Tom’s favorite dinner!…Check out this photo…Gagging over food?…

Yesterday, I made Tom’s favorite dinner, low-carb pizza, made with a cheese and egg crust, sausage, onions, green olives, and mushrooms. It was delicious!

Making homemade pizza is time-consuming. Not only does all the quality cheese have to be hand grated, both cheddar for the crust and mozzarella for the topping, but also, the sausages must be pre-cooked, sliced, and drained. Chopping the yellow onion and making the pizza sauce from tomato sauce and Italian spices is quick and easy. Then, if lucky, we can find sliced olives at the market along with sliced mushrooms (which we did), both of which save a lot of time.

From time to time, I eat offal due to its nutritional benefits. In all, making two pizzas like the one shown above easily took me 90 minutes in the kitchen. Then, I made a big tossed salad and my dinner of sauteed chicken livers, chicken hearts, and chicken gizzards with onion, garlic, seasonings, and a splash of red wine.

Why don’t I eat the pizza? I do, but only a tiny portion since it’s just too fattening for my tastes. Although I always eat low carb, calories do count, regardless of the perception that one on a keto diet can eat all they want. It’s just not true. A person can gain weight on keto, which I do from time to time when I overindulge and then have to struggle to lose it. It’s just not worth it to me.

I didn’t include a photo of my food since it doesn’t look very attractive and might make some of our readers gag. Many people despise liver and offal from any animal. Tom used to get nauseous from the smell of liver cooking, but he’s gotten over it after all these years of smelling it when I cook it for myself. He won’t even give it a try.

Often I make separate dinners for us. I don’t care to eat pork chops or pork roasts. Wonder why? When I make those for Tom, I usually have fish or chicken on those nights. Recently I’ve been buying big bags of frozen prawns available at the meat market at the bush center. They are cleaned, deveined, headless, and slightly blanched, although I always cook them to be safe. Having these prawns on hand is perfect for those times when Tom has something I am not interested in eating.

Shrimp scampi is one option. But, most often, I prepare a shrimp salad with avocado or stuff avocado halves with shrimp salad made with onions, celery, hard-boiled eggs, and homemade sour cream dressing. Now that I mention this, I think that’s what I’ll make for tomorrow’s dinner for myself. Tom will have pizza for three nights which he’s thrilled to do.

Let’s face it. Food is a big part of most of our lives. When we celebrate an occasion food is always a part of the celebration. When we gather with friends, food is incorporated into the event. Every meal may become a special event if a bit of time is spent putting something special together, many of which only take short periods to prepare.

But, making Tom’s pizza is quite an undertaking, especially in the humid weather. I stopped what I was doing several times to walk and spend a few minutes in the bedroom cooling off. The temperature wasn’t high, but the humidity and dew point was over the top, leaving me sweating in the process.

Today, I have leftover offal and only need to make the salad for tonight’s dinner. That’s a welcome relief! So yesterday’s hard work is rewarded by not having to cook for a few nights.

As for the walking, as of yesterday, the end of my most exercise-intense week, I managed to get in over 51,000 steps. Since I am only walking indoors, often in place at a high pace, I am pleased and strive for this amount each week. The only difference will be the speed at which I get this accomplished. My Fitbit is highly instrumental in helping me to achieve these goals.

That’s it for today, folks. Sorry, no new wildlife photos. It rained, and few stopped by.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 31, 2021:

A tiny baby mongoose with mom or dad on the pool steps. For more photos, please click here.

Fun times continue…

Mom and Baby Bushbuck stopped by in the rain this morning.

When Tom suggested we return to Jabula for dinner last night, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, although we’d been there on Friday night with friends. It would be just the two of us, and we always enjoy hanging out at the bar. Since returning to South Africa in January 2021, we find we could be described as “barflies” when we enjoy hanging out with the locals at the famous establishment.

It’s not that we drink so much. We don’t. But the banter at the bar is always engaging and lively. We often say it’s like the bar in the Cheers TV series, which aired for 11 seasons between 1982 and 1993 and was a huge hit. I didn’t watch much TV in those days, although I managed to see it a few times and found it to be quite entertaining.

We always arrive right at 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs, when they open again after a mid-afternoon break. We grab our two favorite seats at the bar, order our drinks, and in only minutes, the fun begins as locals join us, many whom we know and others we’ll come to know over time.

We’ll never forget these fun times, unlike any others we’ve had anywhere in the world. Years ago, in the early 1990s when Tom and I first met, we’d often meet at a bar, Old Chicago in Minnetonka, Minnesota, on Friday nights when Tom got off work early.

