A gorgeous Crochet Bag CAL

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Isn’t she pretty!

We will be doing a CAL of this bag in my Workshop in Potchefstroom.

The bag has been designed by South African Designer Joanita Theron,
and she will be featuring our class on her blog.

The CAL will over 4 weeks, beginning Wednesday 22 July 2015 9:30 to 12:00.
The cost will be R240.00 excluding materials.
A kit will be available for purchase.

If you are looking for a class outside of business hours, please contact me

email: craftcrazygran@gmail.com

fb: www.facebook.com/Craftcrazygran

or on my cell: +27784419705

This is a CAL by South African Designer Joanita Theron. Join her CAL on her blog here:

http://creativecrochettoys.blogspot.com/2015/06/soy-challenge-june-2015-cal-part-3.html

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The 4 Elements – Earth, Fire, Air, Water

4 elements We’ve experienced them all in the past few months, here on our farm! Here are some of the photos, there are captions to explain some, so hover over the photo.

5 August 2014 Earth: We had an earthquake, rare down here in South Africa; at least of this magnitude! Scared us all! It was felt over most of the country. We live about 80km away from the epicentre. We had a fair amount of damage.

Link: Earth: http://mg.co.za/article/2014-08-05-sa-earthquake-big-but-not-uncommon

25 August 2014: Fire! I was 50km away when we heard there was fire on the farm. Dreadful news; coming out of winter, the new grazing hasn’t come yet; no rains have come or are being forecast yet; everything is dry, dry, dry. Thankfully the harvest is in for the most part, at least on our farm. But the cattle and sheep are out in the fields. Our son was on his motorbike, and suddenly the wind turned; he was trapped in a corner of fenced field with fire on the other two sides, racing towards him. He was engulfed in smoke and flames. My husband saw it happening, helpless. Suddenly the motorbike burst through the flames and smoke at a mad speed. He is safe! The fires went on for 3 days

16 October 2014 Air: Sandstorms hit 4 Provinces of South Africa: Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria all had amazing photos. We had a huge sandstorm at the farm too!

Wind: http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/ccb2158045dc96309258f29709b21094/Sandstorm-experienced-in-four-provinces-20141710

30 November 2014 Water: We had bright, hot sunshine in the morning. Then thunderclouds rolled in. The power went out, rain and hail pelted down for about 30 minutes, and it was a different world!

Yes, dramatic, scary, challenging and financially horrible!

Africa makes you strong!!!

This is a photo of the homestead at almost the same angle as the sandstorm photo

This is a photo of the homestead at almost the same angle as the sandstorm photo

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Sunset over the lands

Radical reptiles: Blue-Throated Agama

I was visiting my son on the farm he managed in Pretoria. I was hanging out in the hammock between two trees, simply gazing around, while the Grandies slept. It was absolute bliss, the breeze very gentle, but keeping it from being unbearably hot. As I looked across towards the paddock, I noticed a quick movement and flash of blue on a tree trunk. So I ‘observed’. It was what we call a ‘bloukop’, which translates as ‘bluehead’!

male

Male Agama

female

Female Agama

Oh my word! I hadn’t seen one of these since I was a child in Zambia! I was fascinated, but equally terrified of them then! They lived in the trees around the boundaries of the garden. They’d scuttle around, going about their business and I adored watching them. But their quick rush from one place to the next always gave me palpitations!

These South African Agamas were a breeding pair, as I soon discovered. The male resplendant in his mating colours and the female pretty in her Sunday best. They got used to me over the next few days, as I never came too close, but only watched, chatted about them to Gaz and took photos. They stopped running and hiding, and just ignored us, posed for photos, and watched us with as much curiosity.

I was thrilled to see them again!

Information:

SWAHILI NAME FOR LIZARD: Mjusi, Mijusi (plural)

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

The Blue-Throated Agama, Agama atricollis, is a very large agama, reaching a maximum length of 15 inches.

Its head, particularly in males, is large and triangular. The head and body are distinctly separate. The ear openings are larger than the eyes, and the tympanums (eardrums) are visible.

Agamas have strong limbs. Their bodies are compact and spiny. The scales on the body are small and keeled, with those along the back larger and mixed with scattered, enlarged, spiny scales.

