Saturday, February 20, 2016 website hacked!

Hello! :) The extreme of heat here, and the dry conditions that we have now are such a huge contrast to the cold wet and winter conditions of Charleston!  We truly had a remarkable time in Charleston, thank you so much to all of our very special people and particularly to the Ford and Foster families. You are all just amazing and such a gift to us.  We love you dearly!  Micaela and I were blessed by you all.  She certainly wasn't ready to come home at all.

As appears to be an annual occurrence after the Wildlife show, our website has been hacked once again!  I have rebuilt it so many times, and think that we now have to come up with a new and original plan to stay ahead of 'them'.  I might land up using this platform in the interim until such time as we have a new system in place.

We both have LOADS of work ahead of us, and apologize to those of you who are waiting for a reply from me. I hope to get all of the emails replied to today.  On getting home 11.30pm Wednesday night, I was on the road Thursday morning to collect the kids from School, and we then all spent the whole of yesterday at the School Inter-high athletics meeting in Phalaborwa.

Big hugs, love Jo

Thursday, February 4, 2016

South Eastern Wildlife Expo 2016, Valentine weekend... here we come!

2016 is going to be a GIRL'S trip. We leave Saturday, and fly direct to Charleston. Micaela is so excited to be coming with me, and I am just as excited to have her company. Ken and I decided it was an awesome opportunity for the two of us, as we don't know when we might have this opportunity again. She hopes to study Veterinary next year, and that is going to be a big time commitment for a number of years.
January 2nd I celebrated my 43rd birthday.  We were delighted to have our special friends Abraham and Ilse de Villiers join us for the weekend.  It's become an annual tradition for us to spend new year together, and we just LOVE IT!
We are short of rain, and do hope that February and March will be nice and wet months!  JohnD was able to do a LOT of hunting over the holidays, and he certainly helped keep our freezer stocked.  This "Jackpot" day was one I don't think he will forget soon!
January flew by, and with the children now back into the school routine, our home is empty again. Micaela is in Grade 12 this year, her final year of High School. JohnD is in Grade 10, and is already feeling the increased pace of being a senior.
Our schedule this year in the USA is a very short one, as we have to keep Micaela's time away from school to a minimum.  We are very excited to catch up with all of you again. We hope to see you at our booth in the Brittle Bank Park Sporting Village Tent.  The South Eastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, South Carolina is over the Valentine's Weekend.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Darting Buffalo and Nyala

With Micaela’s sights on vetinary school, she spent a week with Wighardt and their vet Rita.  They were quite busy with darting Nyala, both for medical treatment as well as relocation.  They also worked on one of our buffalo here.  

We have yet another USA Visa application successful with us being granted 10 year multiple entry visas.  I do wish that this was an online process too, as the trip to the embassy in Pretoria is never convenient!

The very old farm isuzu pickup truck that Ken and I used to go on honeymoon in, was finally sold and we were blessed to get a new Mahindra pickup for Ken.  It’s a bit of a workhorse, and nothing glammerous, but hopefully the vehicle repairs and maintenance bill will be reduced!  Camo has decided that it is HIS truck, and is on constant alert for it’s departure.  He severely dislikes the fact that it does not have an open window to the back, as he does love to jump between the back and the front of the pickup.  At least he has finally stopped hitting his head on the glass! :D

With more time at home, Micaela has been having some creative fun in our garden, and currently the nesting of the masked weavers in our fig trees, it makes our garden quite an entertaining place to sit.
Finally, we have been blessed with some really lovely rains, and the green lush wonder of the bushveld has returned.  Along with the birth of all of the young impala, wildebeest, hartebeest, blesbuck, and the many other game animals, we have been enjoying the births of all of the Nguni Cattle!  These little additions to our herd are a constant source of joy, and spending time in the kraal watching them play, is always a wonderful pastime!
As always, this time of the year everyone is looking for meat for their families, both for our staff as well others.  JohnD and Micaela have been able to do a fair bit of hunting, which they always enjoy! 
We want to take the time to wish each and every one of you a very blessed Christmas, and a 2016 that is filled with God’s provision, God’s protection, God’s peace, as well as His Joy!  For the Joy of the Lord is our Strength!

Micaela's 18th Birthday, Johnathan's last Oncology Appointment

Our beloved darling daughter celebrated her 18th birthday in our usual farm style, by having some of her close friends to visit for two nights.  We were blessed with lovely weather, and the annual bonfires were fun like usual!

