Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Knives at last!!

I have been promising to start making knives again for a very long time, and finally I have started!! I had some stainless and some carbon steel lying in the workshop. So made some knives out of each steel. I much prefer the carbon steels for their edge holding and the wonderful way they age. The steel takes on a patina all it's own.

The knife below is for my son Ben. It is a carbon steel 01 i think?  a Micarta handle with white liners.  I am hoping to help him make his own in the next holiday. He will have to help with the sheath of his own design.

This knife below was made for a mate of mine Bruce Lawson. I had promised him a knife years ago and just never got round to it. I bumped into Bruce in the Kruger and he reminded me of this fact! Thanks Bruce I hope you enjoy the knife.

If there are any guides out there who are looking for a hand made knife that will give a life times service give me a shout to discuss design ideas.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Labrador Retriever Kennel Club Field Trial 2012

Keen as can be, only to break and knock us out on the very first bird! This is a team sport so I have learn't to be more vocal. Especially in those highly charged moments. Also to keep my eyes on the dog, you can always expect the dog to watch the bird or ask the judge were it fell. Training in the quiet Balule Game Reserve does not really prepare you well for all the dog, excitement, guns and birds that you get at a trial.

A big thank you to Francois and Angelique from Eagertrieve Labradors for all their help and advice.

This was a tough retrieve with very narrow angles between birds and some water. Lab's can't resist water but throw a bird in it and it's like a magnet. You can almost see the dogs trying to convince the handlers that they know what they are doing. Why are you sending me past that bird in the water, I saw the fall!!?

One of the most photogenic dogs at the trial.

Choc also did very well. I can't remember what he won, but everyone holds the guns choice as a very prestigious title to have for any of the stakes in a trial. 

A top open stake dog doing what he loves. He has already retrieved a blind ( a placed bird that the dog has not see being placed) across a dam. Then swum back across the dam thru a fence to retrieve a pigeon in a field. He still has two more retrieves before the series is over! Open stake normally has some very demanding retrieves for the dogs. It is amazing to see their enthusiasm, concentration and the team work with their handlers.

What it's all about. Top dogs and people getting together for some quality time outside.

All trials are run under K.U.S.A rules and regulations.

Anyone interested in getting involved in trials have a look at the Lab Clubs website.

Monday, April 23, 2012

There's a lion in my garden!

Ok, so we live in a game reserve, so you would expect to have animals in your garden.
We have hungry Elephants, Hippo grazing at night on the lawn, Impala, Waterbuck, loads of Warthogs and many others that I have not mentioned.

But when the lions start taking them off our lawn at night it is rather surreal. This lioness and her two sub-adult cubs managed to take down two young waterbuck. One on either side of the garden. They came up one of the tracks to the back of the house, the cubs split off to the right and the lioness to the left. The small herd of waterbuck bomb shelled, for two of them it was too late. 

I was amazed that between the three Lions they finished off both sub-adult Waterbuck in little over three hours. The remains can be seen just to the right of the Land Rover.
The Jackals and Vultures finished off the little that remained during the day.

I was able to piece this all together having only seen part of the story unfold, thanks to the recent tracking course I did with Colin Patrick, I have taken to tracking everything. The course is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone interested in broadening their wildlife knowledge.

Vultures arriving!

A White Backed Vulture giving us a wary look as they circle the house.

There must have been at least a hundred Vultures - quite a spectacle when you are sitting below. 

Taking off with full crops.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Moz Trail Recce

Good to go!
At the Giriyondo border post with our PNL Ranger Manulito.




Trying to find the first nights waypoint. We seemed to be close but no cigar! Ended up sleeping in a very damp, mosquito ridden path next to a stream. Not ideal but we enjoyed it.

Marius about to say something about the geology. Nothing I can repeat here!

With all the rain the streams were in full spuite and we had wonderful drinking water.

One of the waterfalls we passed.

Constantly crossing streams, as we tried to find a suitable route.

My tent on the second night. Very cool and comfortable spot, with great swimming in the stream below.

We found a poachers camp right here on the bank of this beautiful section of river. The sign was about two days old! So not a lot we could do about it. We also saw their tracks on the first day very close to the Kruger boundry. No doubt after S.A.'s rhino !!

I had to have a picture of me wearing these Hi Tec boots. I normally walk in takkies but for some reason decided to wear boots. It proved to be a wise choice with all the loose rock. I must say these are the lightest boots I have ever owned.

This little package was waiting for Marius in his shorts! Could have been a very nasty surprise for both parties!

Some elephant tracks. This guy just stuck to the path even if he sank in up to his knees! You can just imagine a dinosaur doing the same thing millions of years ago.

Parque Nacional Do Limpopo.

Breakfast stop.

An amazing plant growing in all the water filled rock pools on the rhyolite koptjies.

Looking east towards the Shingwedzi River flowing into Mozambique.

My favorite stop on the whole walk. Even with the two large crocs in the pool below. We managed to have a swim in the stream as it dropped over the rocks into the pool below. Luckily there was no space for crocs.

Weary but satisfied.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

After The Floods 2012

The Swartspruit.

This small stream was at least 40meters wide and about 3meters deep.

Some of the debris brought down by the water.

The causeway we cross to get out of the reserve.

Not a great place to find your trailer!!

As the flood started there were a number of Hippo and Croc's moving up this stream to stay out of the Olifants River. The rain started on the Monday or Tuesday. On Sunday evening we saw some hippo moving up stream in front of the house. This only happens if all the grazing down stream is finished or if we are going to experience high water levels in the Olifants River.

I am always amazed by how perceptive animals are to the changes in their environment. A talent we seem to have lost! Having spent the last few weeks working on my tracking skill, I now think I have found a way to build that skill and be far more aware of your surroundings.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Flood!!! Jan 2012

The path leading down to the Olifants River. Normally about six meters or more below this point.
Our access road thru a small drainage line which was 40m wide when the photo was taken!

Our neighbours house so lucky. Only a muddy deck to show for it!

Limited access.

These figs are normally a few meters above the water level.