Archive for June, 2013

Eco Focus – Learning to be quiet in the wilds #Literature ~ A Story For Kids #Education #Wildlife #Conservation

Posted in Carol Carpenter, donnette, donnette e davis, early childhood learning, earn about south africa, Eco-Focus, Education, Elle Durow, Environment, Family, Free Wildlife LIterature, Kids Wildlife Literature, Nature's Hideaway, Wildelife Kids Corner, WIldlife Conservation, WIldlife Stories for Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2013 by Donnette E Davis

Eco Focus – Learning to be quiet in the wilds.

Eco Focus - Learning to be quiet in the wilds

Written by Elle Durow:


Learning to be quiet in the wilds

The Old Man was very old, and he drifted into reveries that made it seem as if he might be senile.   But I realized later, when I had seen with amazement how keen his senses were, that he had simply withdrawn into himself for a moment to check his perceptions against the patterns of the world.  Only after he taught me how to be silent did I realize that he was stopping his own motion so that he could distinguish the disturbances around him from his own

When I was growing up under the Old Man’s watchful gaze, I often wondered why he sometimes seemed so distant.  I wondered about his silence as well.  I didn’t know anyone who could be so quiet, so still.  We spent a lot of time out in the savanna bushveld without uttering a word.  We weren’t hunting during those times, we weren’t building shelters, or even foraging.  We were just wandering about, finding a beautiful place that had a good feeling on a warm spring afternoon, or a sunny glade out of the wind in the winter, where we would often just sit, lean against a tree and dream.  For my adolescent, busy mind this was often too much, even though I knew that I should model this kind of stillness in my own area.  This silence was punctuated by disturbances and sounds that caught the Old man’s attention.  I don’t remember what exactly caught his ear, because at that time in my life I saw no importance in anything that wasn’t screamingly obvious to me, flashy, big or bright.   

There is something to be gained from silence that can be gained nowhere else.  To gain the silence is another story if you came from a busy, noisy “civilised” place as I did.  But the struggle slowly waned as the silence took more and more of my time and attention.  Ultimately, by the age of eighteen, I discovered a true treasure within myself – I had total mental silence when I wanted it, and the ability to sit still in utter focus and poise for as long as I wanted to.  All my stress, I discovered, only emerged when I allowed my “old thoughts” to kick in again.  I also discovered that in addition to hearing and detecting more in the bushveld, I caused less alarm among the birds and animals themselves.  

In my early years as I sat in the wilds, I would often be utterly lost in meditation and distraction for periods of several minutes at a time.  I would fidget, dig with twigs on the ground where I sat, or bang sticks onto other sticks.  Sometimes I would even throw things.  I would get up and move around.  I would get bored and head straight for home and the distractions of civilisation.  But then I would remember the Old Man’s offer to take me on another camping adventure. I would also remember that I had promised to learn to sit still and listen.  I wanted to learn to be comfortable sitting alone and still in all weather conditions.  This was MY challenge alone in the wilds.  For weeks and months, whenever school or tasks that I had to do allowed, I wandered around and explored the bushveld around me.  I would go to my favourite lookout haunt for a short time at first, but later could stay longer and longer.  

Fishing helped me to slow down, too.  The Old Man worked his silent meditation even over my fishing rod.  He helped me to look at fishing in a whole different and more meaningful way.  He taught me to see the relationship between the way the fish read my approach to the pool’s edge, and the birds’ response as I approached my favourite fishing spot.  Eventually, I became so good at moving without sending off obvious concentric rings of disturbance that I nearly walked into a great grey heron on the other side of some tall grass.  This enormous bird took flight and let out a “CRROOOAAK-CRROOOAAK-CRROOOAKK” as it lifted just above my head and banked with the wind almost directly over me.  

Never before had I been so close to a heron.  In fact, I must admit that I didn’t even know they existed until that day!  I literally fell over backwards, dropping my fishing tackle noisily and rolling to one side to keep from breaking my fishing rod, but in such a contorted manner as to not lose sight of that great bird that was now moving away from me.  I’m sure that I gasped and let out some sort of gurgling sound as I fell!   My heart jumped in my chest.  I was completely amazed and awed by this beautiful close encounter.  To make matters worse, I forgot all my lessons, picked up my tackle box and fishing pole in somewhat of a hurry and then blasted through the tall grass to the pond edge, totally excited by what had just happened to me.  

I cleared the last of the tall reeds and alighted on the sandy bank of the river.  As I did so, a second heron who – for some reason I don’t understand – had not taken flight with its friend, suddenly repeated the whole scene!  This time I held my composure and just watched in silent amazement as it drifted up and over the grass and out of sight with its alarm call trailing off into the silence and breeze-singing grassland.  This moment was a “shaper” for me.  I KNOW that after that I forever approached both that pool, and all pools, much more carefully. I was determined that I would never cause a disturbance like that again.  In time, this same determination was reflected in the way in which I approached my favourite lookout point.  

