I saw a picture of an old American motor vehicle stuck in a tree. There were lots of comments from various folk about this sighting for the car was an old Ford Falcon hence my question: Isn’t it a Ford Falcon? Even though its colours are somewhat dismaying it could be the male of the species. And, judging by the black and white markings on its rump it appears to be from the Bushmanland; more specifically Pofadder; probably why the old registration number for Pofadder is CEK. Did you know that Pofadder was going to be called Windpompiesfontein what with all the windmills in the town. But that was before the drought ended and they became redundant. Of course there was a time when a warrior from a past Hottentot war faction was going to have it named after himself. We know what happened then, don’t we? But I never mix politics with birding; ruffles too many feathers. Any way the snakes took preference over the warlord. Incidently, if you are thinking of queuing for votes May 7th, may I suggest you look at the Ubuntu party. Do you know they crowd funded the R600,000 needed to enter the fray? I may just change jobs and go crowd funding myself. But I digress.
The other reason for suggesting the bird comes from Pofadder is the lack of equipment just in front and below the rump which is often used for propulsion. One can see before meeting its maker, the bird in this ‘wonderboom’ was used by homo sapiens as a wheel barrow. Hence the front rubber-like feet still being intact. Of course these round rubbers have evolved and they have far better grip; no wonder we find so few few of this species stuck like the one in the pic. Ah, ‘wonderboom’ you ask?
If you happen to visit Pofadder you will notice there are no trees whatsoever. The trees you think are trees as you approach the small town slowly, to avoid the potholes, and make your way down the eternally straight and long long dirt roads you will see these trees are actually creepers, some dead some living, but all climbing up those derelict windmills gracing the empty spaces. No trees in the Bushmanland, in fact it is so flat that even if you lie on your stomach you can see two weeks into the future. Unless of course you spot one of the two eucalyptus trees along the road from Bitterfontein.
Sure, you may say that Bitterfontein has its odd mountain and koppie around its kontrei but them Bitterfontein is Bitterfontein. Anyway Bitterfontein is in Namaqualand and that’s a whole other story.
No, at the turn of last century some oke from Australia decided to go gold-mining just above the small hamlet of Knysna and knew that he would need some strong stout supports for the holes he intended digging so he brought some gumtree seeds with him. That early morning when he set off he lost his way as he stepped off the shores of the Cape and strode boldy towards those majestic Hottentot Holland mountains on his quest to fame and fortune. Perhaps the Vaaljapie he tasted while traversing a farm in Franschhoek pointed him north instead of east. Halfway along the road from Bitterfontein he was attacked by some highway men and robbed. Of course the seeds he carefully carried in his jacket pocket seemed to be useless to the robbers who nonchalantly turfed them out into the dry grass on the side of the deserted road. All but one seed which had secured itself in the turn-up of the poor immigrant. The rest is history. Almost.
The seeds on the side of the road were found by a passing crow who was chased by a rooifalk who felt his territory was being invaded by these black crows. A bit of air distribution won’t be amiss thought the crows but thought better of their lives and beat a hasty retreat dropping one of the seeds in a rather fertile part of the land; surprisingly there was a small seasonal stream nearby and there after waiting a while the conical seed developed into ‘wonderboom nommer een’
Our Australian friend with one adventure after another ended up in Middel Deur Vlei, a farm just 50 kilometres south of Pofadder which use to belong to the Louws. Erns and his brother grew up there in the mid seventies. I don’t know who is living there now. Perhaps the farmers gave up farming there and allowed others to do their best. There had been a six year drought during that period. When rain came they had more than two feet of rain in less than twenty-four hours. Well that’s what the Aussie told his mates while off duty one Saturday afternoon in the Pofadder Hotel bar over a game of snooker one evening. The game was a long one. They still have that full sized billiard table in one of the larger rooms. Although on the black ball side of the table there is a door, which when open, always gets in the way of the player’s cue. The door led to the ladies bar which was often frequented by those women who should have been at home making supper for their hard working farmer husbands. But they knew that most of these men were behaving like some Groot Marico farmers and who spent a great deal of time in the men’s bar watching cricket. Some of the ladies were, how shall we say, good lookers. The door therefore remained open and the black ball never saw the inside of a pocket; unless you were a stranger it was banned from the table. As the Aussie bent over his white ball to pot the blue he commented in his pseudo South African, “Ja, the rain drops were two feet apart,” and laughed. But no-one in the room laughed with him, for the door was wide open. It was just then that the seed that had been stuck in the Aussie’s turn-up fell out. The white ball was in such a position that he had to lean right over the table lifting his leg, rather like a dog, sometimes. No, not the one with the seed in its trouser leg. However, he still could not get a good sighting of the two balls and knowing that his opposition was more intent on watching the goings on in the lady’s bar he lifted both legs, like a lazy dog in the hot sun. The seed rolled out awkwardly and fell to the floor landing almost directly under the part of the table where the black ball is normally placed at the beginning of the game and there it remained until the cleaner arrived the next morning to clean up.
Visit Pofadder today; you will see that tree standing magnificently behind B’n B which is always full. The occupants are very often found sipping cold drinks as they sit around the swimming pool in the shade of Wonder Boom (nommer twee). Nobody swims because no-one is willing to remove all the leaves. The B’n B is called The Outback and the present owner has a pseudo South African accent.
This leads me to the question: do you think the falcon in your pic is descended from the rooifalk which chased that crow at the turn of last century?