💛 In summer I always enjoy an early-evening walk on our smallholding. No need to get in my car to find nature, I have 8.5ha right here to explore, hoping to see the Barn Owl or some Guinea fowl, but always enjoying the Bluegum trees and beautiful grasses and wild flowers along the way.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Memories of Tarlton - Kiep's first egg!

Kiep, my little pet hen, comes from Bantam stock, though clearly mixed with a variety of other chicken breeds, and she actually looks like a miniature Leghorn.

Here she is in her nest box in my studio (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), laying her very first egg! Scratching around in her nest box, trying to settle in, all her feather’s erect and a glassy-eyed expression until the egg finally appeared! Kiep was reared in my studio, straight out of the egg, and to this day, 9 years later, she still wanders into my studio too spend some time with me.

Bantam chickens have been domesticated for centuries. In fact, they are one of the oldest known domestic animals. Marco Polo wrote about banties in his journal. While all bantams are chickens, not all chickens are banties.

All bantams are smaller than regular chickens and they share some unique personality traits. I personally think they have more personality than chickens do, are more able to care for themselves, and find more of their own food. They seem to keep the grasshopper population down better than other types of poultry! I haven’t seen a bug in my garden for ages since introducing chickens to my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa) again early this year.

Healthy bantams are curious. They will check out anything that seems unusual and loudly announce the arrival of visitors. I do not keep them locked in the pen, they roam as much as possible (a chicken’s raison de etre!) and have access to fresh, green grass, insects, and whatever else they find in addition to the feed I give them.

Camera : Kodak EasyShare C195
Taken in my previous garden, Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Memories of Tarlton - Chi-Chi in the Leopard lilies

We’ve been having extremely hot weather and even my chooks have been gasping in the heat. My chickens have no problem with winter, but every summer you can find them listless in the shade, trying to cool off. Unfortunately chickens don’t bath in water (they have sand baths) otherwise that would be a quick solution to cooling off! But they do find shady spots for a bath in the cool sand leaving my garden looking like a volcanic eruption has taken place!

Here Chi-Chi, the youngest of my pet hens, takes a break amongst the Leopard Lilies and ferns.

Camera : Canon EOS 550D
Taken in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Memories of Tarlton - My garden is turning into a jungle!

Dedicated to all garden-lovers!

A path in my garden slowly getting taken over by all the plants after the good rains we had this last summer (winter here now in South Africa) and if I don’t do something about it, I’ll soon be crawling around in a jungle!

Taken in my previous garden in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa
Camera : Canon EOS 550D

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Memories of Tarlton - Early-morning along the garden path

There is nothing more exhilarating than checking up on your garden plants just as the sun is rising. Everything is smiling in anticipation of another glorious day!
And two Aloe ferox eagerly await their turn in the sunshine!

Taken in my previous garden in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa
Camera : Canon EOS 550D

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Memories of Tarlton - Gettin' caught in the rain!

After months of drought, few experiences can match the sound and smell of falling rain – unless it is the exhilaration of being caught in it while working in the garden!

Camera : Canon EOS 550D
Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Saying goodbye

Well, we've sold our smallholding, so this blog was a very brief sojourn! We're moving down to the North Coast, Kwa Zulu Natal (South Africa) and hopefully our new life there will be as exciting, ordinary, meaningful and wonderful as our 42 years in Tarlton (Gauteng, South Africa) has been.

It's hard, difficult and heart-breaking to say goodbye to a life-time of gardening, chooks, running our business, sketching and painting the area and joys and sorrows, but life has a way of taking one in different directions and enjoying the journey is what it is all about, right?

I will be documenting the move and happenings here till the last moment and maybe throw in a few Tarlton articles in between. It will be adieu, but not forgotten...

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Guineas are winged wonders

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed 12" x 8"- original for sale here.

After years of not seeing any guinea fowl around our property (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), I was lucky enough to have a visit from them a couple of days ago and I was totally thrilled! Taking some photographs also gave me a chance to do some quick sketches.

a guinea fowl
molting polka dot feathers—
I see
handmade earrings
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