Spikey didn’t want to interfere with Mom and Baby’s visit, so he stayed undercover in the bush.

My sister Susan, who lived with me at the time, and she and I would head over to Old Chicago around 5:00 pm to get a good seat at the bar and play the game “Net Trivia” on a big TV screen. We played hard and fast with a device in our hands while sipping on wine and eating buffalo chicken wings.

As mentioned in earlier posts, when we were stuck in lockdown in the hotel in India for ten months, my dear Susan passed away in August 2020 from a combination of comorbidities and possibly Covid-19. I never knew for sure if Tom would show.

Newly in love, I was on pins and needles waiting for him to appear but managed to stay engaged in the game nonetheless. Susan and I had lots of fun as we always did, laughing all the while.

We never knew for sure if she died from Covid-19, but Julie, my younger sister, who’d been with her for days when she passed, ended up with a severe case of Covid-19, three days later. It was a difficult time and still brings tears to my eyes. I will always miss her and felt so helpless at the time, unable to do anything to help. We live in sorrowful times.

Our goal is to think happy thoughts and be optimistic for the future. Hanging out with friends at Jabula is highly instrumental in achieving this goal.

Last night was no exception. We hung out with Leon, Lyn, and David at first. (Dawn was in Cape Town with her family celebrating her 70th birthday). Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around to see dear friends Janet and Steve, who we hadn’t seen since our stay in Marloth Park in 2018/2019. We all squealed with delight to see one another.

We knew they were returning to Marloth Park, at long last, after a hiatus due to the pandemic. We knew we’d hear from them soon. They’d just arrived the previous day and decided to head out to dinner at Jabula for a good meal and also to enjoy time at the fun establishment.

We chatted on endlessly, enjoying every moment. Our mutual friends Lynne and Mick will also be here soon when they wrap up their unforgettable birding cruise at the southern tip of Africa. It will be significant to all be together again soon with many amazing stories to share.

We feel fortunate to have such wonderful friends here and be a part of this fantastic life in the bush.

Be well. Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, January 30, 2021:

Our new friend, “One-Wart,” is missing a full-sized wart on the right side of his face. He was likely “born this way.,” possibly due to inbreeding. We no doubt one year ago that he’d be a regular, and he has been. For more, please click here.

Wow!…How did we get so lucky?…Superb time at Jabula with many friends, old and new…

Hal has been stopping by each day. Now, we see less of Broken Horn. Could Hal have scared him off and claimed his territory. Only time will tell.

We’re running low on photos right now. We’ve had many visitors, but our photos are becoming repetitious with the same animals coming to visit day after day. I guess they are like us humans; familiarity is comforting and dependable. They visit, we serve pellets along with “happy talk.” They don’t seem to need much more from us.

Oh, don’t get me wrong! We aren’t ever bored seeing the same visitors day after day. One never gets tired of seeing their loving dog or cat greeting them at the door. That’s not to say these lovely beasts are pets. But they similarly grab at your heartstrings.

We’ll continue to try to get good photos to share in our posts. As soon as the weather improves we’ll head back to Kruger National Park. But, with the heat and rain, we wouldn’t expect to see much, as has been reported by some friends who’ve given it a try. The animals tend to stay undercover on hot days and during rainstorms.

Speaking of friends, last night at Jabula, we had another delightful evening with Rita, Gerhard, Petra, and Fritz. Today, they will drive to Johannesburg to drop off Petra and Fritz at the airport for their return flight to Germany. They had decided not to fly in and out of Nelspruit, the airport several hours closer to Marloth Park. They aren’t seasoned travelers, and changing planes and flights may have been daunting for them. It was easier for them to fly in and out of Tambo Airport in Joburg with only one layover in Paris.

Anyway, as usual, the six of us were having a great time at Jabula, situated at our regular table for six on the veranda. While sitting at the bar before we moved to our table, several friends arrived that we were thrilled to see. Once at the table, more and more people arrived and greeted us.

Hal seems quite content, repositioning himself for a nap.” On average these wildebeests spend around 4.5 hours sleeping each day. This sleep is comprised of both non-REM (4.2 h) and REM (0.28 h). Actigraphy recordings show fair agreement with polysomnography.”

It was delightful to see all of these lovely people and realize that after spending over 30 months in Marloth Park in the past 9 years, we’ve had the opportunity to develop a wide array of friends, along with many acquaintances who often become friends over time. Of course, like all of us, we tend to gravitate toward those special people with whom we spend the most time, creating beautiful memories along the way.

