A resolution one moment and a problem arises, the next…That’s life!…Trail cam visitor…

There comes the point when tasks pile up, and I get a bit frustrated. This happened in the past several days when the potential of losing our final payment for the  Azamara cruises we had to cancel due to visa issues. Knowing we’d have to spend hours on hold with Costco Travel only added to the frustration,

Due to staffing issues and Covid-19, Costco Travel doesn’t have enough customer service support staff and hold times are outrageous. In every case, when we call, we have to hold for them to come online but also for an additional hour or move for them to get the cruise line on the phone. This is ridiculous.

Although we like getting gift cards for using Costco Travel, we are seriously considering going back to Vacations-To-Go for much better and faster customer service. The pricing on cruises for both companies can vary but on many occasions, they are identical. So, the question becomes, are we willing to deal with these long hold times?

The answer is simple. We’ll deal with the long hold times if we save a lot of money on a particular cruise. But if the difference is insignificant, we’ll use Vacations-To-Go.

When we recently canceled the cruise with the visa issues, we received a document by email on Friday stating we had to use the almost US $5000, ZAR 8312780 for a cruise sailing no later than June 30, 2023, making the future cruise credit not valid for an entire year. We couldn’t use the future cruise credit for our next cruise on August 1, 2023. This was also ridiculous.

The only thing we could do was to book and sail on another cruise with Azamara between now and June 30, 2023. We couldn’t find an Azamara cruise that made sense to us during this period.

We couldn’t call over the weekend when Azamara’s offices were closed until Monday, nor did they want us to contact them directly. Thus we had to go through the weekend, worrying all the while, waiting to call Costco Travel, only to stay on hold for hours. Tom started dialing immediately at their opening time and, by luck, got through to a representative at Costco.

He explained the situation, asking the rep to either move the amount to the balance owing for the cruise next August or give us a refund in full. Here again, we spent 90 minutes on the phone while the Costco rep tried to get through. I won’t go into the details of the obstacles she encountered trying to get the credit applied.

But, finally, Azamara agreed to let us use the credit. We were ecstatic to say the least. When we finally hung up after spewing countless “thank yous” we put our dinner together, unable to wipe the smiles off our faces, grateful, relieved and reminded of “safari luck.”

Yesterday, as planned, I got all the numbers together for our accountant and was excited to email everything to him, reminding him that we’d sent him our documents last March, according to the records from our mailing service. In the middle of the night, when I awoke, unable to go back to sleep, I received an email from our accountant (it was daytime hours in Nevada) stating he had never received the documents by snail mail.

I couldn’t help but do the research during the night, trying to figure out what happened. We can only assume that it was lost in the mail. I dreaded getting duplicate tax statements from Railroad Retirement and Social Security. Neither of these US government offices has an easy-to-use online service. After thinking about this long enough, I finally went back to sleep, knowing I’d bolt off our bed in the morning as early as possible.

First thing this morning, we both got to work on getting the same tax forms. It wasn’t easy. Even logging in was tricky. Finally, by 11:00 am, we’d completed the online forms to request duplicate copies to be sent to our accountant. They should arrive at our mailing service within ten days, and we’ll have them sent to the accountant via FedEx, not snail mail.

Snail mail is a fast-dying process in many countries, and reliability has waned over the past several years.

What a relief to have these annoying obstacles handled. Overall, we can go back to enjoying our lives and putting these stressful situations behind us. Now, we’re waiting for the delivery of our package of supplies from the US which was shipped UPS 10 days ago, via 3-day expedited international shipping. We’ll see how that goes.

I hope you are having a pleasant day. Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 9, 2021:

As we were driving down a dirt road. we stopped for “traffic.” For more photos, please click here.

Busy Monday morning…Cooking and tax prep day!…Food photos…Exciting news on the horizon…

This morning, I cleaned and cut these vegetables to make spicy roasted veggies for me for the week. Tom won’t try them, but they are delicious, heavily seasoned, and roasted in the oven for 90 minutes, tossing them every 30 minutes. This photo was taken before they were cooked.

I realized it was tax prep day, but I had an urge to cook. All the prep shown in today’s photos was done by 10:00 am, and now I can work on the post. After the post, I’ll work on the tax prep and forward everything to our accountant in Nevada. The vegetables are in the oven now and should be done soon after turning them every 30 minutes during their 90-minute roasting time at 375F, 190C.

