Whew!..Time in Minnesota moving quickly…

This morning view from the living room of our holiday home on this date in 2016 in Penguin, Tasmania. It’s a fantastic, sunny day.

Note: Today’s photos are from 2016, when we first arrived in Penguin, Tasmania. For more photos and the story, please click here.

In only four days, we’ll be on the move once again. Our flight to Newark on Thursday departs Minneapolis at 1:59 pm. We’ll be ready to go. The items we ordered from Amazon.com are arriving as planned, and the contact lenses I ordered from Vision Direct in the UK have also arrived earlier than expected.

Once everything arrives, we’ll know how big of a suitcase we need to purchase to fit all the replacement clothing. According to Ethiopian Air, we can’t consider our bags lost until 25 days after they’ve disappeared. We’ll have to deal with that claim when we return to Marloth Park.

Once we know the space we’ll need after all the packages arrive by Wednesday, we’ll head to TJ Maxx, where we’ve often purchased brand-name bags at great prices and bought a new bag for the new items. We keep everything folded in their original plastic bags for easy packing. We feel confident all of the things will fit and meet our needs.

We had to purchase items to replace some of the things that were in our missing baggage. Why not wait until we see if the bags are truly lost for good? We can’t find items like these in South Africa that we know will fit and work for us. If we ordered everything from the US and had it shipped to our mailing service in Nevada, we’d have to pay no less than US $500 in shipping fees plus customs fees, all of which is more than what we’ve spent on the items, buying them while here in the US from Amazon.

White sand beaches with rarely a human in sight.

It made more sense to assume the bags were gone and shop accordingly. So far, we’ve received about half of the items, with the remainder arriving. In any case, we have not purchased replacement items, for nearly half of which were in each of our bags. We’ll be well-equipped if we get the bags back after all. But we aren’t hopeful.

Yesterday, after a great breakfast with Greg, Maisie, and her boyfriend Nick, we returned to our hotel and hung out for the rest of the day. At dinner time, Tom went to Chipotle to pick up our dinner. I had a salad bowl, and he had tacos. It was hard to believe the cost of the takeaway meal was $48.

When we were here in May, the identical items would have been less than $30. It would have been in the $25 range a few years earlier. We recall making these same purchases when we lived in Minnesota over ten years ago, being no more than $18 to feed the two of us. Wow! Times have changed.

This morning, we had a nice breakfast included in our hotel booking, of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and a wide array of accompaniments. This breakfast holds us until dinner each evening, although Tom saved a few donut holes to enjoy in our room each day and evening. Tom has particularly enjoyed the donut holes but passed on the pancakes, toast, juice, and other breakfast side dishes. The coffee has been delicious.

From one area to the next, the scenery changed. With almost half of Tasmania’s entire population living in Hobart, most terrains were untouched areas of pure beauty.

Soon, we’ll be heading to Greg’s house to watch the Minnesota Vikings game with Greg and the family. We’ll do our two loads of laundry, washing the clothes we purchased at Target a week ago at their house. Doing so will avoid spending two hours sitting in a laundromat. (There are few laundromats in this suburban area). We’ll stay for the game and idle chatter afterward, then head back to our hotel for the evening. Most likely tonight, we’ll dine out.

As the time winds down until we depart, we’re making a point of seeing as many of our family members as we can before we leave. The time has gone quickly. We’ve made the very best of our time here and enjoyed every moment with family. But, we look forward to returning to Marloth Park to our animal and human friends. By Saturday afternoon, we’ll be back and settled into our house, hoping all of our favorites have been waiting for us!

Be well.

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

Look to the right of this tree in the center, and you’ll see our occasional visitor, a porcupine. For more photos, please click here.

In shock after a night out to dinner in Minneapolis…

This giraffe didn’t seem to mind being included in the photo with us. This photo was taken in our neighborhood. Louise explained that the giraffes would soon come to our house, and they did then, and they do now. For the post from December 3, 2013, please click here.

Last evening, when we arrived early at restaurant Benihana in Minneapolis to celebrate our grandson Vincent’s 17th birthday, we sat at the bar and ordered two drinks. I ordered nine oz. of Pinot Grigio, a little less than two glasses in a small carafe, and Tom ordered one Michelob Golden Light.

The total bill for the two drinks was US $39.75, ZAR 697.84, not including a tip. Our mouths were agape when we paid the bill. We don’t spend that much on dinner, drinks, tax, and tips at Jabula on a typical Friday or Saturday night, ordering anything off the menu we could possibly want.

However, this was only the tip of the iceberg. The cost of the dinner was yet to come. Tammy, Tracy, Vincent, and Tracy’s mom Lena were in attendance for six of us. Of course, the concept of teppanyaki is fun and festive, and we all expected to pay a little more than in a typical mid-range restaurant.

We usually pay the bill when we go out to dinner with our kids and grandkids. But this time, Tammy and Tracy insisted on paying for their own meals while Tom and I would pay for the two of us. I’m glad we had that arrangement on this specific occasion. I don’t mean to be a “tightwad,” but the total bill for all of us, excluding our drinks (we never ordered more), was US $494.87, ZAR 8687.84. Had we paid for everything, the total bill would have been $534.62, ZAR 9384.10. Can you believe it?

