Part 1…This house…

As shown in the photo, this house has a few extra rental units to the left if we should have guests and need more room than the two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms.

We couldn’t be more thrilled with this house. (Note: All of today’s photos were taken by Louise). Not only does it provide us with added space and a more functional kitchen, but the veranda is ideal for our needs, roomy for entertaining and multiple guests. In the old house, 2 km from here, we were limited to the number of sundowner events or dinner guests we invited. Here we have more flexibility and can easily accommodate 12 guests, which we may entertain from time to time.

In the old house, Love Bird’s Nest, we were limited to six guests at any given time, and even that was tight. Although the current veranda dining table is best suited to six, we can easily accommodate eight with the addition of a few chairs. Plus, as shown in today’s photos, we have the bar, where we can seat six more.

We don’t have all the chairs we’d need if we invited 12, but all we’d have to do is tell Louise, and she’d arrange for Zef and Vusi to bring extra chairs, dishes, silverware, or anything we may need.

There’s an array of attractive serving pieces to accompany any sized meal, kept in the store room off the living room, some of which we’ll use for smaller events. Besides all of this, Louise left the kitchen well-stocked with abundant spices and condiments and tea with several coffee-making accouterments, some of which we may never use but certainly look pretty on the cement kitchen counters.

We have moved the two bamboo chaises to the far left to avoid impeding the view of the animals. Note the firepit and stone benches to the far right.

The countertops are cement, which I would have found too commercial-looking and lacking in style in my old life. But, here in Africa, they are modern and practical. They are easy to clean, can handle any hot pans, and are unlikely to chip or crack like granite or other surfaces in this environment.

Another feature in the kitchen, which we love, is the scullery kitchen, a separate area for dirty dishes and cleanup. There’s no dishwasher, but two sinks aren’t always included in many bush houses. The hot water takes time to get to the faucet, requiring we turn it on well ahead of doing dishes; for the first time, we leave dishes in the sink for the subsequent washing.

Of course, Tom does all of the dishes after dinner each evening, and if I am prepping for a meal, using multiple pots and pans, one of us will take care of those during the day. We don’t want to attract ants and other insects from food left on plates. We are mindful of reducing the number of insects that enter the house.

Speaking of insects, this is chiggers/no-see-ums season. Once it is more consistently cold, with winter officially starting on June 21, they should be less of a nuisance soon. I am covered with hundreds of bites, that I get every year when we’re here. This morning I protected myself from head to toe with repellent, and I am wearing a bugs-away shirt with a long-sleeved body-hugging shirt underneath.

Here is the bar on the veranda with comfy high-top chairs on both sides. We can seat six at the bar.

My only exposed skin is my neck and hands, both of which most of the bites are concentrated. At night I wear a lightweight hoodie to bed and cover my neck and ears. Instead of using night cream right now, I am using repellent on my face. In the past week, I got several bites on my face. These bites are slow to heal and stop itching, easily lasting two to three weeks. Tom doesn’t attract any insects and doesn’t get a single insect bite. Lucky guy!

We will be shopping today and looking for a continuous repellent dispensing device in the bedroom. Right now, Tom has been spraying in the late afternoon, leaving ample time for the smell to dissipate before we head to bed. This helps but is not a perfect solution since I still get bit during the night.

Hopefully, the season will soon change sufficiently for this to stop being a problem. Many Facebook posts have been discussing this issue in Marloth Park right now. As we always say, “It’s the nature of the beast.” which is more accurate here than anywhere.

Now, we’re off to Komatipoort for shopping. We have a few shops we need to visit and our weekly trip to Spar. We’re getting well stocked each time we shop at Spar and soon won’t be spending as much as we’ve been this first month.

Have a fantastic day, and be well.

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

An elephant we spotted during our visit to the Crocodile River. For more photos, please click here.

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