The roasted vegetables taste good hot or cold. I may have a cup full during the day and another cup with dinner, heated in the microwave. Often, when I make this much, I freeze half of them to eat the following week. I season them well since I like them spicy, but they can be made mild for those who don’t.

By roasting them now, the oven will be available to cook the two pans of meatloaf. I cook both for ease of use when eating the leftover loaf down the road. We defrost it overnight in the refrigerator and reheat it in the microwave later on both occasions; it’s moist and delicious, like the leftover roasted vegetables.

Scraps for the animals. They love all these vegetable pieces, and they are good for them.

I prefer to cook a lot at once, leaving me free on other days only to make a salad and the rice for Tom. It’s a rarity that we’ll make a meal for only one night, except when we have guests for dinner and never serve leftovers. Even when we have something easy on the braai, we’ll buy at least two nights of meat but only cook one each evening. It seems to make life easier for our lives.

No doubt, my days are hectic. I hardly ever sit and do nothing, even when we’re enjoying the wildlife, for which I jump up every few minutes to feed them pellets or, in today’s case, fresh veggie scraps. Unfortunately, none of the animals like the veggies visited us this morning. The long holiday weekend ends tomorrow, and our furry friends will return to see us.

We’ll keep the veggie scraps in the refrigerator until they return. We can only imagine how refreshing moist, cool veggies taste to them on a warm day. We can easily detect their enthusiasm. This morning, we did see our usual band of about 40 mongooses. Did we have some treats for them!! Last night Tom had the remainder of a small prime rib, and I had the remaining four tiny chops from a rack of lamb. We carefully prepared the leftover meat and bones in bite-sized pieces for them.

Of course, they arrived this morning, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to share this special treat with them. I know this sounds unbelievable. When we see the mongoose in the garden, we make a clicking sound, and they scramble to get to us. They know this sound from the old house two km from here, and they respond quickly, all the while making their hysterical cackling sound.

These two pans of meatloaf, shown before cooking, will last for many dinners. We top the loaves with butt bacon which is meatier than streaky bacon. We eat one loaf for three nights (we love to do this!) and freeze the rest for busy days with little time to cook.

As for the exciting news on the horizon, our old friends from Minnesota, Connie, and Jeff, with whom we’ve been friends for over 30 years, are coming to Marloth Park and will stay with us in the guest house on the property. Jeff always dreamed of coming to Africa, and now, we’ll have the opportunity to share this special experience with both of them. They will be here in mid-September which isn’t too far away! How fun that will be!

The last time friends came here to stay with us was Lois and Tom, in October 2018, whom we met on a cruise in 2016. We had a fantastic three weeks together and loved sharing the wonders of Marloth Park. When we were in Florida in April this year, we met up with Lois and Tom for lunch. It was such a joy to see them and share the fantastic experiences we had in the past.

We’re excited to build these same memories with Connie and Jeff. Nothing can compare to sharing the adventures in Marloth Park and Kruger National Park with newcomers to Africa.

That’s it for today, folks. As they say, “I have other fish to fry” and must continue with today’s tasks.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 8, 2021:

This is one of our favorite bushbucks, Thick Neck, also known as Bad Leg. His leg eventually healed, and we no longer called him Bad Leg, only Thick Neck. For more photos, please click here.

A quiet Sunday in the bush…Exciting upcoming social event…

Norman (nyala dad) beyond the wicker chaise lounges.

Last night we made a rack of lamb for me and a small rib roast for Tom on the braai. We’ll have leftovers for Tom’s easy meal with veggies, salad, and rice. As a result, I won’t spend too much time in the kitchen today on yet another perfect weather day.

We’ve seen a good flow of animals in the garden this morning, including lots of kudus, warthogs, wildebeests, and, much to our delight, five giraffes with photos we’ll share here today. It’s warm, and there’s no breeze but not uncomfortable by any means. I’m trying to do laundry, but there’s trouble with the washer, and I can’t seem to get even one of the two loads to go through a complete cycle. We’ll deal with this tomorrow since we don’t like to bother Louise and Danie on the weekends.

Five giraffes visited us this morning.

