - I spent a lot of time exploring rock pools.

The coastline here is rugged and forbidding - above is a 50cm thick quarts wall, exposed as a result of the weathering of the softer rock around it.

This wall, the colors in the surrounding rock and sand, the mist and a number of big round weathered quartz boulders combined to give this spot a distinctly magical aura - rocks of ages.

Flamingos wade in the shallow water - they would not allow me to approach too close.

There were also many Dolphins feeding - a bit too far to get a decent image.

This video mirrors my vibe right now - The two days I spent here were invigorating and relaxing at the same time and I wonder why I haven't done it more often - that old cliché "a change is as good as a holiday" is true ... I feel refreshed after my visit to The Sea.

Related Posts:

Kolmanskop Ghost Town
Colonial Architecture Of Lüderitz
Succulents On The Desert Coastline


Monday, March 14, 2011

Mushrooms On My Mind

When I traveled to my home in the north of Nam in January, the weather was rainy and misty and just right for the appearance of Omahova, a local delicacy and, I kept my eye out for people selling them along the roadside.

Sure enough, towards evening, I came upon this guy selling some in the rain. I stopped and took a pic but didn't buy any because they were open already and in this state they're often infested with worms.

Two days after I arrived home the weather was still good for mushrooms and I decided to take a drive to Tsinsabis, a small San settlement about 30km north on the newly tarred road past my home.

The window for the appearance of mushrooms is about one week, two weeks max.

It wasn't long before I came upon this guy selling Omahova - the ones he is displaying are open already but he had a few which were still closed and which I bought.

The prices asked for the mushrooms have increased dramatically over the last few years but, are still cheap - whatever the price, the people selling them are dirt-poor and I'm glad that they're able to earn a few bucks in this way.

As I was buying the mushrooms, this lovely child came running up from some shacks in the distance and graciously posed for a photo.

Further on up the road, near Tsinsabis, the rain was bucketing down and I decided to turn back because I was having difficulty seeing out the windows.

On my way back the rain eased up and I came upon this guy selling some Omahova - I bought a few of the closed ones.

I also found these two youngsters close to home - by this time I had enough Omahova but I gave them a few dollars anyway after they'd posed for pics.

A close-up of a mushroom lying on the road - When I arrived home, I chopped-up the ones I'd bought, dumped them into boiling water for a minute, then bagged and stuck them in the freezer, to await the arrival of someone who knows how to cook.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Rocks, Cats and Fur People

Hello Friends

I hope you're all well ... I'm OK and back in the desert after a lousy road-trip during which I suffered a rear-tyre blow-out which damaged the body of the car.

The weather in the North was great, lots of sunshine and rain ... in fact, floodwater from Angola is presently threatening the northern border areas of Namibia.

Despite having to dodge rain showers and hide from the burning sun, I managed to get good bit of work done - a few pics:

My aim was to finish as much as possible of the outer rock-wall of the en suite bathroom.

I took the rocks up as far as I could before I need to install the roof.

I've formed an idea that I'll put corrugated-sheeting roof over the inside wall and then take the outer rock wall up another 1 to 2 meters.

There will be holes in the rock wall for rainwater drainage and the top of the wall will be wavy and uneven so that it looks forever unfinished - the completion left to the imagination of the observer ...

... I'll see ... I often change my mind as ideas progress ... :)

No, Spirit's not jumping for joy - he's trying to catch a butterfly - more about him in a future post.

He was a bit of a pain at times, jumping up on the wall and knocking over rocks that weren't set yet.

I built a secret cavity behind the big rock - (Ok, so now it's not secret anymore) - concealed behind a removable smaller rock - I want to make it a 'time capsule' with a few small artifacts ... and a vial of toenail clippings, in case some cleaver scientist discovers a way to bring a Mammoth back to life ...

A view of the work-in-progress - I sometimes have to use timber to keep the rocks in place before they're set.

Stoffel inspecting the work and giving Spirit the evil eye - I take her for a walk-about in the evenings and she loves to eat small pieces of wet concrete ... I don't know why ... she eats the most disgusting bugs too ...

... and this is as far as I got.

A small piece to complete, plus the slate around the window frames and then I have to think about finishing the top and building a new septic tank ... it never ends ...