Soon, though, I discovered that even this was not enough.  I eventually figured out that I needed to be careful even as I approached the thicket from the paved cul-de-sac that was opposite the front yard at my parent’s house.  I would stand for a while in the cul-de-sac itself and wait until the birds, crickets and grasshoppers went back about their business.  Only then would I proceed up the trail into the bush towards my secret spot, just twenty metres or so deeper into the thicket.


After perhaps two years at my spot, my anchor point was well established.  My fire pit was well burned in.  The area around had been cleared of dead and rotting twigs to provide a better view.  There were some faint trails that led in at least six main directions, with minor links between them.  These trails were not enough to attract anyone’s attention – the Old Man had already got it deep into my mind that I should not draw attention to myself or leave any trace of my comings and goings in the pristine bushveld.  It got so that I even took care not to leave tracks on the sand roads, especially when others were around who might track me out of nothing more than curiosity.  

Sitting quietly, I began to observe field mice feeding along the ground.  I began to notice the way that they sounded as they fed.  I could recognize that same, soft, reassuring sound pattern over several metres in the bush.  I learned the sounds made by the Kurrichane Thrushes scratching in the leaves.  I could even distinguish this pattern from that of a francolin doing the same.  One day, I heard the field mice scatter behind me.  I heard the Glossy Starlings make a nervous call and move to the tree tops with a tail wave and concerned look over their shoulder.  Blue Glossy Starlings moved directly to the area from which the field mice scattered.  Then they scolded.  I knew that something was happening, but I had no idea what to make of it.  I could almost hear the footfalls on the leaves, but couldn’t be sure.  

Slowly, I rose from my seat at the base of an acacia tree.  I turned slowly and carefully and looked towards the east, the direction the sounds and disturbances were coming from.  Nothing could be seen except the birds and bushes themselves.  No hint of what or who had passed by.  I was, however, left with a strong sense that SOMETHING had.  Then the fieldmice relaxed again and began to return to the floor of the thicket.  The robins moved on.  The Glossy Starlings just hopped down to the lower branches and down to the leaf litter upon the ground.  When I walked over that way, the birds showed signs of being agitated, but my curiosity and impatience to know took over and I just moved ahead in spite of their concern.  

The field mice alarmed again and moved even further off to the east.  The robins also alarmed again, but it was noticeably different from the first alarm I heard.  The Blue Starlings simply vacated quietly.  I walked quickly, though fairly quietly, over to this area, hoping to catch a glimpse of something.  Where the field mice had originally been feeding, I saw a trail even fainter than my own, heading roughly north and south.  In my mind, I travelled along the trail to see where it might come from and where it might go.  I noticed that the trail passed under brush just under knee-height.  What was using this trail?  

That night I recalled the whole experience again.  I made a map as if I was flying overhead and looking down on my observation area.  I drew my anchor point.  I filled in the four directions and some of the major land features, such as my ridge and the place where the older growth met the second growth thicket.  The Weeping Boer-bean tree and the spring were also featured.  I realized from this session of bird’s eye view mapping that the faint trail ran parallel to one of my own trails.  This trail led straight to a path that I called the “old wagon road.”  The next day, early in the morning, I headed straight to the thicket, ignoring all bird alarm protocol.  

Once on the trail, I hoisted myself up the little hill that marked the edge of the bushveld thicket.  I turned westward (instead of following the ridge on my little “secret trail” to my usual hide), then headed northward as the trail turned ninety degrees to the right.  When I got to the next corner intersection, I turned east onto the “old wagon road” and headed for the place where my own faint trail joined this well-worn bridal trail.  A few metres further east, I found the second faint trail that led to the place where the field mice had been alarmed the previous day.  It was here that I discovered a jackal scat, and the smell of fresh jackal urine in the air.  So I began to surmise that perhaps the jackal had passed by me, but to be perfectly honest, my thoughts were left with more questions than answers. 


The Save Our Planet Network is devoted to keeping people informed about what is happening to the world’s natural ecosystems, people’s livelihoods, etc as a result of human activities which are seriously damaging the quality of life on Earth.

 We also try to persuade people to be more compassionate and to care for all of Nature’s creatures from minute microbes to the largest mammals – this includes all humans who are also part of the natural world.

One of our main focuses is on educating people about what is happening and to try to encourage them to alter their lifestyles and attitudes to correct the damage that has already happened.

We do this by publishing a monthly e-news magazine, Eco Focus, and through the medium of the internet via our websites:

We also publish e-books which are also available free of charge on these websites.