It’s not uncommon for a major kitchen appliance to bite the dust. Load shedding has a significant impact on the performance of electrical appliances. It even has caused problems with my Fitbit, which keeps losing the connection to the WiFi when the power goes on and off. We have power now and don’t expect load shedding today but it can happen at any time with little to no warning.

When I left the laundry room across the driveway, I saw a couple walking on the road. They approached, asking if they could come closer to take photos of all the animals in our garden. They are renting the house next door until Tuesday. We stopped for a delightful 15 minutes chat. People are so friendly in South Africa, not unlike we found it to be in Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania.

Big Daddy and giraffes.

Without any construction (not allowed on Sundays), it is so quiet today; that I can hear the fluttering of birds’ wings as they fly by. Unfortunately, from 42 years on the railroad, Tom has lost about half of his hearing and doesn’t have the advantage of cherishing the myriad sounds of the bush that I find enchanting.

Each time a hornbill eats seeds off the birdfeeder on the trolley above the side garden, I can hear the enthusiastic pecking and pleasing chirping they express while eating…a happy sound. I can listen to the footsteps of a quietly approaching animal, often inspiring me to jump up and see who’s coming. I am never disappointed.

Tom will frequently jump up from his comfy spot on the veranda to toss pellets to whoever has graced us with their presence. It’s such an easy existence, one we never tire of or find boring. There’s never a moment or hour of the day where we feel bored. We’ve even learned to entertain ourselves during the frequent power outages.

It’s always such a joy to see giraffes in the garden.

Tomorrow, I’ve committed myself to get all our tax stuff ready for the accountant in Nevada to do our taxes after filing an extension some months ago. I would have done it sooner, but we were traveling, requiring my undivided attention for several hours. I must admit I have put this off, but now I am putting it in writing to ensure I follow through. It’s not due until October. It’s the one task I procrastinate over, year after year.

But, for the rest of today, I am free to putter around the house, perform little tasks, prepare vegetables for dinner, and try to get the laundry done if the fickle washing machine cooperates.

Next Sunday, we’ll be busy preparing for our sundowner gathering of friends we made that came to Marloth Park due to reading our website over the years. There will be nine of us, maybe 11, and without a doubt, it will be an enjoyable day. We are looking forward to this special event.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 7, 2021: t

Thick Neck/Bad Leg in the garden with Broken Horn and a warthog. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2….Two new exciting bookings…Update on the ailing little bushbuck…

This weekend is Women’s Day in South Africa, which is actually on Tuesday, August 9. For information on the holiday, please click here for last year’s post where we described details regarding this holiday.

Busy morning with ten zebras stopping by for drinks from the pool and pellets.

As for our injured/sick little bushbuck baby that we discovered in the garden yesterday, we received an audio message on WhatsApp regarding her condition. I tried to move the audio to today’s post so you could hear it, but it wasn’t possible to do with my version of WordPress.

As a result, the audio message explained that the issue with the young bushbuck was a hydration issue, resulting in her inability to get up. With the bush sparse in vegetation and the mother unable to eat sufficiently to produce milk, the baby was near starvation. They are bottle feeding her at Dr. Piet’s office, and it’s “touch and go” for now.

If she makes it through the next few days, they will move her to the boma, where she will be nursed to health by Deidre at Wild and Free Rehabilitation Centre until the little one can return to the wild in Marloth Park. Will she find her mother at that point? Maybe, maybe not. It’s hard to say. But, by the time she’s released, she’ll be old enough to eat on her own.

“Why not eat some pellets and get off my feet?”

As for our next booking, we booked another cruise on the Celebrity Summit, which will sail one day after our Azamara cruise from Scotland to Amsterdam ends, which sails on Norway’s north and west coasts. The itinerary for the new cruise is as follows:

Friday, August 18 Reykjavik, Iceland 4:00pm
Saturday, August 19 Isafjordur, Iceland 8:00am 5:00pm
Sunday, August 20 Akureyri, Iceland 7:00am 4:00pm
Monday, August 21 At Sea
Tuesday, August 22 Prince Christian Sound, Greenland (Cruising)
Wednesday, August 23 Qaqortoq, Greenland 7:00am 5:00pm
Thursday, August 24 At Sea
Friday, August 25 At Sea
Saturday, August 26 St. John’s, NL, Canada 7:00am 6:00pm
Sunday, August 27 At Sea
Monday, August 28 Halifax, NS, Canada 7:00am 6:00pm
Tuesday, August 29 At Sea
Wednesday, August 30 Boston, MA 7:00am