Although some of our friends are away right now, we look forward to their return when we can pick up where we left off. It was never this easy to make friends while in the US. That’s not to say people aren’t friendly. They are. But the busy pace and culture of always being on the go made it difficult to cultivate new friendships, especially as a couple when the pairing must suit all four individuals.

We haven’t restricted ourselves to couples or age considerations. No, we don’t gravitate only to people in our age group. Many of our friends are 10, 20, or even 30 years younger than us. The magic of finding other couples that we connect with and singles we incorporate into our lives is a very special aspect of our lifestyle.

When I was young, I was always the youngest in a group of friends. Now that I’m older, more often than not, I’m the oldest in any group. This doesn’t phase me one way or another. After all, Tom is five years younger than me, which isn’t much, but there is nothing about our lives that makes this a hindrance in any manner.

We are grateful for all the fine friendships we’ve made in Marloth Park and worldwide, many of whom we stay in close touch. We are thankful for the friends we’ve left behind in the US, knowing at some point down the road, we’ll be together again.

Yes, it’s easier to make friends in Marloth Park. The commonality of our love for nature and wildlife is a perfect segue into easy conversation. Although our lives may be very different, this mutual passion can easily build lifelong friendships.

May your day be filled with the companionship of dear friends.

Photo from one year ago today, January 29, 2021:

We have a clean cement pond in the garden, from which the wildlife often drink, and the birdbath, which Tom refills with fresh water daily. The pool water has only a tiny amount of chlorine in it, not ideal for wildlife to drink but not dangerous for them. For more, please click here.

Hot today!…

It’s not easy to spot baby mongooses. They run very fast and stay close to their moms.

Whew! When I stepped out of the bedroom this morning, I was taken aback by the blast of hot air so early in the day. It isn’t always about the temperature. As we’ve learned from living in Africa, the dew point determines how uncomfortable we will be on any given day. Today is one of those days.

The high will only be 94F, 34.4C. But the dew point right now is 73, making the air sticky hot and us sticky sweaty, even after a cool shower only a short time ago. I am sipping on my iced coffee, which I’ve switched to since summer began, and at the moment, sitting on the bed with the door closed and the fan on. The room retained some of the coolness from the aircon during the night.

Kudus and warthogs were vying for pellets.

When I resumed my indoor walking schedule this morning, I was reminded of how much of a scorcher today will be. I can’t wear skimpy clothes, not only because I don’t have any, but also because wearing skimpy clothes invites mosquito bites with any exposed skin. If I weren’t concerned about the electric bill, which we now pay ½ (based on our insistence), I’d probably turn it on while working on the post and while exercising. I’d rather use the electricity at night so that we can sleep than during the day.

I cover any exposed skin with DEET repellent three times a day, the only repellent that works for me. Since we added the hypo-allergenic mattress cover, I haven’t had a single dust mite spot anywhere on my body. Wow! That’s been great! Right now, I only have three or four itchy mozzie bites, mainly from being outdoors in the evenings. Last year at this time, I had hundreds.

This is Bad Eye. We can hardly see evidence of her torn right eyelid since she healed so well.

Right now, there are some power outages in Marloth Park. Most likely, this is due to a brief thunderstorm that rolled through last night. Fortunately, our area isn’t included in this annoyance.

Yesterday, we went to Komatipoort for our 11:00 am dentist appointments to have our teeth cleaned. A Covid-19 patient showed up for their appointment, knowing they’d tested positive but, due to no symptoms, kept their appointment as scheduled. Once we arrived at the dentist’s office, the receptionist, Daleen, told us that she’d sent me an email to say our appointments had to be canceled.

Bossy often stops by daily since she’s become pregnant.

As a result, the dental office had to close for a week, and the facility had to be sterilized. All appointments were canceled, including ours, which we fully understood. We rescheduled for February. We still had to go to Komati to grocery shop and pick up my year’s supply of contact lenses from the optometrist. Tom’s new glasses will come in next week, which we’ll pick up when we shop again.

Due to numerous Omicron cases, all the schools and many businesses in Komati had closed. We were cautious when we shopped, wiping down the cart with sanitizing wipes made available and avoiding getting close to other people. It was quiet in the store, which was unusual.

Baby mongoose hides under mom. Zoom to see.

Based on how active we’ve been socially these past months since the onset of Omicron, we’re surprised we haven’t been infected. We know that Omicron is not as dangerous as the Delta variant, but we still are very cautious, based on my health concerns. I don’t know how well I’d handle getting the virus and don’t care to find out.

Tonight, we’ll meet with Rita, Gerhard, Petra, and Fritz for their last night in the bush. They will return to Germany starting tomorrow from Johanessburg. Rita and Gerhard will drive them to the distant Tambo airport (a five-hour road trip), stay overnight to avoid driving back to Marloth Park in the dark (very dangerous due to carjacking), and return to Marloth Park on Sunday. They will move out of the huge Khaya Umdani house and move back into their favorite house on Hornbill, where we stayed in 2013/2014.

Lots of warthogs in the garden every early evening.

We’ve been staying in quite a bit this past week and are looking forward to getting out. No doubt, we’ll all have a fantastic time together at Jabula tonight with good food, drinks, service, and hosts. We haven’t made plans for Saturday evening yet but are considering some options.

May you have an enjoyable day and evening wherever you may be!

Photo from one year ago today, January 28, 2021:

Many kudus came to call before the storms. Ironically, eight female kudus arrived in the garden just as I wrote this. We’ve yet to see one since as the inclement weather continues. For more photos, please click here.

Beware snakes in Marloth Park…Another snake bite here in the park…

Not our photo. Last Thursday, this photo of a Mozambique Spitting Cobra was taken by Juan’s Reptile Rescue here in Marloth Park when he rescued it from a local woman’s home who was bitten inside her house.

There is never a time we can relax about snakes when living in the bush in South Africa, although they are seldom seen during the cooler winter months. Now, in mid-summer, snakes who roam the bush searching for food in the warmer season can be found anywhere. Nowhere is safe from snakes with their ability to slither their way up any set of steps, railings, sides, and interiors of structures of any type.

Regardless of how diligent we may believe we are, a snake like this, a Mozambique Spitting Cobra (or many other venomous snakes) with whom we had a close encounter in 2014, as described and shown in this post, can appear anywhere, at any time, especially during the summer months. These particular snakes can spray venom and bite, but those attacks aren’t necessarily fatal, although, under certain circumstances, they can be.

Our second snake encounter was in January 2021, described and shown in this post, with a boomslang, one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa. A bite from these bright green snakes is fatal if untreated with antivenom within a few hours of being bitten.

Piglets suckling from Tail-Less Mom.

Snakes are seen during daylight hours and at night when it’s easy to step on a snake when walking indoors or outdoors accidentally. In the case of the main photo snake, the Mozambique Spitting Cobra, the snake bit the woman on her toe when she got something out of her refrigerator. Fortunately, Juan, a young expert snake handler here in Marloth Park, found at his Facebook page here came to her rescue. She didn’t require medical care in this particular case.

But that wouldn’t be the case with many snakes in Marloth Park, such as the Black Mamba, Puff Adder, and others, as described in this article here.

So, what is a person to do to avoid being bitten? There are numerous reliable websites dedicated to this topic, such as this one here, relative to snakes in South Africa, but it can also apply to snake bites in other countries. We certainly are no experts, but the one aspect and precaution we follow is to always be on the alert. We both wear closed-toe shoes and wear them in the house and outdoors.

In no time at all, piglets learn to search for pellets.

Our days of walking around on bare feet are long over. Plus, we watch where we walk, both indoors and outdoors. Whenever we walk under shrubs or trees, we check the surrounding ground and up in the tree to ensure no snakes are lurking there.

One night in 2018, when we began walking up the steps to Jabula, people nearby alerted us to a venomous snake slithering along the stairway railing. We immediately backed down, and in minutes Juan was there to remove the snake. That taught us an invaluable lesson to be on alert near stairs, railings, and any structures when we’re out and about, in a business, or visiting friends at their homes.

I now have the habit of saying, each time we walk out the door, “Watch for snakes!”  I never fail to say this when we are outdoors, even going back and forth to the car in our driveway or when going in and out of restaurants and businesses, at any time of the day or night. One can never be too cautious.

There were actually ten warthogs in the garden when I took this photo.

It’s our lives we are talking about. And, if you live in an area where there are snakes, it’s your life too.

Stay safe while enjoying your surroundings.

Photo from one year ago today, January 27, 2021:

The waterbuck is a large antelope found widely in sub-Saharan Africa. It is placed in the genus Kobus of the family Bovidae. Irish naturalist William Ogilby first described it in 1833. The thirteen subspecies are grouped under the common or Ellipsiprymnus waterbuck and the Defassa waterbuck. Please, visitors and locals, stay away from the fence while waterbucks are on the wrong side of the rising river. They are easily stressed and frightened and could become injured in a rush to escape from humans. For more photos, please click here.

Some injured visitors, but overall healthy looking wildlife…

A few days ago, Tom posted this photo on my timeline on Facebook. This is so true, and we feel blessed to experience this every day.

Last night while seated at the table on the veranda, more warthogs stopped by than we’d ever seen at once since we arrived here over a year ago. They included Mom and Three Babies; Tail-less Mom and Two Babies, Barbara, and Lori (all family members); Little Imposter; Little; One Wart; One Tusk, Siegfreid and Roy; Wounded; Wounded Wart; along with a few new visitors we didn’t recognize.

What prompted them all to show up simultaneously baffled us, but we enjoyed every moment. Of course, it was sad to see  Wounded Wart’s face bleeding again where he recently lost his left Wart. From time to time, he’d rub the bloody area on a tree, and in one case, he rubbed it on another cooperative male warthog. It certainly must hurt.

Gordy is such a handsome specimen of the species.

But, this species is exceptionally sturdy with robust immune systems. They often fully recover, leaving them with a scar that seems to dissipate over time. Amazingly, they don’t become infected as they roll around in dirt and mud and seldom die from injuries. Surely, they may pass from time to time, but we don’t see that when most likely they wander off into the bush during the last days of their lives. It’s a sad thought for any injured or ill animals.

A new visitor to our garden, Wounded Wart. He was scratching his injury on the tree trunks.

This past year we’ve yet to see a kudu with TB as we’d seen on many occasions when we were here in 2018/2019. We’re surprised we don’t encounter more sick or injured animals. No doubt, the improved health of the kudus and other animals prone to TB have been helped by Marloth Park Rangers, local vets, and other staff who care for the animals when illness becomes prevalent.

Right now, all of the many visitors we get in the garden are looking well-fed and healthy, except for the few who are injured. Many are pregnant, and all benefit from the lush green bush after many months of good soaking rains. In reviewing photos from last year at this time, the bush is twice as green and thick as it was last year based on all the rain we’ve had this season.

This is One Tusk. Please zoom in to see the size of his one giant tusk. When other warthogs see it, they run the other way.

The bushbucks, who seem to visit mainly in the mornings and during the day, look fantastic. Their coats are shiny, eyes bright, and torsos full without any ribs showing. They remain shy around us, and we don’t encourage “taming” them by getting too close or hand feeding. But, our connection with them is palpable.

If I’m in the bedroom putting laundry away, the bushbucks and the kudus will come up to the window and look inside for me. It melts my heart. Sure, they may just be looking for pellets, but I choose to believe it’s much more than that. Bushbuck Gordy won’t touch a pellet or a lettuce leaf if I talk to him and look into his eyes.

There might be an issue if Little showed up while One Tusk was eating in his favorite spot.

Gordy (named after Chef Gorden Ramsey) seems to live in our garden. At times, we’ve seen him sleeping in the dense bush, but most wild animals here in Marloth Park don’t sleep more than a total of four or five hours a day in very short spurts, always keeping an eye out for danger. Many can sleep while standing.

As of lately, with the continuing warnings about lions free-roaming in Marloth Park, the vulnerable animals, which are most, seem more alert than ever. There’s no doubt that they are all aware of the presence of the lions and stay on alert day and night. The slightest unexpected sound makes many of them jumpy, especially the vulnerable bushbucks and smaller duikers (already skittish).

Everyone was getting along.

The dynamics of living in the bush have a profound effect on us. Whether it’s day or night, we, like them, are always on the lookout to see who’s stopped by for a visit. Never a morning passes when I don’t ask Tom (who’s up and about earlier than me), “Have we had any visitors this morning?”

In the evenings, when we are eventually indoors, every so often, we turn on the outside light to see who is in the garden. Usually, no one is there, and those that do visit are shown in the photos on the trail cam. But, many times, a visitor is standing there, wondering where we are. Those moments are precious, along with all the interactions we have during the days and nights.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 26, 2021:

Giraffes are amazing animals. The giraffe is an African artiodactyl mammal, the tallest living terrestrial animal, and the largest ruminant. It is traditionally considered to be one species, Giraffa camelopardalis, with nine subspecies. For more photos, please click here.

Another funny coincidence…Unlikely cohorts…

Stringy and Chevy, an impala, are getting along quite well. Usually, the impalas that visit for pellets don’t get close to the veranda. But, Chevy is becoming more comfortable with us sitting at the table.

It was worrisome when Tom didn’t return from Nelspruit in the time it usually takes to drive back to Marloth Park, even factoring for potential traffic delays. After setting up the drive, I checked “Maps” to see if there were any accidents or construction delays, but nothing showed up.

