About this blog

This Blog is about a garden, a home, some moggies, and a novice finding her way in the dark. Here's what I want to achieve. I want to live in a garden as close to the one that God created (not the original one where the untouchable tree of knowledge was, just the general one that existed before people decided they had to have dominion with a vengeance). I want to foster an environment in which an eco-sytem can thrive, devoid of pesticides and other evils. In other words, I want a naturalized garden teeming with wildlife. I want to extend this (as far as possible, and within reason - as far as creepy crawlies are concerned - to my home). Achieving this will be a journey of discovery for me. I welcome comments and ideas. In fact, I would love comments and ideas!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Worker's Day

Today is Worker's Day in South Africa. I salute all workers, but I have a special salute for workers who work to care, maintain and conserve our earth and our fellow living beings. Workers who restore dignity to us as humans by caring for and fighting for the humane and decent treatment of other sentient beings. The list is too long for me to mention every organisation and it's workers by name, and so I will just mention a few. If you feel I have unfairly omitted your organisation, please let me know and I'll be happy to add you to the list. Whether I agree or disagree with specific policies or methods, I believe their hearts are in the right place, and so to these workers, who often work tirelessly for little or no monetary reward, I want to say a big thank you, not only for what you do for the earth - our home, or for what you do for fellow animals, but also for helping to restore human dignity. 

International Mainstream Environmental Organisations

  • Earth System Governance Project
  • Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • World Nature Organization (WNO)

  • Non-governmental Organisations

  • 350.org
  • A Rocha
  • Anti-nuclear movement
  • Antinea Foundation
  • Biofuelwatch
  • Biosphere Expeditions
  • Bioversity International
  • BirdLife International
  • Climate Justice Now!
  • Confederation of European Environmental Engineering Societies
  • Conservation International
  • Dancing Star Foundation
  • Deep Green Resistance
  • Earth Charter Initiative
  • Earthwatch
  • Fauna and Flora International
  • Forest Stewardship Council
  • Forests and the European Union Resource Network (FERN)
  • Friends of Nature
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Gaia Mater (the mother Earth)
  • Global Footprint Network
  • Global Witness
  • Great Transition Initiative
  • Green Actors of West Africa (GAWA)
  • Green Cross International
  • Greenpeace
  • IDEAS For Us
  • Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense
  • International Analog Forestry Network
  • International Network for Sustainable Energy (INFORSE)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Mountain Wilderness
  • NatureServe
  • Panthera Corporation
  • Plant A Tree Today Foundation (PATT)
  • PRBO Conservation Science
  • Project AWARE
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Sandwatch
  • Sano Sansar Initiative
  • Seeds of Survival of USC Canada
  • Society for the Environment (SocEnv)
  • Taiga Rescue Network (TRN)
  • The Climate Project
  • The Mountain Institute
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Resource Foundation
  • Wetlands International
  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Wolf Preservation Foundation (WPF)
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • World Conservation Union (WCN)
  • World Land Trust(WLT)
  • World Resources Institute (WRI)
  • World Union for Protection of Life (WUPL)
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • Worldchanging
  • Worldwatch Institute
  • Xerces Society
  • Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

  • Animal rights organizations
    Organisations working to stop vivisection

  • Americans For Medical Advancement
  • British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV)
  • Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT)
  • Close Highgate Farm
  • Dr Hadwen Trust
  • Great Ape Project
  • National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS)
  • New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS)
  • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
  • Primate Freedom Project
  • Rocky Mountain Animal Defense
  • Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)
  • Stop Sequani Animal Testing (SSAT)
  • Stop Wickham Animal Testing (SWAT)

  • Groups focused on farm animals

    It's a beautiful world, let's nurture, love and protect it!

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    A plea for the dolphins in faraway Taiji

