Day 551 – Intaka Visit

Out of bed (fairly) early, considering the kids are still on school holiday and off to Intaka Island – close, quiet, safe, cheap – for a slow, short, gentle wander. Loads to see and ‘tog, including (but not limited to) bitterns, herons, bishops, kingfishers, weavers, sunbirds, cormorants, ibises, warblers and canaries. And that was just the birds.

Best spots of the day were the Malachite Kingfisher – Alcedo cristata – because it’s cute and colourful:

…and this Purple Heron – Ardea purpurea – killing off the local invasive fish population (a Perca fluviatilis, I think):

This morning’s photos are on Flickr here.

There was an old guy sitting in one of the hides there with a camera setup which was at least 10x the price of mine. When he pressed the shutter, it was like one of those automatic rifles going off.



I’m still learning with this new lens, so mine might not be quite up to the quality (or quantity – damn!) of his, but I quite like them, and you don’t get to see his to compare, and I can certainly see myself popping back out there and spending some quality time stalking more photographic prey as I try to improve.

It’s really not like it was much of a hardship to spend a couple of hours out there this morning.

Bit knackered now, mind.

Day 546 – There is a dog

Early morning riding lesson in Hout Bay. Not this guy, obviously. This is a dog. I’m surprised you didn’t notice that.

You can’t ride a dog.

I’m playing with Lightroom on my phone while trying to avoid the midges. And this guy is playing with his stick and trying to get me to throw it for him.

My daughter is working hard in the arena, the light is beautiful, and I’m wishing that I’d brought my camera along.

Day 545 – Jobs

Yesterday was a great family day. Kids off school, wife off work, we got some errands run and we had some fun.
We put up a dartboard and threw things (mainly darts, to be honest) at it.
We even cooked a Japanese Katsu Curry together.

The only fly in the so-called ointment was my decision to try and enjoy a beer for the first time in months – just to celebrate the possible early signs of returning taste and smell.

I woke up with severe hangover symptoms at 2am. Would not recommend.
Drugs for the pain, though? 10/10 would recommend.

I’ll leave it a while before trying again.

Today is supposed to be a day of rest (doctor, wife), but there are a few quick jobs I can surely get done. New lighting in the bar, door handles here and there, some hooks in the wardrobe, some plant stuff in the garden.

Also, some darts to be flung. And no beers.

Day 536 – Frerg

After 25 minutes of standing in the drizzle yesterday morning, I was reminded of the 1989 hit Getting Away With It by supergroup Electronic:

“I’ve been walking in the rain just to get wet on purpose”

But actually, my primary aim was to find a frog, which I eventually did.

It wouldn’t have been hard to find him if he’d been sitting on the grass like this. But he wasn’t, of course.

The Cape Rain Frogs in our area are vocal little things keep us awake all night when it rains, but they are notoriously difficult to locate because they are small (5cm long), well camouflaged and hide in tiny little burrows under the vegetation. When they’re quiet, you literally wouldn’t know that they were there. So I used the occasional croaks to home in on this little guy bit by bit, before finding him and ever so gently easing him out of his hole to meet the kids and the camera.

When he was making a noise and I was actively searching, at least anyone watching me would have know that I was doing something. For the other 95% of the time, I was just standing silently and attentively in the rain. It must have looked odd.
Fortunately(?), the rest of the family was still in bed.

After a few photos and some education, we popped him back safely in his little hole, ready to continue chatting to his local friends and to warn us of the next nocturnal precipitation.

Day 530 – Swiss cheese has holes because of Proprionibacterium, obviously.

Other 6000 miles… Cheese posts

2011: Andile Lungisa threatens us all
2017: Incoming from Jesse Miller (features a terrible Cheese rap)
2019: Posh cheese at a ridiculous price

But. On with today’s cheesy offering.

Long story short, Mrs 6000 bought some Swiss cheese from a cheese shop near Hermanus and it was full of holes. The kids wanted to know why.

Obviously, this was an Emmentaller cheese – the traditional one with the holes. Emmentaller isn’t like Champagne (which, if you think about it, is also full of (very small) holes), in that to be Emmetaller cheese, it doesn’t actually have to be made in Emmental. So although it’s not Swiss, it’s still street-legal holey cheese.
But why? Well, it’s thanks to a Proprionibacterium – this one:

Propionibacterium freudenrichii subspecies shermanii

Easy for you to say.

Like many other cheeses, Swiss cheese is made with cow’s milk and contains bacteria that help convert the milk into a solid.

So why does Swiss cheese have holes? Also called “eyes,” they’re so essential to Swiss cheese that when they’re missing, the cheesemakers say the batch is “blind.”

Under the specific conditions that Swiss cheese is made, the P. shermanii produce a gas: carbon dioxide.

Because Swiss cheese is made at a warm temperature – around 70 degrees Fahrenheit – the cheese is soft and malleable. So as the bacteria grow, the gases they emit end up creating round openings. 

But when a bubble has formed inside a hunk of warm cheese – and then that cheese is cooled to around 40°F – the hole stays in place. The cheese now has its eyes.

Unless you’re in the cheese industry, or you’ve only heard of Proprionibacterium from what you’ve read above, then Proprionibacterium is best known for causing acne.

But don’t let that put you off your cheese.


P.S. Yes, beagle-eyed reader, you’re right. I had to do a quick renumbering of posts from the last couple of weeks after I saw that today was day 530 of lockdown on a TV screen in a Radiology Department Waiting Room (more on that another time). I’d done two 513s.
This sort of thing happens. It’s rectified. It’s all ok.