14 June, 2014

Striped mice and snowy mountains

- gardening for biodiversity

Chunks of grubbed out grape vines are arranged here to give wildlife, lizards and snakes… a place to live, to escape the cat. Looking out of the bedroom window, from where we can photograph in peace, I saw a striped mouse enjoying the early sunshine on a winter morning. Very alert, he dived back among the branches at the slightest sound or movement. He is conveniently at home next to the overspill from the bird feeder. Rhabdomys pumiliothe striped mouse lives in our fynbos and renosterveld.

Striped mouse looking this way


From the back, you can see he is NOT a grey house mouse. He has stripes. Pictures are from 2011, but we still rescue striped mice from Chocolat. Part of the biodiversity we nurture at Elephant's Eye.

Striped mouse showing the stripes on his back

I gather pictures of the snow. August 2009. July 2011. That brave patch of renosterveld natural landscape in June 2011 defying mowers and tractors and herbicide, is sadly a shadow of what once was when we drive that stretch in 2014.

The road from Piketberg to Porterville in June 2011
showing a renosterveld remnant

When we stopped to see snow up on the mountain, this little bird, who looks like a robin redbreast escaped from a Christmas card – was perched on the fence. Swoop down to catch bugs, then back to wait for the next course of Lunch. A stone-chat, seen along the wheat fields, but there are too many trees in our garden for his tastes.

Stone-chat by wheat fields
Schwarzkehlchen

Recovering from three weeks of flu, I've spent the last 2 sunny days in the garden. Working flat out on the slope behind the waterfall, which somehow I've missed. Cutting back armloads of fallen Dusty Miller which has left a gap off centre. Grooming in the long trails of scented geranium which battled thru Dusty Miller's revenge. There is a narrow border next to the path which I did once plant, but. Yesterday I harvested a bucket of Echevieria Mexican roses for the empty border. After a weekend of good rain I'll see if it looks the way I think it does. Since the house is for sale and we have a viewing on Monday - he works on the gravel paths, and I prune to make the paths wide and welcoming. This morning my reward was an armful of lavender, and 2 perfect roses - Tropical Sunset and Papa Meilland - rescued from the winter rain. We are revelling in the landscape we have created, his Ungardening of the bones, my choice of plants, together.

Pictures by Jurg Studer of  Elephant's Eye
(in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa)

(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. Those are my links.
To read or leave comments, either click the word Comments below,
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15 comments:

  1. oh Diana, three weeks of flu, that is terrible, did you have fever, cough, congestion, nausea, I am on week two come monday, I still feel so weak and tired, we should have been together to commiserate in our illness, lol, your photos are amazing, the snowy cap mountains, the mouse with his stripey coat, I enjoyed it so much,

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    1. yes to all that ... just a cough to sort now. Across the Atlantic the same flu?

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  2. Brief, low-down and quickly disappearing snow here too.

    Today the Rosie is back in action - thankfully.

    We have plenty of field mice here - can I send you some... :)

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    1. keeping our Dovre wood stove fed tonight!

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  3. Hi Diana! Take care of yourself. You still need plenty of vitamins from fruits, water and rest. Thanks for sharing those pictures with us. The little striped mouse just stole my heart. Thanks for rescuing them from Chocolat.
    Ah lavender! I can't help but pick some and rub it on my hands, put it inside my pockets ... every time I walk across the lovely and scented bushes that grow along the roads. It makes me feel really good and calm.
    All the best regarding the selling of your house.
    Hugs from the south of France
    Arlette@Thammie TheDolMaker

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    1. left lavender flowers on a scented geranium leaf on our pillows for this morning's viewing.

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  4. Diana , I hope your house showing went well, and I hope you are feeling much better! The vision of your snowy mountains was a refreshment to me, since we are now entering the hottest part of our summer.

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    1. first time they have looked at the garden, and asked, what is that ...

      http://eefalsebay.blogspot.com/2013/12/buttery-yellow-hibiscus-tiliaceus.html
      Hibiscus? Unusual leaves!

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  5. I hope that you are feeling better, it's sad to hear that the flu is still everywhere, it's still circling around here.

    Jen

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    1. our garden is looking so beautiful (now we are forced to keep up with it) and on a sunny day like today - bliss! That helps ;~)

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  6. I always wonder how animals like that mouse survive the snows in winter

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    Replies
    1. I guess they tuck up in their burrow, and make the most of the sun, as we do.

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  7. I had the flu this spring and it was miserable. Your striped mouse is a cutie. It must burrow to survive the winter. But it's smart to live near the bird feeder!

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  8. Flu for 3 weeks is pretty awful but glad you are up and about. I marvel at how you describe the cold rain and then you harvest roses and lavender. In my summer I am just now seeing the roses and lavender bloom. And my sister from Arizona was just visiting and felt it was cold here :)

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    Replies
    1. it is a kind climate. Today I was planting cuttings. Instant garden!

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Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.


Midnight in Darkest Africa

Midnight in Darkest Africa
For real time, click on the map.