I started this blog on 1 January 2010 with a photo of my husband lying in this hammock. Today I end the challenge with a photo of our grandson, Nicholas enjoying the same comfortable hammock. Nicholas was born on 27 January this year and he is a major blessing. It's been a wonderful year with many exciting events - our trip to East Africa, our eldest daughter's visit in November and visits with our children and two grandsons being other highlights. I have learned a little bit about photography, I've realized what a wonderful Creator we have, I've learned to appreciate nature in a new way through the lens of my camera. It's been an awesome year and I thank my friends on Facebook for their encouragement and guidance as we've completed this challenge together. Wow! What a year. I wish all my family and friends blessings upon blessings in 2011. This will be the last entry into this blog as I'll have to start a new one for 2011.
Today I was quite late getting my picture. I went outside after 6pm searching for a subject. I was standing in front of the Abelia bush when I spied this frantic little bee searching for nectar so late in the day - he also had to make the deadline. Together we met the deadline.
Our last day at Doodsklip. This by the way is the rock from which the place gets its name. I played with the camera whilst Mark was tying everything back onto the roof of the Jeep for the trip home....
Today was bike riding. The rain let up enough for us to get out onto the road. This is a view from the top of a long hill that we pushed the bikes up. You can see the road snaking away in the distance round the mountain. Of course it was great fun free wheeling down the other side...
Scenery in Baviaanskloof is breathtaking and of course it's unspoiled. There is so much variety. The reserve has seven of South Africa's nine biomes. A truly beautiful place.
We had a very simple Christmas lunch in our "dining room" under a huge fig reminiscent of the Magic Faraway Tree. It rained all day but thanks to Mark's great tarpaulin skillfully hung from the tree we were able to remain warm and dry. We spent most of the day reading and chatting. We had the whole campsite to ourselves so it was truly "peace on Earth".
We are spending the Christmas weekend at a campsite in the Baviaanskloof wilderness area - far from the madding crowd. Mark and I had the campsite to ourselves. This is a view of the mountains from the plateau on the way to our site. The flowers in the foreground are pincushion proteas.
This is one of the few photos of butterflies I have been able to take. This one settled on the lavender bush and stayed there long enough for me to take a photo. He was enjoying a spot of aromatherapy early in the morning.
This morning we went to the shops early to stock up with anything we might need until the Christmas rush is over. We bought a couple of packets of festive chocolates at the same time. Of course as soon as we came home these chocolates started calling us from the cupboard. Save us from temptation.....
It was quite late when I went out into the garden yesterday and at first I battled to find a subject to photograph. I found this beautiful electric blue insect on the daisy bush. I struggled to get the light right - I had to change the ISO to 800. I'm still struggling with getting the settings right on my camera.
Today Mark had to leave me at the cottage whilst he went off to a site meeting about two hours away. The weather was rainy all day so I had the luxury of staying warm and cosy in the cottage and enjoying the absolute peace. Mark has been working on this puzzle and I spent most of the day adding to it. Sadly we had to break it up later in the day before we left for home but it was fun whilst it lasted.
We visited this site in an area called the Edge at Hogsback. Beyond this Labyrinth there is a cliff which drops to the plain below - hence the name, the Edge. This Labyrinth is designed along the lines of the famous labyrinth at Chartres in France. It's similar to the one at Botha's Hill in KwaZulu Natal. I prayer walked this labyrinth today. A total of 1.4km to walk to the centre and out again.
We are spending three nights in Hogsback at our friends cottage. Hoggies is a unique little community high above the town of Alice. It's like a little bit of the KZN Midlands Meander in the middle of the Eastern Cape. Today we visited an area called the Arboretum. It's a forested area with a waterfall called the 39 Steps Falls. Trees from all over the world have been planted here. It's a really attractive park-like area where one can walk, enjoy nature, have a picnic and just chill out. This is a shot of the lower part of the falls.
Today we were invited to lunch at my Dad's home for Alzheimer's sufferers. It's called Heartfelt, a wonderful place of love and caring. Here are some of the staff setting up the tables for the dinner. In fact this is the only formal Christmas dinner we will have this year. Mark and I are going to be alone this year and we're taking the opportunity to go camping. Thank you Hearfelt for a wonderful day.
Today was the last day of our school year. A whole five week summer break ahead of us. Yay!
We were invited to friends for drinks and snacks in the evening. Their home is on one of the best sites in the whole of PE with magnificent 180 degree views of the city. This is a shot of the city lights. The foreground is in the suburb so not so many lights. It was a relaxing and convivial evening with friends.
Yesterday I drove from Qumbu to Gonubie where I spent the night with my dear friend Claire - we've been friends since primary school. I then got up at 5am and drove south to Port Elizabeth, arriving at school at 8:30am.
At home I looked for a photo topic in the garden and was amazed to find this flax (pink and green leaved plant) with an orange and yellow spray of flowers growing from it. It seems incongruous somehow. The pink flower back left is a pelargonium that is very prolific in my garden. I never even knew that Flax got flowers .... I live and learn.
