Antelope altercation in the garden…The worms have turned into moths…They are everywhere…

Big Daddy and Norman engage in a dominance dance in the garden.

Antelopes are prevalent in Marloth Park. They include, based on size: kudu, nyala, impalas, bushbucks, and duikers. It’s a rare occasion to witness disharmony among these animals, other than pushing and shoving when jockeying for pellets, even common among family members of the same species.

It’s been a rarity for us to see fighting among the various species of antelopes when they visit the garden. However, since Norman has become such a regular here, we’ve noticed that he gets defensive when there are the Big Daddy kudus in the garden, whether close to the house or at a distance of fewer than 30 meters, which is, by his standards, too close for comfort.

As we’ve shown in past photos, Norman fluffs up his hair to make himself appear larger and hangs his head low. We aren’t sure if dropping down his head is to add to appearing larger or if it is a form of submission. Most would assume, by watching him, that its submission.

From time to time, they slowly move around the garden.

The massive Big Daddies respond to Norman’s sign of courage and strength. They certainly don’t run off frightened by Norman, but they recoil to a certain degree. If it was submission, it would be counterintuitive to appear larger, to make the male kudu with massive horns become frightened of him.

In any case, it’s interesting to observe. Of course, we’re a little concerned they could engage in a fight which would be disastrous, and there would be nothing we could do to stop it. In some instances, in the wild, these animals have fought to the death when protecting their territory, food source, or females and family members, although from what we’ve read, it’s very rare.

Norman with his head down during his “fluffing up” session.

As gentle animals, they aren’t explicitly looking for a fight. We proceed with caution when offering food when the other is nearby to avoid the remote possibility of an altercation.

Today, Tom observed these scenes shown in the photos while I was showering. A short time later, when I came out of the bedroom, they were both still in the garden, doing their dance of dominance, Norman more than Big Daddy.

It’s always interesting to watch the behavior of the wildlife in Marloth Park. Spending most of our daylight hours outdoors, it’s inevitable we’d often see how wildlife interact with one another. The most aggressive animals we’ve observed are warthogs who will fight with any other animal over food, territory, or mating rights.  The next most often we’ve seen is zebras among themselves when vying for pellets. They will kick and bite one another to get the next morsel into their mouths.

He doesn’t respond to my voice when he is in this position.

That awful invasion of slimy black worms continued for several weeks but ended about a week ago. The older worms have morphed into annoying giant black moths, flying around inside the house and the veranda. There is no way to escape them, although they are bothersome but harmless.

All we can do is keep the exterior doors open, hoping none will get into the bedroom (we keep that door closed at all times). If we shut the exterior doors, the house’s interior gets too hot, and there’s no aircon unit on the main floor other than in the bedroom. In time, these moths will disappear, and then some other annoying insect will take over. After all, TIA, “This is Africa,” and that’s what happens here.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 22, 2022:

Bossy’s baby suckles while another female looks for pellets. For more photos, please click here.

Let sleeping kudus lie…Dazzle of zebras came to call…Easy life…

Big Daddy was napping in the garden.

As we sit here enjoying views of the massive garden surrounding our holiday home on this slightly cooler and less humid Tuesday morning, we are reminded of the leisurely pace of our day-to-day lives. We love these times of low stress and less paperwork consuming our time.

Sure, there’s always work we could tackle, but right now, we’re both reveling in this quiet time back together in the bush and freeing ourselves from obligation and planning. In the next few weeks, we’ll have to ramp it up and start planning where we’ll go when we leave South Africa on June 8.

We think it will make sense to spend at least a month in an African country that we may not visit in the future since it borders South Africa, and when staying in this country, we can’t get our visas stamped for another 90-day stay in any country nearby.

He was nodding off before he finally succumbed to sleep.

Our first cruise sails out of Edinburgh, Scotland, on August 1. Since the UK is so expensive, spending from June 8 to August 1 in Scotland may not make sense. If we spend another month on the African continent in a country we haven’t visited, we’ll save money while enjoying a new country, going on unique safaris, and immersing ourselves in yet another culture. It seems like a logical plan for us.

When the month is over, we can then head to Scotland, where we’ll spend about three weeks reveling in the wonders of that beautiful country that we’ve never visited in the past. We always love trying new locations when we have already seen so much of the world in the past ten-plus years.

Sure, each day, we conduct a little research to decide in a few weeks. With a decision, it will make the pinning down of plans easier and less time-consuming. Some African countries don’t have many holiday homes suitable for our needs, and we may have to consider staying in a resort or hotel, which is OK for us after we’ve recovered from our ten months in a hotel in lockdown in India.

Zebra butts while dining on pellets. Check out the face on the second from the left!

At the time, we may have said we never wanted to stay in a hotel other than for a few nights. But, as time marches on, we’ve let that go and know that on some occasions, we may need to stay in a hotel or a resort, which we now fully accept as a possibility.

