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Hummingbird

hummingbird bluegreen

The hummingbird goes way back for me. One of the delights of Brazil was our garden that seemed alive with these industrious little birds. Jurgis was particularly taken with them. It became almost an obsession for him to be able to capture a hummingbird in a photo. We moved away from that first house with its lush garden. Our next home was the turn of the bem-te-vi, a bird that also gave us a great deal of pleasure. We saw few hummingbirds after that. We tried putting out feeders, but weren’t in the right area for them. Still, whenever we spotted one while out, Jurgis would be captivated all over again.

I didn’t think much of the hummingbird after that. I love all birds, my personal favourites being the blackbird and the robin. They played a huge part in lifting my spirits during some dark times.

I will never forget the night Jurgis died. It had been a couple of hours since we’d turned off his life support when I finally pulled myself together long enough to get in touch with his brother in Australia. It was while we were talking when he broke in with, “What the…?? A hummingbird just flew into my pc!” On my end, I went cold all over. To me, that was no co-incidence. I believe in signs and this was definitely a sign. Hummingbirds don’t just fly into pc’s.

As happens when someone dies, we began receiving cards from friends from all over the world. It meant so much to us. Each card was heartfelt and helped to wrap us in love and care. No one card meant more than the other. In saying that, however, as I write this, two cards stand out for me. One came from a dear friend in Australia. Inside was… you guessed it… a hummingbird! That little golden hummingbird now lives in my purse. Another came all the way from Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

legend of the hummingbird

Since then, the hummingbird has appeared regularly and often in the most extraordinary place, though, to be fair, never a live bird. Some believe in signs. Others don’t. I’ll take it as a sign, a sign that he’s with me and watching, a sign that “life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and laughter is life’s sweetest creation”.

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Posted by on May 27, 2015 in animals, jorge, spiritual, symbolism

 

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Daylight savings time saves what exactly?

Not my photo

Clicking on a link where I found a link to another link and so it goes…

Those who know me well know I have huge issues with daylight saving time. Yes, it is nice to have longer evenings, but it’s so unnatural! My personal gripe stems from not having the sun where I expect it to be at noon. It takes me ages to adjust.

Why did it then come as such a surprise when I found an article on wildlife deaths due to daylight savings time?

http://goo.gl/PExcu – This link goes to the translated version of a Danish site

In short, animals that usually use the quieter hours of the morning to cross busy roads suddenly find themselves in peak traffic. As a result, many are killed, at least, until they, like me, finally adjust their own ‘clocks’ to our manipulation.

Can someone tell me why we really Need DST??

 

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2013 in animals, Nature, rant, seasons, travel

 

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Off season

Off season

We’re closed to public during the week now. The still is so profound. The silence around me is broken only by the rustling of wind in the trees and the occasional krrrk of some bird hidden in the foliage. Even the chickens are quiet, except when I walk past, when they squalk indignantly that their daily bread and cake diet has come to an end.

Our new chick (seems there is to be only one) is thriving…

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The pigs are bashing in the warm autumn sun. Now that’s the life!

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Ken, gardener friend, found a newt among the plant pots. I took the little guy to the pond in the field usually reserved for sorting calves. We thought it was dead at first, but it slowly warmed up and was quite lively when I left it.

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Lunch was a delicious bagel with smoked ham, roasted red pepper, chickenand some fancy cheese (I’ve forgotten what cheese it is), served with a rocket salad I’d just picked and freshly-picked apple.

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Have you ever put your noise to a freshly-picked apple? Heavenly smell!

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The working day ended with the loading up of three little boars into the horse box, then I took Meg for a walk up to the lake. Who can resist this face?

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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in animals, dogs, harvest, life

 

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Sunday Memories

I was feeling a little nostalgic anyway, playing with Overenthusiastic-Odie….

odieI gots a stick, I has!

I miss having my own dogs around. Luckily, I have an abundance of dogs and other critters who make me smile here. I spent yesterday playing with Lupa, a rather goofy 7 month old German Shepherd.

lupaI want to let go, so you can throw it, but tug-o-war is so much fun!

