"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Look who paid us a visit...

We reckon that moving to, and living on the farm, growing whatever will grow in those conditions, will bring more peace and quiet to our lives.  Less of the rush, rush, rush, and more time to actually enjoy each day as it happens.

I am looking forward to entertaining those who would like to share our experience when they have the time to pop in for a visit.

But, as we discovered this past December, there are some visitors who will not be quite so welcome.  Not ever!

This is Muffin, NGirl's new Pekinese puppy.  Muffin turned out to be a very welcome visitor because he developed a particular liking for large green grashoppers / crickets / locusts...
First the right paw went out.  Squish.  Then the left paw.  Scrape... squish. This was repeated until...
Good boy, Muffin :)
The object landed with it's feet / legs / what would you call them, in the air. Muffin managed to wipe out at least 4 - 5 of these in his last few nights.  Well done, Muffin!
As John Cleese said in the one Monty Python skit:
"This (locust) is deceased.
It has ceased to live.  It is an ex-(locust)."
They are the most revolting insects, for the noise they make is unlike any noise I have heard before.  Not the irritating, piercing "chirp chirp" of a cricket, but more like a rasping, grating noise - quite peculiar.  And not one which would be conducive to a good night's sleep.

The solution to this problem, if you don't have a Muffin in your life - is, if you have lights on inside, keep the doors and windows closed - otherwise you'll have these unwelcome visitors!

There were more of these enormous worms too - and they got sorted out with a quick squirt of our special mixture...  A heavy boot also does the trick. Messy - yes.  But it works.

They are beautiful, if very destructive insects, but I wonder what they look like as butterflies?
More locusts were lurking in the lemon trees - this time the quick squirt took less than 10 seconds to take effect.
Can you see the locust lurking in the lemon tree?
The result...  Done and dusted LOL  You're not going to damage my lemon trees if I can help it.
I'm not too sure if this palm-sized fellow is a toad or a frog - but he is welcome.  Even though as a child I stood on one with bare feet, I try and block out the memory when I come across one.  Mosquitoes, crickets / grasshoppers / locusts - they are all surely on his menu?
Looking for one of Muffin's "toys" which
escaped highlighted this chap skulking
in the corner of the lounge...
John, our helper / labourer, was a mine of useful information.  One of his suggestions was that I place the emerging pumpkins on a bed of straw and...   
... covered by yet more straw.  This is supposedly to prevent the fruit from getting stung.  I know it gets stung, but I have no idea by what... can anyone help?
Pumpkins "smothered" in straw
For those who have followed my blog for a while, you know about our solar shower enclosure around the caravan.  We decided to move the caravan as it is blocking our sunset view.  So that has been shifted to the other side of the house, where it is also less windy, and exposed.  That left us with the temporary shower shadecloth structure.  Initially, we were going to take it all down, so we started moving the sandbags which are placed around the base. However... 
Temporary shower structure at the side of the caravan
As John was emptying the contents of the bags into the wheelbarrow, he heard, and saw, something out of the corner of his eye.  Closer inspection caused him to shout out: "Meneer, SLANG"!  ("Sir - SNAKE").
It's just had it's head bashed in... and it continued
to move for another couple of hours...
Bearing in mind that MKid, and two additional dogs, were due to arrive three days later, RMan grabbed his gun, and taking aim - gave the trigger a careful and considered pull.  A couple of hard whacks to the head by John finished the job off satisfactorily :)
A 1.8 mtr Cape Cobra
Lastly, can anyone identify what insect is on the back of this leaf?  I found it in my veggie patch - and the plant was covered with them.  Buried under the sprawling tomatoes, the base / roots of the plant wasn't easy to find but I managed to yank it out.  But I would dearly love to know what they are.


  1. I need a puppy like that! Good dog :) I'm sad about the snake though :(

  2. Oh. My. God.
    I HATE snakes.
    It was one of the main reasons we didn't move out west when hubby retired.
    I would die a thousand deaths if I saw that in my yard.

