Monday, 30 May 2016

Whilst driving up from the beach in Myumba this weekend, I was so excited to spot 3 baobabs! If you had been following my blog whilst in Moz, you would have known about my addiction to these trees! It just made me feel "more at home" in a very alien country.... I googled to find out more about baobabs in Gabon, and there is hardly any information. Gabon is really not the ideal climate for baobabs, and there are not many recorded. Some say seeds were brought from Senegal to plant in gardens, others that they were carried by different tribes. I think the sea or rivers carried the fruit and with the ideal temperatures, they sprouted. The 3 trees we found are close to the beach. We have driven past these trees twice before and never noticed them as they were covered in leaves, now as their leaves are falling, we noticed them. Here is one of the many traditional stories about the famous Baobab. The Creator is said to have initially planted the Baobab in the rainforests of the Congo Basin (Gabon isn't too far away) , but the tree complained that the dampness made his trunk swell. So the Creator moves it to the higher slopes of the Ruwenzori Range, the "mountains of the moon", but the Baobab continued to grumble about the humidity. Angered by the incessant wailing, the Creator took the swollen trunk and tossed it into the dryer parts of Africa (Tete!) and the tree landed upside down with its roots in the air......

Check the little birds, only noticed these once I had downloaded the pics onto the computer...
A little far away, but it was in an army camp, so was denied permission...

Sunday, 22 May 2016


Branded to say I belong to Him,
Branded to wear the scar,
Branded for identity and for all eternity!
Cattle branding on the Ranch...

Friday, 13 May 2016

I love Sicilian Caponata....

And I actually managed to have the main ingredients in my garden, which is quite something.... I have 3 vets coming for dinner and it's delicious as a starter served at room temperature with some crusty bread to wipe the plates clean... 

This is Jamie Oliver's recipe that I use:
Ingredients: (+\- in Gabon) and I always add Green peppers...
  • olive oil
  • 2 large aubergines , cut into large chunks
  • 1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small red onion , peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley , leaves picked and stalks finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons salted capers , rinsed, soaked and drained
  • 1 handful green olives , stones removed
  • 2-3 tablespoons best-quality herb vinegar
  • 5 large ripe tomatoes , roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds , lightly toasted, optional
  • Method:
  • Get yourself a large pan, pour in a couple of lugs of olive oil, and place on the heat. Add your aubergine chunks and oregano, season with a little salt and toss around so the aubergine is evenly coated by the oil. Cook on a high heat for around 4 or 5 minutes, giving the pan a shake every now and then. (Depending on the size of your pan you may need to cook the aubergine in batches.) 

    When the aubergines are nice and golden on each side, add the onion, garlic and parsley stalks and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Feel free to add a little more oil to the pan if you feel it's getting too dry. 

    Throw in the drained capers and the olives and drizzle over the herb vinegar. When all the vinegar has evaporated, add the tomatoes and simmer for around 15 minutes or until tender. 

    Taste before serving and season if you need to with salt, pepper and a little more vinegar. Drizzle with some good olive oil and serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley leaves and the almonds if you like.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Life whizzing by in "blur"

Our Cuban Doctor friends have now moved to Libreville so we met up with them last night for a delicious meal on the beach. We had to catch a taxi, oh my goodness what an experience.... I tried to keep focused on the beautiful plant nurseries on the sides of the road (they are everywhere in Libreville) instead of facing the "oncoming" traffic! 
Spending time with these special " non complaining"positive people really makes one contemplate on how blessed we really are....

Monday, 9 May 2016

Did the hectic 12 hour trip to get supplies in Libreville...

My body is aching today, check these roads

A palm wine and peanut stall just for refreshments along route, mmmm right by a Police roadblock, so convenient! Sometimes you need that palm wine after a run in with the police...

Then we reach Libreville beach front just when the sunsets...

Thursday, 5 May 2016

― quand un arbre tombe, on l’entend. Quand la forĂȘt pousse, pas un bruit. (When a tree falls, we hear it. When the forest grows, not a sound.)

"Prince Panther Teeth"

Whilst passing this chap on the road, I noticed his choker of teeth, so stopped to him ask him which animal were they from.  He said the Panther Madam. I know we have them on the Ranch, as when I go for my daily walk, I see their fresh faeces in the same vicinity every day.....Here is a write up about them, The African Golden Cat....  They are quite shy, and illusive, so I doubt I will be able to see them....

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Push through....

Mountaintops inspire us, but valleys mature us.
Are we willing to go through the resistance, the discomfort the uncomfortable to push though to the dream? 
It's not just our dream, it's perfecting us to pass it onto the next generation and then the next, we better get it right....John Piper

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sugar high Marmalade...

On one of our photography trips to a corner of the ranch, I came across a pamplemousse tree  with  a few large green fruit and a grapefruit tree quite laden with green grapefruits. Close to the river below our house I had seen a lime tree heavy with fruit! (The citrus here doesn't turn orange or yellow but stays green, though wonderfully sweet... This must be due to being on the equator)
This definitley called for marmalade! 
I walked to the village store and bought a few boxes of cubed sugar (that's how you buy sugar here) and with my Mom's wonderful marmalade recipe on hand, I spent an afternoon making a few jars of delicious, chunky maramalade! 
Forget the toast.... Just pass the spoon!