I want to be… a Chopper Pilot!

Daily Prompt: Back to School

by michelle w. on July 26, 2013

If you could take a break from your life and go back to school to master a subject, what would it be?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MASTERY.


I know it is the subject of many a joke in our country- but when you say somebody is a Chopper Pilot, it means that they are really good at what they do.

But that has always looked to me like a very nice job to have…

If I could do it all over again, I would love to fly helicopters.  Then I would really be able to make people pray… 🙂




To see what other Daily bloggers would like to do differently, check their entries out at:


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The Happiest VW Beetle engine ever…

I love the VW Beetle (Bug)- I still own one that will one day soon be roadworthy again…

I love all the things done to the Beetle over the years. But now I found what I would really like to do with my Beetle…


See that magnificent Boxer engine? With a few modifications?

So- where did I see it?  Here…





Abstract- Weekly Black & White Photo Challenge

Tuesday 23 July 2013
Week 6 : Abstract

Abstract photography is a process of using different shapes, lines, curves and patterns combined to create an image and rules, such as composition and accurate focusing hold no values. With no true meaning or no clear subject involved, the abstract photo does not necessarily mean the same thing to everyone. It leaves more to the imagination and aids us to concentrate on feeling and thought rather than the whole subject. Patterns and Close-ups of flowers and other plant life make for great abstract images.  There are no guidelines for creating good abstract photography.  Just use your imagination along with the natural world to create your master piece.






A very sad ending to the Camino de Santiago

Yesterday a Spanish train had a bad accident. The train derailed just 4 km from Santiago de Campostelo on a part of high speed track. I have been on that train 2 years ago after finishing my Camino. It is usually packed with happy pilgrims, who have just completed their Bucket List item of walking The Way, and earning their Campostela certificate.  I got the very last seat on the train out that evening.

Santiago is also a big university city, and you would expect to find students on the train as well.

That train can ride very fast. Last night it derailed. The death toll stands on 77 killed, with another 200 injured.

My condolences to the families of those who died. My prayers go out for those who got hurt.

A Retro look: South Africa in 2013…

Daily Prompt: From the Collection of the Artist

by michelle w. on July 24, 2013

It’s the year 2113. A major museum is running an exhibition on life and culture as it was in 2013. You’re asked to write an introduction for the show’s brochure. What will it say?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us RETROSPCTIVE.


Sensitive issues mentioned- please be aware if you have had traumatic experiences, rather not read this… 

Welcome to the brand new Cape Town Cultural and Historical Museum, located just behind the Two Oceans Aquarium on the William and Katherine Waterfront (previously known as the Victoria and Albert Waterfront). The Grand Opening will take place on 16 December 2113, by Prince Charles William Wallace George Bush  the 3rd, Crown Prince of the United States of Britain…

We are pleased to give a sneak preview of our star exhibition, showing a day in the life of South Africans on 24 July of the year 2013, and what happened next

You will remember that it was the last year of Jacob Zuma‘s reign, just before the Arab Spring finally moved southwards, and people got fed up with corruption and nepotism.  A photo of the dude, (not edited in any way…) and one of his 5 First Ladies, we are not sure if this was # 1,2,3,4 or 5

It was the year that all the weapons the ANC bought when they came into power, finally ground to a standstill:Image

It was also the year that the last Black Rhino was poached. Superstition in some far eastern countries believed that a man could get an erection by sniffing powdered rhino horn. Because they could not raise to the occasion themselves, these magnificent animals were shot and killed to extinction… For our children, this is what a Black Rhino looked like so long ago…


Original photo from http://www.gambassa.com

In those days South Africa was also the rape capital of the world- it was a common occurrence that an 80 year old grandmother got raped by her own grandson and friends…

But the final straw in the old new South Africa was when the former president of the former ANC said that it is the Middle Class’ responsibility to save Africa.