Thanks, Tammy and Tracy, for paying for the four of you. Our bill, separate from the above total, was US $159.62, ZAR 2802.26. We’d already lost a ton of money with this Seychelles fiasco and surely would have flinched for this outrageous bill which included a 20% service fee, and yet the server asked us for cash for more tips. Oh, good grief! Don’t ask! Tacky.

All of us agreed we’d never return after those outrageous charges. Prices have obviously increased since the pandemic, and we appreciate the dilemma the establishments have had to face. But, goodness, consider diners’ reactions and interest in returning.

Yes, the food was good, but none of us ordered the most expensive items on the menu. Nonetheless, Vincent enjoyed his birthday dinner, and we all had a lovely time. We were out the door two hours from the time we arrived. It was windy, cold, and snowing, so we said our goodbyes and headed back to our hotel.

Tammy and Tracy are leaving for a week’s holiday in California while grandma Lena stays at the house with Vincent. We’ll be gone when they return, so our goodbye was for now, although we’ll be returning in nine months, spending time with everyone once away.

This morning, at 9:30, we’re driving to the town of Shakopee to meet up with Greg’s family for brunch at a popular restaurant. Hopefully, everyone is feeling well, and we’ll all be able to be together for the first time since we arrived one week ago today. We’ve been here for one week since we arrived last Saturday afternoon. It seems like a long time ago that we shopped at Target, exhausted and dirty after wearing the same clothes and underwear for 56 hours.

Hopefully, the return flight in five days will be easier than this most recent one. When we arrive in Johannesburg next Friday, we’ll be staying overnight. Otherwise, we’d have had to drive in the dark to Marloth Park, which is way too dangerous on the N4 at night due to “spiking,” carjackings, and murders.

If all goes well and we arrive in Marloth Park after driving during daylight hours from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger airport to Marloth Park, we should arrive in the afternoon. If we’re well rested, we’ll head to Jabula for dinner. We’re looking forward to seeing our friends, Leon and Dawn, and any other locals who may have stopped by for sundowners and dinner.

Of course, amid all this travel, we’ll be searching for the status of our missing baggage. We’ll keep you updated on the results.

That’s it for today, folks. It’s time for us to head out for breakfast with Greg’s family. We’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Be well.

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

Hippos aren’t necessarily the cutest of animals, but it’s fun to take their photos. For more, please click here.

Change in plans, nothin’ to it…We’re flexible…Photos from nine years ago today!…


We posted today’s photos from nine years ago when we arrived in Marloth Park for the first time. For the story, please click here.

Note: Due to the reposting of old photos, there are spacing issues in today’s post.

The more time passes, the more we’ve adapted to the recent reality of our change of plans. A kind reader wrote and called our unexpected time with loved ones as bonus time with family”. Indeed it has been. We’re enjoying every moment. But life continues for everyone and last night’s plans changed at the last minute.

Our plans to go to Champs for dinner changed. Greg and Madighan were both sick and didn’t want to infect us. Instead, we took Miles, Maisie, and her boyfriend Nick to dinner at a restaurant in their area. We had a lovely time with the kids. Tonight at 5:15, we’re meeting Tammy, Tracy, Vincent, and Tracy’s mom Lena (who’s visiting from Pennsylvania), at Benihana, a popular teppanyaki restaurant, to celebrate Vincent’s 17th birthday, which is on December 15.

We’re busy, but not so busy we don’t have time to take care of some things while we’re here and prepare a new post each day. It’s nice not to feel rushed. We’ve been getting up by 6:00 each morning, having the included breakfast in the hotel by 7:00, and back in our room by 8:00 to work on tasks at hand and the day’s post.

Love the baby! We didn’t need to see many wildebeest during the Great Migration. They are here in our neighborhood, hopefully making a personal visit soon.

Tom’s enjoying watching football on NFL GamePass requires him to use our VPN, showing we are outside the US since the app won’t work while we’re in the US.

Soon, when the housekeeper comes to clean our room (they only clean every other day at this hotel), we’ll head out for a few items we need at Walgreen and quickly stop at our bank for some cash. Then, we won’t have anything to do other than begin calling the credit card company to see if they can help with any of our losses based on the benefits offered by the cards.

We aren’t expecting to recover anything. If we do, it will be a pleasant surprise and a perk we hadn’t anticipated. I’ve spent considerable time shopping on Amazon in the event our bags are lost for good. My bag contained every warm-weather clothing item I owned that was hanging in the closet in Marloth Park. Sure I have some tee shirts, but all my nice tops and pants were in that bag, along with 80% of my underwear and pajamas.

We didn’t know that baby zebras have fluffy hair and short bodies until seeing one up close and personal. Too cute!

!