We can easily stay in a hotel suite where we may have a refrigerator, even if it’s small. Also, we prefer to stay in hotels and resorts that include breakfast, reducing our cost of dining. Also, the prices for many holiday homes have doubled since the pandemic and become less affordable when many hotels have had fewer increases.

Since we still only eat two meals a day, in the case of included breakfast, our only dining expense is for dinner and a drink, if desired. When staying in hotels in Minnesota and Nevada, we seldom had a drink with dinner, not because we were being frugal but more so because neither of us needs to drink alcohol every time we go out. For us, it’s more about a social scene.

This zebra kept watch while the other nine zebras ate pellets.

Tonight, we’re finishing our stir-fry dinners. Tomorrow, we’ll make something to last for two nights, and then it’s time for Jabula again. Friday night, we’ll go on our own as usual. On Saturday night, Louise and Danie are joining us to finally catch up after Tom’s return. We always have plenty of catch-ups to do with this lovely couple.

Have a fantastic Tuesday, and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 21, 2022:

A mom and baby mongoose sucking contents from an egg. For more photos, please click here.

Update on headache and face pain…Hopeful…

A Medium Daddy is sniffing and approaching a female kudu.

For a while, a few weeks or so, my headache improved tremendously. When it flared up, I took a medication Doc Theo had prescribed that contained cortisone but was instructed to use it sparingly due to potential side effects. If I could have taken it daily, I’d have been headache and facial pain-free. But I’ve only used it a few times for two consecutive days, enjoying the relief by the second day.

It wasn’t until I started taking a non-prescription antihistamine that he suggested, Fexo 18, fexofenadine, for the past week that I began to notice a good improvement in the symptoms. I never thought it was a brain issue. I am convinced it is an allergy problem and nothing more serious requiring specialists or brain scans.

This Big Daddy has been visiting us each day.

It seems the symptoms are worsened with more humid weather, but also consider the following:

“In spring and summer, during tree and grass pollen season, levels are highest in the evening. In late summer and early fall, levels are highest in the morning during the ragweed pollen season. Take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes after working or playing outdoors.”

Covid 19 symptoms vary from person to person. When we both got Omicron on a cruise ship last April, the first symptoms I experienced, besides the sore throat, were a headache over my left eyebrow and pain when touching my left cheek. These symptoms, overall, have continued since that time to one degree or another. I’ve been treated for sinus infections and would have relief for a few weeks, and then it would start up again.

Early on, I was treated for trigeminal neuralgia, which made some sense. But the excessive sneezing and runny nose didn’t coincide with that diagnosis. Plus, the medication for that condition made me sleepy and sluggish during the day and caused me to gain weight, a typical side effect of that drug. I stopped taking it a month later, and the headache and face pain returned.

He loves his pellets.

Then, off and on over the past several months, I’ve had short periods with less pain in my head and intermittent face pain. At this point, I’ve been pain-free for the past four days since I started taking the strong antihistamine a week ago. The sneezing and runny nose are less; the headache is 90% gone, and the facial pain. Perhaps, this is actually under control with this over-the-counter medication.

Years ago, when I was allergy tested, dust, dust mites, ragweed, and grass pollen were the allergens to which I responded the most. Right now, ragweed is at its highest level in the fall here in the Southern Hemisphere. There’s more dust and pollen here in the bush than anywhere we’ve ever been. Imagine the dust the animals kick up every day which enters the house. and no amount of hand dusting can eliminate it.

When we were in Minnesota in November and December, the headache almost disappeared after the first few days with snow on the ground. But, in our old lives, I experienced many symptoms in Minnesota during the summer months due to these same allergens.

Such a good-looking animal.

So now, I wait and see if the headache and face pain continue to improve. If so, there won’t be anything I need to do in the future other than continue taking this particular antihistamine when returning to South Africa next year. We’ll see how it goes.

On Friday, we’re both going to see Doc Theo. Tom would like the peace of mind of having an ultrasound called an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening test because several male family members have died or experienced this condition requiring treatment. Doc Theo will arrange for the test for Tom, which requires that we travel to Nelspruit, most likely to Mediclinci, where I had heart surgery.

Also, I am overdue for a heart scan and plan to do it on the same day as Tom’s test. Hopefully, all will be fine for both of us. We’ll report back what we discover.

That’s it for today, folks. Have a fantastic day, and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 20, 2022:

Bossy arrived with three young calves. She was on babysitting duty. This is her male calf. For more photos, please click here.

A quiet Sunday in the bush…Hot, not so humid…Plenty of visitors for a weekend…

An interesting leaf-like insect was spotted on the veranda and stayed by my foot for about an hour. I researched every leaf-like insect and couldn’t find the species. Any ideas?

This morning, I took my time getting out of bed. My mind was full of thoughts about the future we’d yet to book. We’ve felt somewhat on hold until we receive notification that my visa has been extended to June 8, the day we plan to leave South Africa. As mentioned earlier by Tom traveling to the US a few weeks ago, he received a new 90-day visa. The process of applying for an extension for him becomes a moot point.