    The sea is quiet and serene today, but as I gaze at it, my heart is heavy and I cannot escape from the images of what is happening on the other side of the globe in faraway Taiji. This is the time when the ocean in Taiji is filled with fear, pain and screaming, as scores of dolphins are lured into the bay. The young ones are caught and taken into captivity to entertain humans in dolphinarians, while the older ones are hacked and beaten to death.
    It is not only in Japan where this happens. The Faroe and Solomon Islands are also witness to this cruel and barbaric practise.
    Dolphin hunting is justified on the grounds that dolphins are animals and as such do not qualify for the same rights as are awarded to humans. It is also justified in terms of a cultural practise.
    Culture - the politically correct person's kryptonite. Bring out the word culture and people falter, stumble and become apologetic.
    With all due respect, culture is not a deity of sorts. It is a set of behaviours, customs and beliefs created by humans over time. It is fluid and ever-changing and with an ever-shrinking world, culture smudges and blends with other cultures. And yet, across the globe culture is used as an excuse to commit atrocities against vulnerable people and against other living beings. Culture is beautiful when it is good and caring and positive, but when it embraces cruelty, then it taints what is good. Who wants cruelty to form a part of their culture! What kind of culture proudly parades cruelty as a right!? Cruelty is not confined to any particular culture. It exists in Japan and elsewhere in the East. It exists in Europe and Africa and America. People in the West clamour to be entertained by dolphins in captivity. Throughout the world, people are particularly fond of vanity, often accomplished with great cruelty towards animals in testing laboratories. In Spain bullfighting is glorified. Americans hunt with glee - not to feed themselves, but to kill for fun. In Africa cattle are wrestled down to die a slow and painful death as part of a so-called cultural practise. In Australia kangaroos are subjected to cruel cullings.
    And yet, at the same time, throughout the very same parts of the world where cruelty exists, other people fight to combat cruelty. People fight for the rights of women and children who are oppressed by religious or cultural beliefs and practises. People also fight for the rights of animals not to be subjected to the cruelty that seems to be inherent in human beings. Decades ago, Kenya banned hunting. Recently Botswana followed suit, and more recently Zambia banned hunting of it's big cats. In China people work tirelessly to save the Panda. Australians voice their outrage over kangaroo and other cullings and go all out in their efforts to save the Tasmanian Devil from extinction. Throughout the world scores of people are joining the movement towards more humane treatment of animals and speak out against laboratory testing, against inhumane farming practises, against hunting as a form of entertainment.
    Cruelty has nothing to do with culture, it has everything to do with a flaw in the human psyche. How can we decide that only humans have a right to dignity and to humane treatment? What omnipotent knowledge do we have that allows us to judge thus? Other animals experience pain, they form bonds, they are capable of love and selflessness. How many human lives haven't been saved by dogs and dolphins? Why would they do this if they were only capable of the most basest of instincts? What gives us the right to decide that animals are not moral actors and so do not have the right to moral treatment? Dolphins are gentle creatures. More so than humans. What allows us then to torture and imprison them? Please, this is not a plea only to the Japanese people, this is a plea to all of humanity - we can do better. After all, as advocates of the notion that humans are superior to and apart from other animals, are so fond of telling us - humans have the capacity to tell the difference between right and wrong. Let us use that capacity then and choose not to inflict pain and suffering on other sentient creatures. Let us behave in a way that will allow us the right to live with self-respect and dignity.

    Sunday, December 30, 2012

    Love and Peace for 2013

    And so another year has come and gone and on we go to 2013! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading my blog. It's very encouraging to glance at the stats and see how many people have taken the time and trouble to read what I have to say.
    If you are still wondering about a new year's resolution... how about this one: a resolution to as far as possible be kind. And by kind, I obviously mean to all living creatures, no only humans. So, one way of doing this would be to check your beauty and household products and change to ones that do not test on animals.

    If you're in South Africa, I would like to recommend the following kind products:

    Annique; Beauty Factory; Cosmetix; Hannon; Luxury Cosmetics; Like Silk; Innoxa, bio-oil; and Oh So Heavenly.

    If you're elsewhere in the world, Peta has a comprehensive list of cruelty free products. Here is a link to their website:

    And on that note, I wish you a 2013 filled with love, peace, kindness and all the things that make life so well worth living. Have a good one!!

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Cape of Beauty; Cape of Cruelty

    I am fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. The Cape Floristic Region is richer in plant species than anywhere else in the world. In 2004 this area was declared a Natural World Heritage Site of “universal significance to humanity”. The Cape is home to a variety of animals, several of them threatened by human encroachment.

    In 1615 Sir Thomas Roe, an English sailor passing by the shores of Cape Town wrote “[There is] a most high and steep rock mountain... There (are) 5 or 600 people... and by signs show their heart is good... The air and water is very wholesome... The bay is full of whales and seals.”

    In 1648 a French sailor who visited what is now Cape Town wrote “... the mist was heavy. That night the wind continued... having fired a gun to notify of our arrival... I went ashore... we saw lairs, tracks and dung of many sorts of animals, such as elephants, deer, leopards... and the footprints of oxen, especially (at) the spring (which) comes out clear and bright between the rocks.”

    Sadly the world that the sailors described is long gone. Lion and elephant have been eradicated, Cape leopards are amongst the animals that are endangered. Luckily people have realized how delicate our ecosystem is, and how important it is to protect our fauna and flora – until recently that is.

    In 2011, the Democratic Alliance administration of the Western Cape, under leadership of the Premier, Helen Zille, pressured CapeNature to implement the largest cull of indigenous wildlife in the history of Africa!! The move was political and completely ignored biodiversity as an objective. Stakeholders in opposition to this culling were excluded from the talks. Worse, the methods used to cull are deplorable! These include helicopter gunships, hunting with dogs and the use of gin traps. Gin traps are particularly barbaric. Not only are the deaths slow and excruciatingly painful, animals are caught indiscriminately. This means that animals other than predators are trapped, including endangered animals, domestic animals, and even children are at risk. I do not normally post horrific photos and so I apologise, but I think it is important to show what gin traps do.

    It is estimated that for every one predator, twenty other animals are caught
    An aardwolf caught in a trap. These animals are harmless and feed on termites

    It is entirely unnecessary to resort to savage methods to protect livestock from predatory animals. Other methods have been used with great success. If you would like to know more about alternative methods, look at the following site –

    You can also find more information, and a petition to sign on –

    If you are sickened, as I am and wonder what you can do about this – please sign the petition on the above link and join me in telling Helen Zille and the DA administration how you feel about this.