Breeding males have a dull blue to bluish back, with bright blue to straw-yellow spines. The head is a coppery-green to brilliant ultramarine on top, blue-green on the sides and peacock-blue on the throat. There is a large black spot on each side above the shoulder, and a broad, blue-green to yellowish vertebral stripe. The tail is dull green to olive-brown.

Females and non-breeding males are olive to green-brown, marbled with black above, with a black shoulder spot. Juveniles have a similar ground color, with dark X-shapes surrounded by white blotches along the sides. The tail is banded with dark brown-black.

DISTRIBUTION and HABITAT:

These agamas are found in the open savanna, and along the edges of forests in Kenya and Ethiopia, extending through East Africa to Natal.

BEHAVIOR:

These beautiful lizards are frequently seen nodding their heads in display while clinging to a tree trunk. Most Agamas are terrestrial, but this species is arboreal. They come to the ground only to cross to another tree, and occasionally to eat.

When threatened, they retreat around the tree trunk, always keeping the trunk between themselves and danger. They will gape the mouth widely, showing the bright orange mouth lining, and will deliver a painful bite if caught. Contrary to popular belief, they are not poisonous.

They sleep at night in a hollow branch or under peeling bark.

DIET:

Agamas are fond of flying ants and termites, and supplement their diets with grasshoppers and beetles.

REPRODUCTION and GROWTH:

The female lays 8-14 oval, soft-shelled eggs in a hole dug in moist soil. They hatch after about 90 days. Hatchlings measure 70-80 mm (about 3 inches). They triple in size in their first year, but growth slows thereafter. They become sexually mature in their second year.

 

Another Creepy Crawler: Baboon Spider

In South Africa we also have tarantulas.
Ours are brown,
and we call them Baboon Spiders.

This is a lady that was washed out of her burrow next to the kitchen drain after very heavy rain one day. We brought her in to show the grandsons, as part of their ongoing wildlife education and conservation. We spread her legs out from her ‘death curl’ and I managed to get some nice close-ups. You can see her size, her fangs and some eyes and we turned her over to photograph her underside. We left her to one side to add to our Curiousity Collection.

Suddenly she waved gently, and slowly. I thought I was hallucinating! But, no, as she warmed up, she revived! Before she went scuttling off, to inevitably pop up to terrify me, we placed her safely in the garage to recover and choose a new home.

Females stay in their burrows, or close by, while males roam around.

 

Here is an excerpt from an article about them.

The Baboon Spiders of South Africa by Dr Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman
Baboon spiders or tarantulas, as they are known outside Africa, are the giants of the spider world. The last two leg segments resemble the finger of a baboon hence, the common name, baboon spiders. The first South African spider known from literature was a baboon spider mentioned in 1702 by Petiver. More than a hundred years later in 1832 the first baboon spider Mygale atra was described from South Africa and only in 1871 the first genus Harpactira was established for Southern African baboon spiders.

Southern Africa has a rich fauna of baboon spiders, represented by seven genera and 42 species. They belong to the family Theraphosidae, a very diverse family, represented by 86 genera and about 612 species worldwide. The theraphosids have a pantropical distribution and are known from Africa, the Far East, Australia as well as parts of South, Central and North America.

The baboon spiders are large, with a body size varying from 13-90 mm. They are very hairy and their colour varies between hues of brown, grey, yellow to black. The carapace is frequently decorated with radiating bands while the abdomen has variegated markings.

They are easily recognized by their large size, strong, hairy bodies, and the thick pad of hair present ventrally on the last two leg segments.

A Baboon spider may live up to 25 years and take about 10 years to mature.

Baboon spiders prey on a variety of small animals such as: insects – ants, beetles (e.g. tenebrionids), cicadas, cockroaches, Orthoptera (e.g. grasshoppers, locusts, crickets), Isoptera (termites), Lepidoptera (mostly Saturniidae and Sphingidae, Hymenoptera (driver ants of the family Dorylidae); arachnids – spiders, solifugids and scorpions; millipedes, reptiles, amphibians and snails: frogs and lizards.

Some theraphosids are known to deliver painful bites. Harpactira lightfooti,a baboon spider known from Cape Town and the Paarl region in South Africa are fairly aggressive and people sometimes get bitten. They produce a neurotoxic venom. Bites in humans results in a burning pain at the bite site. The patients, after about two hours, start to vomit; they show marked signs of shock, become pale and have difficulty walking. Bites are however, never fatal.