CurrClick – Teachable Moments in June #Homeschool #Education #Freebies

Posted in Currclick, Education, educational ebooks, educational freebies, Educator's Calendar, free curriculum, free ebooks, free educational printables, free homeschool activities, freebies, holidays and seasonal, home education, homeschool freebies, homeschool resources, Homeschooling, homeschooling books, homeschooling curriculum, Marketing, Media, Publisher Promotions, publishers, Recommended eCurriculum, Recommended Educational Websites, special offers, st aiden's home school, st aiden's homeschool, st aiden's south africa, st aidens, Teachable Moments with tags on June 11, 2013 by Donnette E Davis

Teachable Moments in June

Here is a monthly Teachable Moments Calendar. . Find notable days and holidays, tons of accompanying low cost resources and even Freebies!

In PDF Format, Enjoy!

teachable moments in June

via CurrClick.

TWEET OF THE WEEK: Claude Moshiywa | Columnists | @BDliveSA

Posted in Claude Moshiywa, Comrades Marathon, craig fry, craigsathletes, social media, Social Networking, south africa with tags on June 7, 2013 by Donnette E Davis

WELCOME to Tweet of the Week. Every Friday I shall use this column to hand out this award to one person who has tweeted something of significance, and explain why. There are no strict rules, only that the tweet in question must offer an important insight, define a debate (notorious or otherwise) or mark an occasion. The winner will receive an avatar they can use as their Twitter profile picture for a week.

This week, the Tweet of the Week goes to @MoshiywaC for:

Tweet of the Week

claude moshiywa tweet of the week from bdlive

“Oh my gosh tomorrow will be my first long run towards my goal to win Comrades.”

Profile: “Comrade” Claude Moshiywa, as he has become known, is a South African long-distance runner and ultra-marathon specialist. He has five Comrades Marathon gold medals and, on June 2, became the first South African to win the “up” marathon in 21 years. He finished in a time of five hours, 32 minutes. He currently has 788 followers on Twitter.

Citation: That tweet was published by Moshiywa on September 28 last year; eight months later he would achieve his goal. You have to give it to the man: in a country of broken promises, he delivered. For sheer excellence and self-belief, then, he wins the award.

Moshiywa’s tweet raises the question: why is it that we generally hold professional sportspeople to a different standard than politicians? I believe it has everything to do with excellence and expectation, the two being closely related.

One rightly expects a higher standard from a person or institution that values excellence, for their benchmark is always aspirational. The current standard, which might be excellent itself, is never enough. Excellence always seeks to improve on itself.

Before the 2013 race, Moshiywa had four gold medals. That, however, was not enough to satisfy him; he wanted to win. So he raised the bar. Now that he has won, you can be sure his goal will be to win again and better his time. In this way, professional sports embodies everything that is wonderful about the idea of excellence and progress.

via TWEET OF THE WEEK: Claude Moshiywa | Columnists | BDlive.

Claude Moshiywa, 2010 to 2013 – how he did it! @ComradesRace Pictures + Videos

Posted in Claude Moshiywa, Comrades Marathon, craig fry, craigsathletes with tags , , , , , , , on June 7, 2013 by Donnette E Davis

In 2010 I was introduced to Claude Moshiywa as he came on board under Craig Fry’s management and as his exclusive worldwide agent.  Back then he was running for Mr Price, as I recall, I missed the hands-on activity at 2010 Comrades Marathon but still have many images of he and Stephen running very closely together.

From the beginning of 2011 started the early Saturday morning training runs with Claude, most of which I did not go on, but he trained with other top South African marathoners, who have gone on to win several prestigious races, and have also gone from strength to strength, both here and internationally.

Filming early morning training runs was part and parcel of what Craig does with the athletes, he checks their times, speeds, and they work together to know what is needed and when it is needed during their ultra long sessions.


Claude on an early morning training run in 2011


Claude Moshiywa, Comrades Marathon 2011

Claude Moshiywa, Comrades Marathon 2011

IMG00164-20110529-1332 2011comrades208Proud Manager of Stephen Muzhingi, 1st in 2011, and Claude, 3rd in 2011



Greg Lethwaite, formerly of Nike SA, here with Claude and I think that just might be Alfie 🙂

2011comrades119 2011comrades172

In 2012 it was a pure battle between Ludwick and Claude for most of the race, until Ludwick pulled ahead to take what turned out to be a very controversial 1st position.   He has since been acquitted of the positive dope testing charges, on technicalities, and on 04 May 2013 received his winner’s trophy.   Claude was placed 8th in 2012.

Our pick for 2012 was in fact Claude, as can be seen by this tweet i sent out on 02 June 2012

claude moshiywa twitter prediction 2012

Vaughn van JAARSVELD, Dolphins Cricketer, sent this to me on Monday – I have no idea how he found it, but he RTd it…




Comrades 2012 pictures, and also Claude’s lovely wife, who supports him 100%.   A devoted family man, the first person or people he calls after a race if they are unable to be with him are his wife and two sons.