A mating pair of doves often hang around, hoping other birds drop seeds from the above bird feeder on a trolley.

At that point, we’ll begin a year away from the bush with plenty of plans in the works. We’re going to return in June or July 2024 when a short time later, daughter Tammy and family will travel here to spend time with us. They are quite the adventurers and will spend many days on a wide variety of activities. They’ll love everything South Africa has to offer.

Medium daddy drinking from the pool.

Most likely, we’ll return to this same house. It has two guest houses on the property that will serve our visitors well, providing privacy and convenience. Plus, it will be fun to return and see our favorite animals return to see us. Hopefully, a year later, they will remember us, our generous offerings, and my annoying high-pitched voice.

A gecko is looking out through the air vent hole in the outdoor heater.

Today, I am making two stir-fry dishes; beef tenderloin, mushroom, and broccoli for Tom; and prawns with bell peppers, zucchini, onions, and broccoli for me, all topped with a handful of peanuts. Tom will have his dinner on a bed of white rice while mine will top cooked shredded cabbage. We won’t have a salad with these intense vegetable meals.

Jasmine and her son, Little Johnny.

As always, I am making enough to last for two or three dinners, so I didn’t mind taking the time to wash and prepare all the fresh vegetables, placing them in big ziplock bags until it is time to cook the dishes. The leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator, which is easy to reheat quickly on the stovetop or in the microwave, as preferred, neither of which is impacted by load shedding.

Hal didn’t stop for pellets. He was content munching on the lush green grass.

They still tasted as good as they did the first night. It’s excellent cooking this way, always making enough to last for at least two nights, sometimes three. I like that for the next few nights; I don’t have to cook at all, other than reheat our leftovers. Then, on the other days, I can busy myself with other tasks on the agenda with our never-ending stream of research and paperwork.

Tom ordered this salad, but I ended up eating it without dressing, which it doesn’t need.

On another hot day, I am sitting at the dining room table with two fans blowing on me, the overhead fan and the portable fan only a few feet from me. The fans seem to help to keep the mozzies from landing on me. Right now, I have lots of itchy bites after all the rain we’ve had. I have to keep reapplying repellent when it seems to come off when my arms touch the table while I am typing.

My dish consisted of grilled chicken breast, steamed spinach, cabbage, and green beans.

We had another good night at Jabula last night when the bar filled up with tourists and locals. As usual, our dinners were terrific, as shown in the photos above and below. The meals are simple, but they taste better than you can imagine.

Tom poured the little cup of gravy into the hole he’d made in the center of his mashed potatoes.

The three-week holiday begins at the end of this week and ends after Easter on April 9. It will be busy here in the bush, and we don’t expect to see many animals during this period. But we will see plenty of cars on Olifant Road, the main paved road in MP, many exceeding the 50 km (31 miles) speed limit. It’s always heartbreaking to hear about animals killed on the road due to speeding and careless driving.

Tom is busy at the table on the veranda, as he often is, doing his usual online activities, totally at peace and content. It’s such a joy for me to look outside and see him there. His ten days away are quickly becoming a distant memory as we’ve easily settled back into a harmonious, pleasant, and playful life in the bush. We never forget for a day how fortunate we are to have each other and this amazing life we live.

Be well.

 Photo from one year ago today, March 19, 2022:

What a handsome animal!!! For more photos, please click here.

A mass impacting travel in some parts of the world…

Not our photo. Only a tiny portion of the 5000-mile-wide (8047 km) seaweed mass is washing up on beaches. Sargassum is not a new problem. But the mass of floating seaweed in the Atlantic Ocean is getting bigger, according to scientists. Andre Seale / VW PICS / Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesFor locations,

It’s important for us to pay attention to what’s happening in the world that may have an impact on travel. This morning, while listening to Garage Logic podcast episodes that we missed while Tom was in the US. We’re quickly catching up by listening to two podcasts a day, usually in the morning, while I prepare the posts.

It’s great listening to podcasts in the morning since we don’t have a TV on the main floor and rarely turn it on while in Africa or in other countries, for that matter. We’ve become so used to streaming news and shows. It’s a rare occasion we have any interest in turning on a TV, although we are informed of local and national events with frequent updates that pop up on our laptops.

When this story about the floating mass of seaweed came up today, I thought it was important to share it with our readers who may be considering travel to some of the popular resort areas that may be impacted the most by this anomaly, as described here by Smithsonian Magazine:

“A 5,000-mile-wide blob of brown seaweed is making its way toward North America and could soon wreak havoc on beaches throughout Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean reports NBC News’ Denise Chow.

The thick raft of seaweed—known as the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt—is not new, but scientists say it’s especially large now. What’s more, the giant sargassum blanket floating in the Atlantic Ocean appears to be making landfall several months earlier than normal this year, which “doesn’t bode well for a clean beach summer in 2023,” says Brian Lapointe, an ecologist at Florida Atlantic University, to the New York Times’ Livia Albeck-Ripka and Emily Schmall.

