Thursday, 23 September 2010

What gives you a light, a great aroma and massage oil all in one?

The answer: SoyLite candles – the latest addition to our in-house boutique.

SoyLites come in 220ml frosted tumblers and burn for up to 50 hours. Each candle contains 8ml of pure essential oil blends. The ‘wax’ is oil from rainforest-friendly soya beans; and can be used straight from a lit candle to provide the perfect massage material. With blends such as: Harmony, Rejuvenation, Peaceful Summer and Tranquility, they are the perfect tool for enhancing your romantic get-away with us.

For those using us as a base for a bit of hiking, we also have 75ml Travel-Lites. These citronella scented candles double up as natural, sweet smelling insect repellents.

And finally, we also stock the longest lasting lip-balm ever – soft soya wax with a refreshing peppermint flavour.

What’s more is for our guests we are giving away these products at 10% below the recommended retail price!

Friday, 10 September 2010

How to Catch a Baboon.

 How do you catch a Baboon?

First of all, try catch a porcupine.

How do you catch a porcupine?

You catch a porcupine by putting apples and pumpkin in a walk in cage.

What is a walk in cage?

It’s a big box (in the case of porcupines) with a door that falls down when the porcupine stands on the trigger and eats its apples and pumpkin.

Why catch a porcupine?

They eat roots. Specifically they eat the roots of our Lucerne (a forage crop fed to horses, sheet, cattle etc) thereby killing the plants. Since Lucerne has made us more money than tourism this year (we are just getting started after all!) we value our Lucerne. Porcupines need to be moved to the hills. At least till tourism catches up with Lucerne, then Porcupines can eat all the Lucerne they want.

Where do you catch a porcupine?

In a Lucerne field of course!

When do you catch a porcupine?

At night.

Which porcupines do you catch?

Only the ones that eat the Lucerne.

What’s this all got to do with catching a baboon?

Glad you asked. Well, one day I was heading out to the Lucerne field to check the walk in trap for porcupines. Instead I found a very frantic young male baboon. You see, they eat Lucerne, Apples and Pumpkin too. So he had wandered into the trap early in the morning. Problem for him and a problem for me. See, baboons have large teeth. The kind that would put Dracula to shame. This all leads to the next question.
Baboons eating lucerne, in the snow

What do you do with a baboon once you’ve caught it?

Um. That was my dilemma. Even just getting close to the cage he was trying to grab me and eat my boot. So how do I open the door and not get attacked by an enraged baboon? Well, baboons are intelligent. Very intelligent. All this time he had been rocking the cage, looking everywhere in it, trying to find a way out. So what I did was show him how to open the cage door by opening it a little and then closing it when he tried to make a dash for vengeance. Then I made my way to safety and he let himself out. Simple.
A Free Baboon

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

How to catch a Klipspringer

Firstly, to the uninitiated, a klipspringer is a small type of antelope – probably smaller than a Roe deer. They live on rocky outcrops and are very cute. One of my first memories of a klipspringer was watching one run up a near vertical rock face, pause in the middle to look at me, and then continue up the rock face.

One afternoon I was out playing with the irrigation on one of our Lucerne fields. Next to the Lucerne field is an old brick reservoir, maybe 25m wide and 2.5m deep. It’s cracked and unusable as a dam – it has trees and plants growing in it! Well, while I was playing with the irrigation I heard this clip-clippity noise from time to time. I’d look up into the hills and not see anything. The acoustics of the dam meant I was unable to locate where the noise was coming from. Eventually I figured out there must be something in the dam. I snuck up – and saw a sub-adult klipspringer running around and trying to jump out. Although it could get to the edge of the wall, it could just not get over the top. I dropped an old drum into the reservoir to give it something to jump on and out and then left, as my presence had it quite stressed.

Later on we went to have a look at it. It was still there. So we got a bucket and put some water in it so it could at least drink. With the bushes in the reservoir, it should have had enough food to eat. Then Chris and I nailed some roofing tiles onto an old wooden ladder and put that in the reservoir. We also placed a large packing box into the dam.

But the next day it was still there. I had a go at trying to catch it, but that was futile. The little klipspringer was far too quick and agile for me. We decided to have a go later on in the dark, to try sneak up on it and throw a blanket over it. But it heard my approach and started running around, trying to jump out again. We were really worried it would injure itself. Chris noticed that it would often try and jump out at the same point on the reservoir, and then come down on the packing box we had left nearby. He had the bright idea of turning the box around so the open end was up and sure enough, the next jump the klipspringer made it fell into the box.

From there on it was easy enough. I closed up the box, lifted it up to Chris and we let it go on the edge of the field.

A few days later the resident pair of klipspringer were in the company of a subadult again – we like to think the family are reunited.  

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A free postcard from South Africa

Yes, its true, we are willing to send you or a friend a postcard - from South Africa. For Free. Well, we do also ask that you become a friend on Facebook or like us at the very least. And of course there is some adwords stuff around (which you don't have to click on). Is that too much to ask? It's still definitely not costing you anything. So hey, why not. Just send me an email with the message if its for someone else (e.g. "Dear Bob, I had a great time in South Africa; saw loadsa cool animals; didn't get eaten by a lion or mugged in JHB; weather was awesome; Love Laia")

And of course the full postal address in the format I would need to write it e.g.

Bob Smith
112 Example Road
S17 1XV

For more info, see what the cards look like and more....

Why pictures of Scotland?

... I may well be asked by anyone following my Flickr photostream. Well, I happen to be in the UK to submit my PhD (on Parrot Claylicks) and needed to spend my time constructively while waiting to hear when the oral exam (viva) would be. So I volunteered to help out with the RSPB for a few weeks in exchange for room and board, and I got to watch birds and see some of Scotland in return. Bargain!
Aberdeen - the Granite city
A Spanish lady dressed in Scottish Tartan
Craigevar Castle, Grampian. Yes it really is pink.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Animal Adventures - the Honey Badger visit

As told by Elaine Lee: Gareth came in for lunch and said there was a strange dark animal outside - it turned out to be a juvenile Honey Badger!
Late afternoon I went out to collect my secateurs, and walked right in to it, which it didn't appreciate - much hissing and growling, and I got out of its way rather rapidly - but in the meantime it took advantage of the open door, and dashed into the kitchen!
So I called to Chris, who got up to investigate, and then like a flash, it  was into the sitting room! Our new kitten in the meantime had leapt up the stairs - wise, it might have eaten her...We watched through the glass door to the sitting room, while it explored - including coming up to us and standing up against the glass - we've never had such a close up view!

Well, how do you get a Ratel out of a room?
Chris opened the outside door, but it didn't seem particularly interested in doing anything other than exploring this strange new territory. We phoned neighbour Tessa, who let out a shriek of laughter, but otherwise wasn't too helpful! 
Phoned brother Don, who thought we were incredibly lucky!
Phoned the lady at Nature Conservation, who just said, Be patient, it will eventually go out. Hmmm.
Then a man who is making a table for us phoned, and Chris described our situation:
Well, he said, put some honey on the end of a broom handle, and lure it out - and this worked like a charm, except Chris didn't shut the door in time, and it was back inside... 
Second time around we were better prepared, and in addition I put a bone outside the door - Chris again lured him out - and then had to get out of its way, as once it got the bone it chased Chris away! 
Honey badger walking past a camera trap

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