Both she and JohnD continue to make us so proud with their really wonderful school reports, and all of Micaela’s hard work paid off with her final average being her highest yet!
Micaela, Mom and I went to the Merensky Mother Daughter Day this year.   
Johnathan Ball (in the middle)Tennis award 
On another note.....  Ken’s appointment with a local audiologist has confirmed what we have been struggling with for some time.  He needs hearing aids.  So he has been fitted with very small and incredibly smart little devices, that have given back to him sounds that he completely forgot existed!  It took about two weeks for him to get used to having these things inside his ears, but we are all so proud of him for persevering.  The bird songs, the crickets, the sound of tires on the dirt road…. And yes even the sound of bubbles (from diving into the reservoir on a hot day, having forgotten to take them out!!!) are all “new” to him. Best of all, he can hear us when we speak!
In November, I got a call from JohnD’s Oncology department Sister, to let us know that our beloved Dr de Jager is going to be retiring in January.  Our next scheduled appointment to see him would only have been in April of next year, but we decided that we wanted to head back to Pretoria again to go and bid him farewell and to thank him again for his incredible gift to us.  He gave JohnD a very thorough medical examination.  We are so very blessed to let the world know that our JohnD does not require any further follow-up appointments, and Dr de Jager was happy to say that we can classify JohnD as cured.  His files will remain in the Oncology department archives, should any future enquiry need to be made, but we can close this chapter in our lives!  God is merciful, faithful, and He is GOOD!  All honour and praise to HIM.

Australia Ferrar Family Reunion

Ken absolutely spoilt me and left me speechless when he insisted on my taking time to go to Australia to see my family. My eldest sister from Zimbabwe, Jenny, was able to join me, (thank you so much Derek!) so the two of us flew to Sydney to spend 2 weeks with my middle sister Claire and her family, and our parents. 
It’s been 2 and a half years since my parent’s last visit here in Africa, and with their current Visa Application process still pending, they are unable to leave Australia.
I was blessed beyond words to have catch-up-time with my dearest friend, Elizabeth! :) You Angel! Thank you so much for coming all of the way, and making time to come and visit.
It was just so special to all be together again, thank you so much for having us Pete!!!  It went by so fast, and we certainly loved being there for both Ben and Annabel’s birthdays.
From left to right at the back is John, Ben, Daddy, Pete. Middle row is Mom, Jenny, Myself and Claire. Front are Zara and Annabel.

Having not planned this trip to Australia ahead of time, I had very little time to acquire an Australian Visa.  On realizing that my online application was going absolutely nowhere, we began to panic. God did a real Miracle for me. Using my British heritage I was able to get an immediate online Australian Visa, the morning of my departure.  Yes, my nerves were a little frayed, but oh the joy of knowing that I would be able to go!  My visa in my South African passport was issued two weeks after my return to South Africa!  Fortunately it is valid for a year, so hopefully it will not go to waste! 

Our Family Holiday in Mozambique

During the September / October school break, we had the privilege of taking Ken’s folks with us to Mozambique for about 10 days. We have not had a holiday with Dad and Mom since the kids were very small, and we used to head up to Zimbabwe for family Christmas celebrations.  It was a really lovely break, and the wonderful weather, beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and plenty of rest was good for all of us! 
Louis du Preez was kind enough to take us deep sea fishing on two different occasions, and my goodness were we blessed with some tremendous fishing experiences.  My two men were WORN OUT!
 Here is Johnathan with his beautiful Yellowfin Tuna!
What an awesome experience! Thank you Louis.  We had countless sightings of dolphins, whales, and even turtles.  The fishing was just awesome.
Ken caught a Dusty Shark, and you don't even want to know what I said when they were landing this big Mamma!  I squealed like a girl to say the least.  Ken's always wanted to catch a shark... and boy did it wear him OUT!
 Ken was also completely blessed to get this GT  (Giant Trevally)
 And Louis was awesome in helping Micaela get this Amber Jack!

Shi-awela Hunting

What a  joy to host Will and Lynn Paulsen for a week, with time in Kruger National Park, that I had the rare privilege of enjoying too!

Jim and Terry Beach from Charleston joined us again for their 2nd safari, and that was a lot of fun again! J  They also got to spend some time in the Kruger National Park, and up close to the Limpopo River for Eland.  
Wighardt helped us out on this hunt, and they bagged some beautiful trophies!
Camo was on duty like always, but was seldom needed, as Wighardt brought his pointer Jessy to help out.
 Our local resident Duiker at Shi-awela.
 Buffalo in Kruger National Park.

Our Lodge kitchen has got a new “pre-loved” fridge, thanks Cathy!  With Cathy moving back to the farm to stay with Dad and Mom, her fridge is a very WELCOME addition to my kitchen there!  Micaela has the joy of her microwave and blender at Merensky, as with her now being a Hostel Prefect, she has her own room, and has the space for it!