The clothing we purchased at Target when we arrived without any baggage is all cold-weather items, all of which we’ll be able to wear during the upcoming cruise to Norway and again in the cool winters in Africa. For Tom, it’s not much different. We ordered him several short-sleeve button-up shirts he wears when we go to dinner or meet with friends. Also, he desperately needed some new tee shirts.

Nothing we purchased will have been in vain. I desperately needed some new items when I’d come to the point of tossing out old and worn items. I don’t think I will ever wear the shirt I wore on the trip here for 56 hours. I can’t even look at it. I had to toss the black pants I wore during that period when they were full of holes when we arrived here. I don’t know why that happened.

Several of our readers wrote inquiring about my headache during all this commotion. My headache improved after the last round of antibiotics, which I ffinished almost a week ago, but I am left with frequent sneezing and nose-blowing. Maybe once and for all, this is clearing out. The headache and facial pain are not entirely gone, but it’s much improved. I believe all the sneezing and blowing is allergy and sinusitis based, not a cold or virus, since otherwise, I feel fine.

Nine years ago today…she was wonderful then and she’s wonderful now! Louise stocked the cupboard with nuts, seasoning, and other foodstuffs that we use. Gosh, I haven’t had the use of a plastic container with a lid in almost a year. I’ll be spoiled!

There’s still quite a bit of Covid in the US with over 39,000 new cases recorded two days ago. We still see several shoppers wearing masks. But also, several other viruses, many as serious as Covid/Omicron, are rampant in the US and other countries.

We can’t help but remember how sick we were when we were here seven months ago. Hopefully, this residual sinusitis problem I developed with Omicron will soon be resolved with time and continuing treatments which I’ve diligently followed since we arrived last Saturday. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be heading back to Marloth Park in a mere six days. We’ve enjoyed being here but look forward to our return, as always.

That’s it for today, folks. Thank you for all the support and encouragement from many of our readers/friends. We appreciate every one of you!

Be well

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

This may be a Southern Masked Weaver, who’s about to enter her nest. For more photos, please click here.

We’re off to Seychelles…A few important points for our readers…Happy Thanksgiving to our family and friends in the USA!…

Starting on the 26th, we’ll be cruising to these islands in Seychelles.

First, let’s start by wishing our US family and friends a Happy Thanksgiving day with fantastic food, love, and friendship. It was always a fun holiday for our family, with lots of stories to share and delicious leftovers for a few days while we began decorating for Christmas the following day and weekend.

There will be no Thanksgiving celebrations for us. Today is a travel day for us on our next visa run, hopefully allowing us another 90-day visa for South Africa. We’ll certainly report the results once we know when we try to re-enter the country on December 4, a mere ten days from now.

Our packing is just about done, with only digital equipment, power cords, converters, and adapters to be added, plus the medication I’ll still need to use as we travel. That’s a bit tricky since the nasal rinses and treatments I do every few hours will have to be postponed until we arrive in Mahe for one night in a hotel which will be about 24 hours after we leave here this afternoon.

Once boarding the first flight in Nelspruit, the travel time is 19 hours, including as many layover hours as flight times. But, we still have to drive to Nelspruit around 3:00 pm, 1500 hours, with many road delays and then wait at the airport for the 6:30 pm, 1830 hrs, flight to Joburg with an upcoming 11:30 pm, 2330 hrs, departure. This trip will consist of three long layovers.

Tom spotted a snake trying to take a drink from the splash pool. I missed the shot but got another after instead, as shown below. We’ve been so busy getting ready the past few days I’ve been too preoccupied to take photos. But surely, on our upcoming trip, we’ll be taking plenty.

See the green snake atop the post by the pool?

This morning I awoke feeling a little better and hope to continue to improve over the next several days as I continue the medications and treatments. I felt tentative about going on this cruise, not feeling up to par, but there were no other options. Once we paid the final payment for the cruise and the flights, we were committed. Plus, our visas expire on the 26th, and we had to go somewhere.

This morning, Vusi washed the little rental car, which we’ll return to the airport when we arrive. We’d rather give the money to Zef or Vusi to wash the car each time we leave instead of giving it to the carwash while Tom stands and waits for an hour or more. They do a perfect job. Once we return on December 4, another car will be ready, likely similar to what we’ve had.

The animals kick up a lot of dust and dander each day. While we’re away, Louise will arrange for the outdoor refrigerator to be repaired, and Zef and Vusi will do a deep clean of the house, which, even with their diligent daily cleaning, still gets dusty in tucked-away places. When we return, all will be fresh and clean.

An important point to share with our readers as we head to what will eventually be a remote location…we may not have WiFi for many periods during the cruise. If you do not see a post from us, please consider that as a day lost in our consecutive uploads. We won’t try to “make up” lost days while without internet access by doubling up.

Once we have a signal or, in the worst case, once we return, I will post the stories and pictures consecutively for many days to come. Please do not be alarmed if you don’t see any new posts during this period. Instead, I will document our activities offline as each day passes, taking photos.

