And the Butt’s Have it…

One of the funniest occurrences that I seem to encounter frequently is that I’m always getting the tail end of things…

Fuzzy Butt
Misty Morning Bedraggled Butt
A “Follow Me” Tail by a Female Lion
“Females raise their tail to give a ‘follow me’ signal to their cubs and also use it to communicate with each other when hunting prey”
“Tourist’s are a Pain” Butts
A Beautiful Lonely One

But…wonderfully not at every photographic encounter…

With People it seems to Add to the Atmosphere…😂
Hmmmm🤔…Maybe they’re all just looking Forward to New Possibilities…
The End…

March 2022 Awards

Sun Rise in Flowers ⭐ Score 34 Gold

Roosvygie Score 32 Silver Award

I haven’t heard the comments from the judges yet…but after reviewing…although I enjoy looking at it…it really doesn’t evoke a lot of emotion…there is no story either…

Veil of Blue Score 32 Silver
Advancement Detail

This is how the awards are rated and what is needed for advancement…of course, being incredibly impatient and itchy to reach for the next tier… it’s a great incentive to grow in my skills daily…

I plan to start entering more national salons this year…in June joining the PSSA (Photographic Society if South Africa) to increase my learning curve on a greater level…and possibly next year join the PSA (Photographic Society of America) and enter some international salons…

I put off entering any competitions for over a year…not wanting to be “judged”…but one of the best learning experiences that I have had…the critiques are informative for continued growth…Silver stars feel like a failure…not hitting the golden moon…only the shiny stars…

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

What future do I see with this passion…I always want to be the best at what I do…I want to dig deep and see what my potential is…I have used this before…I 💙this quote and want to feel like this at the end…

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

Our lives are meant to be shared…given away…and in the giving…we are replenished to overflowing…

To give back to children of future generations…to give kids the ability to express themselves in with photography…to connect to the world…to see the beauty in lives that are empty of it, filled with ugliness …give them a voice for societal change, highlighting social issues and stigmas…and to introduce graphic art, probable future employment opportunities…art is not seen as a meaningful pursuit, especially in Africa…in my opinion it is an intracule part of humanity…a spiritual purpose for those with a passion…

“A photograph can inspire some, change someone’s views, shake someone’s ideals, educate, and inspire others to act, etc. They may invoke natural species ‘ innermost emotions such as fear, anxiety, etc. Not only do photographs affect personal lives. They can affect the public as well.” https://thriveglobal.com/stories/importance-of-photography-in-our-lives/

“I hope that my work will encourage self-expression in others and stimulate the search for beauty and creative excitement in the great world around us.” (Amen!…me too❣)

— Ansel Adams

All the Imperfect…

100% perfectly imperfect…just like me

Going through images and deleting ones not useful for anything or not perfect enough for competition…it is like trying to choose a favorite child…most with flaws…but seemingly impossible to just erase…

“Life isn’t meant to be lived perfectly…but merely to be lived. Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly, imperfectly, magically lived.” – Mandy Hale, ‘The Single Woman: Life, Love, And A Dash Of Sass’

“Imperfection is a form of freedom.” – Anh Ngo.

Beauty even in the unwanted and ugly perceived…

“At some point, I’m just of the mind that no art is perfect, and it shouldn’t be perfect.” ~ Colman Domingo.

“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.” – John Ruskin
This sweet boy always wanted to come with us…such a beautiful face

Beauty is often in the ordinary

What is beautiful in your life today…look around…it’s there❣

Life, love and magic in your day…

January Awards

…not what I hoped…but a great way to learn and improve is by failing. I knew that the dragonfly was not sharp…but I loved the story that it told❤

Silver Award –Orange Throated Long Claw... (The wind made his body feathers look out of focus)
Silver Award Beauty in Age (Different Lighting would have Added More Texture)

Silver Award – Dragon Fly Kisses
winston churchill quote

A Place that Time Forgot

In the heart of the sizzling arid Karoo lies a small quaint village…Nieu-Bethesda…A little artist town with dusty untarred roads…approximately 50K (31 miles) from the town of Graaff-Reinet…

Karoo…not a Kangaroos in sight…maybe a herd of  Springbok or the ever present dorper sheep with their distinctive black heads…a mountain tortoise crossing the road…now and then…clean shaped hills or koppies capped with the hard jagged rock formations formed over millions of years..

