Kat River roundup

Before we head to our next destination, let’s just do a quick montage of all of the other stuff that happened at Murray’s place!!

Each morning there are pots of coffee and water sitting by the campfire…..

I found this scene to be comforting!!!

One of the nights was Murray’s parents’ 54th wedding anniversary and we were invited to be part of the celebration. It was so special to help celebrate with Andre & Val…..

We ate in an upstairs room that was decorated and set up beautifully. We had a menu…..

The food was amazing…..

And we had Malva Pudding for dessert…..

We have enjoyed this dessert twice now so I looked up the recipe and will definitely make it at home. You can check it out HERE.

There were several interesting decorations in the main sitting area, starting with these bowls….

….but my best discovery was a fiber art piece hiding under a display….

It was much larger than I expected so I asked two of the camp staff to help display it…..

Isn’t this a great design!!!

Speaking of the staff, our chef was Lamie….

She was originally Murray’s Nannie and has been with the family for a lot of years!!

Her assistant was Poosh…..

She was always busy working at some task!!

I made a quick spin around the property one morning and enjoyed seeing some of the flora of the area. This cactus reminded me of Texas…..

As I was wandering around, I noticed this small cactus laying in the path…..

This is a form of a jumping cholla, and I knew enough about it to know that there was a “parent plant” somewhere around. Sure enough, about 2 feet away I found this one…..

If you have never seen these plants, the “nodes” come off easily as you brush past them and MAN are they sticky!!!

You also have to watch out for a number of trees with thorns….. LONG THORNS…..

Finally, I wanted to share an amazing live wreath that they had….

The bottom portion of the wreath is a section of a bike/motorcycle tire that has been filled with potting soil and the succulents are planted there…..

It was gorgeous!!

So it is time to say good-bye to Murray’s place and Kat River…..

Now it is time to move on to our next place…..stay tuned!!!

While I enjoy all aspects of the wonderful art of quilting, I equally enjoy presenting inspirations and stories from around the world. To make sure that you don’t miss a single one, be sure to subscribe to this blog!!

Out and about in the Kat River

I had one day moving about the Kat River area and then one day when I wasn’t feeling well so I sat in this chair in front of the fire…..

Plus, it rained off and on all day so it was a good day to be inside.

Of course, “inside” is relative since this area was open at the front. You could walk further back into a sunroom that was so comfortable…..

But more about that later.

The area terrain was different from any that I had experienced in Africa. It was very hilly and EXTREMELY rocky. I was thankful for the hard-soled shoes that I was wearing but desperately wished that I had brought my trekking poles too!!

We spent all of the morning on top of a ridge, looking into a long valley. As the sun moved further into the sky we sat and watched and “glassed” (looking thru binoculars)……

….and slowly the animals appeared.

This was my view for much of the morning…..2 trackers to my left and Michael and Quinney on the right…..

Because of the distance, photographing the animals was almost impossible but it was very sweet to watch them appear at one end of the valley and slowly saunter to the other end.

I did manage to get one photo of these nyalla females…..

This would have been a great place to use the telephoto lens but I wouldn’t have wanted to carry it as I scrambled over the rocks!!

As the morning rocked on we also saw warthogs, buffalo, and Kudu.

We were accompanied by Quinney’s dog, Cane…..

He is SO WELL trained!! If he got out in front of us, Quinney would simply point behind him and Cane would obey and come and sit behind Quinney’s left leg. It was fun to watch!!

Interestingly, there are very few flowers. Of course, this is mid-winter so that may be part of the problem!

I did find this one flower that was gorgeous…..

Quinney told me that it was “Bauhinia galpinii” and is called the “Pride of the Cape”. After seeing this one example, Elliot (one of the trackers) pointed out this bush that was fully engulfed in orange flames…..

I also saw one bird with iridescent blue wings and would see flashes of the blue and orange flowers as I glassed the area. It was gorgeous!!

As we were hoofing it along, I stopped to take a photo of this tree….

One of our trackers (Frinda) had to wait for me but he smiled and said that it was one of his favorite trees too!!

There was also this beautiful Shepherd’s Tree….

It is a protected tree in South Africa and is often called the “tree of life” because it offers sustenance to both humans and animals.