Sargassum typically makes landfall in May, then peaks in June and July. But already, the seaweed is starting to pile up on beaches in Florida’s Key West as well as in Mexico’s Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

“These blooms are getting bigger and bigger, and this year looks like it’s going to be the biggest year yet on record,” Lapointe tells the Times.

Generally, the sargassum mat bobs harmlessly between West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. Out in the middle of the Atlantic, it even provides some benefits, such as absorbing carbon dioxide and providing shelter for various marine creatures, including some fish, crustaceans, and sea turtles.

But when the tangle of seaweed washes ashore, it starts to cause problems. It piles up on beaches and begins to rot, releasing toxic hydrogen sulfide into the air. Also known as “sewer gas” or “swamp gas,” the colorless hydrogen sulfide smells like rotten eggs and can cause respiratory and neurological issues in humans.

Person holding up clumps of seaweed in hands
Not our photo. Sargassum provides a habitat for marine wildlife in the ocean and absorbs carbon dioxide.

Sargassum is a big turnoff to tourists, so it can also lead to economic consequences for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses that rely on travelers for their livelihoods. This year, its early arrival adds to the problems of Florida’s Gulf Coast tourism industry, which is already grappling with the harmful effects of a toxic red tide.

“It’s unpleasant,” says Melinda Simmons, a marine scientist at Jacksonville University, to First Coast News’ Robert Speta. “Whether you are swimming or wading in it, it’s going to smell bad. And then people don’t want to come to the beach.”

Beyond that, sargassum can make it challenging for boats to navigate through coastal waters. It can block the intake valves of desalination plants and power plants, which can lead to water shortages and other issues. It can also block light from reaching the plants and animals below the water’s surface and make it difficult for sea turtles to crawl across the sand to their nesting habitats or to the ocean.

Though communities and resorts try to remove as much of the seaweed from the beach as possible, that process is expensive and labor-intensive. And once they remove the sargassum, they then must figure out what to do with it. Sargassum contains heavy metals, including arsenic, that can make it dangerous to compost or use as fertilizer. Entrepreneurs are trying to come up with novel solutions to the sargassum problem—such as sinking it to the bottom of the seafloor or using it for building materials—but have so far struggled to make them commercially viable.

Scientists have been tracking the Atlantic sargassum raft for years. But in 2011, they started to notice that it was ballooning in size annually. The brown blob is now so large that it can be seen from space, and researchers use satellite imagery to keep tabs on it.

They aren’t exactly sure what’s causing the growth, but they suspect that human activities may be at least partly to blame. They’ve noticed that the sargassum mass tends to expand seasonally, around the same time that major rivers like the Congo, the Mississippi, and the Amazon are discharging into the Atlantic. From this pattern, they’ve determined that runoff from fertilizers, deforestation, and biomass burning may be unintentionally feeding the seaweed. Increasing ocean temperatures, which stem from human-caused climate change, may also be contributing.

“I’ve replaced my climate change anxiety with sargassum anxiety,” says Patricia Estridge, co-founder and CEO of Seaweed Generation, a Scotland-based company that aims to use seaweed to remove carbon emissions, to the Guardian’s Zan Barberton.”

This information is entirely new to us, and we anticipated it may be unknown to many of our readers. It may be worthwhile if planning to travel to any of these locations for ocean-related activities to check online to see the status of this mass of seaweed.

Last night, we had a fabulous time at Jabula. Tom was welcomed back with open arms and considerable enthusiasm by our friends. Tonight, as always, we’ll return again for yet another fun evening.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 18, 2022:

Zebra’s tails appear braided, but obviously, they are not. For more photos, please click here.