However, we will be able to post from the hotel in Mahe tomorrow and most likely the first day/night on the boat while we’re still in port. You may check daily to see if there’s a new post. For sure, we’ll be back on December 5. We might get lucky and be able to post each day since there is WiFi on the boat, and for all we know, it may work well. We will be purchasing the best WiFi package they have available.

So, we’re signing off for the next 24 hours and hope to be back with you soon.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 24, 2021:

This was the total size of the foam tree frog nest before it rained. After it rained hard for hours, it was half its original size. We aren’t sure if the rain destroyed it or if the male tree frogs will fertilize it. For more photos, please click here.

Two days and counting…Tom’s unexpected appointment…Update on piglet Hoppy…

This morning, we were thrilled to see Lollie and her three piglets. She’s kept them hidden since they were born about ten days ago, but perhaps she’ll bring them around more often.

Our packing is in the works. All I have left is to pack a few more clothing items, shoes, toiletries, and medications. Tomorrow, Tom will finish all his packing for our Thursday afternoon departure. Our flight from Nelspruit to Johannesburg isn’t until 6:30 pm, after which we have an almost four-hour layover until the overnight flight to Addis Ababa. Then, we’ll have another long layover until we finally arrive in Seychelles after a total of 19 hours of total travel time.

It will be a long trip, like most flights we’ve taken when leaving the African continent. There’s no quick and easy exit off this continent, except for a few non-stop flights here and there. I wish we could sleep better on planes, but neither of us seems to be able to sleep for more than an hour; as it turns out, this trip to Seychelles consists of three short flights, none over five hours. Most of the time will be spent waiting in airports which are especially challenging with no place to nod off.

If I were feeling better, I’d undoubtedly be more excited about this trip, although this morning, I awoke without a headache which is encouraging. But I don’t want to expect the sinusitis to go away this early in this new regime. We’ll see how it rolls out over the next several days. It’s the price we pay for this lifestyle we live.

The gestation period for warthogs is 152 to 183 days, which works out right since we arrived in May and met Lollie immediately. We knew Lollie was pregnant, but she never was very full-looking with her three piglets. Most likely, the dad is either Busybody or Rueben, who pursued her some time ago.

This morning, at 11:00, Tom and I are going to the local spa owned by Patience and her husband, named Doctor, where I have gone many times for pedicures. But, much to my surprise, this time, Tom is also having a pedicure for the first time in his life! Of course, mine will take longer with the polish application, which he won’t have.

Tom was inspired by Leon, who’d recently joined Dawn on a pedicure appointment, and he told Tom it was pretty nice. Coming from another guy seemed more significant than if I’d suggested it. So, when I booked my appointment, Tom said, “Get one for me, too!” I couldn’t believe it but was thrilled he would join me as we’d both have our services simultaneously.

When we return, I’ll finish this post, upload it and get back to work on my packing, which is a little more complicated than usual, considering the possibility that we won’t be let back into South Africa, there is always a chance when we go on a visa run. This last time we traveled from Zambia, I surmised that the immigration officer made notes of our frequent stays in their system.

If a flag is raised when we try to re-enter, it’s possible we’d be turned away and have to fly to the US immediately. We are hopeful that we won’t run into any issues and can return to Marloth Park on December 4, as planned. We are looking forward to spending a festive holiday season in the bush as we have on three different years in the past.

Ah, sad news about little Hoppy. We assume she passed away when she struggled to breathe when she was here with her mom and two siblings on Sunday. She lay in a little bed of lucerne, gasping for air, unable to nurse or eat pellets. Last night, her mom and two siblings arrived at sunset but no Hoppy. We knew her days were numbered.

Broken Horn stopped by last night for a quick visit.

Then, we knew. Her little body is left in an unknown location for the predatory creatures and vultures to devour. So sad. It broke our hearts to see this little life fade away. We can only imagine what her mom thought when suddenly she only had two piglets instead of three. We often underestimate animals’ sorrow when they lose a loved one.

This behavior is readily evidenced in the emotions of elephants, ranked #4 in intellect. Pigs are ranked #7 in the 2022 rankings on this site. There are varied opinions on the top 10 most intelligent animals on the planet on many sites. But this particular site mentions:

“Pigs just barely edged out dogs for our list of the ten most intelligent animals. While dogs have intelligence comparable to toddlers, pigs operate at a much higher IQ level. They can understand the concept of reflection at only six weeks old; it takes human children several months to comprehend.

Pigs also have approximately 20 different sounds that they use to communicate, and mother pigs sing to their children while feeding. Pigs respond to emotion and even show empathy when appropriate, an extremely rare trait in the animal kingdom. Other pig facts can be found on this page.”

The intellect of pigs has been a huge factor in my interest in them over these past years we’ve spent in the bush. Relating to them daily makes it easy to see how smart they really are. It’s easy to see the emotion on their faces, and last night, Hoppy’s mom looked forlorn.

Life in the bush…it’s always interesting. It’s always unusual.

Be well.

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

Homemade keto bacon-wrapped meatloaf. See details at this link.