The cost for this cruise is US $7280, ZAR 122162, for a two-person balcony cabin, including taxes, port fees, gratuities, drink packages, and WiFi for two. To receive these perks, we had to pay the additional US $1200, ZAR 20135, but overall we saved money doing it this way. We could use only a part of a credit we received from Celebrity when we contracted Covid-19 on the last two days of the most recent cruise from Florida to England.

The reason why we could use only half of the credits we received is due to the fact the credits would expire before the upcoming Celebrity cruise mentioned today. However, they had made a typo on my certificate and listed the expiration date as 2024. But Tom’s certificate stated it expired in 2023 before the sail date. There was nothing we could do. We were grateful we got half due to their typo, but we had to make a fuss about it.

When the cruise ends in Boston, we’ll visit my cousin Phyllis for a few days and then head to Minnesota and Nevada to see more family over a month. During that time, we’ll renew our driver’s licenses in Nevada, our state of residency. Sometime between now and then, we have to renew our passports. It may be required for us to travel to Cape Town or Johannesburg to visit the US Consulate to do so.

One thing at a time: we have plenty to figure out right now regarding getting new 90-day visa stamps to continue using South Africa as a base for this next year when we leave for other adventures.

There’s always so much for us to figure out. I looked at Tom and said, “Do you want to stop traveling?” Immediately, he answered an emphatic “no,” asking me how I felt. I don’t want to stop either. So the challenges of figuring out our travels continue.

Even when the others began to wander away, a few remained at rest.

When we had canceled the three back-to-back cruises due to our inability and unwillingness to mail our passports to a visa service or consulate and be without a key in a foreign country (very risky), to obtain a visa for various countries along the way, we had already paid in full for the first of the three cruises.

Last night, after a fantastic dinner and evening at Jabula with Rita, Gerhard and Lee, we received an email from Azamara. They will NOT give us a refund for the canceled cruise. Instead, they are giving us a future cruise credit that expires in June 2023.

We won’t be able to apply it for the cruise we have booked with Azamara for next August to Norway. We will lose almost US $5000, ZAR 83896, unless we book another cruise on Azamara by June 30, 2023. This infuriated us! We can’t call until Monday evening since their offices are closed over the weekend. We’re trying to figure out what we’ll do. Once we know, we’ll report it here.

We’ve decided not to make ourselves crazy worrying about this until Monday. We’ll still enjoy the blissful weather and visitors who may stop by on this busy holiday weekend. We are grateful we are safe, healthy, and doing well.

Enjoy our photos from the past few days, and have a lovely weekend as well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 6, 2021:

Helmeted guinea fowls were kicking up the soot in the firepit while taking a “soot bath.” For more photos, please click here.

Part 1….Two new exciting bookings…

We’re so excited to have booked another “visa run,” but this time, on November 26, 2022, we’re flying to Seychelles.

Image result for the seychelles
Country in East Africa
Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It’s home to numerous beaches, coral reefs, nature reserves, and rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises. Mahé, a hub for visiting the other islands, is home to Victoria’s capital. It also has the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and beaches, including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka.”
The ship, the Pegasos, can accommodate 44 passengers. Basically, it’s a luxury yacht suited to this number of passengers. In light of Covid-19, they likely won’t be booked to capacity, as has been the case for many cruise ships, big and small, worldwide since the onset of the pandemic.
Passengers are tested twice daily during the seven-night cruise, which gives us peace of mind considering our last cruise experience of contracting Omicron and becoming very sick, especially Tom, who ended up with Covid-19 pneumonia. This smaller ship particularly appeals to us. Below is a photo of the ship:
Note: It appears they spelled both “Pegasus” and “Pegasos” based on English and Greek.
“M/Y Pegasos offers five- and eight-day cruises around beautiful Seychelles, with each option departing from Mahe. Both cruises visit the former leper of the colony of Curieuse, now uninhabited by humans and home to many giant tortoises, Cousin Island, known for its bird life, Aride, and St. Pierre Island. Swimming, snorkeling, guided walks, and an al fresco BBQ are all activities you can look forward to. The shorter cruise ends in Praslin, while the more extended voyage returns to Mahe via Felicite, the charming La Digue, and Moyenne Island.