Tom is baaaack!!!How wonderful to be together again!!!…In his words…

Could these three female kudus be any cuter?
There are no words I can use without sounding too syrupy to have my man back in the bush with me. He arrived not much later than we’d anticipated. We hugged warmly, but he wanted to brush his teeth before planting a big smooch on me. He hadn’t had access to his toothbrush and toothpaste since he left the US almost two days earlier. I always carry a travel toothbrush and a little tube of toothpaste, just in case. But Tom hadn’t done this.
He spent a night at the City Lodge Hotel at the Tambo Airport in Johannesburg with nothing but the clothes on his back and a clean pair of underwear. His one piece of luggage was in limbo at the time, causing him some stress after recent events.
Kudus love eating bird seeds off the bird feeder ledge.
Tom had written the following to his kids and siblings when they’d asked him about his return trip:
“When I got to the airport in Minneapolis, I received a text on my phone saying my flight was delayed two hours. Apparently, the plane coming from Denver was delayed getting out of there. I was worried because my layover in Newark, NJ, was only 90 minutes, and I would miss my 16-hour flight from Newark to Johannesburg, South Africa. 
This route is only available two to three times a week. I would have been stuck in Newark until I could get on another 16-hour flight.
Also, I had booked a hotel room at the airport in Johannesburg due to a 14-hour layover to catch my last flight from Johannesburg to Nelspruit, South Africa. If I couldn’t get on this new flight, I would have to pay for the hotel room and not get there in time to use it.
Check out the width between this Big Daddy’s horns.
Quickly, I approached the airline counter, asking what I could do. They told me to go to a  different gate with an earlier flight from Minneapolis to Newark.
When I checked at the next gate (same airline), they said I might have a chance to get on that flight, but I would be on standby and have to wait until all the other booked passengers were on the plane.
I had checked my bag for the first flight, so the gate agent called about it to see if it could be moved from my booked flight to this flight. They told her they would try to get it done.
I’ve never been on a standby list before. I waited about 2½ hours.
While I was waiting there, many others were trying to do the same thing that I had done, get on the standby list I was on. Some of these passengers were getting angry and raising their voices.
After they boarded the plane with booked passengers, I was relieved when they announced that only three seats were available for standby passengers, and I was #2 on the list. When I got to my seat, I heard other passengers talking, saying this particular flight had been delayed; it was scheduled to depart several hours earlier. I was fortunate it was delayed and that I could get on it.
Then I was concerned if my checked bag made this flight. I went to the hotel without my bag, with no toiletries and only a change of underwear I’d put into the computer bag. I didn’t know until I arrived at my final location to find my bag was there. What a relief after what we’d been through recently with lost baggage.

The candy made it without being an issue. I’m happy to be back!”

Adorable Little Johnny contemplating jumping over the fence

Yesterday, we never spent a moment out of each other’s sight. We had a lot of catching up to do, along with an entire afternoon and evening filled with laughter, countless warm interactions, and smiles on our faces. After never being apart in the past over ten years (other than the nights I was in hospital), I can’t even describe how wonderful it feels to be back together again.

Today, now 24 hours later, we’re still reeling. Even breakfast tasted better than ever this morning. Last night upon Tom’s insistence, I never made the chateaubriand but instead cut the meat into sizable steaks, which we enjoyed topped with garlic mushroom, wine sauce I made just before we ate, along with a crispy green salad and rice for Tom.

He hadn’t slept well in the airport hotel and slept only about four hours in the past two days. I could tell he was tired but couldn’t doze off when he tried to take a short nap around 2:00 pm, 1400 hrs. In a funny way, he reminded me of a little kid excited to be where he was and unable to wind down long enough for his nap. It warmed my heart. I am so lucky.

Norman has visited several times already this morning but was annoyed with nearby male kudus, causing him to fluff up with his head low.

Louise wrote to me that last night I was the “happiest woman in Marloth Park.” So true, dear Louise. And I am still reeling today. They say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” But my heart was already pretty fond before he went away. In reality, we feel as lucky to be together today as we always feel.

Today, we’re making burgers on the braai (no buns) with bacon and the leftover garlic mushroom sauce, salad, and rice. Sundowners on the veranda on this lovely sunny day will begin at 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs., as always—dinner around 6:00 pm, 1800 hrs., and later streaming our favorite shows. Tom slept well and is experiencing no jet lag whatsoever, but surely another good night’s sleep will be worthwhile.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 16, 2022:

It didn’t take long for the wildebeest fight to commence. We knew that something would happen once they were on their knees. For more photos and a video of the battle, please click here.

Oops…forgot to upload yesterday’s post…Tom returns today!…11 year anniversary of our posts!…

A kudu mom and her young son who will eventually become a Big Daddy.

Gee…  late last night, I started getting messages that there was no post yesterday. Then it dawned on me that I hadn’t uploaded it since I was waiting to hear from Tom since he always proofread the posts within minutes of it being uploaded so we can correct any errors.

The time slipped away when he was on the plane for 16 hours. And I became so distracted by hearing his voice when he arrived that I forgot entirely about uploading the post. Neither of us thought of it when all that was on our minds was him getting back to me in the bush. Gosh, it’s been a long ten days.

Once he got situated in his hotel room in Joburg after we’d talked, he noticed I hadn’t uploaded the post and sent me a message. By then, I was under the covers and thinking about dozing off. It had to wait until this morning. If I got up and turned my laptop back on, I’d lose the sleepiness I was feeling.

Zebras wander over to the railing for pellets.

First thing this morning, I uploaded yesterday’s post, and now I am busy doing today’s, which I will remember to upload. I am still in one piece, counting the hours until Tom returns. I can’t tell you how many readers wrote to me wondering if a lion had eaten me.

A few minutes ago, I got a message from Tom that his Airlink flight from Joburg to Nelspruit had been delayed, a rare occurrence for that airline. They are always on time, from our experience. Oh, dear, so close and yet so far away. Now, I am waiting to hear from him as to when his expected arrival will be. He still has a long drive from Nelspruit to Marloth Park, with lots of traffic and endless trucks traveling on the N4 highway during the week.

I just heard from Tom. He’s on the plane. He should be landing in about 40 minutes. Then, he’ll get his bag and the rental car to begin the drive.