Four days and counting…Saving more money on future cruises…Blood on the veranda…What could that be?…

We were shocked to see the blood on the veranda, but there was no evidence of its source.

We had a busy morning. We rushed off to the doctor at 9:15 am to get a few more prescriptions. This will be my third round of antibiotics for the acute sinusitis I got when I had Covid-19 in April. The other medications I am currently on have been adjusted, lowering some doses, and adding a nebulizer treatment. I tried to avoid taking more antibiotics but this needs to go away once and for all.

Once back at the house, Zef was here cleaning and changing the linen. There was a problem with the bathroom sink over the weekend and it was tricky trying to do six nasal flushing treatments a day in the bathroom sink when we knew it wouldn’t get fixed until Monday. We didn’t tell Louise about it until this morning since we didn’t want to disturb their short holiday in Mozambique. over the weekend.

We put a large bowl in the bathroom sink and used that each time I did the nasal treatments or washed our hands, dumping the water onto the shower floor and rinsing the bowl each time. That worked. TIA. This is Africa. Stuff happens. Then again, stuff happens wherever we’ve lived in the world, including back in the USA.

When Tom stepped onto the veranda this morning, he spotted this trail of blood with no indication of its source. There are a few leaves in the center but aren’t of importance.

The extra refrigerator we use that’s on the veranda died over the weekend. We emptied everything out and moved the items to the main refrigerator in the kitchen. I’m sure while we’re gone, Louise will arrange to have the refrigerator repaired since we use it often, especially when doing a two-week grocery run or having guests.

Tom is currently on his way to Komatipoort to get my prescriptions filled so we’ll be good to go on Thursday. Fortunately, he was willing to drive up and back on his own as he’d done last Friday for the same purpose. This enabled me to work on some projects around the house; folding laundry, prepping for dinner, and writing a schedule for all of the medications which require my attention every two hours.

I contacted Louise to send the link for our next three months’ rent due at the end of this month and immediately paid that, taking one more item off of the “to-do” list. Yesterday, I set up bill pay for upcoming credit card payments due in December in the event we have poor WiFi on the ship which we’re expecting. We entirely pay off our credit card balances each month unless we’ve charged a huge amount for a pricey cruise or trip, which we’ll pay over two months.

The animal (or human, for that matter) walked along the side of the house where the blood droplets continued.

Speaking of money, Tom discovered another price drop, a Black Friday special, on Cruise Critic, for our upcoming cruise next August. He called Costco Travel that evening and we received another price reduction of US $1100, ZAR 19175…plus an additional US $1000, ZAR 17432, cabin credit which added to our existing US $300 cabin credit, ZAR 5227 for a total of US $1300, ZAR 222652, that we can use for purchases of drinks, WiFi or purchases in the shops which are always fun for me when we have unused cabin credit. The cruise lines do not refund leftover cabin credit.

Our total benefit for that one call to Costco on November 18, resulted in us saving US $2100, ZAR 36588, less the reduction on the complimentary Costco gift card, which we can’t use until we get back to the states. The last such gift card we had, we used toward the purchase of this new Lenovo Windows 11 Ideapad Flex 5 which I am very happy with. Using a Chromebook, for all we do wasn’t ideal for me but works well for Tom.

A hornbill stopping by for some birdseed we place on the bushbaby ledge.

Of course, this price reduction reduced the amount of the gift card Costco provides for booking travel with them. Originally, before all the price reductions we’ve got on this cruise with credits for canceled cruises and price drops, we only owe US $2996, ZAR 52161 as compared to our original price for that cruise US $16275, ZAR 2834406.

It’s imperative that we stay on top of all of these posted price reductions. The cruise seller/agents don’t watch for the price drops on cruises. It’s up to us to keep an eye out and then ask for the benefit of the reductions and perks.

Earl stopped by last night for some pellets on the bench which he prefers to eating off of the ground.

This upcoming cruise in Seychelles didn’t offer any price reductions or perks. Once we set sail or at the end of the cruise, we’ll be posting the cruise fare and added expenses.

Today, the temperature and humidity are moderate and we’re quite comfortable which is a welcomed relief. There are many hours of load shedding but we are fine with that, as long as our inverter is working and provides WiFi, the ability to recharge our equipment, a fan in the bedroom, and the light from one lamp.

May you have a pleasant Monday! Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 21, 2021:

It was great to see this elephant from Amazing Kruger View restaurant while out to dinner with another couple the previous night. For more photos, please click here.

A little life is fading away…

Hoppy is trying to eat a little but is not thriving like the other piglets. The hair on her back stands up as a sign of defense since I stood nearby to take this photo.

There are no words to describe how sad it is to watch precious little warthog Hoppy slowly lose her life. Her mom brings her and her two siblings to see us at least once daily. But Hoppy’s broken leg prevents her from thriving, and she is losing weight and drifting away. Now, when they visit, she nuzzles the remnants of the lucerne into a little bed she makes for herself using her snout.

