Friday, September 26, 2008

Fire and Alfie the baby duiker

While the northern hemisphere cools down and braces itself for the first frosts and snow falls of the season, we in Africa roast. Temperatures have soared to 40 and 41 Celcius in the past few days, and apparently there is no better time to set the bush alight. It's quite predictable really. We've had several fires along our boundaries already and thankfully, the guys have been able to defend the mission farm. Just one boundary, the other side of the river, remained and it was one we needed to keep an eye on. Our staff assured us no fire on the opposite bank would come over as the riverbed was still wet and the grass green enough from the heavy rainfall this past season.

A few days ago we got to prove their theory when, on one of the hottest days yet this year, fires were lit and the wind blew them in our direction. By mid-afternoon we could smell the smoke and see black, billowing smoke by the river. Dwight and I decided to head down to the river to watch the fire and monitor things from there. Once down by the river, we could see one of the fires but I didn't have a clear enough shot of it with the camera. We decided to head along the riverbed a ways to get a closer look. All we had to do was push our way past some lush, tall green reeds. Turns out, these reeds are a special breed of grass. The blades aren't soft at all, they're like...well, blades! Ouch! We managed to get close enough to get some decent shots and really were tempted to keep following our noses, but after about a hundred and one nasty pokes and jabs, we decided enough was enough and headed back home. 

By then the 2nd fire nearby had really roared to life and we had a good view of it from a higher vantage point (without the poking, jabbing blades of grass). The fire never did make it across that riverbed although we saw a few sparks that blew over with the gusting wind which Dwight rushed to to put out.

One of my very interesting jobs this week was babysitting Alfie (below). Alfie (short for Alfalfa--there's a reason for that name though I don't recall what it is) is a week-old baby duiker. She belongs to Rick and Heather, but they had to go to town one day to process new visas, so I got to watch over this little one while they were gone. 
We've raised several of these over the years and though they're cute, they can be quite the handful. They cry and need milk and make messes in the wrong places if you don't watch them closely (and sometimes even if you do). I don't really want my own anymore to raise, but babysitting one is fine. The unusual thing about Alfie is that she is lame in her front legs, likely because of the way she was strapped to the back of a bicycle by the guy who sold her. We've been watching her progress with a lot of interest because amazingly, she seems to be learning how to walk even though she's crippled. Otherwise, she's your average baby buck with her big brown eyes, loud squeals and a craving for sticks and leaves which she's chewing on in the photo above.

Rick, Heather and Kim had to renew visas this week. Here they are posing with their typed, signed and stamped (it's not official without a stamp) letters of request to immigration for an extention on their visas. 

The guys have made some good progress on the trusses for our house this week. This shot is taken from our bedroom. The dark-wood heavy beams will be exposed (ie the ceiling will go behind them). It's a great bush look--lots of wood!

Crawl/storage space update:

Notice the goofy grin on Dwight's face? I looked the same way earlier in the day while we were packing boxes of used clothing, camping supplies, buckets of paint, etc. down there. Every inch forward requires a great amount of effort here, so when progress is made, we practically leap for joy! Especially when it's progress on something we've had so little of all these years--storage space. Yay! Doesn't it look good with its fresh coat of paint?


Tim and Deb Stone said...

Thanks for your faithful posts. They are our Saturday morning 7 am reads. Our thoughts and prayers are for you!

Amanda said...

beautiful storage space - just please do me a favour and keep it SEALED when you're not in there!
also, very cute little duiker!

Raúl said...

me gusta mucho tu blog lo visito a diario visita tu e mio y si t gusta deja un comentario y nos linkeamos los blogs

Russoft said...

how do I miss these posts?? Aww mushu!