Fire, on Gladstone Farm…

In the dry season in farming areas (and safari/National Parks) uncontrolled bush fires are a huge threat, not only to the grass and trees, but also the animals who live there. When the call goes out, we all arrive, assemble and wait for instructions from whoever is in charge.

We have a fire coordinator who monitors where fires are, and we all try to get together to help fight when necessary. I don’t fight fires, but I do offer logistical support, such as carrying people and water around.

On this occasion, it was pretty well entrenched in this valley, on our neighbour’s farm, Gladstone. We were instructed to keep it to the one side of the road – stop it jumping across.

Although destructive, fires provide some interesting subjects for photos.

This tree (above) is massive and the eerie light from the late afternoon sun was enhanced by the thick smoke.

I always feel so sorry for the animals and birds displaced by bushfires. One often sees a small buck tearing away from the fire, and birds flying about helplessly in the air above.

Lone trees, in Springs Paddock, Matopos

Something always grabs me, when I see a tree like this, valiantly clawing on to life with its fingernails!

I like to think we have something in common! In my next life, I’d like to come back as a tree. I would love to have a view of the Matopos like this one does!

It’s the same tree in both pics, just I liked the “path” of grass leading to the tree in the second photo.

Just down the hill from here, is a spring where lots of wild-life drink (which is why the paddock is named “Springs!”) Someone obviously cut this tree back (or maybe an animal ate it) and its fighting back!

Amazing, hey? It must be a fig tree – perhaps a strangler (ha ha) cos it’s really trying to hang on to life and that rock!

I leave you today with this image, also taken on that same kopjie of a lone tree – it was after sunset and the cold winter colours only, showed against the silhouette

Rock Art in Figtree Rd, Anglesea Farm, Matopos

Climb an arb kopjie in the Matopos and you might find cave paintings. We were actually up this one, to look for signal so we could face our booster (for internet) in the right direction. We saw a likely looking rock and sure enough…rock art.

Not much, only a few figures, possibly some animals.

They are usually on a rock face with an overhang, or even a cave.

Lizzy told us she had found some, deep inside the cave but I was not about to investigate – the rocks just got closer and closer!

This last photo isn’t rock art, well it is…its natural rock art…I love the way the granite forms with patterns.

This last photo is taken from the top of the kopjie…

In the dry season in Matopos, its dry…

But I love the colours! I realise not everyone appreciates what I mean! A New Zealand relative stared at me once, when I was sighing over our winter purples, russet gold, indigo, emerald green (you get the picture…) and said all she could see was dust and dead trees!

The photos in this post were taken in a paddock called “Springs” on Anglesea Farm. This (and the next one) was taken looking south, at the kopjies in the National Park.

In the late afternoon, the light shines on the dry leaves (and I think they look golden!)

It’s a fair climb to where I took the last photo, although the steep slope in the foreground doesn’t really show my endevours!

Fire in Springs paddock, on Anglesea Farm

Each morning, on Anglesea Farm, I’m (rudely) awakened when the night-guard beats a metal pipe at 5.00am. However on this particular morning, he really whacked away at it – it was a fire. This is what we stood to lose:

This grassland is tinder-dry and with a stiff wind, goes up in smoke very quickly.

I leapt out of bed, scrambled into clothes and rushed outside. I don’t fight fires, but I do deal with the logistics side: ferrying water and people to beat the flames.

The foreman told me he would take a group of fire-fighters along this stream and I was to wait for him to call for further instructions. I didn’t mind, I sat there as the sun slowly shone over the kopjies and against this huge rock.

Its interesting how, as the sun comes up, some parts of the valley are in shadow, while in others, the golden light has been there for ages.

Those reeds (with the tufty tops) also burn readily. I had parked the car on a flat rocky area so it wouldn’t get burnt if the fire rushed along this valley.

Luckily the fire was stopped – the wind died down and our beautiful paddock remained untouched.

Early morning walk in the kopjies…

Before dawn, I decided to climb a hill and wait for the sunrise. I got sidetracked however, clambering up the kopjie and the sun took SO long to come up! When it does burst over the horizon, it picks up the reds, oranges yellows, and shades the lichen on the rocks pink.

This plant in the foreground (above) is prickly, with a velvet-like leaf, but I loved the way it seemed to be gold-plated where the sun touched it.

And then I went for a walk along this road, heading south, so the shadows where lying across the road.

I love that mukwa tree (the tall one on the left.)

I leave you today, with this photo – pssst – I think those rocks are keen on each other.

Rocks, Kopjies and trees, on Anglesea Farm

These trees offer a place to give the horses and dogs shade on a long ride. It’s about 4km from the homestead, so not a short ride for a newly backed horse.

The next two photos are taken in “Springs 2” even further from the homestead.

Again, this photo has all the elements I like: a road, distance, trees of course. I love the leaves in the foreground. The blue and orange make a nice contrast!

All my photos can be printed in A2 size. I can send a HD copy of the file, for single use if you would like one. I usually ask people to donate to a charity of their choice, but recently I have been supporting my own fund raiser: