Thick Neck/Bad Leg and Broken Horn, two of our favorites…

It’s easy to see why we call him Thick Neck. His neck is almost twice as thick as other bushbucks.

At the moment, Thick Neck/Bad Leg, Broken Horn, Frank, and the Misses are here. We’ve hardly seen many warthogs since last week’s holiday ended on Sunday, and by Monday, most holidaymakers were gone. Starting tomorrow, a new round of tourists will flood Marloth Park for the ten-day school holiday. We’re preparing ourselves because we may only see the wildlife mentioned above until October 11th, after the holidaymakers leave.

Now that I’m beginning to heal from the dry socket and feeling more like myself, we’ll make a point of staying busy with our friends during this period, knowing few animals will entertain us during the day and evening. We will attempt to keep the knowledge we’ll be returning in December 2022 amid the realities of the Christmas season in busy Marloth Park and focus more on having fun with friends during that visit.

This is Mom from “Mom and Baby” bushbucks. Baby was in the bush while Mom checked out the pellet situation. We have countless helmeted guinea-fowls in the garden all day.

We’re still contemplating applying for the four-year retiree visa. Still, the problem is it requires an extraordinary amount of paperwork, legal fees, and lots of our time to get everything done. Plus, it must be done while we’re in the US. Once approved, the four-year time clock begins. Ultimately, we could lose the first eight months of the four-year visa before we get back to South Africa. It’s a lot to consider.

Before we return to Africa, we’ll have to decide if we’re only staying the three months allowed by our visas or if we should book a visit to another country in Africa for the new 90-day visa stamp to be able to stay for a total of six months less the short break in between.

He spends his days and nights in our garden. He’ll have to find another location when we leave in three weeks. It will be sad to think of him waiting for us. But, with the bush turning green now, he’ll have plenty of vegetation available for him soon.

Many of these types of decisions are based on what happens with Covid-19 over the next 18 months. We do not want to risk losing money or dealing with deposit refunds for housing, flights, and other travel-related expenses. We’ve already been through this five times since the onset of the pandemic and don’t care to deal with this again if we can avoid it.

Speaking of Thick Neck/Bad Leg, we’re considering dropping the second part of his name and going back to Thick Neck only. His bad leg seems to have healed, and he’s no longer limping. A long time ago, Danie told us how many wild animals have robust health and strong immune systems, often healing without incident from various injuries they may get living in the bush.

This morning, Broken Horn has a muddy face. He could have been digging in the dirt or rolling in mud at another location.

Over the collective two years we’ve spent in Marloth Park, since 2013, we’ve witnessed countless animals with injuries, only to watch them heal over time. Recently we posted about a female kudu whose eyelid had almost been ripped off. It looked awful, and we contacted the rangers when blood was dripping down her face. You can see that post with her photos here.

Now called Bad Eye, she stopped by a few days ago, a full two weeks since her injury. It looks as if it’s already begun to heal nicely. She may never be able to close that one eye, but she’s alive and appears to be thriving. Often, injured animals attract the attention of wildlife-lovers such as us, and we feed them more than the others. The added food surely must be instrumental in their recovery.

Broken Horn spends considerable time in our garden with his head down, looking for pellets. He doesn’t look undernourished.

Broken Horn, a wildebeest, is also known as a gnu, pronounced “new.” I recall learning about gnus in grade school but didn’t realize they were also called wildebeests until we arrived in Africa in 2013. They are fascinating animals with prominent personalities, memorable bark, and a keen sense of their safety and protection ability. Broken Horn has a quirky disposition we’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

After speaking to Louise yesterday, we may consider a different, larger house when we return. My only hesitancy is we won’t see these same familiar animals when they only wander a specific area. It’s a big decision we’ll address in the future.

Guinea-fowls don’t fly much, preferring to walk. But they do fly when they are frightened of seeking higher ground to check out their surroundings, as in this case.

May your day be pleasant!

Photo from one year ago today, September 30, 2022:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #191. My dinner in 2013  in Kenya was seasoned grilled red snapper with sautéed non-starchy vegetables. For more photos, please click here.

Packing has begun…Fashion trends…Tried a different restaurant last night…

An oxpecker drinking from the birdbath, which needed more water, Tom refills it almost daily.

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to start going through some of my clothes, making a pile to donate, and packing what I will keep and bring. We are leaving a plastic tote with Louise with some items we won’t need until we return in December 2022. But, most of the things we’ll store here will be cooking and other supplies, not necessarily clothing.

While in the US in 2019/2020, before we left for India, I purchased some clothes, but since then, I am now over 20 pounds less, and most of them don’t fit. I plan to donate most of those items and restock my wardrobe once we get situated in Arizona.

I don’t purchase expensive clothes; generally, prices are found at The Gap and Old Navy. But now that Old Navy no longer carries jeans long enough for my legs, I won’t be shopping there anymore. This trend of “highwater” pants will go out of style before the blink of an eye, and I don’t want to be stuck with ridiculous-looking pants. With my long legs, shorter pant lengths don’t look good on me.

Pretty kudu resting in the garden on a sunny day.

Honestly, I don’t think shorter-length pants/jeans look better on most people. I try to be a little bit fashionable, but I won’t wear anything that suits my body type. Finding longer pants in the US won’t be easy. I liked the higher-waisted jeans but was never in a location where I could try them on. Now, I read these are going out of style, and low-rise jeans are making a comeback.

Oh, good grief. Who can keep up? No more skinny jeans??? No high waist? No boot cut? Short? Long? Bell bottoms? Hems or unhemmed? Go figure!

I’m no fashion maven, but I do like to dress in a manner that doesn’t make me appear to be an out-of-date senior citizen who doesn’t know a thing about style. After all, I can only own enough clothes to fit into one suitcase. I have to be picky on what goes in there. It will be interesting to see what I can find in Arizona. The closest mall is 10 miles away in Mesa.

Another warthog with an itchy butt, using the sand in the empty water hole for friction.

Also, while in Arizona, we’ll need to find clothes to wear to Karen and Rich’s wedding. Soon, I’ll check with her to see what type of clothing she suggests, so we’ll blend in. Whatever we buy, we’ll keep for the formal nights on many upcoming cruises over the next few years.

At this time, Tom doesn’t own a blazer, suit, or sports coat. Those are heavy items to pack in our bags. Plus, I’ll need appropriate shoes and a small handbag. I am not opposed to shopping at the discount shoe and clothing stores, such as DSW or TJ Maxx, where I’ve often found great options at reasonable prices.

Well, I can’t worry about that now when I need to think about packing and preparing to clear out of this house entirely, not an easy task after being here for over nine months. As always, we’ll get it all done and certainly be ready to go when the time comes.

Torn Ear stopped by for another visit. He’s chewing on pellets.

This morning we stopped at Louise and Danie’s to say goodbye to her parents, a lovely couple who’ve been visiting here from Cape Town.

It was fun planning our return with Louise in December 2022. On December 23, 2022, it will be Tom’s 70th birthday, and of course, we’ll be planning a party at Jabula for whatever friends of ours will be here during the holiday season. Many leave to return to home countries during the holidays.

At 4:00 pm (1600 hrs), we met Rita and Gerhard at The Giraffe Bar and Grill at Phumula Lodge. We had been to this establishment several times over the years but hadn’t noticed many changes since the last time. After sundowners, while sitting at the bar, which the four of us love to do together, we got a table for dinner and carefully perused the menu. The food was OK but not spectacular, but the service ambiance and prices were excellent.

Little was picking up the pellets I dropped on the veranda with no hesitation.

Our dinner and drinks for the evening, including tax and tips, were US $30.43, ZAR 452, prices that can’t be beaten for an evening out. When we get to the US in several weeks, dinners out will be three times that amount or more. I imagine we won’t eat out as often as we have here.

Nothing much on the horizon today. It’s cooler and a little cloudy. There are few animals in the garden, many still hiding away after the noisy weekend. In two days, the school holidays start for ten days, and we won’t see many animals during that period. It changes the entire “nature” of our day.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2020:

baked, low carb, almond flour chicken stuffed loaves
This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #190. One of our favorite recipes: baked, low carb, almond flour chicken stuffed loaves. We tripled the recipe to result in four meals, freezing part of it. Please see this link for instructions and the recipe. For more photos, please click here.

Hot today…High 97F (36C)…Not a breeze to be found…

A female kudu with an oxpecker on her head.

It was 9:00 when I began today’s post, and we were both situated on the veranda. The animals have gradually returned to our garden, but it’s not as busy as it had been a week ago before the holidaymakers arrived. The heat might be a factor after the cool winter, and they are hunkered down in any shade they can find when the sparse bush is devoid of leaves to provide cover.

According to the weather report, today will be the hottest day of the week. A breeze would help, but the air is still and the humidity high. If it gets too uncomfortable, we can always turn on the outdoor fan, although it makes a lot of noise and defeats the purpose of being outdoors in this exquisite solitude.

The oxpecker must have been at the back of her head, causing her ears to be in this odd position.

Tonight’s dinner is primarily already prepared, so not much time will be required to spend in the kitchen. Soon, Vusi and Zef will arrive to clean the house and veranda, although everything is pretty clean and tidy. I thought about packing, but it’s still too soon.

Bushbuck Thick Neck/Bad Leg is within a meter of me, staring in expectation of some pellets or carrots. We’ve been out of carrots for a few days. We have begun chipping away at the last of the food on hand, including everything in the freezer. We plan to head to Komaipoort the following Monday for what could be our final grocery shopping trip when we purchase our last big bag of carrots.

I have accepted the fact that we are leaving Marloth Park and leaving Africa for a while. Many of our friends will be gone, even Dawn and Leon will be on holiday from tomorrow until after we’ve left. Rita and Gerhard leave in a little over two weeks. Surely we’ll have fun with them and Kathy and Don before we go. We plan to see Alan and Fiona next Tuesday to celebrate her birthday.

She was in a somewhat dazed state with two oxpeckers working on her ticks, fleas, other insects, and hide-related conditions.

Last night, when we played songs using our speaker while sitting outdoors, the Spotify playlist included the song “Africa” by Toto, popular in 1982. We both always loved that song but never knew in 1982 that the song would have such meaning to us now.

Yesterday, I concentrated on doing as many corrections as possible, and now I have only 39 pages with 20 posts to go.  Today, I will do the same, hoping to get down to 37 pages in the next 24 hours. Yesterday, while doing them, I streamed two sci-fi movies on a separate screen on my laptop, easily paying attention to both.  Doing so helps the process seem less boring.

We plan to go to Kruger National Park this week on a cooler day since school holidays are coming this weekend, from October 1st until October 11th. Both Marloth Park and Kruger National Park will be packed with holidaymakers during this period, and it’s unlikely we’d be able to get into Kruger with the crowds having to book appointments to enter. We have no desire to deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic in the park.

Suddenly, we noticed a male kudu in a similar hypnotic state with oxpeckers working on him.

Currently, I am sitting on the bed, propped up with pillows with the fan blowing. We don’t use the aircon to save on electricity during the day, although electricity is included in our rent. During the hot summer months, we insisted on paying Louise an extra ZAR 1000, US $66.25 each month since we were using it every night, even on the slightly cooler nights.

She didn’t want to accept this, but we felt it was essential and persisted. We ceased those payments once we no longer needed aircon during the cooler winter when we didn’t use much electricity. We’ve only recently been required to use the aircon at night, on the hottest days.

Today, we paid our final rent payment until October 21st, the day we leave. The rent is always higher during peak holiday periods, and thus the ten days are at the higher rate, included in our final total. We are OK with this since Louise has been so fair with us based on our long-term rental.

That’s all, folks! Have an unforgettable day wherever you may be in this world!

Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #189. While on a cruise in 2014, I was served this fantastic dish, Pistachio Duck Terrine. I ordered a second serving which I rarely do. For more, please click here.

No WiFi Sunday…Are we too dependent on WiFi?…

Peter, Paul, and Mary (she’s in the center) couldn’t have posed better for this shot.

It’s getting hot here now that winter has ended and spring is in full bloom. Yesterday was 93F (34C), and today should be the same. Although this doesn’t sound that hot, when sitting all day outdoors under the shade of the veranda roof, coupled with the humidity, we are well aware of how warm it is already.

We’re well prepared that when we return here in December 2022, it will be even hotter. South Africans find this weather to be pleasant, but for us, living in mostly cooler climates, we can certainly feel the impact of the heat. But we will easily handle it when we return in the summer in months to come.

After all, this is Africa, and with the pleasures, sights, and sounds of this amazing continent, we all pay the price of heat, humidity, snakes, mozzies, other insects, and power outages. Speaking of power outages, we’re grateful there hasn’t been any load shedding since we returned from the US, other than a few short periods of “overuse” issues. Of course, last month we experienced five days without water. That was challenging.

An older photo of Tiny and Narrow. We’ve yet to see Tiny since w returned. He may have been culled, which makes me sad.

However, among power outages, there are WiFi outages. The infrastructure here is unstable, and WiFi outages also happen from time to time. Usually, they last for short periods, but yesterday we were without WiFi from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (1700 hrs), a total of six hours.

I had already started the post, and in order not to lose what I’d already written, I had to use my phone’s WiFi as a hotspot to complete and upload the post. Once I was done, I turned off the hotspot to save on the outrageous expense of using the phone’s data for any longer than necessary.

Keeping in mind, we’ve never turned on the TV in this house, we no longer read books after years of doing so, and neither of us felt like playing cards or games. I could have done a puzzle, but we don’t have table space, other than in the dining room, where there’s no airflow. I decided against it.

Warthogs enjoy drinking from the birdbath since they can’t reach the pool. (Photo was taken during the greener season).

Tom played the same solitaire game on his phone that he occasionally plays while I fussed in the kitchen for a short period, preparing a few items for dinner. Needless to say, once I was done, we both were bored. We couldn’t go to Kruger National Park or sit overlooking the Crocodile River due to overcrowding and traffic from holidaymakers.

It had been a long time since we were bored. If we lived in a home of our own, we could have watched a movie on the TV using our DVR, cable TV, or non-WiFi services. If we lived in a home of our own, we could have tackled some projects around the house.

I thought about packing, but I have so few clothes I need to access over the next 24 days until departure. It was quite a dilemma. Gerhard had given us some movies on a flash drive, which I downloaded to our external hard drive, so we decided to see if we’d like any of them. As it turned out, we’d seen most of the movies, or they were those Tom doesn’t care for, such as superhero, fantasy, and science fiction.

I turned on the WiFi on my phone long enough to look up details of a few of the movies. Fortunately, I found one with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, a peculiar film called Florence Jenkins Foster that we watched and found mildly entertaining. In the middle of the movie, Tom needed a nap but only slept for 15 minutes, after which we finished the movie.

Hal is drinking from the birdbath.

At 4:00 pm (1600 hrs), we decided to head back to the veranda for sundowners. With our new speaker with songs we play using YouTube and Spotify, we realized we couldn’t enjoy the music without WiFi as we’ve done on other evenings. Instead, we sat there with the heat of the sun shining on us at 93F (34C) while we chatted. At times, we wondered when the WiFi would return, hoping it would be back on for our usual after-dinner streaming when we go inside due to the mozzies.

Much to our delight, at 5:00 pm (1700 hrs), I heard a ping on my phone that the WiFi was back on. We were thrilled. We proceeded to make dinner on the braai consisting of steaks and chicken breast. On the side, we had a salad with sweet corn and rice for Tom and grilled eggplant for me. It was a lovely dinner.

We’re making roast beef and chicken breasts on the braai, with sauteed mushrooms and salad tonight. Tom will have rice and sweet corn on the side while I have shrimp salad and grilled eggplant. It will be another great dinner. The boredom is gone.

Yes, based on our lifestyle, when WiFi is out, we scramble to find ways to entertain ourselves. It’s the “nature of the beast.” Thank goodness this doesn’t occur frequently, and most likely, while back in the US for a few months, it won’t occur at all.

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 27, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #188. This is where we planned to lounge on the chaises at Madafoo’s in Diani Beach, Kenya, in 2013. It was a guarded area overlooking the Indian Ocean.  For more photos, please click here.

Another fantastic evening in the bush…Holiday weekend in the bush…Heritage Day…

Thick-tailed bushbaby eating yogurt we left out.

Note: The WiFi is out today due to overuse by holidaymakers in the park and a fault with the line. I am using my phone as a hotspot. But it’s slow and uses lots of data. As a result, few photos today. Thank you!

Friday was Heritage Day in South Africa, resulting in many long weekend visitors to Marloth Park. We have often mentioned that holiday seasons and long holiday weekends are our least favorite times in the bush.

Last evening, on our way to Kathy and Don’s home for dinner, we couldn’t believe the number of cars, bakkies (trucks), and safari vehicles encountered on the roads. The majority of tourists are South Africans who want to get away for the long holiday weekend. After the long constraints of lockdown, many people come here to “let their hair down.”

In essence, Marloth Park is not a place to “let loose.” It’s a place of tranquility, reflection, and quiet contemplation of nature and its many wonders. But, many groups of people come here to socialize. That in itself is fine, as long as they respect the rules of the bush, management of the road, the safekeeping of the animals, and the expected quiet that the bush invites.

Often, we’ll see bakkies with their truck beds filled with people standing up, yelling, drinking, and playing loud music, men shirtless and women scantily dressed. Many are here to “party!” Others seek the quiet and solitude of the bush and the gentle meanderings of the wildlife. It’s an oxymoron, often making it difficult for the two groups to cohabitate well in this special place.

This morning, only Frank and The Misses appeared along with a few bushbucks, which is a rarity for us on a Sunday morning. We have meat treats for the mongoose, but we wonder if we’ll see them until Monday or Tuesday after the park has cleared out.

When thick-tailed bushbabies are around, the usual small bushbabies run for cover. The larger species will kill the little ones.

When we arrived at Kathy and Don’s lovely home, overlooking the Crocodile River, Don suggested we enjoy the evening on the main floor instead of heading up to their third-level veranda with expansive views of the river.

There were so many vehicles on the river road. There’s no doubt we’d all be annoyed by the traffic noise. The ground floor outdoor area is fenced and provides excellent privacy. As the night progressed, we didn’t even notice the vehicles passing by.

Once we were situated outdoors with our beverages and snacks on the patio, Rita asked Gerhard, “Did you bring our meat?” Gerhard shrugged and said, “Nope, I forgot the meat!”

Rita chimed in, “It was my fault too. I should have reminded you.”

Then, I looked at Tom, “Did you pack our meat in the cooler?” We all laughed out loud when Tom said, “No, you didn’t remind me to pack the meat.”

Rita and Gerhard laughed over the fact we’d also forgotten our meat. In minutes, Tom and Gerhard took off in Gerhard’s off-road vehicle to head to our house and theirs to pick up the meat for the braai.

Once on the road for about 5 minutes, Tom realized our house keys were in our car back at Kathy’s and Don’s home! They drove back to pick up the keys, arriving back at the party about 45 minutes later. There were lots of vehicles on the road, making driving time much slower.

Finally, back at the dinner party, we had a lovely evening with great conversation, excellent food, and again, the perfect host and hostess, with the six of us, plus Michael and Lorraine, Don’s cousin and his wife. We hadn’t seen them in three years, and it was delightful to see them again.

By 9:45 pm (2145 hrs), we were back at our bush house and headed to bed for a good night’s sleep shortly after that. As we count down until we leave Marloth Park, we realize how quickly the time will go. We will spend every possible moment cherishing that which is before our eyes and the blissful nature of Marloth, significantly when the peace of the bush is restored in a few days.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, September 26, 2020:

One year ago, this photo was posted in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #187. In places, the path from our holiday home in Kenya to the beach in the Indian Ocean was filled with flowers. For more photos, please click here.

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew…

We made two of these large pans of apple crisp and one smaller pan. We’ll bring one large pan to Kathy and Don’s tonight and keep one large and small pan at home.

Desserts are my favorite foods to make, although I don’t eat them. It’s not unlike me to volunteer to make certain dishes to share with others when I have accumulated so many amazing recipes over the years. There’s something special about making desserts that feels like love.

Lately, I’ve been making either blueberry or lemon poppyseed muffins for Tom, enough to last a week.  My desire to provide comfort food has been satisfied by making his muffins. No, I don’t encourage Tom to eat sweet treats, but when he was buying muffins in the market, at least I knew my homemade muffins didn’t have preservatives and chemicals. Making them myself assured they had quality ingredients, with no trans fats and bad sources of oil or butter. Only he can decide when he’s ready to give them up.

In South Africa, bringing our meat to braai and drinks is traditional. It is more the norm than not. We appreciate this tradition since we enjoy bringing our preferred cuts of meat when Tom and I eat larger-sized portions of protein than most.

Because I eat such little variety, meat and salad may be the only items I’ll eat at a host’s home. Tonight, we’re bringing beef tenderloin, cut into appropriate portions for Tom and me. Kathy and Don will serve baked potatoes, salad, and sweet corn. This way, our hosts can spend time with all of us instead of working in the kitchen.

A few days ago, expecting the dry socket to be totally better by now, which it is not, I volunteered to bring homemade gluten-free apple crisp, a dessert we’ve found many enjoy, especially when topped with vanilla ice cream, which we’re also bringing. Little did I know at the time that I would still be under the weather due to the ongoing pain, although greatly diminished, and off pain killers would be an issue.

So, upon awakening this morning after sleeping for nearly 10 hours, according to my FitBit, I still felt sluggish, and the socket was still sore. I’d hoped by today, it would be over. This painful scenario has left me feeling out of sorts, especially after spending several days lying on the bed, propped up on pillows, on narcotic pain pills, which I’ve since stopped. I feel weak from lack of activity and the horrible drugs.

Last night, we went to Jabula with Rita and Gerhard, but we were home before 8:30 pm (2030 hrs). We watched an episode of Big Brother, and I dozed off to sleep. When I awoke at 9:00 am, I thought, “Wow! I am going to feel great after this long night’s sleep!”

But, once up, showered, and dressed, I wondered how I’d manage to make the apple crisp still feeling unlike myself. As always, Tom helped peel the zillions of apples. I wanted to make a big pan to bring tonight and another big pan to have at home. This resulted in peeling, coring, and slicing over 40 apples.

Prepping a little more than we needed, I had a third extra smaller pan than we required, surely Tom will finish it off in no time. We gave all the scraps to the bushbucks and kudus, including Bad Eye. They all loved them. Bad Eye, although not treated for her injury, seems to be doing better. The bleeding has stopped, and it looks as if, at some point, it will heal. She still has a good appetite, devouring the apple scraps with her three female friends/family members.

By noon, I had the first of the three pans of apple crisp in the oven. The small oven only fits one pan at a time. It’s hot today, and the oven will most likely be on for about three hours to thoroughly cook the three pans. It’s already pretty hot in the house, so once I put the first pan in the oven, I came into the bedroom to sit on the bed with the fan on to cool off and recover from standing on my feet for 2½ hours. Surely, later on, I’ll perk up.

We aren’t expected to arrive at Kathy and Don’s house until 5:30 pm (1730),  leaving plenty of time to finish baking and get dressed and ready for tonight. There will be eight of us at their home for dinner. I doubt I bit off more than I could chew making this multi-step dessert, but now that they are baking, I’m relieved to have it done and out of the way.

Nothing more is required of me today other than completing and uploading today’s post. I’ll have plenty of time to chill out, work on more corrections and enjoy jumping up every so often to welcome visitors to the garden until it’s time to get ready to go.

Have a pleasant day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, September 25, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago in lockown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #186. A few zebras meandered down the hill to the water, but mom didn’t seem concerned. Giraffes and zebras seem to blend well in the wild. For more photos, please click here.

It was good to get out…Busy weekend on the horizon…

Little and Bossy sharing pellets is a lovely sight to see.

Last night, sundowners weren’t quite the same without a glass of my light red wine. Still, once the conversation started at Rita and Gerhard’s house, I forgot all about it and was content with my mug of iced tea, as I’ve been the past few weeks since the awful tooth extraction two weeks ago resulting in a dry socket.

Miracle of all miracles, I am better today. Although there is still some pain, it’s diminished considerably from the horrors of a few days ago. When Tylenol (Paracetamol) and Advil (Austin) stopped working on Monday, I switched to the pain meds the dentist had prescribed, which gave me good relief for about five hours, resulting in waking up during the night when they wore off. I barely slept two or three hours most nights over the past eleven days.

Young kudu on the veranda.

Finally, I am off of those dreadful drugs and almost feel like my “old self.” Hopefully, in a day or two, I will be free of the pain. Thank goodness, I went to the dentist in Marloth Park when Dr. Singh was on holiday. She treated the socket, which helped tremendously, but it took a few days to feel the improvement.

Tonight, we’ll have dinner at Jabula with Rita and Gerhard, leaving us with only three more Jabula Friday nights until we depart on October 21.  They will leave here on October 15, returning to their home in the US for the holiday season. Tomorrow evening we’re heading to Kathy and Don’s for dinner. In the morning, we’ll make a dessert to bring.

Some foreign nationals that stay here for part of the year leave the park during the holiday season since it’s crowded with tourists and outrageously sweltering in December. Those realities don’t scare us. We’ll be back in December 2022, a mere 14 months after we leave, a few days before Tom’s birthday.

Hal visits every so often.

It is always such a joy to meet up with our readers, as we have on many occasions throughout the world. One of our loyal readers, Lisa, and her husband wrote a few days ago and plan to be in Marloth Park when we return in 2022. That was how we met Rita and Gerhard, who’ve become such dear friends. They’d been reading our site for years and decided to visit Marloth Park, renting holiday homes from Louise as well.

Little did we know or expect, we’d become such close friends with people who happen to come to a location due to reading our posts. What a fantastic side benefit we’ve been blessed to experience!

But then again, we’ve been blessed in many ways, and we often pinch ourselves when we take a moment to reflect. It’s times like the past few weeks that it’s easy to forget how grateful we are when we are distracted by illness or inconvenience.

Bossy is such a pretty girl.

We are grateful for many reasons; the first, we are together, and we never forget it for a day. Secondly, we have the love and support of family and friends as we continue on our journey. Thirdly, we have the carefully managed financial resources to continue to travel for as long as we physically are able.

No, it’s not always easy, and like most people in their 60s and 70s, we have setbacks, some age-related, some not. But, above all, most importantly, for now, we are experiencing good health. We’re grateful we’ve been able to avoid contracting Covi-19. However, we’ve both suffered from other viruses that made recovery time-consuming and complicated in the past year.

Two Franks and two Misses, a rare sighting.

Through it all, we’ve stayed strong and resilient. We have no regrets. And we pray for more time and good health to allow us to carry on, fulfilling a dream neither of us ever knew we had until 2012, when we decided to embark on this journey, never aware of how long we’d be able to continue.

Here we are almost nine years later, amid many trials, and yet in 27 days, we’re on the move again. Yes, it’s a temporary foray back to the US for a variety of reasons, but a few months later, we’ll be back into the “world” to explore its many wonders.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2020:

One year ago, this photo was posted in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day # 185. Minutes before the sun descended from view in Sumbersari, Bali, in 2016. Before dark, the security guy visits our villa, turning on outdoor lights, returning at sunrise to turn them off. For more photos, please click here.

Four weeks from today…Savoring the moment…Food obsessions…

A new bushbuck to our garden, Short Horn. Notice the size difference between his right and left horns.

It’s hard to grasp the concept of us leaving Africa in a mere four weeks from today. Tom asks me why I keep track of how many days we go, especially when leaving is not my preference. Well, the answer for me is simple. As detail-oriented, I am a “numbers” person. I keep track of all kinds of numbers in my brain, some important, some useless.

But doing so doesn’t mean I am not savoring every last moment, capturing pictures in my mind and on the camera. Only moments ago, I was cutting up carrots, cabbage, and lettuce for the bushbucks and kudus. They love the cool crispness and moisture in the vegetables. It’s one of those daily tasks I do with love.

Warthogs don’t care for cabbage and lettuce. They prefer the sweetness of the carrots. Already this week, we’ve gone through 10 kg, 22 pounds of carrots. The most recently purchased huge bag contained many small and large carrots with many pieces that I didn’t have to cut for the smaller bushbucks, like Holy Moley, Big Spikey, Little Spikey, and Baby. They savor every morsel.

We’re always thrilled to see Torn Ear.

The wildebeests, kudus, and warthogs can easily chew an entire carrot, but a few in the bag were so large I cut them to avoid a possible choking hazard.

Yesterday, when I tossed carrots to Little and his new girlfriend, Mom and Babies, one carrot landed in the cement pond, now filled with sand, dirt, and rocks. The carrot landed in a tight spot. Last night, Little knocked off almost every large boulder surrounding the cement pond, intended as a border, but could not get to it.

This morning, he remembered that the carrot was there and again tried to get to it. Success! He managed to get the hard-to-reach carrot. I can imagine Little thinking about that carrot all night long. That’s Little for you! He’s quite the “pig.” I suppose at times in my old life, and I may have thought about a remaining piece of a pie in the fridge and finally got up in the morning to eat it with my cup of coffee. Did that make me a pig? I suppose. We all have our various food obsessions.

Helmeted guinea-fowl and four of her chicks.

Tom is on a salty, roasted peanut kick right now. We purchased good-sized bags of peanuts on Monday, and two are left. Indeed, by the end of the weekend, they will be gone. Since I began a low-carb way of eating in August 2011, improving my health so much that we decided to travel the world. I’ve only had a few occasions where I have “cheated.”

Please don’t give me credit for a tremendous amount of self-control and discipline. I have been highly motivated. If I went back to the typical  American low-fat, high-carb diet, undoubtedly in no time at all, I would be in pain and unable to continue on our journey. That’s how this significant change worked for me. It may not work for everyone. (However, I am not exempt from experiencing painful conditions, such as my current painful dry socket from a tooth extraction ten days ago. Nope, it’s not better yet).

With this degree of motivation, it’s been relatively easy for me to give up my old food addictions, such as; eating a big bowl of high-carb, fat-free, sugar-free ice cream at night after dinner or eating high carb, high sugar winter squash with dinner almost every night, which was an excellent way to get full, while eating piles of green vegetables with small amounts of lean protein. It kept my weight down but made me have high blood sugar and be pre-diabetic.

Benny, Henny, and Lenny stop by less frequently than many other warthog families. Where’s Penny?

If I ate like that now, I’d surely be diabetic based on a solid propensity from family genetics. My blood pressure and blood sugar spike if I eat too many vegetables, unsweetened Greek yogurt (which I love but don’t eat), and fruit.  I suppose I am one of few who checks these readings every week to ensure I am doing ok. After all, I have coronary artery disease, which is exacerbated by high blood pressure and high blood sugar.  I am trying to stay alive. No food is worth increasing my risk of a heart attack or stroke.

On the other hand, Tom naturally has shallow blood pressure and blood sugar. He can eat anything he wants with little impact on his blood sugar or blood pressure. His family history is primarily longevity and good health. Of course, that doesn’t mean he won’t gain weight when eating high carb and sugary foods. Like everyone else, he can easily suffer from the effects of excess weight and body fat, and other conditions commensurate with being overweight.

At 4:00 pm (1600 hrs), we’re heading over to Rita and Gerhard’s for sundowners. Their holiday home is located on Hornbill, a house we rented while here in 2013/2014. I won’t be drinking any wine today and haven’t for days since I am on pain medication for the dry socket. Hopefully, it will heal soon, and I can enjoy being pain-free and back to my  “old self” once again.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2020:

The Golden Temple Amritsar, India
We posted this photo one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #184. The Golden Temple Amritsar, India, is seen through a decorative archway on the religious grounds of the historic Sikh location. Please click here to see more photos from Amritsar. Please click here for more on the year-ago post.

Thirty or forty of these infrequent visitors came to call…A pleasant soaking rain has started greening the bush!…A speedy resolution for a painful situation…

Impalas are fantastic jumpers. We watched this female jump into the air when she was startled by Broken Horn.

Yesterday afternoon, Tom beaconed me outdoors while I rested in the bedroom after another stormy night’s sleep due to this darned painful tooth socket to say we had 30 to 40 visitors of the same species. I assumed they were impalas since they are the only animals, other than birds and mongoose, where we’ve had such numbers in the garden.

Impalas are the most prolific antelopes in Marloth Park and also in Kruger National Park. They can give birth twice in one year and are healthy and sturdy animals. As mentioned in a prior post, over 100 impalas were relocated from Marloth Park to Lionspruit, providing more hunting opportunities for Desi and Fluffy, the only two lions in that game reserve located within the borders of Marloth Park.

I couldn’t believe how many impalas were in our garden and the surrounding bush when I stepped outside. It reminded me of a similar invasion we had in 2014 while living in the Hornbill house Rita and Gerhard currently occupy.

On that particular day, there were many more impalas, hundreds, much to our surprise. What an experience that was! But, yesterday, we were as thrilled as we’d been way back then. With many impalas recently moved to Liosnpruit and the possibility many were culled, it’s unlikely we’ll see hundreds of them in the garden anytime soon.

Impalas have such pretty faces and markings. A helmeted guinea-fowl manages to “photo-bomb.”

Here are some interesting facts about impalas from this site, you may find enjoyable:

“Impalas are medium-sized antelopes that look like a mix between a goat and a deer. They have long legs and necks and black, twisted horns. As members of the Bovidae family, they are related to goats, cattle, and sheep.


Impalas weigh around the same amount as a large dog at 88 to 165 lbs. (40 to 75 kilograms). According to National Geographic, they grow to 33 to 39 inches (84 to 99 centimeters) long by adulthood and typically come up to the chest of an average-sized adult man. The male’s horns grow to 18 to 37 inches (46 to 94 cm) long.


The impala is native to Africa and ranges from Angola, Namibia to northeast South Africa and north through Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya. According to the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web (ADW), it lives in woodlands with little undergrowth and low to medium-high grassland. They also live in savannas.


Impala is diurnal, which means they are most active in the early morning and right before sunset. During the rainy season, impalas gather in groups of hundreds. In the dry season, the herds roam together to look for food. During the rainy season, males can be territorial and will herd females around a territorial area.

Groups of young impalas are called creches. According to ADW, these offspring groups are like nursery schools for the young, and they play together and groom each other.


Impalas are herbivores, which means they only eat vegetation. Their diets consist of bark, leaves, wood, and stems.


Before giving birth, a female will leave the herd. After a gestation period of six to seven months, she will give birth, usually to only one offspring at a time. After a day or two, the mother impala will bring her calf back to the herd. Baby impalas are called calves. Calves are weaned at four to seven months, and at 12 to 18 months, the calf is mature enough to have its offspring. Impalas usually live to around 13 years in the wild.

Conservation status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), impalas are not endangered. Currently, the population is estimated at almost 2 million. Fifty percent of the population is found on private land, and another 25 percent of the population lives in protected areas. As a result, for the most part, the population is stable or increasing.