We don’t work weekends. Really. Honestly. Ok, sometimes. Thing is, farming’s like that. You’ve read ‘Animal Farm’, right? Today’s politics involved the chickens. You’ve met the existing chickens… Now meet the newbies!

chooks

These arrived here with warnings that they were wild and could fly and liked to sit in the trees. Um… ok… We clipped their wings, put them in the hen house and set about trying to make friends with them. A couple of weeks later, they no longer squeeze themselves into the corner to get away and they do come forward when greens are offered, but… they fly! They fly to the window sill with their clipped wings (to clarify – only one side, before anyone tells me we did it all wrong).

Today, we got another addition to the flock, Crocky’s sister, who looks a lot like that feather duster. She was put in with the other chickens by her now-ex-owner, only to be pecked on, so she was moved in with the frightened newbie group. We plan to try and put the whole lot with the old birds tomorrow. On Wednesday (or thereabouts), the new chicks should hatch. That’ll add another dimension to the whole drama. This should be an interesting week!

I’m now sitting here over my cup of dandelion and lemon balm tea with a wee drappie of honey. It’s delicious! I was feeling a little under the weather this past week. Hopefully this will give me the Oomph! that went missing.

I wanted to show Jurgis a video and was looking through my files with pictures of South Africa when we had a bit of a discussion about the location of a remembered landmark in our home town. That took us to Google Maps. I’d have lost a few kilos if I’d walked the distance we covered this afternoon :)

I’ve come to the conclusion that I had an idyllic childhood. How many children get to go to school in a school as full of character as this one. This is the old Albert Jackson Primary School. Its walls were solid stone and thick. It breathed history, but was bright and cheerful. It looked no different to the way it looks now (the building is protected by heritage laws), though it’s been many, many years since it held any children.

Albert Jackson Primary School (modern)

Albert Jackson had no playground of its own, so, at break time, we’d all line up and cross the road ‘crocodile’ fashion to the Donkin. Now can you imagine a nicer playground for school breaks? A view of the ocean, vast lawns, funky monuments and plenty of pigeons to absorb the lunch crumbs.

Donkin

The Donkin is named after Sir Rufane Donkin, governor of Port Elizabeth in 1820, when the British settlers landed. The unusual pyramid next to the lighthouse is a monument to his wife. I thought the story to be really sweet:

“His life is also one of romance and undying love. He married Elizabeth Markham in Yorkshire under a traditional organised marriage which was the custom in those times for the social upper classes. But Sir Rufane Donkin truly fell in love with his beautiful young wife. In most cases the wives of high ranking military officials stayed at home while their husbands were abroad. However Elizabeth Donkin chose to be with her husband and travelled with him to India where she was to become seriously ill, and died in August 1818 after their first son George David was born.

The effect on Sir Rufane Donkin after her death was immense, and to such an extent was placed on leave from his post, however he was given the task of organising the 1820 Settlers in Port Elizabeth. He was officially the first governor of PE from the 6 June 1820 – 1821. His wife Elizabeth was buried in Meerut in India but her heart was embalmed at his request.

…… Love it is said is as strong as death! Sir Rufane Donkin built a memorial to his wife Elizabeth known as the Donkin Memorial atop a hill above the city centre and named the city, Port Elizabeth, in her memory. The Donkin Reserve is open to all in perpetuity according to his will.”

From The Port Elizabeth Times

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in animals, dogs, memories, south-africa

 

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It takes all kinds

Meet Maeve…

maeve

She leaned up against me today, cat style. I had to grab for support. She almost toppled me! She was being affectionate. She loves a tickle behind the ears. She knows me.

I had finished my working day and was going back to harvest a leek or two to go with dinner. Close to the pigs, one of the moms stopped to chat. I was pointing out the pigs and was about to suggest she goes around the side to see them better when I saw an odd-coloured pig. I looked more carefully. There were children in the pig pen!

I raced up the side yelling to the mom to get her kids out of the pig pen. Two moms, actually. They’d let their little ones, no older than 5, I’d say, climb over the wood and diamond-mesh fence into the pens. About a foot or so away from the fence is the electric fence – two lengths of electrified white ‘ribbon’. So, apart from the fact that the kids could have been belted by the fence, there was the pigs themselves…

Maeve is friendly, but stroppy. Sophie is more laid back, but she has her 8 piglets in there and isn’t very tolerant of strangers. One day I went into the pen dressed differently (I didn’t have work clothes on) and she charged. Luckily, she realised who it was as she came closer. We’re talking serious pig tonnage here! Ever see a bull charge? Same thing, except on a set of very short, very powerful legs. The piglets are no longer tiny. They tend to run, en masse, to see what new food is heading their way.