That was after he built himself a huge palace on tax payers money and called it Nkandla…  He told the Parliament that the Zuma family paid for it themselves

The people of South Africa got fed up on the high taxes being wasted on nice parties and Johnny Walker Blue Label for the old Fat Cat Comrades…  When ministers flew overseas with their whole families on shopping sprees on Air Force jets…

The match was lit on the fuse when the ANC pushed through the etoll system. People already paid huge taxes on buying cars. They paid a huge tax levy on every litre of fuel. And then, they had to start paying a huge amount a month to ride to work. Safe public transport was nowhere available. And every day news of new scandals rocked the exhausted working man. Like the overruns on the Medupi power station. The total state of incompetency of the government was sucking the land dry. And the people finally have had enough….

The revolution started, and black and white South Africans finally stood together, got rid of the corrupt bunch, and started building a true New South Africa, where every citizen was treasured, where every life was valuable,  and where all politicians were banned to Robben Island…  (I wish!)  People who aspired to be politicians was held accountable for every promise they made, and went to jail if they lied.  Their salary was capped on the same level as the average school teacher’s in a rural area school, because their job was no more important than that of a teacher. When they finally qualified for a car allowance, it was capped to the entry level Toyota that the normal citizen could afford, they were not supposed to break the speed limit anyway. Politicians are supposed to be public servants, not royalty! All blue light brigades were banned, including that of the new president, Madam Lindiwe Mazibuko..

Because the new government tackled the high crime rate, and made the country safe again, the tourism market finally rediscovered the star destination of the world.

All was not bad in South Africa in 2013 though…  There was still Charlize Theron:

The Top Selling bike was still the BMW R 1200 GS


And the people still ate and drank and made love, and babies were born…

While there is love, there is hope…

Maybe, after this, The RIder disappeared mysteriously, never to be seen again…

Dictators never liked alternative future scenarios.

PS. Why so fed up today? All of the bad news is just what is in today’s newspapers in one form or another…  South Africa deserved much better than the Apartheid Old South Africa, and South Africa deserves much better than the New South Africa too. If we could get rid of crime, including the corrupt politicians, this country could be a very nice home for ALL it’s citizens…

Smoked Rider Eisbein- sorry, not kosher or halaal

I sincerely do not wish to offend anyone, so if you observe kosher or halaal food restrictions, this would be a good time to scroll back to a previous post and enjoy that… 

Daily Prompt: You, the Sandwich

by michelle w. on July 23, 2013

If a restaurant were to name something after you, what would it be? Describe it. (Bonus points if you give us a recipe!)

Photographers, artists, poets: show us DINNER.


I am from German descent- so my surname tells me.  When a dish must be called after me, it must be something that I enjoy cooking, and eating.  So I give you- the Smoked RIder Eisbein…

If there is one meal that I really enjoy, it is a good Eisbein. With Sauerkraut of course. But not mash, please. I love potatoes in any form, except mash. Why? I do not know. So… you can serve my dish with potato wedges or chips (fries for my American friends…)

When I prepare an eisbein, or most other meat, I love to BRAAI it (barbeque for all you non Saffas!) in a Weber kettle bbq.  When we buy it, it usually is smoked already.

Otherwise- you go to the local filling station and you rub your hands horizontally in front of any petrol attendant. They will then rush behind the station, and come back with a plastic bank bag, filled wit something looking like GRASS. You proceed to smoke it. Purple Turtles start swimming in front of your eyes. When you see the pink elephant, you light the fire. By the time the orange unicorn trots by, the coals are ready. Then you are smoked, and you can bbq (BRAAI) the meat…  For all my church elders reading this- I have never tasted grass before…

We are fortunate in that Eisbein can be bought for good prices at our favourite Food Lover’s Market. (about US$ 2.95 or R29.50 per kilo). When you order that in a restaurant, you would expect to pay 4 times that price.

When you light the fire, you also prepare a coffee cup, with  woodsmoke shavings poured into water in it- we can buy shavings of oak wine barrels that has been grinded to powder, to use in our Webers.

The Eisbein gets wrapped in tin foil, and put in the middle of the Weber, with two mounts of charcoal to the sides- the indirect cooking method. Some of the wet smoking powder gets put onto the charcoal and the lid stays on.  It is very important to have a meat thermometer nearby. After about 2 1/2 hours, you inject the thermometer into the meat, and when the core temperature reaches 80 degrees Celcius, it would be cooked through. You open the tin foil and let it brown off beautifully.