The original inhabitants were the Bushman or San people…who named the area the “Karoo”…a Bushman word meaning “dry space”…

I had never traveled into this semi-desert region since I arrived in South Africa… on the central plateau of the western half of South Africa… place of relentless sunshine… a vast, open, arid region dominated by low-shrub vegetation and abundance of rock cropping’s…

Halfway to Camdeboo National Park in the Karoo

Doesn’t look like a desert…looks can be deceiving though…in stopping to take this photograph…the surrounding area told a vastly different story…the photos below were all taken at the same location…recent rain in the area had brightened up the brown to a more vibrant green…

Mr. P and I had taken a couple of days to breathe the desert air to check out a birding route that was located in a national state Park named Camdeboo…a park that literally surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet… over 240 bird species and the famous breathtaking Valley of Desolation…towering dolerite columns rising to heights of up to 120 meters…formed by volcanic and erosive forces over a period of 200 million years…Wow!!!

It was over 100F that day…hot and windless…sweating (or glistening as the ladies are more prone to do) as I climbed over stones and up a narrow dirt path to the top…the view was breathtaking…towers of Sheer cliffs and precariously balanced columns of Dolerite rise 120 metres from the valley floor … worth the trip to see what millions of years have created…makes me wonder what the next 120 million years will create on this magic blue marble in the sky…

We still had some time in the day and following the suggestion of our hostess at the B&B…we took a short drive to visit the renown “Owl House” in Neiu Bethesada…off we went to check out this quirky little town…

Almost missing the turnoff…just a small country road…surrounded by fence…scrub land…with interest in what we might find…we traveled on…

The narrow road started slowly spiraling downward…descending we were on the outside edge of the road…I held my breath, closed my eyes, and wondered if we should go back when I saw a car coming towards us…just nowhere to turn around… and …after all…just another adventure

Breathing again at the bottom of the hill…we continued forward…around a sharp bend in the road…almost running into a white farmhouse smack dab in the middle…delineating where the road changed from blacktop to a dirt and gravel lane…how could we be on the right road to the famous “Owl House”…where thousands of visitors stop in to see this treasure of either weird or wonderful (depending on your preferences) art is located…onward, Mr. P…

Dusty, dirty road that seemingly led nowhere…passing abandoned buildings…now only inhabited by Mother Nature and her children…

Like a valley of desolation…everything in ruins

We continued…the road would eventually end up somewhere…we hoped…

Tree lined dirt roads…a dusty padstal…which is an Afrikaans word that many locals use, and roughly translated means “shop next to the road”… so, there was life somewhere…at least at one time in this remote part of the world…finally the town came into sight…

Quiet street scene in Nieu Bethesda
It was not what I had envisioned…but there was an other worldly charm about it…https://www.karoo-southafrica.com/

Our first stop was not the “Owl House”…but the Kitching Fossil Exploration Center…Mr. P’s ongoing fascination with dinosaurs, our history, and how the earth began…

A small museum that shows fossils of life 50 million years before the dinosaurs…what life was like in Nieu-Bethesda 255 million years ago…James William Kitching (6 February 1922 – 24 December 2003) was a South African vertebrate paleontologist who was born in Nieu Bethesada…at six years old he scoured the countryside to find specimens for a paleontologist named Robert Broom…his becoming one of the world’s greatest fossil finders had begun…I had never been aware of the life in the Permian Period, “populated by mammal-like reptiles called therapsids”…learned something new

https://www.sa-venues.com

Down the street to the where Helen Elizabeth Martins who was a shy, retiring recluse… rarely seen outside on the streets of Nieu Bethesda… where she create a magical inner kingdom that she breathed into life…

Miss Helen’s imagination transformed humble materials such as cement, glass, mirrors and wire into a secret, magical world that she shared with few, drawing upon Bible stories, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Orient, and everyday objects – all of which blended to create a personal cosmology.

https://theowlhouse.co.za

Her life had been tragic and unhappy…after the death of her mother and abusive father…she began to use her inner creativity and imagination to transform her home into a wonderland of color, light, and texture … an escape from the dullness and despair of her previous life…

She transformed every space within her house…changed by finely ground glass of assorted colors using an old-fashioned coffee grinder…

The sadness of her life was palatable to me…the black ground glass in her father’s bricked up old room…called the Lion’s Den… the fact that she committed suicide when she found out that she was going blind due to the long-term exposure to the crushed glass she used…yet, she had been happy creating and envisioning new work daily with her helpers…and left behind the richness of an “outsider” artist …