Of course, I was worried. It’s a dangerous road, the N4 from Nelspruit to Marloth Park, primarily through the gorge, the part I mentioned that I dislike the most when we make that drive. The “in and out driving” to pass trucks and other vehicles is stressful, but there are risks of carjackings along the routes. I couldn’t help but think the worst when he hadn’t returned when it was almost 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs.

Usually, Stringy runs off when there’s other wildlife nearby. But, today, he was comfortable.

When finally he drove into the driveway, I sighed with relief but was shocked to see him drive up in what appeared to be the exact vehicle, a gray Suzuki Presso, which looks like a mini SUV. By coincidence, he has given an identical model and color without asking for it from a different rental car company. We laughed out loud.

In this case, when we rented for two months, Budget refused to allow him to sign two contracts, each for one month. A month from now, on February 22, he’ll have to drive back to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport to sign another contract and probably keep the same vehicle. What a pain. Budget allowed him to sign multiple contracts for multiple months on other occasions.

It’s always great to see Thick Neck. He hasn’t been coming around as much since Gordy became a regular.

He was unable to book the car under one booking. The system for Budget, which had the best prices, only allowed individual 30-day bookings. Thus, the necessity of him returning in a month. He, too, isn’t fond of the long drive.

As for why he was late, he forgot to get cash at the good ATM at the airport, which I’d reminded him about when he went out the door. But, preoccupied with the car rental, he forgot. When he realized it on the return drive, he drove off the beaten path to Komatipoort to the ATM near the Spar market. This delayed him by about 20 minutes, sufficient time for me to be concerned.

Chevy was looking up at something.

Once he was settled, we headed out to the veranda, when Little appeared as he often does around this time of day. We tossed some pellets his way while I chatted with him about “what a good boy he is” and “how happy I was to see him” once again. We listened to some music while discussing our time apart, and before we knew it, it was time to put dinner together.

We spent the remainder of the evening indoors, dining at the dining room table, later settling in the bedroom to watch a few shows on my laptop. The evening was warm and humid, and the time in the air-conditioned bedroom was comfortable.

Bushbucks are loners. Impalas seem to be comfortable around kudus, wildebeests, zebras, and others and often live in large herds.

Yesterday was our granddaughter Maisie’s birthday and of course, we’d sent her a gift. But, it would have been great to speak to her. With her school schedule and the 8-hour time difference, the timing didn’t work for us to talk. Tonight, we will try again, hoping to reach her.

Also, tonight, we’ll cook on the braai, making bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with rice for Tom and salad for both of us. Today, it’s hotter and more humid than yesterday, but I’m still working hard on my indoor walking after breaking a recent record for the number of steps at 7000. I don’t think I’ll ever get to 10,000 steps indoors. My goal is 7500 steps a day, not as much as I’d done in the corridors in India. It’s harder to walk indoors in small spaces, but I’ll be happy with the new goal once achieved.

Have a happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2021:

A year ago, the bush wasn’t as lush and green as it is this year. A forkl of kudus in the garden, and of course, a warthog in the photo. They never miss a photo op. For more photos, please click here.

Here again, perfection is not possible…

    •  It was good to see Broken Horn this morning after he’d had a busy weekend.

Today’s post is #3445. It’s hard for me to grasp how many posts we’ve done over the almost ten years we had been posting, beginning on March 15, 2012. I’m sure I’ll mention this ten-year mark again on the anniversary date. We sure are into anniversaries, most good, some not so good.

As I look back at some of our old posts each day, I see that many have lost the corrections I made after working on them for over a year. I can think of why this happens because our site is so large with this many posts and stuff happening.

When I encounter old posts with errors, I correct them. But, I have no interest in starting to do corrections all over again. So be it. It’s the nature of the beasts, and due to my commitment to attempt perfection, I am OK with this decision. Also, as political correctness has changed in the past ten years, I may have said something that I’d be more mindful of saying today in an attempt to avoid offending any group, individual, culture, or religion.

Tom reads what I’ve written moments after uploading a new post each day. He searched for typos I missed and any comments that could potentially offend anyone. Although not an expert in spelling and grammar, he is excellent in this capacity, and without his diligence, we’d have many more errors than we do.

The app he uses to pick up errors is different than mine and thus, he often finds five or six other misspelled words or typos. It would be easy for a person to be somewhat defensive under these circumstances of being corrected every day. But, long ago, I decided not to become defensive when he pointed out the errors. I allow him to nitpick.

