“Small Things,” all new, a world of miniature vegetation and willife…More small creatures tomorrow…



It’s hard to believe that this is actually a flower on the Sickle Bush which we found in our yard
a month ago.  No longer do we see them “blooming” but we were grateful to have seen these two flowers.

Today, we’ll first share the “Small Things” in the vegetation category including some “Small Things” wildlife photos as you scroll down.  Tomorrow, we’ll continue the most exciting of the all new “Small Things,” wildlife photos.  Please check back.
At first, I didn’t think these flowers on the Sickle Bush were real!

Since our first “Small Things” post on December 13, 2013, we’ve continued to search for wildlife and vegetation of the minuscule variety.  With much excitement, we share these with you today, some beautiful, others frightening, and some merely curious.

After searching through no less than 1000 photos I could not find the name of this flower.  If you look closely it appears to have a face toward the upper center.  If anyone is aware of the name of this flower, please write.

There’s a miniature world that the human eye cannot see.  If only we had access to the necessary equipment to explore that world freely.  Perhaps, in time ,technology will provide us with affordable digital equipment for the average user to see the smallest forms of life.


From research online, I believe this is a variety of the Aloe plant.

All of the photos we’ve posted here today were taken in our yard. Had I been brave enough to venture further into the dense bush without a trail, I’m certain I’d have found many more “Small Things” of interest.  These were found in the a short distance into the bush.
 
 Although I looked at hundreds of blue wildflowers growing in South Africa, here again I wasn’t
able to find the name of this wildflower. 

As I take this walk often several times a day, my first consideration is to keep a watchful eye for snakes that may slither across the road.  Once I feel assured that there are no snakes in the immediate area, I am able to stop to head into the tall grass to take photos.
These lilac puffs are gone now as of a month ago when summer arrived.  Now, that the heat of summer is here there are few flowers.
These past days, we had a considerable amount of much needed rain. This morning as we sit on the veranda, the sun peeked out shooting up the temperature in a dense layer of humidity.

 The simplest wild daisy stands out in the bush.


The heat from the single mug of coffee I have each morning, makes me feel all the hotter. But, at the moment we’re inclined to stay outside.  Our current visitors consist of a mom and three fast growing baby warthogs, a flock of 12 Helmeted Guinea Fowl, another mom and four baby warthogs, all regulars.  They co-exist rather well, as we often giggle over their innocuous interactions.

 This small aloe plant intrigued us with it’s “eye” in the center.
 


In the pouring rain on Sunday, the Helmeted Guinea Fowl stopped by much to our surprise.  Most of the wildlife stay under cover during severe weather.  Their dripping wet blue faces and matted feathers elicited a sad moan from me.

 

 Ms. Turtle scooting across the edge of the driveway.  We’ve spotted her in the same general
area of the yard on several occasions.


We humans are fortunate that we have the brain size to have overcome a life of living in the bush like animals.  How we’ve evolved!  Sadly, in the process of our evolution we’ve managed to reduce the available habitat for wildlife to continue to thrive. I could easily get out my soapbox on that topic but for today, I’ll remain quiet.

 Yikes!  What in the world is this?  We saw it while on the upstairs veranda on a nearby tree.
Watching it for several days without change, one day it was gone. Notice the tufts of hair growing
along some of the edges.
 

Today is an unusual day.  At noon, Okee Dokee will pick me up for the almost half hour drive to Komatipoort to purchase more data and a few odds and ends at the grocery store.  This will be the longest time Tom and I have been apart since we left Minnesota almost fifteen months ago.

Gee…what will he do while I’m away? 

An interesting frequent visitor..Too hot to handle…Kevin came to call…

Fairly frequently visitors, the Helmeted Guineafowl family stopped by yesterday afternoon.
Check out the “fluff” around the neck.  What a gorgeous shade of blue, not often seen in nature.

Perhaps, its the heat of summer.  This is comparable to July above the equator.  The heat and humidity are unbearable, especially in the afternoon.  The flies are equally annoying.  Our visitor population is down considerably in the heat when wildlife tends to stay under cover during the day hiding in the bush to stay cool.