“Over the years Miss Helen and her helpers added to the mostly quasi-religious tableaus. Mythical figures started to appear, half human, half creature. Today it is a forest of some 500 statues, intense, baffling and compelling. Miss Helen committed suicide in 1976 by swallowing caustic soda. She left behind a legacy of intrigue – her kingdom sparks the imagination like few other places in South Africa…”

https://www.sa-venues.com

At the Owl House…I focused on the beauty that spoke to me…the vibration of the earth…alive and creating poetry for those who listen with their heart and not just their eyes…for me it is always in the perspective…

I embrace the journey to Neiu Bethesada…not what I expected…”old places have soul” …a place of that will fill my own soul in the remembering… may your journey’s take you to all the magical places you never even began to think about…

Love, laughter and lots of magic for your life travels…

Floral Bouquet for You…

“Flowers are the music of the ground. From earth’s lips spoken without sound.”

Edwin Curran
Blossoms Dreaming

Flowers are a gift from the earth…this blog is to celebrate those gifts…a pairing of quotes and images to brighten your day…

“Like wildflowers; you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.”

E.V.

Open the Bloom of your heart and become a gift of beauty to the world.” ~Bryant McGill
“A flower blossoms for its own joy.” ~Oscar Wilde

“Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.”

Jim Carrey

A Flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms. ~Zen Shin

“We don’t ask a flower any special reason for its existence. We just look at it and are able to accept it as being something different for ourselves”

Gwendolyn Brooks

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”

I hope that you have enjoyed the beauty of our nature and it brings peace to your soul….Much love, joy, and peace for your day…sent with love❣

***I would enjoy hearing what your favorite photos are…I need three to enter the Photo Competition at the end of the month 😃

The Path Mr. P, Bacchus (our faithful companion) and I Walk…Port Elizabeth

South African Black Ostrich…

The (Struthio camelus domesticus), the black necked ostrich, Cape Ostrich or Southern ostrich…although only the males have the bold black-and-white coloring that they use to attract females…Females, on the other hand, are a drab light brown…

A simple elegant wedding in a family member’s house at the Cape…a rainy weekend that turned into the most “perfect” wedding day with sunshine and cool breezes…just for me, I would imagine😉…I had the cake and flowers that I had always dreamed of…surrounded by my South Africa family and friends…and then, of course, my knight in amour who invited me to be his “forever’ love…to top the week off…my son flew 36 hours to give me away…

He had never been to South Africa…while he didn’t have a lot of time to venture through the country…we did have a day to take him to Addo…a wonderful spring day with playful babies and zebra love…it was wonderful to be able to share the beauty of the country with him…

Big Daddy Telling Us it was time to move a little further away… (Video by my son) …

It’s a little late being December, but Mother Nature has her own time frame (usually mating season is between July and November) …the male ostrich’s beak and legs turn red/pink to attract the female for mating…after dancing for her favors…for as long as it takes…men and their antics😉

Bet you didn’t know all these interesting facts…

Ostrich eyes are about the size of billiard balls…measuring about 2″ across…they take so much room in the skull that its brain is smaller than either one of its eyeballs…about the size of a walnut…making them not very adept at alluding predators…they tend to run in circles…they need those enormous eyes with its a high number of photoreceptor cells combined with the sheer size of the image from the lens help them see phenomenal details of the predators even from great distances… as far as 2.2 miles (3.5 km)… https://m.facebook.com/ScienceEvidenceIntelligence/photos/a.316858809164834/635684480615597/?type=3&source=57&__tn__=EH-R

Ostriches are the largest bird (an adult rooster can be 6 to 10 ft and weight up to 340 lbs…and while they can’t fly…they’re puny wings couldn’t lift their heavy bodies off the ground, boy, can they run…they can cover 5m (approx. 16.5 ft) in one stride and can sprint over 70 k/hr (about 43.5 mph) using their wings to balance as they run and rudders to change direction …AND they don’t bury their heads in the sand…they wouldn’t be able to breath😂 and definitely would not have survived for million years…The oldest fossil relatives of ostriches belong to the species Calciavis grandei, which were excavated from the Green River Formation in Wyoming and date to some 56 million to 34 million years ago https://www.britannica.com/animal/ostrich