Zebras continue to stop by daily.

This morning I started working on tonight’s special dinner. I’m planning to make Chateau Briand with a fine piece of beef tenderloin with a lovely red wine mushroom sauce with roasted carrots and onions. But we may decide to have fillet mignon steaks with the mushroom sauce since we both like a different degree of doneness…he prefers medium-rare, and I like rare, which is tough to do when making Chateau Briand. It’s got to be one or the other. Plus, there’s load shedding from 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs., to 7:30 pm, 1930 hrs., and we won’t be able to use the oven. This dish is best prepared in an oven as opposed to a grill.

So we shall see. He’ll have rice, and both of us will have salad which I already prepared this morning, adding the homemade dressing at the end. It’s an easy dinner to prepare, leaving us plenty of time to catch up and enjoy the remainder of the day and the evening on the veranda.

We often find ourselves rereading specific posts, often many we’ve forgotten we ever wrote. It was 11 years ago today that we uploaded our first post, which may be found here. Maybe we will reread that post together this evening during sundowners on the veranda. It’s such fun to review our lives in such detail whenever it appeals to us.

Hoppie’s Mom and piglets can’t resist breaking through the fence to get into the garden.

Also, seeing old photos is a special treat. We didn’t post many photos in the first year, but after our readership grew in leaps and bounds, we realized adding photos was a must, along with uploading a new post daily. Initially, we thought we were doing the posts to keep the family updated. Little did we know it would eventually grow in leaps and bounds to reach readers worldwide. We are very grateful to all of our readers.

Soon Vusi will be here. He’ll fill the water dispenser with water so I can make Tom a huge batch of his favorite iced tea. Then, he’ll refill the pellet bucket so Tom won’t have to do it when he arrives. Plus, Vusi will fill the birdbath with fresh water and the birdseed containers with seeds. I’ve made lots of ice using our ice cube trays, so Tom won’t have to do that either. I want his first few days back to be free of household chores so he can relax and do what he loves.

Thanks for all the love and support from so many while I’ve been alone in the bush these past ten days and nights. It’s meant so much to me that I never really felt alone.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 15, 2022:

Warthogs often photobomb! For more photos, please click here.

Cooler day…Two days and counting…

Our beautiful Delilah, a duiker, the smallest of the antelope in Marloth Park, visits us several times a day. Her mate, Derek, isn’t as daring as Delilah and seldom jumps the little fence.

Yes, I am counting the hours until Tom returns, let alone the days. In about 48 hours, he’ll surely walk in the door with a wide grin on his face. He appreciated the time he spent with family, especially those spent with his kids, alone without me. We’ve both always felt that some alone time with our adult children is good, especially since we are a blended family and fully understand that our children may enjoy time alone with their parent, instead of the two of us.

No offense is taken by this fact by either of us. When we go to Minnesota, we spend some time together with my son Greg and his three children, but I spend time with them on my own while Tom is busy with his kids and grandkids. We make a point of spending any holidays that occur while we’re together, perhaps at different times of the day.

We’ll be back in the US in September, which is a mere six months from now, and again, we’ll shuffle around to see everyone. We’ll be staying a total of three weeks in the US, one week in Nevada with son Richard and renewing our driver’s licenses, and then fly to Minnesota to see our three other children, grandchildren, and other family members and friends.

The bush is lush and green after all of the rain these past few months.

In the past few years, we’ve spent more time in the US than we had in the first five or six years of world travel, which has proven good for us all. No doubt, living away from grown children and their families is not easy, but many seniors move to warmer climates and are away from their families for extended periods. We’re trying to coordinate our travels to allow more time with family as we continue on our journey.

We’d never have stayed in Minnesota if we hadn’t decided to travel the world. With the cold, ice, and snow, we, too, would have sought warmer and safer climates as so many people do as they age. Many seniors break bones, including hips (especially women), from falling on the icy roads and pavement. Walking out to one’s car in a parking lot was terrifying when walking on glare ice. Even young people often fell and hit the icy ground with a thud.

It’s been snowing quite a bit while Tom has been in Minnesota, but soon, he’ll return to upcoming fall weather in South Africa, when it will begin to cool down on days like today. It’s heavenly with lowered temperatures and humidity with a high of only 84F, 29C.

Bossy is so pretty.

Tom suggested that perhaps our readers may not be interested in the weather in Africa. But recently, many have written that it’s interesting to them to see how our weather compares to theirs and how different it is across the world.

This evening, I am invited to Louise and Danie‘s home for the lamb braai. Soon, after load shedding ends (when I can use the oven with the inverter system), I am making them a keto cheese pie which they both love. I always make an extra pie for me which I savor in small pieces each evening after dinner. It keeps well for several days in the refrigerator. Tom doesn’t care for it, so I won’t concern myself with saving some for him. I offered to bake something for him for his return, but he said he had donuts left in the freezer and that he’ll enjoy those with his coffee each morning.