Renovated in 2016, the M.Y. Pegasos has 21 cabins that can sleep a maximum of 44 people. The twin-hulled vessel has plenty of open space to enjoy the views, sea breezes, and sunshine, and the onboard leisure facilities make it easy to relax and unwind or mingle with other travelers. Sip a drink in the stylish lounge bar, select a book from the library, relax on the sundeck, and rejuvenate in the mini spa. The swimming platform makes it easy to enter the water for a swim. Paid internet access is available. When it comes to enjoying the chef’s tasty culinary creations, you can choose between indoor and outdoor dining areas. Special events, such as a Creole night and live music, add to the fun. Each spacious en suite cabin has a window, air-conditioning, satellite TV, centralized music, and a mini safe.”

A typical cabin aboard the Pegasus.

We won’t need special visas to enter the country but will require a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours before arrival on the ship. This won’t be a problem since testing is still offered in Komatipoort at the lab across the street from Dr. Theo’s office.

This cruise wasn’t as expensive as we thought it could have been, considering the small size of the ship, but it was pricey nonetheless. But each time we leave for a new visa stamp in our passports to be able to return to South Africa, we realize there is a certain expense associated with it.
We selected the second category, not the highest since we spend little time in our cabin and prefer to spend our time mingling throughout the cruise with other passengers while enjoying the surroundings and amenities that appeal to us. The cost for the cruise, not including WiFi, is US $7280, ZAR 120861, about US $2000, ZAR 33260 less than many sites listed. We booked it directly through Intrepid Travel at this link. Airfare and tours are extra. We can decide while on the cruise which tours appeal to us.
The dates for this cruise are from November 26, 2022, to December 3, 2022. We paid a deposit of US $1200, ZAR 20099, and will pay the balance on October 1, 2022. Upon return, we’ll have another 90 days until we have to leave the country again, and most likely, we will do an extension at that time. After that, we’ll figure something out.
We are excited about visiting Seychelles which we’ve discussed over the years.  Also, we love being on the water.
Tomorrow, we’ll be back with information on another booking we wrapped up last night. Tonight, Jabula with Rita, Gerhard and Lee!
Have a fantastic day and evening.
Photo from one year ago today, August 5, 2021:
The Imposter, a smaller version of Tiny, who’s yet to appear, is ingratiating himself with us, showing up several times a day. For more photos, please click here.

Before our eyes…A heartbreaking event in the bush…

This baby bushbuck, about two weeks old, could not stand and was flailing in the bush. We were worried she was seriously injured. Please read the story below.

Yes, we know. Nature is nature, and sometimes it’s harsh and unrelenting. This morning was that case when Tom saw an animal lying on the ground with dust flying. At first, he thought it was an animal giving itself a dust bath, which we see, now and then. Upon closer inspection, he realized it was a baby bushbuck flailing in the dirt trying to get up, and we immediately thought of mom Tulip and her young girl, Lilac. We were heartsick.

Immediately, we called Louise, and she called Ranger Jaco. Within 10 minutes, Jaco was here assessing the situation. Twenty minutes later, Ranger Mark (also the owner of Daisy’s Den, a feed and farm store here in Marloth Park) approached her gingerly and picked her up to take her to Doc Piet.

Tom took this blurry photo from afar as soon as he spotted the little one suffering.

When getting close and picking her up, Mark said she was no more than two weeks old. It wasn’t Lilac, who was a few months old. We were relieved but still sad over the injury this precious being had experienced. We’ll never know what happened and can only hope after being treated by Dr. Piet; she can be rehabilitated at Deidre’s Wild and Free Rehabilitation Centre.

When she’s treated and healed, she’ll be returned to the bush in our garden, where her mother will continue to look for her. During this event, two adult female bushbucks watched over her, including her mother and Tulip, whose baby Lilac only jumped the fence a few minutes ago to see us. She is still peacefully there, munching on pellets with male bushbuck Spikey.

