Shadows


When I first decided to take part in the Daily Post Shadow photo challenge I thought any pictures I used would have to be limited to those taken either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when shadows are long and dramatic.

Then I came across this picture I took of these little guys, soaking up the mid-day sun on Boulders Beach in Cape Town.

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Last year I was invited to write a small story about Walking With Rhinos in a local publication.

Although the walk I was on sets off early in the morning, I was lucky it was mid winter – by 07.00am it was already pretty hot.

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Now back to Cape Town, where wedding guests play a genteel game of croquet while waiting for the bride and groom to appear after family photographs

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Walking back to the car one evening, after an extended Sunday lunch at The Brass Bell, we came across a micro pig playing with a dog in a children’s play ground.

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Happy, hot dogs take respite from the glaring sun.

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Our shadows briefly rest on the Zimbabwe bank of the Zambezi River, a fleeting reminder that this used to be home.

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One Liner Wednesday – Fairy Garden


After the rains last night the fairies came out to play.

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“Few humans see fairies or hear their music, but many find fairy rings of dark grass, scattered with toadstools, left by their dancing feet.” ― Judy Allen, Fantasy Encyclopedia

 


 

If you would like to participate, feel free to use the “One-Liner Wednesday” title in your post, and if you do, you can ping back here to help your blog get more exposure. To execute a ping back, just copy the URL in the address bar on this post, and paste it somewhere in the body of your post. Your link will show up in the comments below. Please ensure that the One-Liner Wednesday you’re pinging back to is this week’s! Otherwise, no one will likely see it but me.

NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, like Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

As with Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS), if you see a ping back from someone else in my comment section, click and have a read. It’s bound to be short and sweet.

Unlike SoCS, this is not a prompt so there’s no need to stick to the same “theme.”

The rules that I’ve made for myself (but don’t always follow) for “One-Liner Wednesday” are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!

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Shelob, the Hairy Field Spider


If you are afraid of spiders, you might want to skip this one.  However, knowledge is power and learning a little more about these fascinating creatures may help you to overcome your fear.

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Winter, such that it was, ended overnight. We woke up one morning with the electric blanket on and went to bed that night with the air conditioner set to its coldest.

The heat is debilitating (it does not lend itself to any form of work!) and on top of that it is very dusty and dry – the bush looks like it will never recover and seems to get browner by the minute.

Out walking yesterday morning I noticed an encouraging sign; one lone green tree, an interloper peering out through the grey. The rains can’t be far off now and I’m really looking forward to that.

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When I got home and looked closer at the picture I had taken and noticed something else.

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Do you see them?

So, despite the sweltering heat and in the name of science I called the reluctant dogs and we all traipsed out again to get a closer look.

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And closer ...

Closer

And closer ...

And closer …

Closer still

Closer still

What lives in these messy nests? Looks like it could be a spider so, much to Piet’s disgust (he’s quite happy to face down a charging buffalo but the sight of a tiny spider will have him cowering and yelling for me to save him), I decided to take one home to open up and have a look.

I put the nest inside a plastic dish and the first thing that happened was a whole bunch of tiny spiders rushed out, waving their legs at me in indignation. It was like a spider village in there! They were mostly jumping spiders (Salticidae) but there were also a couple of other species, too small for my aging eyes to recognise.

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Most of those little black dots are spiders

A tiny salticidae

A tiny salticidae

On opening up the nest the first thing I  saw was a wasp nest. I find this interesting as often wasps predate on spiders, usually using them as a food source for their larvae, and I wonder what the relationship is in this case. It must be quite disconcerting for the spiders to live together with an animal which may be eyeing them out as a meal for its offspring!

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Next I found a nest-within-a-nest.

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And inside this nest was Shelob — the true boss of the place! She curled herself up and pretended to be dead, which made closer inspection a lot easier than if she was scurrying about trying to escape.

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I asked for help with identifying this spider from the Spider Club of Southern Africa Facebook page and was informed  that ‘Shelob’ belongs to a family of spiders known as Araneinae , or orb spiders, and that she has a delightful common name — Hairy Field Spider.

Shelob, the Hairy Field Spider

Shelob, the Hairy Field Spider

Hairy Field Spiders are not harmful to humans, but Piet was not sure that releasing Shelob into the rose-bush which grows under the light outside the lounge was a good idea. I know she will do good, helping the geckos and frogs to catch the mosquitoes that will come when the rains finally begin.

 

 

 

 

WTF Friday – Which Way Africa Style (Part eight)


Sadly Cee’s Which Way Challenge comes to an end next week, so this will be my last entry for this challenge. Cee will be hosting a brand new Compose Yourself Photo Challenge starting next week and I look forward to taking part in that.

I will continue to enter her other challenges and will also try to continue with my own WTF Friday theme.


 

After what feels like a record long dry season we are finally heading towards the rains. The dust will settle and the cooler temperatures will be a relief.

I took the next three photos while driving through the Mashonaland Province of Zimbabwe a few years ago.

It was during the rainy season.

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WTF Friday – Which Way Africa Style (Part seven)


It seems the whole of Southern Africa has retreated to the Dark Ages – literally.

In short, there is not enough electricity being generated – in the entire region – to meet demand.

There are many theories and rumours about why this has happened, ranging from ineptitude, to not enough rain to feed the rivers providing the hydro-electric power, to sub-standard equipment supplied during a dodgy tender deal. I suspect all are true to some extent but no-one is prepared to shed any light (sorry) on the matter and tell us what is really going on.

What this means is that we are now being subjected to load shedding. In my case, for six days a week we have no electricity for eight hours a day and on the seventh day – fingers crossed – the electricity does not go off at all. Last week it was only five hours off for five days of the week, so it is getting worse: the poor folk in Lusaka are enduring ten-hour cuts, with a fourteen hour cut one day a week, so I am thankful I don’t live there!

This makes keeping up to date with work – and more importantly, blogging! – very difficult and until we can make a plan with a generator and/or solar power both are going to be a bit sketchy and intermittent.

Any Zimbabweans reading this will be wondering what I am moaning about – they have dealt with severe load shedding for the last fifteen years (some are lucky if they receive two hours electricity supply a day) – and I apologise. But having thought I had left all that behind me I am taking a while to re-adjust.


In the mean time, here are my entries for this week’s Which Way Challenge.

Once a week Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog runs a Which Way Photo Challenge – everyone is welcome to take part. You can read the rules for the challenge here.

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Birchenough Bridge, Zimbabwe – taken in the late 1980’s

Rural fuel station in Zimbabwe

Rural fuel station in Zimbabwe

Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe

Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe

1-stuff only

1-no urinating

1-awaiting payment