The veld has been tinder dry for weeks as the relentless drought continues. A grass fire, fanned by hot wind, raced through the mountains around our town at the weekend, engulfing us in a blanket of smoke and ash. Today the Mountain Drive area looks bleak and black. Yet, Earth Day is one that encourages us to look at our environment more closely; to get to know it better; to consider what we can do to protect and nurture it better; as well as being thankful for what we have.
How extremely thankful I am for the 4mm of soft rain that we were blessed with during the night!
This has encouraged the canary creeper buds to open – these are the first of what should become a waterfall of bright blooms.
The Crassula ovata is also covered with buds waiting to open.
Meanwhile, the Cape honeysuckle flowers are already providing swathes of bright colour and a useful source of nectar.
The Virginia creeper is showing off its autumn colours.
In keeping with these autumnal colours, it is fortuitous that an Olive Thrush was the first bird to greet me this morning.
Happy Earth Day!
Earlier this month we were treated to swirling clouds and a darkening sky followed by a short bout of rain.
If you look very closely, you might see a White-rumped Swift flying high against the clouds.
Puddles formed very quickly and the Urban Herd that happened to be grazing on the old golf course took advantage of the handy supply of water.
These puddles were very shallow and didn’t last for long.
I often wonder where these animals source their drinking water – these puddles must have been a boon to them.
Although the puddles were soon gone, the effect of that rain shower has been amazing in terms of greening up the grass and refreshing the other plants – apart from freshening the dust-laden air!
‘Drought’ is a word that regularly crops up in my blog posts – along with the rather faded colours of nature that accompanies such a phenomenon. We very occasionally receive a light shower of a millimetre or two (literally) that serves to settle the dust for a moment and freshens the air. In years past such droplets from the sky wouldn’t warrant a second glance. These days I want to capture their patterns to savour until such time as a ‘real’ rain comes to rejuvenate us all. The first of these shows rain on the windscreen of our vehicle – they had to be photographed before the windscreen wiper could be used!
Droplets on a pansy after an overnight sprinkling several weeks ago:
A droplet on a leaf highlighted by the morning sunshine:
Finally – not rain this time – a dead ant found in a droplet of water on the kitchen sink.
Last week I was lured outdoors, camera in hand, by the rumbling of thunder. Thunder? We haven’t heard that sound for months! The engrailed edges of the cloud against the bright blue sky couldn’t be the source.
The darkened sky above the fig tree looked more promising.
A strong wind bent the branches of the trees and sent leaves scurrying down to carpet the bare lawn.
Such dramatic scenes covered the sky.
The clouds boiled and grew.
Then the sun came out without a drop of rain falling to the ground. It was now nearly two weeks since we had received our first rain for months. The disappointment was palpable. Last night, quietly and without any fanfare or drama, the heavens opened its fine muslin cover and allowed 20 mm of rain to float down softly, almost silently, to leave sparkling drops of water on the leaves.
To laugh at our swimming pool wrapped up to preserve the water within.
To make splashes in the bird baths.
And to wet the old stone steps.
It is still raining very softly, very softly indeed. It is RAINING!
Rain, any rain is welcome here at any time for we remain in dire need of water to fill our dams and provide sustenance for the veld and garden plants. I was waiting in the car-park outside our local supermarket when a light shower of rain appeared as if from nowhere.
It rained a little more.
The sun was shining by the time I got home ten minutes later!