The precious little creature was suffering. She attempted to stand but always landed on her face. It was heartbreaking.

The injured baby’s mom stayed close by, occasionally touching her to see if she could get up. She could not. Tom expected one of her front legs might be broken. I gave Jaco my card and asked him to let us know what happened with the precious little being. He remembered us from past visits to our holiday homes when similar situations had occurred before our eyes.

The number of animals that approached the baby while we waited was frightening during this period. A band of mongoose whom we’d fed paloney minutes before this transpired was hoping she’d die so they could eat the meat. Even Lollie, whom we also had to chase away, seemed annoyed by the baby’s presence in what she considers “her territory.”

Crooked Face walked over to her to see what was going on.

Tom stood to watch over the baby shooing off the other animals that seemed hell-bent on approaching her. Were they curious, or were they looking to attack her? It was hard to tell, but we were certain warthogs or mongooses would attack her. That’s their nature. They can’t help themselves. It’s nature.

It was such a relief when Mark walked off with the precious baby leaving us hoping she’d be able to survive her injuries.

When Ranger Mark arrived, he approached her gingerly and was able to pick her up to take her to see Doc Piet, the vet for Marloth Park.

Soon, Rita will be coming to pick me up. We are heading to Stoep Cafe in Komatipoort for some much-desired “girl talk,” which we both have missed for the past five months since they’ve been gone. After breakfast, Rita will drop me off at the pharmacy, after which I’ll walk to Spar Market and do the grocery shopping. I’ll call Tom about 30 minutes before I’m done so he can come and pick me up with the groceries. This way, Rita won’t have to wait for me while I shop.

Mark carried the little bushbuck to his vehicle, where he’d rush her to Dr. Piet. In a few days, we can check with the rehab center to see if she has been treated and is being prepared to return to the wild. They will bring her back to our garden where the mom will be waiting for her.

So that’s it for today, folks. We’ll keep you updated on what we find out about the baby bushbuck and be back with more tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 4, 2021:

Oh, oh…roadblock! For more photos, please click here.

Tough night…More wonders in the bush…Dental update…

It was time for the family to take a drink.

Last night I awoke every hour itching like crazy. They weren’t mosquito bites but chiggers, sand fleas, or midges, whatever one may call them. The bites last for weeks. One bite can keep me awake all night when the crazy itching won’t stop, no matter what cream or method I use to control it.

They took turns moving in and out from the edge of the pool.

A few years ago, Rita gave me a battery-operated zapper that produced heat that seemed to help if I used it within an hour of getting the new bite. Recently, from overuse, it stopped working. Within a week, a package from Takealot will arrive with a new zapper in the shipment. I am looking forward to using it.

It’s not even summer yet when the mozzies arrive. I will continue to use repellent regularly, but it doesn’t seem to work for the bites as mentioned above and irritating allergic responses.  I wear long sleeves, long pants daily, and full coverage pajamas at night always doubled up with Tabard roll-on repellent. TIA…This is Africa….it goes with the territory for those of us who are sensitive to insect bites and response to dust mites.

Handsome Big Daddy.

I am not the only person that experiences these bite-related annoyances. I have talked to many locals who share the same situation with no new means of combating the issue.

Lollie is on the right, and her boyfriend (she has two) is Busybody. Her other boyfriend is Rueben.

As for our dental updates…Tom’s two new tooth implants are not causing him any problems. It felt tender the first day they were seated, but he was fine a few hours later. I am hoping when I get the implant for my painful tooth in months to come, my result will be similar to his.

As mentioned earlier, the tooth caused me discomfort in the fourth to the upper right. Once the tooth is pulled, the hole will be shown when I talk or smile. I told Dr. Singh I want a temporary tooth (or bridge) while we wait for the bone to heal over the foundation for the implant, which will be put in place the day the tooth is pulled. It may be three to six months until I can get the permanent implant.

Yesterday, once again, the nyala family came to call, including Norman, Nina, and their son Noah.

In the interim, Dr. Singh will have a bridge made to fill the hole so the hole won’t be visible when I talk or smile. I’d considered having this three-day process done before we leave for our visa-stamp trip to Zambia/Botswana on August 20 for a week. But, the last time I had a tooth pulled, I had a horrible time with an unbelievably painful dry socket, resulting in me being on pain meds for three weeks. I don’t want to go through that again.

