This week, Ron Wayner and co-pilot Nate from Mercy Air came to spend a week with us. They flew a short term group out to visit a mission that’s about 2 hours from us. And although they could have stayed with the group, they decided to come spend time with us and help cut wood. Our chain saw had been repaired in South Africa, so they flew it up in the plane. Nice! They also brought our mail (including birthday cards from my parents/in-laws that arrived in the bush, in Mozambique ON MY birthday. How do you like that? One would never even hope for such a thing. Anyway, Ron and Nate have been very busy making lots of noise, sawdust and wonderful progress cutting some huge trees into usable wood for all our building needs. Thanks guys! Bonus for them...they ‘get to’ stay in our many stars, mobile accommodation (read ‘tents).
Here’s someone else who came calling:
This is a Mozambique spitting cobra. ‘Spitting’ because they prefer to spit their opponent in the eyes before resorting to biting. I’m not sure which I prefer, not that I would prefer either! They have deadly aim and can spit a length of a few meters (yards). See the bands on his underside? Those are his identifying marks. So this isn’t the kind of snake you want to hanging around nearby. Anyway, our little dog started acting odd, barking alarmingly at tin roof sheeting that was leaning up against the wall outside. I immediately knew it must be a snake. So I got a broom stick and slowly pulled the roof sheets away. And sure enough, when I had flipped the last one over, an olive coloured snake, about 2 feet long or so, slithered very quickly, around the corner to the front of the house. Although I wanted to follow him to see where he went, I knew I had to first get the dog inside. If he saw the snake, he’d be after him like a shot and I would be nursing seriously sore eyes for a week. I called two of the staff who were nearby and they came charging over, sticks in hand, at the word ‘cobra’ (Portuguese for ‘snake’). We searched and searched...very carefully...but couldn’t find him. Hm. Then I noticed the drainage pipe that runs under our sidewalk. I know they like to hide. So I got the water hose and started flushing from one end. Sure enough, that motivated him to come out of hiding. Then the whole scene was a blur of sticks flinging through the air and bits of bark, grass and dust flying in every direction. I think the first blow pretty much guaranteed his ‘exit ticket’, but they guys like to make sure. So after about the 5th blow I stopped them. I needed to get a picture, after all! Then before I could scoop him up with a stick, the dogs grabbed him and gave him a real good angry shaking. Like, ‘take that you bad snake!’. ‘ Okay dogs, everyone, we’re good now.’ I expect but don’t hope to see more snakes this season. Haha.
Other friends we’ve had hanging around of late, likely because we’re the only island of unburned land for miles around, is some Guinea Fowl, Bush Babies and Vervet Monkeys.
Here’s a Guinea Fowl feather. Intricate, hey? I wonder if there are other birds with polkadots on their feathers. God thought of everything didn’t He?
The monkeys are smart and keep a good distance from us (not from our garden though). The Bush Babies are very cute and curious. There are a few that hang around in our trees at dusk. Their silhouette against the grey sky is really quite comical since they have long bushy tails and round, goofy, Mickey mouse ears. With features like that, you KNOW when they’re looking at you! I like to talk to them. So far they haven’t been brave enough to come down closer.
Otherwise, the routine friends we can always find around are bats and owls. Oh, and insects of course. Now that our days are warming up, we’re seeing more and more of them. Soon we’ll have to move our dining room table inside so we have some peace at mealtimes!
We’re making a trip to South Africa next week. A bit of business to tend to plus a sore tooth of mine. I’ve been on Tylenol for 2 months now, so it’s time to go see Mr. Dentist again. Yay. My favourite trip!