They do dig holes in the sand to bury their eggs…and they lay their heads flat on the ground for several reasons…when they sleep, when they sense trouble to try and become less visible…they may flop on the ground with their heads outstretched…their coloring blending with the sandy ground and assisting in camouflaging themselves… they sometimes lay their head flat on the ground to swallow sand and pebbles… the hard grit helps them to grind their food in their crop… from a distance, the ostrich does look like it’s burying its head in the sand…. and that may be where the myth began…supposedly with that great Roman thinker, Pliny the Elder (23-79AD) https://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2006/11/02/1777947.htm

Ostriches typically live in a herd of a dozen or less with an Alpha male and a dominant hen… a successful territorial male is polygamous, but will only form a “pair” bond with a ‘major’ female…he mates with the dominant hen (his favorite) … normally mating for life…but forms a complex structure with the other hens …the females who have become part of the ostrich harem may mate with the Alpha male or with wandering males …

The favorite female will lay around 7-10 eggs …all the hens will place their eggs in the nest dug by the male of the dominant hen to incubate sometimes up to 60 eggs…here its “put your eggs all in one basket” philosophy …she has a plan (the devious she-devil) …she will move the lesser hens’ eggs to the edge and move hers to the middle of the nest… When she sees a predator, she will sacrifice another hen’s egg by rolling it away from the nest beforehand…

Even though the Alpha male may be a regular Cassanova…he is a good father…helping the female by taking turns incubating the eggs for about 6 weeks…due to their camouflage coloring…normally she sits on the eggs during the day, and he sits on them during the night…so seeing the male nesting during the day was surprising (maybe she just needed a break to stretch her long legs)…sitting on 60 of the largest eggs in the world… at 15 cm (6 in.) long and weighing 1.5 kg (3 lb.) is no easy task…

Whoever survives the hyenas, jackals, and vultures and other predators will be born with that spiky, greyish brown down…they grow approx. 30 cm (1 ft.) each month…and in six months they will be as tall as their parents…they start wandering from the nest with their parents a few days after hatching and in four months they will start to grow feathers … reaching sexual maturity around three or four years old…which is when males grow their black-and-white feathers, and the poor colorless (my personal commentary) females continue to have their brown plumage…

Chicks are born with a spiky, greyish-brown down. They grow brown feathers after 4 months. Then around 3-4 years, ostriches reach sexual maturity. Males develop a striking black and white plumage while females continue to have a brown plumage

For millennium… dynamic and colorful bird plumage has been used for decoration…for many cultures…through time…unusual feathers were sometimes worn as a way of displaying one’s high societal rank…the more exotic the feathers…the higher one’s ranking…through the 18th century both men and women of the upper class wore feathers in their hats… “It was at this time, in England, that the figurative phrase “a feather in one’s hat” was introduced and came to mean that an individual had achieved some significant accomplishment” https://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/feathers-in-regency-fashion/

As though these poor birds didn’t have enough problems with natural predators such as cheetahs, lions, leopards, hunting dogs and spotted hyenas…as early as the 16th century these wild birds were hunted throughout Africa… providing the extremely rare product for important women like Queen Elizabeth I and Marie Antoinette to use in the elaborate headdresses …

Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape of South Africa in 1652 and reported see large flocks… Ostrich feathers were exported from South Africa as early as 1859…as the emigrant farmers became fully aware of the lucrative return on feathers……the farmers soon domesticated the ostriches… trekking into the karoo and the Eastern Cape to steal the wild chicks and eggs… Incubating them……During this feather boom there were more than 77 600 ostriches on farms in the area and in 1914 there were close to a million ostriches…

BETWEEN 1903 AND 1913, OSTRICH FEATHER EXPORTS TOTALED A STAGGERING £19 MILLION (25 MILLION US), TRAILING ONLY GOLD, DIAMONDS AND WOOL.

https://www.ozy.com/true-and-stories/the-rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-south-africas-ostrich-king/82169/
Woman wearing a hat with ostrich feather. Produced by the Fitzall Bandeau Company as part of their Fitzall Fashions series. (Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

The farmers who were the pioneers of the ostrich industry, which commenced in the Oudtshoorn district during the middle of the 19th Century in part to the climate being almost identical to the ostrich’s original habitat…and therefore Oudtshoorn became known as the Ostrich Capital of the World… and remains to this day…where you can even take a giddy exhilarating ostrich ride…but we just bought Mr. P a beautiful ostrich leather belt and tried some biltong…