But, certain people are prone to dry sockets. If I had the tooth pulled now, I run the risk of the recovery time running into our travel time and being miserable while we’re gone. There was no way I wanted to take the risk. Instead, Dr. Singh prescribed antibiotics, a three-day Z-Pack dose that didn’t work. He sent me another prescription for a different antibiotic which I’ll get filled and use only if I need to.

Closer view of the family of three.

The appointment for the extraction is the day after we return from the trip. It was the best decision we could make considering the circumstances. Right now, the discomfort is minimal, and I’ll wait and see what transpires with the abscess in the interim.

Today, we are working on getting our certified vaccine certificate from this site for only those vaccinated in the US. The fee is US $2.00 each, paid by credit card. We may not need this but are doing so just in case we need it for traveling to any country. Today, we checked to discover we won’t need any Covid-19 tests before traveling or returning to South Africa. This is good news.

Have a pleasant day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, August 3, 2021:

It was delightful to see Torn Ear return to our garden. For more photos, please click here.

Another fantastic evening in the bush with friends…A welcoming surprise for our guests….

Bossy, (kudu) Marigold, Tulip, and Lilac in the side garden looking for pellets.

Shortly before Rita, Gerhard, and their friend Lee arrived for dinner, we were delighted to see that Norman, Noah, and Nina were in the garden. With their holiday home about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from here, it’s unlikely they’ll have an opportunity to see them unless they encounter them while driving around the park.

We hoped they’d hang around until our guests arrived. But Tom offered them plenty of pellets to keep them busy. Since the nyala family is so popular in the park (they are the only nyalas), they don’t always eat all the pellets we offer when they may already be full. They don’t seem to devour them with the same enthusiasm as the other wildlife.

Lots of zebras stopped by last night with Lollie photobombing as usual.

We were fortunate when a few minutes later, our dinner guests arrived. I greeted them outdoors and asked them to be extra quiet in case the nyalas would be scared off by unknown humans. The nyala family is used to us but not necessarily newcomers to their territory. After all, they must be comfortable with us when they usually stop by two or three times a day, except during holidays when the park is packed with tourists.

It was such a joy to watch the faces of Rita, Gerhard, and Lee. They were so excited to see them when they hadn’t since they were here almost five months ago. They couldn’t believe how much Noah had grown in such a short time and how his features were changing from looking like Nina to looking like his dad Norman who looks much different from a female of the species.

Female kudus jumped the fence.

They each took photos with their phones, but that was just the beginning of the evening. Over the next few hours, many more animals stopped by to entertain us, even an adorable bush baby partaking of a little cup of fruity yogurt. It couldn’t have been more enjoyable.

Of course, the conversation was the second highlight of the evening when after not seeing Rita and Gerhard for five months, we busied ourselves telling countless stories of our recent adventures and trials. They have been in Germany and Croatia for the past months and shared some stories and photos. Having never met Lee before, it was fun to hear his take on being in the bush for the past 24 hours. He could not believe what he was seeing!

Bossy gets up close and personal, but we don’t hand feed.

No one can imagine the excitement and joy of living in the bush, even if it’s just for a week or two. Seeing the pleasure derived by newcomers is equally exciting for us. Sharing this magical place with others adds to the experience in many ways.

Crooked Face stops by no less than once per day. He may have a crooked face but we find him very handsome.

All the food turned out well, and everyone enjoyed the various items we served, as mentioned in yesterday’s post here. Fortunately, we have plenty of leftovers for tonight’s meal since I didn’t have much enthusiasm to cook another meal today. This morning I made a double batch of Tom’s Coconut Banana Bread using the ripe bananas we’d stored in the freezer. He’d had enough low-carb muffins and was ready for the “real deal.”

Bad Ear often joins Crooked Face.

I’ll individually wrap each piece in a Ziplock bag, which we’ll keep frozen. This way, it stays fresh when he eats only one or two pieces daily. It was a favorite recipe he loved in our old lives. Luckily I found it in my cloud. Although I don’t bake many non-low-carb treats for him, I was happy to make this favorite he so much enjoys. Plus, I do enjoy baking from time to time.