This one lives in my bathroom

baboon spider

 

Stock photo to give you an idea of size

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Sandstorms and craziness in South Africa

Sandstorms hit South Africa today!

Bloemfontein was the worst hit

We had some bad ones at our farm
I wish the orangey colour showed on the photos
but wouldn’t risk my camera
just used my cellphone

we are 250 miles or 400 kilometers away!

This was in Potchefstroom
where the Grandies go to school, and we have an office
50 km away

sandstorm-Potch

Johannesburg was also hit early evening.

JHB

It was very cold in that wind
and hours later, it is still blowing madly!!!

Hang onto your hats everyone!!!

In KZN it was just as crazy!

This is Howick …
It is SUMMER here!

AND …

Walking with an African Elephant and a lioness

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Matthew and I were privileged to go for a walk with an African elephant and a lioness on a Game Farm in Hoedspruit, South Africa. They were orphans that had been brought up by humans. The elephant was sweet and gentle and totally at ease and friendly. As I walked next to her, her mahout said I should slip my hand under her ear. I was entranced to find the skin as soft as that of a baby! She reached out her trunk and held my other hand, gently swinging it as we walked, exploring my palm with her “opposable thumb” at the end of her trunk. I was in heaven. The mahout said I should gently blow into her nostrils, so I did, she looked straight at me and blew gently and rumbled at me. She draped her trunk around my shoulders for about 2 minutes. Then it was someone else’s turn. I cried.

The lioness was younger than the elephant, who was 2 years old, and a whole other kettle of fish! She was boisterous and playful and full of mischief. The rangers said Matt should try to stay in the middle of the adults, because the lioness would want to play with him, being smaller than everyone else. She’d jump on him, not knowing her own size and strength, and could inadvertently hurt him. She was really fun to watch. Her poor ranger was rough-housing with her the whole way, not because he wanted to, but because she did. Matt did get jumped on; she grabbed him around the leg from behind. The ranger laughed and told him to stand still, and came over and pulled her off him. Matt was thrilled and delighted!

The elephant and lioness were not really friendly to one another, so the animals took it in turns to walk with us, while a ranger took the other one a few meters away. The elephant would glare at the lioness whenever she caught sight of her, but there were no problems or fuss. In fact they got the lioness to lie down on a branch in a tree, with the elephant posing right underneath her! The elephant knew exactly where the lioness was, and kept trying to grab her with her trunk!

It was a magical, beautiful, moving day.

I lost all the photos somewhere along the line, so I have posted a photo of another ellie friend.

By the way:

Instead of giving you the usual facts about elephants, I’ll give you a few surprise ones.

The South African Rock Hyrax, commonly known as a Dassie, is the African Elephant’s closest relative.

Taken from CapeTownMagazine.com

Dassie’s Relation to Elephant Finally Makes Sense

Table Mountain’s Dassies being the closest living relative to the African elephant is finally believable

One of the most unbelievable facts about Table Mountain’s Dassies is that they are the closest related relatives to Elephants. Despite the enormous difference in size between the two, research has claimed the dassie is the African elephant’s closest living relative.

Recent research has revealed that these claims may not be some unfathomable – at least in terms of size. A new discovery has revealed that the oldest ancestors of modern-day elephants were little bigger than a rabbit.

A 60 million-year-old skull dug up in Morocco has been identified as the earliest form of elephant species.

This creature was trunkless, measured less than 50 cm from tip to tail and weighed just 5kg. The mini-jumbo had front incisors which jutted out of its mouth to form the forerunner of the modern tusks.

Analysis of the teeth in the skull proved it was related, however distant, to the modern elephant. It is 10 million years older than other Elephant ancestor fossils discovered.

This is where our beloved dassie steps in. The close evolutionary relationship between the teeny-tiny Dassie and the ginormous African Elephant is deduced from similarities in the structure of their feet and teeth.

Dassies are heavily preyed upon by Eagles, Caracal and Leopard. Besides their treacherous incisors and a moveable membrane in the eye which shields the pupil and allows vision directly into the sun they don’t have much going for them when it comes to protecting themselves from predators.

Although we love our Dassies and hate to be the ones to say it – but it looks like the Dassie got the short end of the genetic stick in this family tree.