Southern Tip of Africa

“Today, ostrich farms are among the most profitable agricultural projects. They are often referred to as “the farms of the future” because of the large variety of products and hence their high profit potential. Ostriches are raised commercially for their meat, hide and feathers”… https://www.fao.org/3/v6200t/v6200t02.htm

 One of Mr. P’s and I jaunts to Cape Town…we stopped in Oudtshoorn to check it out…

Now that’s my kind of Ostrich
😏 It was a rather tasty treat…dried ostrich (jerky or biltong)

Even the ostrich, with its long neck and large eyes, cannot see what’s in the future

An African Proverb

Much love, laughter, and magic for your day❣

Top 23 Quotes and Sayings about "OSTRICHES" | inspiringquotes.us

Amakhala…Nature in all it’s Glory

“The beauty of Africa is not man made, it is natures gift to humanity.”
― Paul Oxton

When life becomes hectic and emotional turmoil…the panic…agitation…and confusion surrounds the soul…John Burroughs said it best…”I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

Amakhala is such a peaceful balm…nature’s delightfully restful and calming potion

Situated only about an hour (84 km) from home…a luxurious Safari Lodge is hidden in a valley of native bush…Amakhala is home to 5 of the 9 plant biomes here… the most common biome is the Albany Thicket, which is made up of dense shrubs, herbaceous plants and succulent trees…

Mixtures of Rich and Subtle hues being brushed against the canvas of the evening sky

This is a “Certificate of Excellence” award winning four star safari lodge…beginning in 1999 as a joint conservation venture between 6 families that were direct descendants of families that settled in the area in the 19th century to farm sheep and cattle…little by little the land was rehabilitated and animals that had freely roamed the area were reintroduced

One of the unfortunate consequences of Pandemic has been the loss of bookings in the tourism industry…with an unbeatable package deal we were able to book a 2 night, 3 day Safari package…a new mind boggling event in my life living here in South Africa…

I felt like I had been dropped into a magical wonderland…better than any “rabbit hole” I had gone down before…the colors of this world…the natural smells of earth and nature…the exquisite culinary tastes…the feeling of peace and calmness that can only be found in the wild…

Greeted by the most warm and amicable staff…we were immediately made to feel right at home…Norman being the most surprisingly unexpected of our welcoming committee…

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals… In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

~Henry Beston

Norman is the wrinkly grumpy old man bachelor that freely roams the park…after luggage drop off and stretching legs…we had almost gotten to the parking area and out of the bush comes one of the largest elephant that I have encountered…and I have never seen Mr. P. reverse so quickly…Norman just slowly ambled down to us…taking his sweet time to come and investigate who the new interlopers were…

Like a crotchety old geezer…didn’t care that his lunch crumbs were still stuck on his truck…he continued to snack while he contemplated whether we should be allowed to stay…finally deciding that we were harmless…he slowly sauntered off in search of more twigs and leaves to fill the never ending elephant pit of a stomach…an elephant’s life…eat…sleep…and poop…eating about 16 hours out of the day…sleep 4 to 6 hours and producing lots and lots of manure…200 to 250 pounds per day… oh, and produce enough methane gas – LOTS AND LOTS OF GAS😂…Properly equipped, a car could travel 20 miles on the amount of methane produced by one elephant in a single day https://elephantconservation.org/elephants/just-for-kids

Quotes about Elephants (182 quotes)

I just adored the time worn gnarled and tuskless Norman…he made the entire stay specially entertaining and we missed him when he left to wander far from the camp…

A refreshing chilled glass of lemonade while checking in and then we were escorted down a path winding through native brush…escorted to our tranquil suite…tented and thatched…the perfect combination for me…I think it was what I’ve heard described as “Glamping”…the experience of the “Great Out Doors” with the essentials of mattress, indoor toilet and running water…this was the epitome of elegance and good taste…wrapped with the wonderous sight, smell and energy of nature in all of her abundant splendor…

After a deliciously scrumptious dinner…warmed by the fire and conversation with new friends….we were escorted back to our hideaway…with all the fresh air and excitement we fell into an exhausted sleep….dreaming of all the wonders that the next day might hold…

“A well spent day brings happy sleep.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Focus your intention on your dreams, you can wave magic when you set your heart and mind to it – Author: Miranda Kerr