    You can find Helen Zille’s Facebook page on –


    There is a chance that your comment may be removed, so I ask you if you would please also Like the Facebook page – DA Premier Helen Zille Stop Killing Our Wildlife. The link to this page is - https://www.facebook.com/#!/wildlifegenocide 

    Please help me in protecting animals from a cruel and senseless death in what amounts to, in the words of the Landmark Foundation, a biodiversity massacre.

    I hope that one day you will be in a position to visit my home and I hope that by that time, this nightmare will be behind us. When that day comes, know that it will be largely due to your help and the help of everyone else who has voiced their protest.

    I thank you.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Summer and Tokai Forest

    Despite a few cooler in-between days in Cape Town, the days are still extremely hot. If you're looking for a cool  reprieve from the heat, a visit to Tokai forest will not only provide you with a canopy of cool tranquility, it will also restore your very soul!

    If you're looking to braai (barbecue) or picnic and laugh and chatter, drive up Tokai Road towards the mountain, and on your right-hand side you will find picnic spots and a pleasant, lazy place to have a good relaxed afternoon. If on the other hand, you are looking for a more esoteric experience, keep going past the picnic spots... while you're about it, enjoy the drive... so picturesque...

    Cross the bridge and continue up the road until you reach the old Manor House - reputedly haunted by a man on a white horse amongst others...

    Turn left past the Manor House and follow the road until you reach the Tokai Arboretum. Enter and marvel. The arboretum contains hundreds of trees from across the globe. Pick up a staff left by earlier hikers and follow the footpaths up into a marvelous haven of peace and greenery with soft sunlight filtering through the treetops. 

    A word of caution - adhere to the instructions provided on the signboard at the entrance. Do not smoke, do not take food into the forest - the forest is home to baboons, who will be quite happy to relieve you of your food. Baboons are powerful animals, so show them respect. While you're there, take some time to watch them, they are fascinating cousins - and at the same time, they can watch you and find you a fascinating cousin as well.

    The mother in this photo is on her way to comfort her baby who she had sharply reprimanded a few minutes earlier for refusing to come down from a tree. The baby had screamed like a little banshee and chastened, went to sit across the road huddled in a sulk. The mother cuddled and groomed her baby, softly crooning to it, while the baby whimpered softly in self-pity.

    Oh, and if you happen to be a strong-armed wheelchair user, or have a friend with you, you will find the gentle gradient allows you to travel quite far along the footpaths. If you turn to your left at the first fork in the path, you will arrive at a delightful mountain stream. 

    After your hike, you can treat yourself to a well-earned meal or cup of coffee at Lister's Tearoom close to the entrance/exit. Be warned, their chocolate cake is wickedly good! 

    Oh, and another very useful bit of information, previously there was a problem regarding a toilet for wheelchair users. However, thanks to the efforts of Chris Botes (Senior Section Ranger at Tokai and Cecilia Forest), there is now a wheelchair friendly loo in the ladies restroom.

    Happy hiking!!

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Rondevlei Nature Reserve

    And so we are well on our way into 2012. Festivities are over, tinsel and bling returned to the decoration box, bags are unpacked and sleeves are rolled up and ready to take on whatever this year brings... or would be if it weren't quite so hot! Cape Town in in the throes of a scorching January. All you people snowboarding in the northern hemisphere, spare a thought for your molten fellow beings down south.

    However, if you're one of those people who love the heat, why not make the most of it. January is a good time to visit Rondevlei Nature Reserve and bird sanctuary, since many European migrants can be seen at this time of the year.

    Up to 230 different species of birds have been seen at Rondevlei. Bird hides allow you to get right up close. Do remember to keep the volume down to avoid disturbing the birds when you are in one of the hides. There are also Grysbok, Cape Clawless Otter, Cape Grey Mongoose and hippopotami - or so they say. In all my visits to Rondevlei, I have never encountered a hippo. I have however, come across huge amounts of dung and flattened reeds, and so unless there are mutant otters residing at Rondevlei, I'm willing to accept that the hippos actually exist, but are just very shy.

    Lookout towers allow a great elevated view of the vlei and surrounding dunes and wetlands. Apart from the lookout towers, Rondevlei is readily accessible to wheelchairs.

    Anyhow, enough of that... here are some photos taken at Rondevlei to whet your appetite...

    If you would like to know more about Rondevlei, visit their website at http://www.rondevlei.co.za.

    Enjoy the heat!

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Garden birds in the Western Cape

    Almost December and the birds are very busy, greeting the dawn, chattering, raising chicks and catching bugs. If you live in the Western Cape, the possibility is good that you may have seen some of the following birds in your garden: White-eye; Cape Robin; Guineafowl; Masked Weaver; Cape Weaver; Cape Sparrow; Wagtail; Olive Thrush; Lesser Doublecollared Sunbird; Cape Turtle Dove; Laughing Dove and Dikkop...