He has quite a memory for dates where I remember places, people, and things. As he discovers each issue, I promptly make the corrections. After his app picks up errors, he then reads the entire post and photo captions, searching for any statements I may have made that might not be correct or may be inappropriate. Combined, we strive to be complete and accurate.

As for our dull and mundane days and nights…that’s another aspect of “the nature of the beast.” This is particularly the case during the past two years of the pandemic when we haven’t been able to be as mobile as we’d have preferred. There’s no way we would have spent an additional ten months in India, nor was our intention to spend over a year in South Africa this time around.

Vusi and Zef just washed the rental car inside and out. We prefer to give them the money for the cost of a carwash rather than pay the local carwash at the little shopping center. Soon, Tom will leave for Nelspruit to return the car. We are returning it one day late.

The car rental company called on my phone this morning inquiring as to when we’d be returning the car. I explained that we tried to phone the rental car company to inform them that the car would be delivered one day late, but there was no cell service over the weekend, nor was I able to get a connection on Skype. That happens sometimes.

After all, TIA (“This is Africa”) and services don’t always work as one would hope or expect. Tom should be back by three to four hours after he leaves, depending on traffic both ways. With many trucks on the highway and road construction that’s been going on for years, it’s difficult to predict when he’ll return. Plus, it takes a while at the Budget counter at the airport to process the two-month rental we need.

I stay working on dinner, my walking, and a few projects around the house, and we’ll be back with you tomorrow. Of course, I’ll be spending plenty of time checking out who’s in the garden and may need some pellets and attention. Otherwise, this will be a quiet day.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 24, 2021:*

*With no power and WiFi one year ago, we’ve included this photo from this date in 2013 while we were onboard the Celebrity Equinox, having a fantastic time!

Pastry Chef Xavier and Jess. He was determined to make me a special dessert. We shared “foodie” tidbits! And, he did so to perfection—what a wonderful experience. Gee, I wish I still had that dress and wrap. For more photos, please click here.

Today is the day our current visas expire…Ordering health insurance…A convenient free online shared calendar app…

This is Bossy, who is pregnant and contemplating a drink from the swimming pool. There are only small amounts of chlorine in pools here to prevent the wildlife from illness.

All we can do about our visas expiring today is wait until we hear from South Africa immigration that our visas have been extended. In the interim, we’ve decided not to worry. We filed for the extensions within the time frame they require, so we should be fine.

Tomorrow, coinciding with our visa expirations, our rental car is due to be returned by 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs. Tom will drive to Nelspruit without me. I don’t particularly appreciate driving through the gorge halfway through the trip. Tom has no problem going on his own, and I can easily busy myself while he’s gone for three-plus hours in the afternoon.

We’ve arranged for him to pick up another car at a different dealer. We had to do a lot of research to find another affordable rental car. Since the onset of the pandemic, rental car prices have gone through the roof. Every 90 days, when we need a different contract, we struggle to find cars at reasonable prices, even here in South Africa, where prices had previously been affordable when we arrived in 2018.

Her pregnant status is easy to determine from these photos. It will be fun to see her bring her little one to visit us in the future. The gestation period for a kudu is about 240 days.

Staying in any location for extended periods always presents some challenges. Not having a home, our own car, and the insurance that goes with such ownership, on top of the problems due to finding and securing good health insurance. Today, I’ll be renewing my policy with SafeTrip from United Health Care.

With Tom’s excellent health, we aren’t insuring him right now. Once we’re on the move again, especially when some cruises require proof of health insurance which includes emergency evacuation, which makes sense to have when cruising as seniors, we’ll both be insured.

The policy has a limit of US $50,000 due to my age. I purchased the policy today for me beginning tomorrow, ending on April 8, the day we sail away. A few days before the cruise, I’ll sign up both Tom and me for a new 90-day policy. I always post a notice on our combined Cozi Calendar, a free family calendar app available online to keep track of the expiration dates.

Bossy with a few impalas in the background vying for pellets.

If you’re interested in an easy-to-use, conveniently shared calendar for travel or day-to-day appointments, this app is ideal easier to use than those offered by other providers. Here’s the link for the free app. You can choose to pay a fee for a slightly more sophisticated version, but we’ve never needed to do so.

When I awoke at 5:30, I stayed in bed reading news until finally, at 7:00, I bolted out of bed, ready to tackle the day. I decided to make dinner with the leftover ingredients from Friday night’s dinner party. There was a good-sized ziplock bag of cut-up chicken breasts which I’d frozen on Friday.

