Birding on Paardeplaats

birding gurneys nest with chicks

The farm is covered by patches of a few different types of Protea, mainly the Silver Protea and Common Sugarbush. The Transvaal Bottle Brush is also quite common in the area and together with the Aloe Arborescence, they are the home and breeding ground for the much sought after Gurney’s Sugarbird, researched by Dawie de Swardt of the National Museum in Bloemfontein.

Paardeplaats’ Jesus Hill features on the international birding atlas and the Mpumalanga Nature Conservation Map as highly sensitive, because of the sugarbird’s association with these trees. The sugarbirds do not only forage mainly on the nectar of the Protea flowers, but also use the trees as their main nesting sites. Their nests are even lined with Protea seeds.

We have a bird-list of about 200 bird species which have been recorded in the Lydenburg area by Dawie in his years of research on the farm and surrounds.

The area close to the Anglo Boer War forts, because of its remote situation, is a popular breeding site for Denham’s Bustards in early spring.

bird list1Blue Cranes have a couple of favoured breeding sites on the farm in late spring, early summer.

The garden around the Miners’ Canteen and the bedrooms is home to a host of interesting, different birds – enjoy the early morning symphony. Species such as Barthroathed Apalis, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape White-eye, Cape Robin-chat, Redwinged Starling and Cape Rock Thrushes are resident here. In winter, look out for sunbirds (Malachite, Greater Double-collared and Amethyst) and of course the Gurney’s Sugarbirds visit the aloes on the nearby krantzes, in autumn and winter.

In the near future we will be setting up a “Vulture Restaurant” opposite the roosting site on the cliffs in “Masjienkloof”, with a hide, for research purposes. Watch this spot for developments!


Sebastian and Auer families -some from Austria – visit Paardeplaats

At short notice they announced their arrival: Werner Sebastian and family Theresa, Janique and Andreas, with life long friend Dr Wolfgang Auer and his son Pauli, all the way from Austria. They wanted to fish – and be fed.

So Brian said fine, there shall be fish – and food.

Andreas Sebastian with Dad's tablet

Andreas Sebastian with Dad’s tablet

Dad and Daughter – Werner and Janique watching the flyfishers in action

Schedule of Church Services held at Paardeplaats Cross on “Jesus Hill”

Services to be held on the “Jesus Hill” at the Cross for 2013:

Note: Please park down at the gate, for all functions or services.  Vehicles cause serious erosion(We will make arrangements  for all those who can’t climb the hill to the cross)
Services are  non denominational , and are open to all. Please bring along your own Bible, walking stick, blankets, cushions, coffee etc, and dress warmly!

  • Easter Sunday 31st March 2013, 06h00 “Sonrise” Service –at the cross.
  • Ascension Day Thursday 9th May 06h00 – Short service at the cross, for those who need to get to work.
  • Global Day of Prayer  Sunday 19th May 2013 – Start your day up at the cross.
  • Carols by Candle Light. Date and time to be announced later in the year. This will be a family picnic type gathering, in the late afternoon, early evening, to enhance the true message of Christmas.
  • Watch this spot for any future announcements or information, about services, through the year.
  • Pastor Andre Hanekom  of The Full Gospel Church in Lydenburg, is the contact person for all functions or services to be held at the cross.
    Cell Number: 084 688 5007


Saucy Chef Recipe of the Month – SALADE NIÇOISE

Saucy Chef Recipe of the month:

To all our Saucy Chef friends and colleagues, may Gerda and I wish you all the very best for 2013. We trust that your festive season was filled with happiness and that you are now fully charged and ready for the new year ahead.

With our first Saucy Chef course for the year, now only 2 weeks away, please have a good look at the program for the year, and let me know which courses interest you, or what special needs or requests you might have.

As you know, Gerda and I are now living on the farm, and hope to be able to focus more on what the farm has to offer.
Our Recipe Of The Month is one of my old time favourites for this time of the year, with our hot dry days, and particularly, served at lunch time with a good crusty baguette and a bottle of well chilled Sauvignon Blanc.



Traditional salad from Nice – a full meal, for a special occation!

                             You can’t do better on a hot summers day with your favourite dry white wine, well chilled, and good company!
Serves 6

750g                         Baby potatoes (boiled until just cooked then peeled and halved – optional)
300g                          Fine French beans (topped and tailed and blanched in salt water for 3-4 minutes)
1                                Butter lettuce (washed and spin-dried)
6-8 leaves               Crisp lettuce (washed and spin-dried
about 30                  Thinly sliced onion rings
4                                Boiled eggs (6-7 minutes / peeled and halved)
12                              Rosa tomatoes (small ripe salad tomatoes) (halved)
400g can                  Tuna (either in brine or oil / should be solid piece) (lightly shredded)
10-12                       Anchovy fillets (good quality)
18-24                       Black olives (either sun-dried or calamata or a mix of both)
2 tblsp                      Capers (rinsed, dried and chopped coarsely)
12                             Fresh young basil leaves
20                             Young roquette leaves about
1-2 tblsp                 Balsamic vinegar
3-4 tblsp                Extra virgin olive oil (best quality)
3-4 cloves             Crushed garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Use your creative skills to prepare this salad. Remember that you eat with your eyes as well as your tummy. Go for it!
  2. Use preferably a large (45cm ø) white platter to set off the contrast of green and all the colours in the salad.
  3. Arrange the mixed lettuce leaves to cover the platter.
  4. Now add the tomatoes, baby potatoes, half of the black olives, and half of the French beans in four separate segments on top of the lettuce
  5. Add the roughly shredded tuna, the onion rings the rest of the black olives, French beans and the capers.
  6. Arrange the boiled egg halves and the anchovy fillets in a pretty pattern on top of the salad.
  7. Garnish with the young basil leaves and the roquette and dress with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic.
  8. Serve with your favourite, well chilled, dry white wine and a crusty baguette.
  9. Eat long and slow in good company – Remember, this is a sociable meal!