Stars and Stripes…And, more stripes….Finding ingredients…Off to the Marloth Park Honorary Rangers Winter Fair…

This particular “dazzle” of zebras was all female except for a youngster.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A zebra attempting to climb the steps to the veranda.

We’ll be attending a US holiday 4th of July party at Kathy and Don’s home, overlooking the Crocodile River, in four days.  Twelve guests will be in attendance, with only four actual US citizens; us and Kathy, and Don.

Zebras love pellets, carrots, and apples.

The rest are native South Africans from the UK, all of whom love a reason for a party. Kathy and Don will do their usual “over the top” celebration, often including games, prizes, and unique entertainment and festivities.

As soon as Kathy mentioned this upcoming event, I chimed in, offering to make my former 4th of July US flag cake which I’d make each year in our old lives. I made the offer, which Kathy accepted, starting to “make it small” since most in this group aren’t into desserts as Americans may be. 
In our old lives, I made this US flag cake every year on the 4th of July.

 Plus, with a few of us avoiding sugar or gluten, there’d be lots of cake left even if I made the small version.  Then, Tom would end up eating the leftovers. Not necessarily a good idea.

Of course, there’s often a warthog on the scene, in this case, one of our favorites, Little Wart Face.

The offer of the cake was more for the festivities than the eating, but I was bound and determined to make it, never giving it much thought after my offer. We planned to shop the day before the party to ensure the berries as shown on the cake were fresh. I’d planned to bake the cake the morning of the party.

Three weeks ago, I saw fresh strawberries and blueberries in the market, thinking, “no problem.” But over the next few weeks, there were no strawberries. One week later and there were no blueberries. The markets in Komatipoort receive stock on Thursdays and Fridays for the weekend. They don’t keep. By Tuesday, there’d be no chance of buying fresh berries. 

Zebras don’t stay around too long unless there’s a constant stream of pellets, fruits, and vegetables.

It’s not like the US or many other countries here when there’s usually exactly what one needs regardless of the day of the week. We always shop on Thursday afternoons, but even then, many items haven’t been put on the shelves, and the more popular items are already gone, purchased by the morning shoppers. We’ve learned the drill.

Often, zebras come to visit at night, making us thrilled for a daytime visit.

This may sound disgusting to health enthusiasts out there. Still, to taste exceptional, this particular cake requires Cool Whip, a non-dairy topping heavily sweetened with real sugar that tastes exceptionally good. We’ve seen videos from the US of people eating bowls of the chemical-laden stuff as a treat.

This zebra was licking pellet dust off the veranda tiles.

I must admit that in our old lives, either of us may have at one point or another taken a taste or two with a spoon directly from a plastic container of Cool Whip in the fridge. It was perfect, then. I used to put it on my ice cream with caramel syrup. Oh, good grief! Stop! My mouth is watering!

Well, anyway, this cake requires Cool Whip, which is not available in South Africa, certainly not anywhere we checked in Komatipoort. It made no sense to drive far away, hoping to find it.

This zebra started climbing up the steps to the veranda, but they’re slippery, and she backed off.

A few days ago, I let Kathy know I wasn’t making the cake. There were no berries, no Cool Whip at the market. Since no one in the group was particularly gung-ho for sweets, Kathy said, “No worries, don’t make a cake.” I felt bad since it’s not my nature to offer to do something and then “backpedal.” In this case, I had to let it go.

These two were scrounging for any stray pellets.

Two days after the 4th of July, we’re hosting a dinner party/birthday celebration for Kathy who’s birthday is on the 6th, and Ken’s (of Ken and Linda) will have been on the 4th. Lots of fun reasons to celebrate life in the bush!

As I’m sitting here now, on yet another perfect-weather-day, nine kudus stopped by, all girls, all looking for pellets, apples, and carrots. My favorite kudu, who I can identify by a “u-shaped” notch in her right ear, walked right up to the edge of the veranda and licked my bare toes, as usual. She makes me laugh! 

A third joined them in the search.

As soon as we upload this post, we’ll be heading to Henk Van Rooyen Park for the annual Honorary Rangers Winter Fair. This is the same location where Aamazing River View restaurant is located, which we wrote about in yesterday’s post.

Tomorrow, we’ll return with our experiences and photos from the fair. No doubt we’ll run into some of the many wonderful people we’ve met in Marloth Park over this past almost five months. What a ride it’s been so far!
May your day be bright and sunny!

Photo from one year ago today, June 30, 2017:

Look at all that luggage we had back in January 2013 as we prepared to board our second cruise in Fort Lauderdale. We posted this old photo one year ago today when we had purchased two new bags. We no longer have any of the pieces shown here when we’d seriously unloaded “stuff” during our first year or two. For more, please click here.

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