2016 is going to be a GIRL'S trip. We leave Saturday, and fly direct to Charleston. Micaela is so excited to be coming with me, and I am just as excited to have her company. Ken and I decided it was an awesome opportunity for the two of us, as we don't know when we might have this opportunity again. She hopes to study Veterinary next year, and that is going to be a big time commitment for a number of years.
We are short of rain, and do hope that February and March will be nice and wet months! JohnD was able to do a LOT of hunting over the holidays, and he certainly helped keep our freezer stocked. This "Jackpot" day was one I don't think he will forget soon!
Brittle Bank Park Sporting Village Tent. The South Eastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, South Carolina is over the Valentine's Weekend.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Monday, December 28, 2015
With Micaela’s sights on vetinary school, she spent a week with Wighardt and their vet Rita. They were quite busy with darting Nyala, both for medical treatment as well as relocation. They also worked on one of our buffalo here.
We have yet another USA Visa application successful with us being granted 10 year multiple entry visas. I do wish that this was an online process too, as the trip to the embassy in Pretoria is never convenient!
The very old farm isuzu pickup truck that Ken and I used to go on honeymoon in, was finally sold and we were blessed to get a new Mahindra pickup for Ken. It’s a bit of a workhorse, and nothing glammerous, but hopefully the vehicle repairs and maintenance bill will be reduced! Camo has decided that it is HIS truck, and is on constant alert for it’s departure. He severely dislikes the fact that it does not have an open window to the back, as he does love to jump between the back and the front of the pickup. At least he has finally stopped hitting his head on the glass! :D
As always, this time of the year everyone is looking for meat for their families, both for our staff as well others. JohnD and Micaela have been able to do a fair bit of hunting, which they always enjoy!
We want to take the time to wish each and every one of you a very blessed Christmas, and a 2016 that is filled with God’s provision, God’s protection, God’s peace, as well as His Joy! For the Joy of the Lord is our Strength!
Both she and JohnD continue to make us so proud with their really wonderful school reports, and all of Micaela’s hard work paid off with her final average being her highest yet!
Micaela, Mom and I went to the Merensky Mother Daughter Day this year.
Johnathan Ball (in the middle)Tennis award
On another note..... Ken’s appointment with a local audiologist has confirmed what we have been struggling with for some time. He needs hearing aids. So he has been fitted with very small and incredibly smart little devices, that have given back to him sounds that he completely forgot existed! It took about two weeks for him to get used to having these things inside his ears, but we are all so proud of him for persevering. The bird songs, the crickets, the sound of tires on the dirt road…. And yes even the sound of bubbles (from diving into the reservoir on a hot day, having forgotten to take them out!!!) are all “new” to him. Best of all, he can hear us when we speak!
In November, I got a call from JohnD’s Oncology department Sister, to let us know that our beloved Dr de Jager is going to be retiring in January. Our next scheduled appointment to see him would only have been in April of next year, but we decided that we wanted to head back to Pretoria again to go and bid him farewell and to thank him again for his incredible gift to us. He gave JohnD a very thorough medical examination. We are so very blessed to let the world know that our JohnD does not require any further follow-up appointments, and Dr de Jager was happy to say that we can classify JohnD as cured. His files will remain in the Oncology department archives, should any future enquiry need to be made, but we can close this chapter in our lives! God is merciful, faithful, and He is GOOD! All honour and praise to HIM.
Ken absolutely spoilt me and left me speechless when he insisted on my taking time to go to Australia to see my family. My eldest sister from Zimbabwe, Jenny, was able to join me, (thank you so much Derek!) so the two of us flew to Sydney to spend 2 weeks with my middle sister Claire and her family, and our parents.
From left to right at the back is John, Ben, Daddy, Pete. Middle row is Mom, Jenny, Myself and Claire. Front are Zara and Annabel.
Having not planned this trip to Australia ahead of time, I had very little time to acquire an Australian Visa. On realizing that my online application was going absolutely nowhere, we began to panic. God did a real Miracle for me. Using my British heritage I was able to get an immediate online Australian Visa, the morning of my departure. Yes, my nerves were a little frayed, but oh the joy of knowing that I would be able to go! My visa in my South African passport was issued two weeks after my return to South Africa! Fortunately it is valid for a year, so hopefully it will not go to waste!
During the September / October school break, we had the privilege of taking Ken’s folks with us to Mozambique for about 10 days. We have not had a holiday with Dad and Mom since the kids were very small, and we used to head up to Zimbabwe for family Christmas celebrations. It was a really lovely break, and the wonderful weather, beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and plenty of rest was good for all of us!
Louis du Preez was kind enough to take us deep sea fishing on two different occasions, and my goodness were we blessed with some tremendous fishing experiences. My two men were WORN OUT!
What a joy to host Will and Lynn Paulsen for a week, with time in Kruger National Park, that I had the rare privilege of enjoying too!
Jim and Terry Beach from Charleston joined us again for their 2nd safari, and that was a lot of fun again! J They also got to spend some time in the Kruger National Park, and up close to the Limpopo River for Eland.
Wighardt helped us out on this hunt, and they bagged some beautiful trophies!
Camo was on duty like always, but was seldom needed, as Wighardt brought his pointer Jessy to help out.
Our local resident Duiker at Shi-awela.
Buffalo in Kruger National Park.
Our Lodge kitchen has got a new “pre-loved” fridge, thanks Cathy! With Cathy moving back to the farm to stay with Dad and Mom, her fridge is a very WELCOME addition to my kitchen there! Micaela has the joy of her microwave and blender at Merensky, as with her now being a Hostel Prefect, she has her own room, and has the space for it!
We had yet another successful Game Capture, despite conditions so very dry, it all went smoothly. We were abundantly blessed with early rains, and this gave immediate relief to us all, with not only temperatures dropping, but also the fire risk decreasing.
Johnd’s grade 9 drama team won diamond in the Eisteddfods. It is fun to watch them all operating out of their usual character, and JohnD certainly has enjoyed the challenges of taking on different characters! With both Carol and Anne’s (his Grandma and his Gunna) passion for the stage and acting, it’s great to have the interest in it continue.
Kirsten’s (Cathy's daughter) visit was another delight to us all, and was just way too short. We tried to tackle completely re-doing our website, and got about a quarter of the work done. So that is next on my list of priorities.