She no longer stands to eat pellets, even if we toss them near her. When it’s time to go after they stay for an hour or more; she hops along on her three legs, unable to put any pressure on her right front leg. It’s swollen. There is nothing the rangers can do. Some animals may be treated, such as bushbucks and other animals. In the wild, nature takes its course, however sad it may be.

Warthogs may proliferate with three or four piglets each season, while bushbucks, kudus, duikers, wildebeests, zebras, and others generally only have one offspring per season. As a result, less money is allocated to treat injured and ill warthogs, which, as you’ve seen in our past posts, often fall prey to severe injuries.

Hoppy doesn’t have much chance of survival with this severe leg injury. We don’t know how much longer she’ll be able to keep up with her mom and siblings.

Warthog’s protective nature of protecting their young, and their territory, coupled with their often feisty personalities, lead them to be easy targets for other prey, including lions and leopards, as illustrated a few days ago in this post. These types of injuries are hard to see when we have a particular affinity for warthogs with their intelligent and humorous nature.

But, Hoppy? What happened there? It’s unlikely it was an injury. The newborn’s bones are flexible, and it’s doubtful she incurred this severe injury after we saw her within hours of her birth when mom and babies stopped by, and we observed the leg problem immediately.

With all the inbreeding in wildlife in Marloth Park, other areas, and national parks, it’s possibly a congenital disability, but it could quickly have occurred during birth. We’ll never know for sure, but in the interim, we’re watching a fast path to her demise, which, based on how she is moaning when she lays in the lucerne, we expect it won’t be too long. She’s withering away.

On the right is the mom we called Wounded, who was attacked by a leopard or lion. She likely won’t survive either, although her injury looks a little better, as shown in the photo below.

We know that one day soon, her mom will arrive with only two piglets, and then we will know….unless she passes during the hour or two, they are in our garden each day. Yes, I know the words people always say., “It’s the nature of wildlife,” with the same logical sense that accompanies life in the wild.

The great joy of spending our days and nights in the bush leaves a propensity to feel deeply for these animals. It’s unavoidable. But, in this environment, unique from anything else we’ve ever known, it’s easy to become attached in a way similar to falling in love with a puppy in only a few days.

Last night, we canceled our reservation at Jabula and stayed home. I wasn’t up to going out again. One of the medications I am taking causes me to be sleepy, and I didn’t have the steam to go out. We took out a container of leftover stir-fry with fried rice for Tom, and I made a salad to go with us. We had a nice dinner in the dining room. Since the insects were so awful outdoors, we had no choice but to eat indoors.

Wounded’s injury still looks awful, and she will not survive when sepsis sets in.

This morning, when we got up, I washed all the insects off the kitchen counters before we made breakfast or prepped any food for tonight’s dinner of bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, fried rice (for Tom), green beans, and salad. We already had dozens of flying insects in the kitchen, which are attracted to hot food and meat when prepared and served. We had to shut the dining room doors during dinner. After dinner, we headed to the bedroom so Tom could spray the kitchen with Doom.

A few of today’s photos are repeated. There haven’t been many photo ops this weekend, with more tourists in the park and the awful heat on Saturday topping 103F, 39C. Fortunately, today is a fantastic and cloudy day with moderate temps and humidity. It certainly is appreciated by both of us.

Happy day.

Photo from one year ago today, November 20, 2021:

Gordon Ramsay, also known as Gordy, lounged in the garden after eating veg and pellets. He visits us at this house as well as the last. Each bushbuck has some distinguishable markings, making it possible to recognize past visitors using our past photos for reference. For more photos, please click here.

Five days and counting…Packing on the horizon…

Tulip and Lilac were striking a post in the garden.

The packing for this trip won’t be easy. We don’t have many clothes appropriate for daywear on this ship. I purchased a few items online from an international shipper, and everything arrived, so I have what’s needed to wear in the evenings, but I am at a loss for daywear. Tom has plenty of shirts and shorts.

After the awful surgeries on my legs in 2019, I tossed all my shorts, thinking I’d never want to wear shorts in public again, and rightfully so. While outside all day in the bush, I have cool pants to wear to keep my legs covered to avoid getting mosquito bites. With all the rains, the mossies are out in full force.

Today will be 1017F, 38.3C, and I’m wearing a cool long sleeve shirt and pants with socks and shoes. This way, I only have to use DEET on my hands and around my neck. The thought of covering with DEET to the degree necessary to protect me from bites certainly can’t be healthy for the long haul.

Lilac continues to visit us daily with her mom Tulip.

But, in Africa, we see many people wearing long safari pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect themselves as well, when in the bush and on safari, for the same reasons, bugs and too much sun. But, this attire doesn’t necessarily translate to appropriate daywear on a small cruise ship. Oh well, I will make do with what I have on hand.

Mainly, we’ll enjoy the sea, the scenery, and the socialization commensurate with cruising. It will be nice not to cook for a week and see what the chef can come up with for me to enjoy. Weeks ago, I sent the cruise line my list of appropriate foods for my eating. It’s pretty easy to prepare some meat, fish, or poultry plus non-sauced vegetables and egg dishes when they’ll have all those items on the boat.