Other facts

Impalas are fantastic jumpers. According to National Geographic, they can leap as far as 33 feet (10 meters) and as high as 10 feet (3 meters). If impalas are running from predators, they are known to jump over obstacles in their way, such as large bushes or stumps, instead of going around them.

Impalas have reddish-brown hair with white fur on the underside of the chin, inside ears, on the belly and lips, over the eyes, and on the tail.

They also have black stripes down the forehead, tail, thighs, and ear tips. According to the University of Michigan, some scientists think they use these black stripes to identify each other. ”

They were all over the garden, close to the house, which is unusual for them.

Excitedly, I scurried about the veranda attempting to get good photos. However, impalas are very shy and cautious. Every motion I made sent them running into the bush. Instead, I decided to stay in one spot with the camera to ensure the best possible shots. They even reacted to the sound of the click when taking a photo. I have since turned off this feature.

As for today, I had booked a 10:00 am appointment with the dentist at the clinic in Marloth Park. Dr. Singh was off this week, and I couldn’t wait another day. The pain in the socket was excruciating, with no improvement over the past week. It has been nine days since the extraction.

With little sleep due to the pain, I had no choice but to seek help from another dentist in Dr. Singh’s absence. Fortunately, I was able to get an appointment for this morning with Dr. Lizannie, a 10-minute drive down Olifant Road, the only paved road in Marloth Park.

Tom waited for me in the car, playing with his phone, while I entered the medical clinic, fully masked, as always. After a 20 minute wait, I was escorted into the dental suite, where the dentist was waiting while filling out a health history form.

It took her exactly 30 seconds to diagnose my painful situation as a “dry socket,” I’d expected this after reading considerable information on pain after tooth extraction. In almost every case, I continued pain a week after the extraction due to a dry socket.

Every so often, one of the impalas would pick up their head and look at me.

A dry socket (alveolar osteitis) is a painful dental condition that sometimes happens after a permanent adult tooth is extracted. A dry socket is when the blood clot at the tooth extraction site fails to develop, or it dislodges or dissolves before the wound has healed. From the Mayo Clinic in the US, a dry socket is described as follows:

Typically, a blood clot forms at the site of tooth extraction. This blood clot is a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. The chunk also provides the foundation for the growth of new bone and the development of soft tissue over the clot.

Exposure of the underlying bone and nerves results in intense pain, not only in the socket but also along the nerves radiating to the side of your face. The socket becomes inflamed and may fill with food debris, adding to the pain. If you develop a dry socket, the pain usually begins one to three days after your tooth is removed.

Dry socket is the most common complication following tooth extractions, such as removing third molars (wisdom teeth). Over-the-counter medications alone won’t be enough to treat dry socket pain. Your dentist or oral surgeon can offer treatments to relieve your pain.”

Dr. Lisannie explained precisely how she was going to resolve it. She would numb the area of the socket with several injections. With the gums so sore from the past nine days, I was hesitant about those long needles, but surely whatever she would do would be more painful than the injections.

In no time at all, I was numb, and she began scraping off the layers of the socket to reveal fresh blood, which is intended to form a new blood clot to start the healing process all over again. The first clot never stayed in place.

Back home by 11:00 am, I didn’t take any more pain medication when I wanted to see how it feels when everything wears off. Now, at almost 3:00 om (1500 hrs), the pain is back, but it is nowhere near as painful as it had been before the procedure.

It’s expected I will be pain-free within a day or two. In the interim, no coffee, acidic foods, chunky foods, or wine until I am pain-free. Of course, I never felt like any of my light wine with this degree of pain, plus it’s not a good idea while taking any pain medication.

Impalas were getting along well with the kudus while they shared pellets.

I already made our dinner tonight. Italian mozzarella stuffed meatballs with sauce and cheese for Tom, and finely chopped chicken salad, using chicken breasts we’d cooked yesterday. I may try to add a small finely chopped lettuce salad on the side.

Hopefully, by this time tomorrow, I’ll feel much better when we head to Rita and Gerhard’s house for sundowners. If I’m still not 100%, I’ll drink room temperature iced tea instead of the wine I am drinking now and throughout the evening.

Sorry for the late post! Have a lovely evening!

Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago today while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #183. Hans, our landlord and next-door neighbor, invited us for dinner outdoors in their garden. He built a roaring fire to which he later added a grate to cook an entire beef tenderloin without charcoal or lighter fluid. Check out that moon smiling down on us! For more photos, please click here.

Funny little mongoose story with photos…

This morning, the mongoose’s fur got wet, and they looked spikey!

Mongoose are funny little characters. Having been around humans in Marloth Park for all of their lives, they’ve become quite used to us. We take special care to avoid getting too close to them, but they wait at the screen door to the veranda for us almost every day. They carry several diseases, and their bite may cause a severe infection.

As carnivores, known for killing snakes and being immune to the venom, they always welcome visitors as the snake season is fast approaching. Snakes don’t necessarily hibernate, but their system slows down during cool weather. Thus, we’re less likely to see snakes during the cooler winter months.

The minute we put down the prawn scraps, a mongoose arrived and alerted the others with her cackling that treats were being served. They all came running so fast. I didn’t have time to take more photos.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone killing snakes, scorpions, and other venomous reptiles and insects. They are all a vital part of the ecosystem of the bush. Add that we see no less than a dozen, often as many as 50 or 60, of the little furry creatures almost daily. We feel at ease knowing they’re keeping an eye out for venomous snakes and insects.

But, if it’s a choice of “them” or us, we let the mongooses do their thing with respect and admiration for their determination,  skill, and immunity to toxins. Subsequently, we don’t hesitate to feed them daily, inspiring them to come around as often as possible, usually two or three times in one day, then miss a day or two, only to return with considerable enthusiasm to see what’s on the menu today.

One after another came cackling toward the prawns, grabbing as much as they could fit into their mouths. We couldn’t stop laughing.