On either side of the face are two hanging red tipped hanging piece of skin.  When the Helmeted Guineafowl move about, these swing around as would a pair of dangling earrings.

Its early morning now. Our hot cup of coffee adds to the sweating, causing our skin to glisten with perspiration.  Having lathered myself with repellent each morning after a shower, I notice the accumulation of the white lotion and sweat in the crook of my arms no more than 10 minutes after getting situated on the veranda.

The adorable chicks are growing fast but won’t exhibit signs of the blue skin on the heads for many more months to come.  They run very fast, following the parents when they leave, who mate for life, unlike many of the animals.

This morning there will be no long walk down our driveway to the road, leaving a trail of pellets.  The heat of the sun is more than I can handle this morning especially when the flies swarm me as I walk down the path.  I don’t think we’ll last long outside today. 

Yesterday morning we left out shrimp skin and tails for the carnivorous monitor lizard along with a raw egg.  This Helmeted Guineafowl checked them out but had no interest. Later in the day, I peeked out the door to find the monitor lizard eating the last of our offerings. But, she rapidly slithered away before I could get the camera.  We’d seen her digging in the dirt by the braai as we were leaving for our road trip.  Most likely, she was making a hole for her eggs which won’t hatch for up to 300 days after fertilization.

As for inside, there is only one room, beside the two bedroom that has AC where we can cool off, the upstairs loft.  With the high vaulted thatched ceiling, it never cools down much.  But, it does cool down enough to make it bearable.

We counted eight adults and three babies Helmeted Guineafowl, two of which weren’t visible in this photo.  We can’t freely move around when they visit since they will run off, and I mean RUN!  They are fast on their feet! 

On days such as these, I remind myself of Kenya with no AC in the bedrooms, no living room to escape to, in order to cool off.  I clamp my mouth shut and as always, we don’t complain.  What’s the point?

This morning, I looked up to see Kevin, the largest kudu in Marloth Park, named by its residents, staring at us while standing by the braai.  We couldn’t have been more thrilled. Not easily intimidated, we were able to freely move around the veranda to watch him and take photos. 

We still love it here. But, if we came back someday, it will be in their winter when its cool almost everyday. In the winter with no leaves on the trees, its easier to see the wildlife through the now dense bush.  During that period the animals live off of roots, digging into the hard soil for morsels of vegetation.  I’m sure that the pellets are more appreciated during that time, than now, when their natural habitat is lush with food.

Kevin showed no interest in the mineral lick after a warthog rubbed himself all over it, as shown in the video we posted yesterday.

As we sit outside writing here, a welcome breeze wafts our way from time to time, sometimes hot, others cool.  But the stillness predominates.  And, we sweat.

Kevin moved so close to the railing on the veranda we had to back up to avoid being hit with his massive antlers.

On days such as today, we usually last outdoors until noon or later, packing up our laptops, power cords, pellet containers, repellent, mugs, phone  and camera.  We can’t leave anything outdoors due to the monkeys. 

Kudus seem to seek out good photo opportunities.

In our old lives, we never sat outdoors on a 100F day, 38 C.  Life is different now.  We’re more tolerant, curious and in awe of our surroundings.  How we’ve changed!

Kevin is taller than the roof of the carport which lowest point is considerably taller than Tom’s reach.

So, of all things…just now, Kevin, the largest of the Kudus in Marloth Park. whom we’ve longed to have visit us, has appeared in our yard.  Lumbering his long legs through the braai (barbecue) area, stepping on the hose Tom has filling the pool and cutting off the water supply momentarily, he makes his way toward us, totally fearless of our presence.  Wow!  Kevin!  

He stayed around us for 20 minutes or so and then wandered off.  Moment later a shy duiker appeared, one then two, now three.

One last pose before heading on his way.


Taking photos, enjoying their presence, makes our hearts sing. So what if we’re sweating.  It’s all worth it!

Although we had three duikers in the yard, we were unable to get a shot of them together. They’re extremely shy requiring us to stay seated on the veranda.

Oh, oh. One of our regular warthog families of four has arrived.  I’d better go say “hi” and get some pellets.