Last night, after returning from dinner at Jabula with friends, I took the bag of the cubed-cooked chicken out of the freezer and put it into the refrigerator to find it fully defrosted this morning. With that and many leftover vegetables, I had enough ingredients to make three more low-carb pot pies. Tom will have one tonight and another tomorrow, while I’ll eat one tonight and have something different tomorrow, maybe tuna salad atop a big green salad that suits me just fine.

Impalas are quite shy around humans and scurry if we make the slightest sound or movement while they visit.

As for today, a lovely coolish day with tolerable humidity, I did three loads of laundry after prepping the meals and putting away all of the dry laundry on the rack. To increase my steps, I fold one item at a time and walk it to where the item belongs, Tom’s closet in our bedroom, my chest of drawers in the second bedroom, or towels in the kitchen. It’s amazing how many steps I can get in doing laundry this way. I make a point of walking with vigor to increase my heart rate.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope you have a delightful Sunday and a new week to come.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 23, 2021:

Love Bird's Nest
View of the veranda and pool at our house in the bush. For more, please click here.

Lovely evening on the veranda with great friends, good food and Mother Nature…

It was 4:00 am when our regular genet appeared in the garden sitting atop of a rock observing these two female bushbucks.

The weather was ideal, the guests were cheerful and enthused to be at our bush home, and the food, wine, and conversation flowed with ease. Rita, Gerhard, Rita’s sister Petra and brother-in-law Fritz joined us at the table on the veranda for snacks with beverages at sundowner time, beginning at 4:30 pm, 1630 hrs, followed by dinner a few hours later.

All of us stuffed from dinner. After the main course, we waited for about an hour to serve dessert, the chocolate cake I’d made in the morning, with photos in yesterday’s post found here. The low-carb cake was delicious and another treat we appreciated after it was only recently that I’d baked a few cakes, having missed desserts for quite some time.

We turned on the music between dinner and dessert using our JBL Essential Bluetooth speaker, which sounds almost as good as any major sound system. We sent my phone around the table for each of us to say, “Hey Google, play _ _ _ _ _, on YouTube.”

Young kudu male stops by, standing on the veranda to get our attention. We tossed pellets out into the garden to avoid getting too close to those growing horns.

We’d each speak our favorite song on the phone, and it was fun to hear what each of us chose. There certainly was a wide array of music, in part cultural, with our four guests from Germany (although Rita and Gerhard have lived in the US for over 30 years). Tom and I each chose oldies, his more geared toward rock and roll and mine, from the disco period in the late 70s and early 80s. It was great fun.

At one point, Rita and Petra danced to a favorite song from their OctoberFest days. It was delightful to see their favorite cultural dance. Ironically, in yesterday’s post, I’d mentioned cultural dances we’ve observed and enjoyed worldwide over the years and most assuredly enjoy in years to come, health providing, and we’re able to continue.

This warthog stopped by who’d recently had an injury to his left wart. It could have happened in several incidents with other animals.

As always, after dinner, Tom insisted on handling all the dishes, requiring that he load and empty the dishes twice and wash a variety of pots and pans. It helped that we’d all carried the plates and dishes indoors, but, still, he had his hands full for a few hours after our guest left, slightly before 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs.

On and off, throughout the evening, we were entertained by many of our favorite wildlife visitors who weren’t put off at all by our loud banter and not too loud music. We are far from any other houses at our current location and are never concerned we’re disturbing neighbors.

Tom just finished his leftovers while I am munching on the leftover salad and vegetables, cooked green beans, and sugar snap peas. We’d made individual low-carb pot pies and had saved the thick lids used to cover the tin foil pans. After dinner, we passed around the lids and a pen so everyone could write their name on their corresponding leftovers and take them home for today’s lunch.

We just missed a good photo of this monitor lizard.

We won’t eat again until dinner tonight at Jabula, where the six of us will meet up for dinner, which will undoubtedly be another fun evening. We enjoy our busy social life, which will continue after Petra and Fritz return to Germany. Several other friends will be arriving in Marloth Park in the next few weeks, and the social activities will ramp up from here.

We’re pleased to share another sighting of our usual genet from our trail cam, as shown in the main photo. What a joy it has been to see our favorite nocturnal animals these past many weeks, as well as the frequent daytime visitors that continue to entertain and amaze us.

May you have a pleasant day, evening, and weekend.

Photo from one year ago today, January 22, 2021:

There are no less than three mating pairs of francolins in our garden. In a short time after our arrival to Marloth Park, we named this francolin Frank, along with his partner, The Misses. For more, please click here.