Preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner…A black mamba story unfolds…

 Here’s our previously shown video from the snake-handling school 
we attended last March.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
Our resident monitor lizard came out of his hovel for a drink from the cement pond.

Today is a hectic day. I started making the eight pumpkin pies early this morning, and as I write, we’re just about ready to put the first few in the oven. The oven only has one rack, so I won’t be able to bake more than two or three pies at a time.

I made one low-carb pie for Danie and Louise, who generally follow the banting (low-carb) way of eating, as do many South Africans for various health reasons.  I didn’t make a low-carb pie for me. This time I will pass on a pie for myself based on the fact I’m still trying to lose the last few pounds on my diet and pumpkin pie. Oh my, I could eat an entire pie in a day. But, not these days.
There are many other items to prepare today, with the balance to be completed tomorrow. Although easy to prepare with recipes in my head, Thanksgiving dinner requires a tremendous amount of time to prepare.  

Also, Dawn and Leon (owners of Jabula Lodge & Restaurant) are coming for dinner and bringing “take-away” containers to provide all of our guests with containers of leftovers for the next day along with their own pumpkin pie, another one of our traditions.  Everyone always enjoys leftover Thanksgiving dishes!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a turkey anywhere in this area.  Instead, we’re making one roasted stuffed chicken for each couple to enjoy as they’d like during the meal, taking home the remainder along with side dishes and their full-sized pumpkin pie.

Although there will only be 10 of us dining tomorrow evening, I’m making enough for the equivalent of 20 people. Then again, many of us Americans have made the festive meal for 20 or more people.

It would be a lot easier cooking today and tomorrow if it weren’t so hot.  Temperatures are expected to be a high of 38C (101F) or more, including tomorrow.  With no AC in the kitchen area and having the oven on most of the day, it will surely be one hot, sweaty day.
In March, Chris, the snake-handling trainer, held this black mamba while Tom looked o at the snake-handling school.  For that post, please click here.

But I’m not complaining. This is a great group of people, and we’re delighted to make this special traditional US meal which is actually celebrated in the US next Thursday, November 22.

We’d planned this date quite a while ago when we anticipated it might actually be the traditional “good-bye” party. One way or another, we’re hoping to stay until our scheduled flight to Kenya on February 20th if all goes well. No word so far.

OK, enough about cooking. On to our story about a black mamba that Louise shared with us a few days ago. As for today’s photos (except for the “Sighting of the Day in the Bush” photo, we’d previously posted them in March.

However, based on today’s black mamba story and my shortage of time, we thought we’d repost these few previously shown photos and the links for these specific posts.

We’ve frequently mentioned our new friends, Rita and Gerhard, with whom we’ve been spending a lot of quality time. World travelers themselves, we find we have so much in common, and we continually share our varied and interesting travel stories and more.

On Monday, this week, they left for a two-week visit to Germany to attend Gerhard’s brother’s 60th birthday party. They’ll be returning before the end of this month.

Tom was handling a black mamba and did an excellent job, although he’s not certain he’d want to do this in a real-life situation.

As mentioned in an earlier post, they’ve been living in the same house we rented when we first came to Marloth Park in December 2013, the house on Hornbill St., the house where a Mozambique spitting cobra fell from the ceiling of the veranda and landed within a few feet of Tom.  

He’s always classified that experience as the scariest of his life. If you’d like to read that post, please click here for the photos of the venomous snake and the story of what transpired on that fateful and memorable day.  

On Sunday, the day before their departure, Rita and Gerhard heard a plop on the floor of the veranda as we had on that fateful day in January 2014,  when they were sitting outside, as they do all day too, like us, waiting for wildlife to stop by. This time the “plop” was a mouse perhaps being caught by the snake.

Although a black mamba doesn’t look scary, a single bite can result in death within an hour if not treated.

Rita and Gerhard were sitting on the veranda at that same Hornbill house where we’d lived, quietly enjoying the bush while reading, sipping cold beverages, without a care in the world.

Suddenly, they saw the snake, a black mamba. Louise had given them a sheet with photos of various snakes in the event they’d have to identify one. Here was their opportunity. They grabbed the sheet and were certain it was the outrageously venomous black mamba.

Rita couldn’t resist taking photos until the snake disappeared near the chimney as I had done years ago. What would be the point of calling the rangers if the snake was nowhere to be found? They went about their day with a watchful eye, knowing they were leaving the next morning for Germany.  

A video that Rita and Gerhard took of black mamba on the veranda.

On Tuesday, determined to get the darned thing out of that house, Louise contacted snake handler, Jaun (20 something), who’d attended snake school with us. He’s very active in the park, conducting many services as an Honorary Ranger and all-around caring and good guy.

On Tuesday, he and Louise sat on the veranda waiting for the snake to appear so Jaun would capture it to return it to the wild. By a stroke of luck, after only a 10-minute wait, the black mamba made an appearance.

It was only 15 minutes later than Juan had captured the snake with his trusty snake grabber and expert skill and placed it safely in a bucket with a lid. The intent in capturing snakes is always to return them to the wild where they belong. Mission accomplished, thanks to Louise‘s boundless determination and Juan’s excellent skills.

It sounded as if Rita and Gerhard stayed calm and under control when they spotted the snake, which is vital to avoid agitating it, resulting in an attack. Black mambas can be very aggressive if provoked.

For residents of Marloth Park, here is Juan’s contact information.

So, there’s the snake story. Most likely, we won’t see too many snakes in this house.  Snakes generally don’t care to climb stairs up to a veranda when there’s plenty of fodder for them on ground level. But, we always keep an eye out now that snake season has arrived with the warmer weather, especially at night when out and about.

We’d mentioned in yesterday’s post that we’d share the costs for the dentist and eye doctor appointments, but we don’t have the final figures yet since Tom will choose his new eyeglasses next Thursday. The optometrist didn’t have the style Tom prefer, but he’ll be bringing several pairs from his other distant location for Tom to try. Next Friday, we’ll update this information.

Tonight, hot as it is and as busy as we’ve been, we’re heading to Jabula Lodge & Restaurant for dinner and relaxation. Tomorrow will be another busy day, but we’ll still be back with more.

Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2017:

Once again, Tom captured another fabulous bird from the veranda in Costa Rica while I was busy indoors making dinner. This Yellow-tailed Oriole, although at quite a distance, was a treasure to behold. For more photos, please click here.

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