Did you find a favourite? I couldn’t!
It’s mid-rainy season here in Niger, West Africa, and the trails are beautifully green!
There’s nothing to please the crew of Ishtar’s Ark as saddling up and going for a beautiful hike!
As soon as Sheba knows where we’re going, she’s happy to lead the way!
This time, we were heading for the healin jirgi tapki, one of my favourite places on earth.
Healin jirgi means airfield in Hausa. To us, however, it means a particular little spot, right next to the airfield.
A pretty little lake filled with grass, though deep enough for the horses to splash their bellies and for the dogs to swim. And beautiful whichever way you look at it!
The dogs were quick to plunge in.
You’d be surprised how cold the water becomes over night in such an otherwise warm country!
While the dogs explored the waterside, I got off my horse and explored the lake with my camera.
As always, Sheba was on the lookout, making sure we were all “safe”.
Surrounded by so much beauty, I had no need to leave!!!
Eventually, it was time to head back home,
…with both dogs and humans done discovering the premises.
We collected some fresh grass for the horses left at home. Ebony and Sahara were not all that happy to serve as transporting mules (“Isn’t that what donkeys are for?!”) but they did it nevertheless. After a few minutes, Sahara forgot all about her “load” and insisted we gallop home.
Our ride back through the green millet labyrinths was as enjoyful as our way there.
I can’t believe the millet is as tall as me on horseback, even though we’re not even in the middle of August! This is going to be one fabulous year for the farmers of the Zinder area!
As for the trail ride, Sheba and Sahara raced most of the way home, spurring each other all the way through. I love that dog, and the horse!
And here’s your close-up on the gigantic yet still growing millet plants for the Zinder area. From August 4th, 2012. Hope you enjoyed!
My beautiful niece is 7 years old today! I can’t believe what a big girl she’s become!
Not only is she a dog owner and an eager rider, but she is a real goat girl too!
I wonder who she could have inherited such an interest from…?
Well, Tabita, I wish you a fabulous birthday!
I hope we have time for many more sleep-overs at my house this year,
…because someone is needed to look after those Barbie dolls!
HAPPY 7th BIRTHDAY, TABITA!
For more skies around the world, visit Skywatch!
On this day, exactly three years, my dad, my sister and I drove to Smögen to visit my mother’s grave.
My dad – 2009. I couldn’t be prouder!
The graveyard where my mother lies is peacefully situated at the end of the island, close to the sea. The air is fresh and it’s almost always windy.
We’d brought new flowers,
…and my dad knew exactly how he wanted to place them.
A beautiful stone, for a beautiful person.
And the flowers were beautiful too!
Miss you so much, Mom! It’s been more than three years but the longing for hasn’t faded over the years. Not a bit. Seems I just miss you more and more for every day that goes by.
It’s Cattle Egrett mating season here in West Africa, and even in the city, the thorny acacias are buzzing with activity.
I figured such a colony would be easy to approach,
…and sure enough, I got some nice captures.
With so many birds and so much activity,
…there was a lot of landings,
…and a lot of hopping about.
Dressed in mating plumage, there was more fighting than mating going on.
This guy made a beautiful dance for what seemed to be his partner-to-be, but once he turned his back, another suitor took his place.
Truth be told, I’m not exactly sure WHAT they were doing, but they were beautiful subjects to photograph nevertheless!
And in not too long, these nests will be filled with little cattle egret chicks. I hope our beautiful photo subjects will be equally cooperative then!
Was I ever more wounded?
Was I ever more whole?
Was I ever any weaker?
Was I ever this strong?
Was I ever so frightened?
Was I ever more sure of the way?
Was I ever so lonely?
Were You ever closer than You are today?
Was my life ever any harder?
Was my life ever so true?
Would I do it all over again?
Yes, as long as I walk with YouFor more skies around the world, visit Skywatch!
A weeks ago, Isaku and I popped by Zidane to see how he was doing.
Although it had been a while, he was still as cuddly as ever!
Already 1,5 years old, this colt is growing up to be a beautiful stallion!
I still can’t over how big and masculine his head is!
As for training, we took him out to see if he was still as well educated as when we handed him over. He was!
We even took him out with the motorcycle (which he completely cool with) and gave him the opportunity to trot and canter along the gravel road. He loved it! Normally, colts his age are already being ridden in Niger, so it is definitively a challenge for his new caretakers not to ride him. In the meantime, I am happy that he has preserved his good nature and hope that he will be known as one of the most well-behaving race horses in the country, once he gets started with his career!
The rains started early this year and although we’re still only in mid-June, the millet is already growing in the fields. My ridgeback is is thrilled that all her favourite water holes (all of which except one dried out in March) replenished early this year, allowing her to once again join us for long speedy bush rides… While the heat between the downpours is overwhelming at times, clouds dance once again on the horizon, playing with the light and once again creating that splendid West Africa late evening glow… The rainy season sky is beautiful and dramatic, and there is more to come!
…is a Sheba hug!!
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
I counted seven. Quite a peaceful image, but how they got there (and where they are heading…) is a whole different story!
Ever since Sheba was a puppy, it was impossible to find a trick that this willful ridgeback was willing to learn. You could count on her for any real-life drama (the greater the need for her assistance, the better!!!), but when it came to simple dog tricks, she could not see the point with them and found them utterly silly and degrading to any intelligent free-thinking canine companion. I tried convincing her but no avail, and being at that time too well-aware of her allergy to sticking to procedures just for the sake of it, I kept my battle to the one area I would spend the following three years convincing her of: namely the need to respect traffic..
So imagine my joy then I per chance last weekend stumbled upon a trick that she not only enjoyed, but did really well! I must have tried it a couple of times before but it wasn’t a hit back then. This time however, it was as if we had done it ALWAYS… I place a canine cracker on her nose, told her (as if our lives depended on it !) to hold still-
…and then watched her fulfill her part superbly as she waited for the green light to attack the delicacy that had so mischievously positioned itself on her nose! She was brilliant! I missed the part where she threw it into the air and caught it with a snap, but lol, she loved the trick so much, we’re bound to get it on photo soon!
A meter away, Ronja was voicing her interest to do the same,
…but teaching this half ridgeback the same trick proved a little more complicated…
RONJA: “No, we cannot have the cracker on our nose. We just can’t. Crackers belong inside the mouth, not on top of it.”
Needless to say, once the cracker finally got to rest of Ronja’s nose, it did not last more than nano second before she dropped it on the ground.
SHEBA: “If Ronja’s cracker falls into my zone after she has failed fulfill her MISSION, does that make her cracker mine…?”
On Tuesday after work, Sheba, Ronja and I joined a friend to have a look at a house she was interested in.
The dogs were in a fabulous mood, being big fans of any kind of “afterwork activity”!
The house turned out not to be quite what we had expected,
…but everybody was happy with the excursion anyway!
And as for the sunset? Well, it was strikingly beautiful as always!
When I started birdwatching a few years ago, I never thought I would learn to differentiate the sounds of various birds, but these days, it is the cry of a bird I’ve never heard before that calls my attention when I ride by, as opposed to spotting the bird by sight first.
I love discovering new species (new to me, that is) and on one of our most recent rides, we stumbled upon some three yellow-billed shrikes – a first-timer for me.
The yellow-billed shrike [corvinella corvina] is a noisy bird (good thing or I wouldn’t have spotted it!) that feeds on insects. It has a wide range and can be seen from Senegal all the way to Uganda. For me, it was a first sighting, but I definitively hope it will not be the last!