Dassies have evolved into somewhat lazy creatures. With a favourite pastime like basking in the sun on large rocks, particularly during mornings and late afternoons, the rock dassie seems to be the small and lazy brother in this family tree.

With Cape Town growing into a bustling metrople, it’s good to know that at least the Dassie still fits into the “Kaapstad – Slaapstad” theory

The Elephant Shrew’s closest relative is the Elephant

    

FUN FACTS

The 17 living species of elephant shrew are more closely related to elephants than shrews. They can be found throughout mainland Africa, with the exception of western Africa and the Saraha.

Elephant shrews are not related to shrews, rabbits, hedgehogs or llamas, as was thought at different times. Scientists finally figured out that these fuzzy, long-trunked creatures are in an order all their own. Not only that, but all 18 species are found exclusively in Africa, just like sea cows, aardvarks, hyraxes and elephants, to which they are related. To eliminate some of the confusion caused by their name – for, as stated, they’re not actually shrews at all – they are sometimes called sengis.

  • A Lioness weighs between 120-150 kg (260-330 lb)
  • Female lions usually hunt at night or dawn and in packs.
  • An adult female lion needs about 5 kg (11 lbs) of meat per day
  • In prides the females do most of the hunting and cub rearing.
  • Many of the females in the pride give birth at about the same time. A cub may nurse other females as well as its mother.
  • Lionesses aren’t the most successful of hunters, because they usually score only one kill out of several tries. After the kill the males usually eat first, lionesses next-and the cubs get what’s left.
  • Males and females fiercely defend against any outside lions that attempt to join their pride. Maybe in this case the family that preys together stays together!
  • The lion is the only member of the cat family with a tasseled tail, which serves a purpose beyond aesthetics. It’s often used to signal to other members of the pride, with messages ranging from directional, “this way” commands to flirtatious, “come hither” invitations!
  • Baby lions
  • Baby lion in the wild are born in a den which can be a cave, a thick bush, a very secretive spot in the forest.
  • Baby lions in the wild are only protected by the lioness, the female and male lions, the dominant lion and the whole lion pride.
  • Baby lions in the wild feed on milk and meat, eat lizards, birds, insects.
  • Baby lions in the wild will drink river, lake spring water which is sometimes mucky and infested with crocodiles.
  • Cleaning of the lion cubs is the duty of the lioness; by licking the lion cubs with its tongue from head to toe. Washing the baby lion’s face to the ears, eyes and nose.
  • Baby lion in the wild are born in a den which can be a cave, a thick bush, a very secretive spot in the forest.
  • Baby lions in the wild are only protected by the lioness, the female and male lions, the dominant lion and the whole lion pride.
  • Baby lions in the wild feed on milk and meat, eat lizards, birds, insects.
  • Baby lions in the wild will drink river, lake spring water which is sometimes mucky and infested with crocodiles.
  • Cleaning of the lion cubs is the duty of the lioness; by licking the lion cubs with its tongue from head to toe. Washing the baby lion’s face to the ears, eyes and nose.

Shaken, not stirred

Well, I have experienced floods, drought, fire, a tornado and now an earthquake here at the farm. In South Africa, the last two are virtually unknown. The tornado was about 7 years ago. I thought a helicopter was attempting a landing in our courtyard! The noise was so loud! A couple of our workers homes’ lost their roofs, one of our large wagons, for transporting harvested corn, was moved about 10m. A small forest of trees were blown over to about 45 degrees. A stunning experience.

Today it was an earthquake! We often have tremors, as there are mines all over the province. They’re also caused by military artillery practice at the bases nearby. Which is what I thought was happening today. But it didn’t stop! It got stronger, louder and more frightening by the seconds!

I screamed for my daughter-in-law to grab the baby and get outside. We ran out together. I went back to find our maid, who went out of another door. The shaking lasted for 4-5 minutes and we still felt it outside! Very frightening! Our house has many cracks, some floor to ceiling, across the ceiling and back to the floor, one of these has light showing through it. Most are internal, some go right through both sides of the wall. Only a few show outside the house. We have some repairs to do!

Fortunately nobody was hurt. Just 3 very frightened cats and a parrot – they went crazy! Some very frightened people too! Now we wait for aftershocks!

ABC News asked permission to post some of my photos – they’re on BreakingPhotos – lol

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