I am planning a special dinner for the night he returns. I imagine it will be an early night since he’ll arrive here around 1:00 pm, 1300 hours. He may take a short nap to be able to enjoy the evening with me. It only takes us one good night’s sleep to recover after not sleeping for two days, and I am sure that will be the case for him this time too.

Although we’ve talked a lot on the phone since he’s been gone, we’ll have plenty to catch up on. The time can’t come quickly enough for me. I’ve realized as I’ve aged not to wish for time to fly quickly and to savor every moment of our lives. But, this time apart leaves less opportunity for savoring life, although I’ve had some very fun times with our friends while he was away enjoying every moment.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 13, 2022:

This is Little Imposter. He pretends to be Little by mimicking Little’s behavior, but the differences in their appearance make it easy for us to determine who is who. For more photos, please click here.

Little Johnny and his mom Jasmine…Bye, bye, slimy black worms!!!…Errors on posts…

Look at this adorable little boy bushbuck, whom we named Little Johnny. His mother is Jasmine. We name all female bushbucks after flowers and plants.

It’s so exciting that the slimy, black worm infestation is finally over. I can now sit outdoors without worms falling on me and without carrying them into the house on my shoes. Nor do I have to worry about going to the kitchen barefoot at night, stepping on stray worms that wandered into the house with the doors open. What a relief!

This morning I was lazy and lounged in the bedroom later than usual. There was no urgency to get up, especially with no animals in the garden. I watched a few episodes of Naked and Afraid on my phone until I finally got up to begin my day. After showering, dressing, and getting ready for the day, doing my usual routine, I was ready to make my mug of iced coffee and breakfast.

It feels odd that it’s Sunday. I’ve never liked Sundays since I associate them with going to school on Mondays when I was a kid and later as an adult, facing the responsibilities of owning/running a business all of those years when I worked so hard. Somehow, I’ve never been able to totally shake that feeling, even though I retired many moons ago.

Now, with Tom still in the US, with only three days until he returns, I’m a little out of sorts, wondering what today will bring. I expect it to be a very quiet day without transportation and no plans whatsoever.  Louise and Danie invited me tomorrow for a “lamb on the braai” dinner at their lovely home down the road. As much as I’m sure I’ll enjoy the lamb, their companionship will be the biggest attraction.

With the camera next to my laptop, I’m hoping more wildlife will stop by, enabling me to take more photos. The only other wildlife I’ve seen this morning, besides Jasmine and Little Johnny, are Hoppie’s Mom and her two pesky piglets. There are always a few impalas here and there, but I seldom take their photos with them being so prolific.

Yesterday, Tom and I spoke twice, once before Sindee picked me up to go to Jabula and then again after I returned to the house in the evening. He’s been proofreading the posts each day but had been busy with family and hadn’t had time to read yesterday’s post. In the previous days, we’d been able to go over the corrections together while I made the adjustments accordingly.

Jasmine and Little Johnny stopped by this morning.

When we talked last night after I returned to the house, he pointed out some errors, and one particular error made us laugh out loud. I meant to say “as” at the beginning of a paragraph, and instead, I typed “ass.” We giggled over my gross error as well as the countless other errors I’d made.

It’s funny how I will read and reread each day’s post before publishing it. I use a spell-checking and grammar app, Grammarly, to review each post and make the suggested corrections. Invariably, it misses at least six errors each day, errors I also missed after reading and rereading it several times. It’s the nature of the beast. (No pun intended).

Somehow, Tom manages to pick up most of the errors when he reads it after I post it online. But, as good as he is at this, he, too, can miss a few remaining errors. Often, when I look back at posts, I see new errors. I often wonder if old errors magically reappear.

As it turns out, over the years of writing a new post daily, I resigned myself to this reality…errors will remain on some posts. I dare anyone to write a new story 365 days a year for over ten years without leaving some errors in their wake. If I were to spend more time preparing the posts, I suppose I could post them in near-perfect condition. But, I already spend a half of each day working on posts, including photos, so I don’t know if I’d be able to maintain my level of passion for doing this. It’s the price I must pay.

I kindly ask each of our readers to understand my position and bear with some missed errors on posts, knowing that we wish they could be perfect. For us, perfection comes in the desire to continue to share our lives with those who choose to continue to read about our lives, whether it is interesting or mundane or anything in the middle. Thank you, dear readers, for accepting our realities, whatever they may be.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 12, 2022:

We never sailed on Cunard Queen Mary 2, a fully prepaid transatlantic cruise, when, while on another cruise, we both got Covid in April 2022. For more, please click here.

Baboon invasion…Fun night at Jabula…Conflicting opinions but peaceful conversation…

Selfie: Me, Sindee, and Leon having fun on “hat night” at Jabula. I wonder what the occasion will be tonight??? It was really hot and humid, and I had light red wine on my teeth.

It’s a little busy here this morning, surprising for a Saturday when soon the official three-week holiday begins, and holidaymakers have begun to filter into Marloth Park. There were several kudus, bushbucks, and impalas and, of course, the usual, Hoppie’s Mom and her two annoying piglets who always break the little fence to get into the garden closest to the house.