Like so:

Last Friday evening on my Weber… it was GOOD!

The Germans eat Eisbein with mustard, sauerkraut and mash, and lots of beer. Good people, the Germans…  Of course, if you continued to read till here and you are halaal or kosher… you might try it with lamb shanks instead…

In South Africa we all (except the Capies) love PAP- when maize (corn for American friends) gets  milled into a powder, and this is prepared with salt and water and love. Onto this we serve a tomato and onion sauce called sheba. Some veggies are fried in olive oil, and served as a side dish. ROunded of with a good Cape wine, like a Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon.  Or Slanghoek Camerca…  Remember the mustard!

And there you have it- smoked leg of Rider pork… (or lamb…no jihaad today…)

Another recipe that you might try for it, the German way (I just hate peas in any form…) :

Eisbein – Recipe for Simmered Pig Knuckles by Jennifer McGavin

Eisbein” is a salt-cured pig knuckle which is simmered for several hours in broth and served with sauerkraut and pureed peas. It is a specialty in Berlin and is a favorite for tourists in restaurants. Because it is simmered, it is not crispy on the outside. Eisbein can be made at home with simple ingredients and great results.

See larger image

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: Variable, 1 hock per person


  • ***For Brining***
  • 120 grams (1/2 c.) of kosher salt for each liter of water
  • 12 grams (1 1/2 tsp.) pink salt or DQ Curing Salt per liter water
  • 1000 milliliters of water (about 1 quart)
  • Pig knuckles or hocks with rind or skin still attached
  • ***For Cooking***
  • Use any or all of these ingredients in the simmering broth
  • Marjoram
  • Bay leaf
  • Allspice
  • Black Pepper
  • Coriander
  • Juniper berries
  • Garlic cloves
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Sugar


Curing the Pork

If you can find fresh pig’s knuckles you will want to cure them before eating. Salt curing them infuses the pork with salt and removes some of the water, concentrating the flavor of the meat. Try a local grocery store with on site butcher services or an ethnic grocery store and order ahead.

If you buy salt cured hocks or knuckles, skip ahead to the next section on cooking them.

To make the brine, use a 12% salt solution by weight. Dissolve 120 grams of kosher salt and 1.2 grams of pink salt per liter of water. Make enough to cover all your pork and chill the water thoroughly before continuing.

Use a non-reactive container to brine (cure) the pork. Plastic, including plastic zip lock bags will work as will any other glass or enamel pans. Place the pork in the container and add the brine to cover. Refrigerate.

Leave the pork in the brine 1 – 5 days in the refrigerator. The longer it sits in the brine, the saltier it will be. If it is in bags, turn over once or twice a day to redistribute the brine.

Cooking the Eisbein

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Rinse the cured pork under running water and place in the boiling water. Bring it back to a boil, remove the scum from the surface, and turn the heat to low.

Add the spices and vegetables for flavor. You can add about one teaspoon of each of the spices, one or two onions or carrots and 2 teaspoons of sugar per liter/quart of cooking water. You will not usually need salt, since the pork will salt the water.

Simmer the pork for 2 to 3 hours. When the rind starts separating from the meat, the pork knuckle is done.

You may choose to crisp the skin (rind) by placing under the broiler for 20 minutes or so, but don’t cook it too long or the skin will be too tough to chew.

The Impala lilies are beautiful in winter…

The Impala lilies are beautiful in winter...

Just to show that I have seen more than aeroplanes this week- here is an Impala lily in bloom at one of my congregation members’ front door- lovely to see such color in winter. Taken with my cellphone… I now see that one’s focus is on the background, so sorry about that… I only took two photos, then they answered the doorbell…



Family- Black and White Weekly Photo Challenge

Black and White Weekly Photo Challenge

 Welcome to the Black and White Weekly Photo Challenge!

  • Entries must be in Black and White only (no colour undertones and no Sepia or Sepia-like tones).  For this challenge you can either convert your colour photo’s to Black and White or change the settings of your camera/phone to Black and White and view the world in tones of grey for a change. :D


For this challenge i have converted an old family photo to black & white… who said that family photos must always be formal and serious?  A moment between my kids on the bench in my study…