Here are some exciting facts on mongooses from this site:

“Mongooses are long, furry creatures with pointed faces and bushy tails. Despite popular belief, mongooses are not rodents. They are members of the Herpestidae family, which also includes civets and meerkats.


There are 34 species of mongoose in 20 genera, according to the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web (ADW). With so many different types of mongoose, sizes vary greatly. According to National Geographic, their bodies range from the dwarf mongoose at 7 inches (18 centimeters) long to the Egyptian mongoose, 2 feet (60 cm) long.


According to National Geographic, most species of mongoose are found in Africa, but some also live in southern Asia and the Iberian Peninsula. Some species of mongoose have been introduced into other areas of the world, such as the Caribbean and Hawaiian islands.

It happened so quickly; they were all gone in about two minutes.

Mongooses live in caves made of complex tunnels or trees in many different landscapes, including deserts and tropical forests. The bushy-tailed mongoose, for example, lives in lowland forests near rivers. The Gambian mongoose lives in areas with grasslands, coastal scrub, and forests.


Some species of mongoose are very social and live in large groups called colonies. Colonies can have as many as 50 members, according to ADW. Other species of mongoose like to live alone. Banded mongoose colonies live, travel, and fight together as a team. According to Animal Planet, they stay in one area for around a week, then move in a wave to another location, much like a flock of birds when they migrate.

Mongooses are active during the day and sleep at night. Throughout the day, they chatter incessantly to each other and combine discrete units of the sound somewhat like human speech, using vowel and syllable combinations to possibly coordinate group movements, foraging information, and other essential messages.


Mongooses are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and vegetation. Typically, they prefer to eat small animals such as birds, reptiles, fish, snakes, crabs, rodents, frogs, insects, and worms. They will also supplement their diet with eggs, nuts, fruits, roots, berries, and seeds. To get into eggs, mongooses are known to crack the eggs against complex objects, according to National Geographic.

The pile of prawn scraps was dwindling fast.

Conservation status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), most mongoose species are threatened but not extinct. Ironically, in the 1800s, mongooses were introduced to Hawaii and the West Indies to control rodent populations at sugarcane plantations. This introduction, in turn, caused many species of birds and other animals to almost become extinct.  The small Asian mongoose is listed as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive alien species.”

We enjoy visits from these humorous little animals. Their endless chatter amongst themselves truly sounds like conversations in the form of a high and low-pitched cackle. When they visit us, standing on the veranda, that cackle is different from those when they’re issuing a warning, such as when another band is approaching or an eagle or hawk is flying overhead. The variations are impressive, and if we listen carefully, we can detect the various tones. It’s pretty entertaining and fascinating.

So on to our little mongoose story. On Friday night, while out to dinner at Jabula with Kathy and Don and Rita and Gerhard, I asked Kathy if we could share in some of the leftover prawn shells and tails from both hers and Don’s dinner. They laughed when we suggested this. “Why in the world would you want our leftover prawn tails that always go into the garbage at the restaurant?”

And then…they were gone, gone, gone. That slight scarp that fell onto the veranda was taken a few moments later.

We explained how we brought them home from their last dinner with us at Jabula when they didn’t have any interest in saving them in a “doggy bag.” I said it would be fun to see if the mongoose would like them. After all, they eat crusty snakeskin, crunchy scorpions, and spiny centipedes. Perhaps prawn (shrimp) tails and shells would be equally appealing.

When we had dogs in our old life, they loved the shrimp tails but not the shells. When Ben and Wille smelled shrimp cooking, they twirled around in circles, hoping to get the uneaten seats. We always laughed over their interest in them. Why would mongoose be much different?

So, last Friday night, Don gave us his leftover spicy peri-peri seasoned prawn parts, and Kathy, who agreed to give it a try as well, took her lemon-garlic shrimp tails in a doggy bag.  We added Tom’s leftover rib bones to the plastic bag. The last time we brought the scraps home and served them to the mongoose, they ate every morsel, every tiny prawn leg, and every little scrap.

On Saturday morning, I received a text from Kathy saying, “Jessie, you’re nuts! My mongoose hated them, and now I have prawn parts stinking up my garden.” Tom and I laughed out loud. Were we lucky the last time they ate them?

Over the busy weekend with holidaymakers in the park, we never saw our band of mongoose again until Sunday afternoon when they arrived, looking into our eyes with their beady little eyes, wondering, “What’s on the menu today?”

I took this photo a few minutes ago. Mongooses piled up on each other on the veranda since it was raining. Too cute for words.

We grabbed the bag of shells and bones from the fridge and proceeded to first dump only the prawn scraps onto the pavement at the edge of the veranda so they wouldn’t be covered in dirt on the ground. Immediately, while cackling with fervor, they went after them, grabbing a chunk and running off a little way into the bush to avoid sharing their bounty with the others, kind of like a dog does when they get a special treat.

Well, leave it to me to take a before and after photo to send to Kathy. In a few minutes, the prawn shells, tails, and heads were gone, gone, gone.

After Tom noticed them drinking from Frank’s litter water dish, he said, “Those were Don’s peri-peri seasoned prawn parts. Maybe they liked them better than Kathy’s lemon garlic seasonings.” We couldn’t stop laughing. They were thirsty from the spicy prawns.

After they finished the prawns, we dumped the rib bones, and once again, they got busy, grabbing bones and heading to the bush to avoid having to share. More cackling ensued. It was pretty fun.

Again, this morning, they arrived looking like oversized hedgehogs with their wet hair standing up from the gentle rain falling in the bush. This time, with no leftovers, we cut up some paloney (a huge round loaf of meat) for them, and they were as content as they could be.

Cackle. Cackle. Cackle. It was a fun morning in the bush. Hmm…that reminds me. Soon it will be Halloween, our ninth anniversary of traveling the world. Time to celebrate.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 21, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #182. The chef at the Blue Moon Cafe in Kenya in 2013 insisted we take a photo together! For more photos, please click here.