Finally, for the morning, we came across a young Kudu that had been killed by a leopard. I was amazed at how clean the bones were…..

Apparently, a leopard doesn’t like to share!!!

When it was time for lunch, we watched Quinney unpack our feast for the day….

The main course was a classic South African dish called Bobotie (pronounced ba-boor-tea). It is considered a true comfort food. The dish is a minced, curried meat casserole with an egg custard topping.

It was served with “Mrs. Ball’s Chutney” and it was YUMMY!!!

I feel like this is turning into a food blog, but I have to tell you about our dinner!! We had Eland “Filet-mignon”. We watched as they prepared the marinade using olive oil, mustard, ketchup (tomato sauce), and Worcestershire sauce…..

A healthy amount of chopped garlic was added….

The meat was very lean and tender before they started, but they used this interesting machine…..

….to tenderize it further.

Murray repeatedly pressed the sharp tines into the meat to do this…..

the meat was added to the marinade and left to sit for several hours….

When it was time to cook the meat, they placed it on a well-heated grill and then proceeded to sprinkle olive oil around it……

This kept the flames up and helped to brown it better. They repeated the procedure every time the flames died. I had never heard of doing that….have you?

The leftover marinade was cooked down a bit and TONS of black pepper was added…..

The meat was sliced and was PERFECT…..

AND, as is typical for any “braai” (the African term for BBQ) the men enjoyed their time around the grill, especially our chefs, Quinney and Murray!!

So that was one…..very busy…… day in the Kat River Conservancy!!!

While I enjoy all aspects of the wonderful art of quilting, I equally enjoy presenting inspirations and stories from around the world. To make sure that you don’t miss a single one, be sure to subscribe to this blog!!

Welcome to Murray’s Place

After a quick overnight stay in Johannesburg, we were in the air again heading to the Eastern Cape. Now, I knew NOTHING about Africa geography, so needed to look at a map to see exactly where we were going.

This is Africa, with South Africa in the lower right…..

THEN, there are numerous regions within South Africa…..

…and we were headed to the Eastern Cape.

We flew into East London and drove to our first destination along the Kat River (marked in blue)….

James Quin (fondly named Quinny) picked us up at the airport and drove us to the new camp. I kept seeing groups of young people walking along the road and quickly snapped a shot thru the car window. I was amazed when I looked closer at the photo…..

I had NO idea that they were singing as they walked along!!!

Once we left East London, we never passed thru another highly populated area but houses were scattered all along the way….

We arrived at Murray and Yvette’s place (we nicknamed it Murray’s place) just after lunch and were immediately made to feel right at home. We walked down a long walkway…..

to get to our hut…..

I have never been “up-close-and-personal” with thatching and it was interesting to see how many layers of material were used….

Note that it had been raining and you can see that the rain only penetrated about 1/4 of the way thru the thatch!!!

It was equally interesting to look up into the rafters of our room…..

I was afraid that the room wouldn’t stay warm but the propane heater that they provided kept everything snug!!

I loved the designs in the wall stucco…..

Regardless of how nice our accommodations were, the real heart of Murray’s place is at the Fire Pit…..

If I sat at the firepit, this is what I saw…..

…. sitting room on the left and kitchen on the right. This is shot in panorama view so it looks flat but in reality, this makes a neat Horseshoe shape!!

Although they have a stove and oven in the kitchen, much of the cooking takes place outside. On the first night, they cooked steaks. To do this, they moved coals from the fire…..

….to a shallow stone pit…..

Then a grate was swung over the coals and Quinny cooked the steaks…..

It was a magnificent meal that started with spicy mussels…..

…..and ended with perfectly cooked steak and fries…..

Since the weather was nice, we ate on small tables in front of the fire…..

And when it started to get chilly, they gave us seatwarmers. Not the kind that Michael has in his new truck!!! These were cast iron “skillets” that were filled with coals and placed under your chair…..

It was AMAZING just how much warmth it provided!!

Murray’s place was our base of operations for the next three days so stay tuned for more…..

While I enjoy all aspects of the wonderful art of quilting, I equally enjoy presenting inspirations and stories from around the world. To make sure that you don’t miss a single one, be sure to subscribe to this blog!!