I always marvel at how creative people can be. This attractive wall feature is so simply created using a trellis and planting diplodenia to creep up it. This is at the entrance to my guesthouse in Mthatha. So pretty but simple.
Mthatha is a hub town in the Eastern Cape. The main N2 highway passes through it on the main street and it's a commercial centre for a vast rural area. The result is constant traffic chaos and absolutely no respect for traffic laws. There are plenty of police around but they seem incapable of controlling the drivers - especially at intersections where the local sport seems to be to create a gridlock. One just have to keep one's sense of humour and be patient. Road rage is definitely not an option in this situation.
This is a view of the training venue and a few of the teachers hard at work. The computers were not networked and there was no Internet of course but we managed to get through the three days of intense work. It was a real privilege meeting people from a small town I've only previously driven through. Their enthusiasm and friendliness made me feel welcome.
I spent a large chunk of today on the road and only arrived at my guest house late in the afternoon. This is the view from the front verandah of my unit. I'm here to do Intel Elements training in Qumbu for three days. It's quite an adventure driving for six and a half hours on my own and staying in a strange place. I'm looking forward to the training and meeting the teachers in Qumbu.
After an afternoon nap I woke to cloudy skies and wind. I thought I was too late to find any insects in the garden. I actually found a few - aphids on the roses, a spider and this little yellow ladybird. Very cute. He was the one who came out the clearest on macro.
Well here it is. The drugs are from the doctor and the chocs are from a friend in our cell group. Yum. One for you - one for me; two for you - one, two for me; three for you - one, two, three for you.... That's how it's done. :-)
Today our grade 3 class graduates. Unfortunately our school only goes up to grade 3 so they have to move on to other schools. Here is our principal delivering her last Principal's Report. She retires at the end of term after 14 years at the school.
Today was our monthly hike - a group of us from church do a hike on the last Sunday of the month. Our hike was in the Cape Recife area - the southernmost tip of the greater Port Elizabeth area. It's a marine reserve and there's so much to see. We had a great walk even though it was windy and raining at times.
We passed this beacon on the beach. I don't usually like putting the subject of my photos in the centre but with the fanned out cloud formation there was no other way with this one. The beacon stands as a lonely sentinel.....
This mom and baby were stepping out in the Harpoor Dam area of Addo Elephant Park today. He is still quite young because he doesn't yet have control of his trunk - it just sort of flops about. He was really cute and really serious about walking off with Mum.
Another day when I got to the end of it and still didn't have a photo. Time to try out my night setting on my camera. This was taken at 7:38pm - just before the the last light of the day disappeared. Drama and shadows.
My latest macro attempt. I enjoyed shooting this little guy. I have to go and sit down the side of the house on my little green stool and wait for something to come along. Today this chap posed beautifully for me. I really need to get this macro thing taped.
I continue to try to improve my macro shots. Today I stood near a tree with these fluffy flowers which is attracting bees. This little bee buzzed by and I managed to get this shot. Still now the perfect shot but I'll keep practicing......
Today whilst enjoying my usual walk around the garden I saw that something had been eating the nasturtiums. I started looking for the culprit and spied not one but a whole cluster of caterpillars munching away at the nasturtiums. Well I only hope they'll turn into beautiful butterflies.
I put a pot of apricots and sugar on to simmer while I was watching an episode of "My Family" on TV. Inevitably I forgot to check on it and this was the result. Oh no!!! one big sticky mess. The jam turned out just fine but there is lots of it missing.....
Here is the best looking bunch of children and grandchildren any parents could wish for and each of them is a really special person in our lives. Thank you Sam for giving us an opportunity to get together. Happy 35th birthday.
Our daughter, Sam is having a birthday lunch tomorrow. One of her greatest wishes was to have her whole family with her but unfortunately her Dad was going to be at a staff function. Well the function was canceled so he flew up to Durban to join us - as a big surprise to Sam. Here she is finding him at our gathering for the first time. Surprise!!!
I flew to Durban today and went to stay with brother Gav and his wife Jill. I suddenly realised I hadn't taken a photo all day. Jill placed this beautiful bowl of fruit in front of us at the end of supper and it became my photo topic of the day. Really delicious and healthy.
I was wandering around the garden looking for a suitable picture when I saw this section of the wall creeper. I'm always fascinated by the little suckers that stick the plant to the wall. They remind me of those little tree frogs and their little feet stuck to a wall or tree. Interesting plant.
Our daughter, Sam and her two Kiwi friends Jo and Chris took the opportunity today to catch up on some laundry. I was amused at them all helping hang the washing on the windy drier. Great team work guys.
I love seeing wild animals in the wild. We saw this poor beast in a lion park today. He looks in good condition and his surroundings aren't too bad but he's closed - he's not in the wild. He can't hunt for his own food. Tragic. I felt very sad to see him here. But he is a magnificent beast. Very regal...