This is Little Johnny. Notice his tiny budding horns.

Last night, we had a good evening at Jabula with Dawn, Leon, and other locals we know who regularly frequent the fabulous establishment. The food, ambiance, and service were as exemplary as could be, as were the fun conversations and laughter. Leon and Dawn are surprisingly upbeat with all they have on their minds. It’s always wonderful to see them. Tonight, we return for another great evening.

This morning, I awoke without a headache, but I’m not jinxing myself (a silly premise) by saying what I am taking and doing is working. Last night, I was a little distracted since my headache was pretty bad, the first full day off of that sleep-inducing Amitryptyline, but I’d read there could be a rebound headache when stopping the drug. The headache could return any minute after having had it since April.

Little Johnny usually visits with his mom, Jasmine. But on this day, he was alone. He’s quite good at head-butting other bushbucks when vying for pellets.

Every few hours, I either take a tablet or do a sinus rinse comparable to using a Netipot equivalent with special solutions to aid in reducing symptoms of acute sinusitis. It was too soon to take more antibiotics, so I’m following the most extreme treatment protocol to remedy this problem. Today I am hopeful. Yesterday, I was not.

Once I upload today’s post, I’ll head into the bedroom and start selecting items to pack in my duffel bag. It has plenty of room, and the cruise line asked passengers to bring soft-sided bags to reduce weight and bulkiness. Fortunately, we purchased two soft-sided duffle bags from Takealot, South Africa’s version of Amazon, a few years ago.

Well, that’s it for today, folks. I am off to get to work on my task. We’ll be back with you again tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 19, 2021:

As always, Broken Horn stopped by for a visit. We have another Broken Horn at this house, but the opposite horn is broken. We call him Broken Horn. Be well. For more photos, please click here.

A holiday in the US will be celebrated next Thursday on the day we depart…Baking on a hot day with load shedding…

Tom likes these low-carb blueberry almond flour scones. We freeze them, and he takes one each day to defrost quickly.

We knew that our departure date to travel to Seychelles was on the Thanksgiving holiday celebrated in the US on November 24, 2022. Thank goodness we aren’t flying to the US since flights will be overbooked. Some Americans may sail with us on the cruise through the islands, and perhaps some may have chosen to travel on this particular holiday when they had a few extra days off work. We shall see soon enough.

In our old lives for many years, Thanksgiving was a big holiday for us. It was a busy time with many family traditions surrounding this holiday and Christmas. Over the years, three of our four children had children of their own, after which those family dinner celebrations at our house occurred less and less often as our kids began to create their traditions. By the time we left in 2012 for our world travels, holidays had become less significant to us.

Once we were on our way, we decided not to celebrate US holidays as we had in our old lives. We observe the significance and spirituality of certain holidays, but we don’t create a series of events and celebrations surrounding them. On a few occasions, while here in Marloth Park, we have celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year with local friends.

I made this low-carb macadamia nut flour bread. It’s a little dry compared to other bread I’ve made. My favorite is made with moist coconut flour. I will cut this up into slices and freeze them, using two thin slices daily for my avocado and egg toast.

But, when in a country. Where we don’t necessarily have many friends, the most we may do is go out for a nice meal at a local restaurant, not necessarily ordering food catering to the traditions of the specific holiday. We are OK with this.

As for birthdays, we’ll be celebrating my 75th birthday this coming February at a bush party. Coincidentally, Tom’s 70th birthday is on December 23. Unfortunately, his birthday is so close to Christmas that gathering enough guests for a party isn’t easy. We’ll do something special that evening, even if it’s only dinner at Jabula with a few friends.

Many of our friends are gone during December to their homes in other countries, and they also prefer to be gone in the hot summer months in the bush due to the heat, humidity, insects, and snakes. We sure understand this. However, this will be the fourth year we’ve celebrated Tom’s birthday and Christmas in the bush.

Another dung beetle and his wife rolled around the garden next to a pellet for size reference.

Also, we decided some time ago not to purchase gifts for one another when we have no room in our luggage, nor is there anything that we would particularly enjoy that is available nearby or online. Postal service is limited, and as we’ve repeatedly mentioned, sending items via UPS, FedEx or DHL is time-consuming, costly, and problematic.

On the few occasions we’ve cooked for Thanksgiving, we haven’t been able to find turkeys or pumpkin pie filling. Our friend Kathy found some small turkeys in Johannesburg or Nelspruit over the past several years, and she brought cans of pumpkin pie filling from the US for the pies. I’d purchased several tins of pumpkin pie spices in the US and brought them here. But traveling with food is nonsensical regularly.

Most likely, I have written about this topic in prior posts. But, after over 3700 posts, it’s difficult not to be repetitive. We only hope that our new readers coming on board may not have read about these topics in the past. The same thing applies to our photos. On occasions, we post a past photo more than once. Most often, we mention this. But the photos we generally post each day are new and have never been published in the past.

Tulip and Lilac have been coming to our garden since Lilac was very tiny. She’s growing fast, but they still hang out together, most likely until Tuplip is pregnant again, when Lilac may be on her own.