Claude Moshiywa and his beautiful wife, comrades marathon 2012


Below with Leonid Shvetsov the night before the race


P1060125With Nedbank Running Club Team Manager, Nick Bester!  CMA Race Director, Johan van Staden in the background, and the dude in the red needs no introduction but I will not (dis)grace my page with his name.

P1060126uh-oh I see Johan chatting away to a certain manager in yellow at the finish line… great excitement!

P1060135Claude looked as though he’d just been out for a jog!

Chatting to Petros Sosibo post-raceP1060137

Claude Wins Comrades Marathon 2013

On seeing a picture of Claude from a Nedbank Running Club Shoot, I just thought “there’s this year’s winner…” so that’s what I tweeted, and Pinterested and Facebooked 3 weeks prior to Comrades Race 2013 – I even sent it to Claude!…   Look at that face… tell me it does not have “winner” quietly and humbly written all over it!

Claude Moshiywa Pinterest

Claude Moshiywa Pinterest

Comrades Marathon 2013, CLaude Moshiywa wins in 5.32

Comrades Marathon 2013, Claude Moshiywa wins uprun, in 5.32, first South African in 21 years to win the uprun!  Here with Mike Finch.


Taking the lead from Kekana


Pure concentration!


Battling it out, Claude and Johannes


Kekana and Claude ran for a good part of the route together, one surging and the other one gaining and taking the lead again.


Comrades Marathon Award 6 may Ludwick Mamabola2 089

And his feet aren’t even on the ground!

Comrades Marathon Award 6 may Ludwick Mamabola2 107

Comrades Marathon Award 6 may Ludwick Mamabola2 108 Comrades Marathon Award 6 may Ludwick Mamabola2 138With proud manager, Craig Fry


All images (c)  Should you wish to make use of any of the images (there are over 1000 of Comrades Race 2013, including for the other PRO clubs, please use the contact form for high res)

Stephen Muzhingi @ComradesRace 2013 Exclusive Pictures

Posted in donnette e davis, stephen muzhingi, Toyota SA with tags on June 6, 2013 by Donnette E Davis

All images © – for permissions or unmarked images (no © banners) please use the contact form – thank you J All rights reserved worldwide

Claude Moshiywa + SA @ComradesRace winners welcomed by Minister of Sports in Cape Town

Posted in donnette e davis on June 6, 2013 by Donnette E Davis

The South African athletes who attained positions within the top 10 (male and female) on Sunday’s Comrades Marathon Race were invited and flown to Cape Town to meet with the Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbulula, and other dignitaries, and thereafter had an extremely busy day, which included a visit to Parliament. I do believe that this is the first time that the South African Government has gone all out to acknowledge and commend our outstanding South African athletes.

Claude was asked to give a speech this morning which was to be broadcast on a number of South African television channels this evening. Claude took time out of his hectic schedule to send us some pictures, apologies for the quality. Since his very beautiful wife was also invited (Kudos to Dept of Sports and Recreation) I have no doubt that she would have been camera-ready and we will have exclusives very shortly.

In this picture are Claude (receiving the bouquet) along with Ludwick Mamobolo, and 2 of the three Toyota SA Athletics Club Top 10 winners.

Congratulations to all, particularly to Claude, who has been with Craig Fry Management since 2010 and who was, without a doubt, deserving of this year’s win!

Not too sure about this Law of South Africa – Women cannot be arrested between 6 pm and 6 am #PreventWomenAbuse

Posted in donnette e davis on June 5, 2013 by Donnette E Davis


According to A. Holt, CMS – CLERK, of the Magistrate Court Springs, Department of Justice & Constitutional Development, this is a little known law in South Africa. I certainly was unaware of it and I work in this field. I will have to read up on the Criminal Procedure Act, which I thought I knew, and the requirements and guidelines. Goes to show we never know it all, do we?

After a woman was allegedly raped by a policeman in Rustenburg, whilst in their custody, an email was forwarded which is hoped will go viral to protect women against possible rape.

Here’s what A Holt, of South African Dept of Justice says, with a few grammatical and typos corrected:

Woman Arrest Law:

An incident took place – a young girl was attacked by a man posing as a plain clothes officer; he asked her to come to the police station when she & her male friend didn’t have a driver’s license to show. He sent the male friend off to get his license and asked the girl to accompany him to the police station. Instead he took her to an isolated area where the rape was committed.

The law [which most of us are not aware of] clearly states that between 6 pm and 6 am, a woman has the right to REFUSE to go to the Police Station, even if an arrest warrant has been issued against her.

It is procedural that a woman can only be arrested between 6am and 6pm, unless she is arrested by a woman officer and taken to an ALL WOMEN police station. If she is arrested by a male officer, it has to be proven that a woman officer was on duty at the time of arrest.

Men, protect your wives, sisters and mothers by knowing this law and advising others about it.

It is vital that we know our rights.


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