It’s as if the three of them lie in wait for me to toss pellets to other animals and then come charging toward the house, hoping to partake in the bounty. Invariably, they scare off some of the smaller antelopes, but Big Daddies and Norman take no flack from them, often tipping their massive horns to show them who’s boss.

It’s no wonder that warthogs, pigs that they are, end up with heinous injuries from being stabbed with those massive horns by the larger antelopes in the park. It’s always sad to see those gaping holes, often oozing blood and filled with maggots, but surprisingly, warthogs are quite sturdy with strong immune systems, and they survive.

As I sit here now at the table on the veranda, I am reminded that last night just when I was walking out the door to get into Sindee’s car to head to Jabula, a half dozen baboons hit the veranda. There was nothing out there they could harm, and since they don’t respond to women chasing them off, I could do nothing.

Every Friday and Saturday night, Tom orders Jabula’s amazing creamed spinach. with his meal. He only takes a bite or two, if any, and piles the remainder onto my plate. I never order it myself, always saying it’s too fattening. Well, last night, without him there, I ordered creamed spinach as a side and ate the entire plate. I sent him the photo,,, and he laughed out loud. I also sent him the above photo of the three of us with hats.

With the lions nearby, I didn’t want to go out onto the veranda in the dark when I returned from Jabula. This morning I faced a mess on the table. The baboons had actually peed on the table, and it wore off the varnish, right where I usually sit. I got some hot soapy paper towels and washed it over and over again, cringing all the while.

Yesterday, when Danie stopped by, he told me that nine lions had a “kill” a few mornings ago, at the far end of this property. I didn’t hear anything unusual, but it could have been while I was in the shower.

Besides, it’s common to hear shrieks, barking (mostly impalas), and screaming noises in the bush, most of which we’ve become used to. Animals get into scuffles and make lots of noise at times. As quickly as a lion could grab a bushbuck or an impala by the neck, we wouldn’t necessarily hear a thing, even if it was nearby.

As for last night’s visit to Jabula would only have been more fun if Tom had been there. Sindee and I sat at the bar chatting and laughing while Leon spent most of the evening entertaining us on “hat night,” when he brought out more than a dozen fun hats for guests and staff to wear. We all laughed out loud as he entertained the group of us, filling all of the seats at the bar.

Our friend Vimpy (nope, not Wimpy) said hi to Tom in the court jester hat.

Seated to my left were three Americans who’d come to South Africa to hunt. She showed me a photo of a golden wildebeest she’d shot. Of course, I have distinct opinions about hunting these wild animals, many of whom we interact with on a daily basis. To spend over three years in Marloth Park watching animal behavior on a daily basis and reveling in the stunning means of communicating we have with them, it breaks my heart to think people would kill them for sport.

I fully understand the necessity for animals to be bred as a food sources. Let’s face it, every carnivore on the planet eats other species for survival. Most likely, that is why the variety of edible species exist. But, to kill animals for “fun,” even though the hunters donate the meat to the locals, is a little hard for me to accept.

Also, I understand the necessity of culling to preserve a richer environment for a remaining species and to avoid starvation when natural resources have been depleted by other animals or even humans. Ah, it’s a sensitive topic, and I understand and try to respect the choices made by certain factions who view wildlife very differently than we do.

Spend three years of your life “talking to the animals” to fully understand my perspective. Please don’t send me negative comments on this topic. As in many areas of life, we all have varying opinions, and all we can do is try to have an open mind to the fact that we may disagree on many topics. That’s why we avoid discussing politics on this site.

What would be the point of getting into a heated discussion when neither of the participants can change the other’s mind on many topics. Over the years, we’ve found ourselves avoiding discussions with others, centering around politics when we aren’t interested in getting into a heated debate. It may be stimulating for some, but it is not for us.

As both Tom and I have learned, the only benefit from heated discussion is when compromise is reached to solve a problem that can’t be resolved in calm conversation. However, I tend to avoid conflict; it only raises my blood pressure, not my awareness or knowledge. Subsequently, both of us have learned to speak calmly after a short cooling-off period (if needed) in an attempt to avoid conflict.

As far as I’m concerned, “fighting isn’t healthy,” as some claim to be the sign of a strong and loving relationship. Compassion, compromise, and a willingness to accept alternate views creates strong and loving relationships. No, we don’t always agree, but somehow, we always manage to make a fair and reasonable case for our point of view as we strive for a logical solution and ultimate decision.

Life is too short to spend it angry. No one is ever going to be lying on their deathbed, saying, “Gee, I’m glad I fought so hard to make a point.” instead, they could say, “Gee, I’m glad I loved so hard to make a peaceful life.”

Be well, my friends.

Photo from one year ago today, March 11, 2022:

I dumped four medications for six months in this pile on the bed to illustrate how inexpensive drugs are in South Africa. For more info, please click here.