What on earth was going through the minds of the two moms that they’d let their little girls in polka-dot skirts and tights climb the fence into the pig pen??? The mind boggles! We’re talking here about two hefty adult pigs plus 8 hefty porkers, a vast amount of mud and an electric fence. After yelling to get the kids out, I pointed out that the fence was there for a reason… to keep pigs and kids separate!

Still… what the heck? Really? I wonder if it’s the same mentality that gets kids injured at zoos and the poor animals get blamed.

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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in animals, people

 

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Retrospective

Last week just whizzed by. I tried to catch it and stall its rushing, but my efforts were in vain.  It was a busy week and, at the same time, a very quiet week.

Let me first introduce you to Crocky and his harem. Crocky is our highly temperamental feather duster…. sorry… silkie rooster.  We have a sign on the fence warning kids (especially the grown kind who have offspring) that he can be mean and has drawn blood on a few occasions. To date, we have no data on his attacks and can’t decide what makes him go for the jugular on some days, but not others.

crocky1
His harem is delightful though. We have Rhode Island hens and Barnevelders. The one Barnevelder is currently broody and warming a nest of prospective feather-bundles. We have speculated at length what they’d end up looking like. A mix of Rhode Island or Barnevelder and a white silkie rooster who carries his brain on his beak? They’ll be interesting if nothing else!

crocky2
Meet my glove’s nemesis…. mustard seed. The mustard is used here primarily as a green manure. We let it grow, then chop it straight into the soil where it was planted. Picking the seed was bad enough. It’s sticky and pulls at your hair (really tall plant). Then getting the seed off the stalks. Can you see the prickles? They’re little splinters that are out to get you. The mustard shredded a few pairs of gloves already. I’m no fan of the plant, but I guess it’s good.

mustard seed
Some wanted to know where I live. I have to be discreet here. We’re guests, after all. The driveway leads right up to the main house. The second-storey bay window is our day room. We look down on the driveway. If you have a moment, do find the first episode of “The Tudors” on Youtube. At the start of the episode, the horse comes galloping up that very same driveway! Yes, it was filmed here. “Camelot” was another that was filmed here. In fact, the list of films and TV shows that were filmed on this estate is pretty long.

k2
Another view… in this case, the first floor (second, to Americans) bay window is our apartment.

k1

Last night, we had our staff party at the Beach pub in Greystones. Ah, it was lovely! As per all drinking occasions, best friends were made and life-long bonds were forged (whether they’ll be remembered in cold daylight is another matter entirely *grins*). We drank, we sang, we danced, we yelled over the band and missed most of what was said (at least, I did). In short, we had loads of fun.

pub

I love my job. I love where I live (not just the house… the place… the town… the region). I love the people. I love my life. It is good :)

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in animals, fun, Ireland

 

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Who says animals don’t have hearts… ?

dog saves baby

Photo credit to Terra News

Jorge put me onto this news article. Clicking on the image above will take you to the original article (in Portuguese).
Not very far from here (in relation to the size of Brazil), at Santo Antônio do Monte, 185 km  from Belo Horizonte, in Minas Gerais, this gorgeous dog saved a newborn baby. The dog, Xuxa, named after one of Brazil’s celebrities, is a ‘vira lata’ or mongrel…. with a heart of gold. Her owner found her standing over a cardboard box in a vacant lot, barking incessantly.

Maria opened the box and found a newborn baby, still covered with blood with the umbilical cord attached. The little boy, now named João Gabriel, is doing well in hospital and will probably be adopted. The mother of the child has not been found.

As Jorge put it when he showed me the article…. animals put humans to shame. I know there are those that will say the dog was barking because of the smell of blood, but I do believe that it goes far beyond that. The dog sensed life. That little boy has a chance at life now. I can only hope his life continues to be blessed.

For even more heartwarming dog news, go to Irene’s blog here. These animals are simply amazing!

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Posted by on July 23, 2008 in animals, baby, brazil

 
 
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