Saturday, June 19, 2010

Update from Ecthelion

It's sooo COLD!

What's going on? I live within spitting distance of the Tropic of Capricorn (that was poetic licence, actually it's about 100 km away). The weather's supposed to be balmy and warm. South Africa is experiencing its coldest winter in 50 years. I blame the World Cup; all those soccer-groupies from northern climes trailing their weather behind them.

With nightly temperatures plummeting to near-zero, all the cats have moved into my bed (note the use of into not on to) and the resident geckos have shifted from the curtain railings to skulk in the meagre warmth behind the fridge.

The ability of huskies to tolerate harsh Arctic conditions has been honed by centuries of selective breeding, and they're able to sleep in the snow. Alternatively, they fight over who gets the heater.

While lying awake at night, hemmed in by cats, I've been worrying about dog-chewed Jen. Being so small, dwarf mongooses don't handle the cold well, even when fully-furred. How was Jen coping, encumbered by large swathes of naked skin? Last time I saw him he was shivering with the cold and that was before the cold snap.

I visited Ecthelion this morning and the little darlings had chosen to sleep in an easy-access, roadside termite mound. When I arrived, they were all draped about the mound, happily soaking up the morning sun. I was both amazed and delighted when I spotted Jen. His wounds have healed completely and he's grown back most of his missing fur. And he was dashing about, as bright and confident as ever.

Four weeks after being mauled by a dog, Jen's scars are barely visible.


  1. Your part of the earth isn't the only unusally cool spot. Oregon (western USA)has been unusually chilly and rainy. My furnace is running as I write ... but no geckos behind my refrigerator.

    I'm so glad little Jen is doing well.

  2. Cool here too and I'm only 17 degrees S of the equator. Must train the pademelons to gather around my feet to keep me warm.

    And good for Jen! Now he looks rakishly ragged.

  3. Thanks for the great blog :) I always enjoy reading what's going on up there in your part of the world. You really have a great way of telling your stories, thanks!

  4. Thank you loads for the update, Lynda.
    Jen looks so much better now, this is a great relief and I hope his fur has grown fully in a few weeks.
    Above all I'm relieved you haven't to worry about tb in your area. As for the strange disease some years ago, I heard that the Slender Mongooses (an associated project at the KMP) suffered from a strange disease too caused by mites, even at the same time.
    However, your guys are really in great condition and I hope they will make it all in one piece through the harsh winter, a termite mound is like a fire place, wish I would have one too for us.
    Oh, your Huskies are gorgeous, as much as your cats, and since we also have an artic summer here in Germany my cats are inside my bed aswell. The climate conditions are worse everywhere this year and this is scaring. 500 penguin babies(Spheniscus demersus) have died in two parks and there is no end in sight, another cold front was announced. So I hope you have loads of termite mounds on your study site.
    Many hugs and keep each other warm!

  5. Elva,
    I guess I can't blame the the soccer then.
    No disrespect, but I thought you couldn't use the words 'unusual' and 'rainy' in the same sentence if you came from Oregon.

    Good plan, as long as they keep their teeth and claws to themselves.
    I once had a kitten that, on frosty nights, used to sleep on my pillow, spread-eagled over my head like a skullcap. It was warm (for both of us) but whenever I tried to turn over he'd lock all four sets of claws into my head, forcing me to keep still!

    Thanks for the encouragement. Hopefully I won't be driven into torpor by this weather.

    I think I might start cultivating termites instead of mealworms, so my whole household can move into a mound. Perhaps I could even start exporting them...

  6. Well, after reading your most excellent response to Elva's comment, i have now completely forgotten what comment i was going to make. That was priceless! LOL!!

    Oh yes, so glad to hear/see that Jen is doing much better!! :))
    Spitting distance and poetic. hmmmmm.

  7. Desertnutmeg,
    Jen was in top form today, clambering into my lap to sit and stare up into my eyes beseechingly (they've learnt how to get those mealworms).
    Punk poetry? (Is there such a thing?)


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