As for today, it’s a quiet day except for the steady stream of wildlife stopping by, often in the dozens every hour or so. We’re cherishing every moment, knowing another holiday weekend is coming up this week, and we won’t see as many animals until the holidaymakers leave the bush next week. August 9th is Women’s Day, which isn’t until next Tuesday, so that things won’t settle down until next Wednesday.

We hope you have a fantastic day and evening.

Photo from one year ago today, August 2, 2021:

This hornbill was contemplating eating seeds we placed on the veranda railing. For more photos, please click here.

Guess who’s coming to dinner?…

Big Daddy and zebras get along well. They are used to grazing in the bush together. There’s Lollie in the background, as usual.

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is a 1967 American romantic comedy-drama film produced and directed by Stanley Kramer and written by William Rose. It stars Spencer Tracy (in his final role), Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Hepburn and features Hepburn’s niece Katharine Houghton.”

Tonight, Rita, Gerhard, and their friend from the US, Lee, will be coming for dinner. On short notice, I decided to make an easy meal, starting with easy snacks during sundowners: potato crisps (Gerhard’s favorite), peanuts (Tom’s favorite), sliced cheese with keto, and regular crackers chicken liver pate. (Rita and Lee are also doing keto, like me).

Norman is a regular visitor. He comes by about three times daily, along with Nina and Noah.

For the main course, we’re roasting two whole chickens on the braai with keto barbecue sauce and marinated keto lemon chicken breasts, in case the four breasts from the two chickens aren’t enough for all five of us. If we have leftovers, no problem, Tom and I will eat the chicken tomorrow.

For the sides, steamed buttered broccolini, roasted vegetables, seasoned white rice, and my traditional fresh veg salad (Rita loves this with my homemade dressing). We won’t be making a dessert since I hadn’t planned ahead and don’t have all the necessary ingredients on hand.

We love zebra visits, but they never seem to engage with us as the other wildlife.

Early this morning I started prepping all the vegetables to roast. Actually, I am cooking them now since they require tossing every 15 minutes, and I don’t want to be in the kitchen when our guests arrive; instead, spending time with them. I can quickly reheat the vegetables in the oven in an oven-proof serving dish. I’ll cook the broccolini last minute.

Tom will put the whole chickens on the braai at about 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs., and let them cook on low heat until tender and juicy. I will cook the chicken breasts in the oven to ensure they aren’t overcooked, which can happen on the braai when Tom may be busy chatting and forget about them. The two whole chickens won’t require more than occasional basting with the sauce.

This morning’s zebra visit. Again, Lollie is photobombing once again.

It’s cold and cloudy today, so I made Tom and me heaping cups of low-carb hot chocolate with raw cocoa, coconut cream, and liquid sweetener. As we’re sitting outdoors, chilled to the bone, this is an excellent way to warm up. At the moment, our only visitors are one Big Daddy, Nyala Noah, with a few warthogs along the fringes of the garden. It’s been a busy morning now that the weekend has ended.

Tulip and Lilac are enjoying my veggie scraps from this morning’s prep.

Another holiday weekend is upcoming this week, and it will be crazy busy here in the bush again. Indeed, the five of us will be heading to Jabula on Friday night, as we always did with Rita and Gerhard and often with Kathy and Don. Gosh, we missed them too.

Our lives here in Marloth Park are filled with many memories that warm our hearts. It feels like living in a unique environment surrounded by friends and wildlife, always enjoying sundowners, and homemade dinners at one of our bush houses, in the heat, in the cold, and in between. We top it off with memorable evenings at the Cheers-like bar at Jabula, and fantastic dinners shared on their veranda.

Tulip and Lilac prefer to eat inside the fence since the larger animals take over on the other side.

Right now, bushbuck Mom and Baby, Tulip and Lilac, are eating the scraps from the vegetables I cut this morning. A moment ago, little Lilac picked up her head with bits of vegetables hanging out of her mouth while she chewed with enthusiasm. What a joy! We couldn’t ask for more.

Have a great Monday!

Photo from one year ago today, August 1, 2022:

One year ago, my friend Kathy took this photo of where an elephant had knocked down the fence between Kruger and Marloth Park and managed to get into the park. The elephant returned to Kruger National Park a short time later. For more photos, please click here.