  3. Slowvelder - I know. But we couldn't take the chance with our grandson and two dogs arriving shortly. And it looked like the snake had been in it's "home" for some time. Not to sure where the missus is...?

    Sue - I'm not mad about them either, but it takes all sorts of creatures to make up this planet we live on...

  4. Looks like fighting off the beasties is a full time job around there. We welcome snakes into our garden but of course none of ours are poisoness. I would imagine that snake bites are fairly common where you live, do you carry anti-venom or just rush to a hospital if bitten?

  5. I would love to pop into your little little piece of heaven for a visit, but it may be a little distant for an afternoon nip of the juice of the barley!

    We have rattlesnakes here than can be a definite nuisance. All others are non-poisonous. Regardless they still scare the "you no what" out of you if you come on them unexpectedly.

  6. Diana - LOL - reckon he is - HOPE he is...

    Mr H - Hmm - we're 25 minutes from the closest hospital. Reckon that we wouldn't really have enough time, and as for having anti-venom in stock - a neighbours dog was recently bitten by a cobra. The vet charged them ZAR5000.00 to give him a shot / keep him overnight. There is also the problem that if you don't identify the snake correctly and get the wrong anti-venom shot, then it's a waste of time.

    John - We got 12 year old in stock - lemme know when you're arriving... And, yes, if I came across a snake I would certainly be scared!

  7. Oh the problems with farming!!

    I was ok until the cobra. Ugh I dislike snakes. Our problem snake is the rattlesnake and we end up with 5-10 each summer on the farm that we have to kill. With the hens and the cats, I think any smaller snakes are killed before they get too close, but oh do I dislike them.

    I like the sharing of the problem critters, as we can see that although different names we have similar problems!

    Have a great snake free day!

  8. Oh My! Thank heavens we have no poisonous snakes either. At least all of our snakes do eat slugs, larva, and other garden pests. That would be a terrible thing to deal with. Maybe you need a pet mongoose ;)

    1. Jane - Strangely enough there are mongeese in the area - but they cause havoc with their digging :) And I'm not sure that they would go for something that big LOL

  9. Wow! thats a pretty good sized snake and being poisonous makes it even worse. I'd have shot it to and the same goes for any rattlers around here.

  10. According to my bug book, your fat worm is the caterpillar of the Citrus swallowtail butterfly. Not sure about the little ones on the leaf...either a type of leaf hopper or winged aphid?

  11. Jennifer - At last with the rattlesnake you can hear it - this nasty piece of work is silent. :)

    And, yes, I reckon chickens would be at risk...

    David - LOL - you and RMan - you're a team.

    Teach - Many thanks - maybe next time we're there together you can take a look - if there are any around?

  12. John the hero :) I'm so glad we don't have snakes on the island! And man would I'd love to have someone helping me with all the work in my allotment. You know, all my South African girlfriends say that the thing they miss most about home is affordable domestic help. It's like a wake-up call when they move to the first world - they have to learn to cook, clean and do the laundry themselves. Talk about spoiled ;) Lol

    PS - You now have threaded comments...if you want to reply to someone's comment, click 'Reply' under their message and your own comment will appear below it. Nifty huh?

    1. Tanya - Yes, both he and RMan were :)

      Affordable domestic help - haven't had it since our early days of marriage (and we're celebrating 32 years this year LOL) I prefer to call my home, MY home. John is very important in more ways than just finding snakes and manual labour - see my blog posting of today. If we are able to only give him work one day / week then that has to help.

      I know about the threaded comments - just sometimes don't have the time to wait while Blogger loads it each time :)

  13. Oh, Muffin is one cute bug-hunter. :-) Thanks, so much, for sharing a bit of your life with us ... the "critters" that you have to deal with are fascinating and a little scary. Thanks for linking up in my Meet & Greet ... I'm your newest follower and look forward to reading more! :-)

    1. Small Footprints - Welcome and thank you. The "critters" are all in a days work LOL

  14. Whew, that snake. Glad it's gone. And glad Muffin picks prey more his size!

    1. Leigh - Muffin is very clever - never bite off more than you can chew...!


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