Back on the Run

A combination of trips away and what my father used to call the dreaded lurgy have kept me off the mountain.  Indeed many things have conspired against blog updates in the past few weeks but none so much as the weather.  Almost the end of April and still not a drop of rain beyond a couple of localised showers.  This may not be the first time it’s happened but its the first time since we’ve been on the farm.  We have permanent water here, but it’s slowing down to a trickle yet this spongey, water-filled mountain range must feed the whole of Cape Town in the dry weather.  Dams are half full; which is fine, if it rains soon.  There is nothing beyond a drop or two in the 10 day forecast.

So after two exceptional years this could be a poor one for flowers on the mountain.  By now we usually see the first signs of winter bulbs to come, the pushing up of determined leaves breaking through the hard summer burned soil as the first rains arrive.  This year, nothing.  The runs and flowers inspire this blog; we may be in for a slow year.

Some shrubs have to flower now, it is their season.  Despite the dry, there are signs of life. Senecio pubigerus is out this year with more determination than flourish.

The quality of today’s photos is not fantastic, I’ve been playing with the iphone’s camera and clearly got these exposures wrong.

The Phylica (I never know which one this is) though less prolific than usual is starting to show, .

The Selago corymbosa is doing better.  It likes damp areas and where there is seeping water it is flowering away quite happily.

This is new, I don’t think I’ve posted it before.  I suspect it’s Monopsis though I’m not convinced it’s Monopsis lutea, the more common variety.

Monopsis (lutea?)

Monopsis (lutea?)

The one dazzling display is the Protea Repens which seems not to mind the harshness of the elements.  Every plant is covered in bees.  A delight and a sign that life goes on, no matter how tough the conditions.

I took the dogs for a walk at sunset tonight.  Despite the lateness of the season the air still holds the last vestiges of summer, mild with that hint of warmth and faintly dusty, it envelops the skin like silk.  The atmostphere on a still evening is hard to describe, the great mountain protecting our back and the glorious evening light to the west.  As we walked the sun set over the Paardeberg and I took photos of the changing sky.

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