Speaking of which, we realize our posts are repetitive in many ways, but as mentioned above, it’s nearly impossible not to be so after writing daily for the past ten years. Let’s face it, life is repetitive, no matter how hard we may strive for unique and exciting experiences. Amid this reality, we attempt to mix it up as much as we can.

Now that load shedding ended one of its four outages today; I am baking a new loaf of my low-carb bread which I use to make avocado and egg toast each morning, a healthy start to each day. Tom doesn’t care for the taste, so I bake other low-carb treats.

It’s time to go to the outdoor laundry room to collect the first two batches to hang on the outdoor rack that Tom always sets up on the veranda when I wash twice a week. Tonight, we’re off to Jabula for dinner and to see Leon and Dawn after their time away to see his oncologist and spend a few restful nights in Nelspruit. They certainly deserve this short break.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 18, 2021:

It was a thrill to see this adorable dark impala at the entrance to the airport. For more photos, please click here.

One week from today and we’re off to Seychelles…Another horrible animal injury…Enough, already!!!..

This is Bad Leg who had a leg injury a few weeks ago. In no time, he seemed to recover, and now, he showed up with this hole in his head. How in the world will he recover from this injury?

This morning, I awoke with my left eye really swollen, and itchy, the same side of my face where the headache and cheek pain is located. Unable to see Dr. Theo today, I decided to go to the local Marloth Park clinic and see Dr. Shane, a highly regarded doctor, also loved by many locals.

I guess I don’t have trigeminal neuralgia for which I am on a drug to help with the head pain. Instead, it appears I have chronic sinusitis precipitated by Omicron in April. Lately, I’ve been treated for a sinus infection which did resolve, but I am still left with inflammation in the sinus cavities on the left side of my head only.

Dr. Shane prescribed medication that should resolve this issue once and for all, with a strict regime of treatment I must follow at home, and continue on our upcoming trip in one week. I’m glad I got this addressed today rather than taking the risk it would worsen while we are away.

We spotted these two Cape buffalos this morning as we drove along the river. With all the rain and plenty of water holes, less wildlife head to the river. However, Cape buffalos and waterbucks always remain close to the river.

I will strictly adhere to the nasal treatments (three different procedures) each day, along with the meds and hopefully can get off the Amitriptyline before we leave next Thursday. This will require as many daily procedures as Tom needed when he had Covid-19 pneumonia in April, whereby every few hours there was something to take or do. I am highly motivated to get this never-ending discomfort under control.

After we returned to the house, Tom immediately took off for Komatipoort to pick up the prescriptions so I could begin the procedures and meds today, rather than wait another day until they could be delivered here to Marloth Park. Each day is important as the countdown to depart begins.

Last night, we had a lovely evening with Mario and Peter who joined us for sundowners on the veranda. It was a warm evening but fortunately, the humidity was low and the insects weren’t too bad allowing us to sit outdoors well after dark.  Before we knew it, they headed to their home in the bush and after we cleaned up the food and glasses, we were off to bed to stream a show and later drift off to sleep.

As we drove along the river we spotted these two Big Daddies resting in the shade on another hot day.

As I write here now, Norman is in the garden eating a few bananas, carrots, cabbage leaves, and of course, a few batches of pellets. I hadn’t seen him in two days which was unusual for him but this morning when Tom got outside by 6:30, he was waiting for him. Tom fed him some bananas and pellets. I was disappointed I didn’t see him then when I didn’t get up until 7:30.

I noticed Norman wasn’t eating pellets but was staring at me. There was something else he was looking for. I grabbed a few more overripe bananas from the kitchen and tossed them to him. in a second he was happily eating his favorite food. Bananas ripen quickly in the heat and humidity so we are happy to share them with the wildlife to keep the annoying flies out of the kitchen.

We purchased boxes of 12 bananas but after Tom eats a few over a few days, he’s had his fill and Norman will gladly eat the rest. They never go to waste, as is the case with any vegetables we buy.  Since I don’t eat fruit, and Tom only cares for bananas, we never buy fruit, only non-starchy vegetables, most of which the wildlife seem to enjoy.

We are thrilled with all the green vegetation for the animals, which sometimes makes them hard to spot.

Just now, after tossing some leftover zucchini to Norman, which he doesn’t love, I saw that mom and four piglets had arrived. Immediately, I jumped up to get them pellets. Even the piglets have started eating pellets. They chew each pellet for what seems like several minutes but immediately go back for more. They are delightful to watch.

At this point, we have no less than four sets of moms and piglets stopping by daily, including Hoppy and her family and of course, sadly, the mom with the awful injury and her babies who have been here a few times in the past several days. See this post here for photos of her horrific injury. We are devastated for her and this life-threatening injury.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope you have a fantastic day!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 17, 2021:

Little rested in the cement pond on a sweltering day, his ears flicking as he listened to me talking to him. We miss Little. He’s never found us here over 2 km away from our last location. For more, please click here.