Booster or not to booster?…

Big Daddies often hang around together and easily share pellets, as shown here.

There’s no way we can avoid bringing up Covid-19, but we have chosen, based on our reader’s preferences, not to get into politically charged issues. We’ll let all of you pursue those aspects of the pandemic on your own if you so choose. For us, we’ve had enough news about it.

But, now we’re faced with the prospect of getting a booster, and we prefer to base our preference to get a booster based on our health issues and potential risks. With my medical history, mainly cardiovascular-related, I’ve decided to have a booster. Tom has decided not to, which is entirely up to him. I impose no pressure on him whatsoever. It’s his choice.

This could easily be a dad and son.

On Friday, we’re heading to Malalane for Tom’s dental appointment to implant the two teeth he had pulled months ago. After the dentist, surely, he’ll require a few prescriptions, so we’ll head to Click’s Pharmacy to have them filled. While there, I will be able to get the vaccine booster.

After considerable research, I’ve decided on the “mix and match” concept. From the CDC website:

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen

You are eligible for a booster if you are:
18 years or older

When to get a booster:
At least two months after your shot

Which booster should you get?
Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States

Check out the gorgeous face of this male kudu.

Based on the lower efficacy of the J & J vaccine, I decided a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Friday would round out my protection. Of course, I ran this by Dr. Theo last time I saw him, several weeks ago, and suggest that you do the same with your doctor, should you or any family members decide on getting a booster.

I considered waiting until we get to the US, but the vaccines used here are the same as those used in the US. There’s no point in waiting. Besides, according to Worldometer, Florida is #3 on the list of states with the most cases, including 2000 new cases as of yesterday. It makes sense to be better protected before we go.

They are always on the lookout for the next morsel of food. Times are tough right now with a severe lack of vegetation.

Even in our former state, Minnesota, there were 6879 new cases yesterday.  There were only 950 new cases yesterday in Nevada, our state of residency. Why cases continue to rise in some states is not clearly defined by the CDC. There is still limited information available as to why there is an increase in cases in many areas worldwide.

No, the vaccine does not provide 100% safety or efficacy, but it seems to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths. Deaths are down, but cases continue to rise in many countries throughout the world. That in itself is motive enough for me to get the booster.

Often, other animals clear out when a Big Daddy arrives.

Only each of us can decide what is best for us, our state of health, along with recommendations by our medical professionals. Medicine is not a finite science. It is changing daily. But it’s easy to get caught up in old dictates and directives from the powers that be. Staying on top of the latest developments is our only way of being our own best advocates.

It is up to each of us to do our research, from reliable sources, not from Facebook and other social media, to help us make sensible decisions with the support of our doctors, especially in cases where there are comorbidities that may impact receiving a vaccine and a booster.

That’s our comments for today, folks. Have a safe and healthy day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 3, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #225. Tom, chipper, as usual, during breakfast while we were on a 33-night cruise circumnavigating the Australian continent. For more, please click here.

This morning’s first ever event in the bush with photos!!!…Wow!…

We scurried indoors when this Big Daddy came right up to the door from the house to the veranda.

To all of our friends/readers in the US, we wish all of you a safe and pleasurable Labor Day weekend. Please drive safely, observe local Covid-19 restrictions and enjoy time with family and friends, cooking outdoors, fishing, boating, or whatever you choose to do during the long holiday weekend.

It was shocking to see how brave they were in approaching us. We stayed clearly out of range the entire time they were here.

As for the weekend here in the bush, Marloth Park is relatively quiet with some holidaymakers, mainly from South Africa, who have come to escape life in the big city and relax peacefully in the bush. Nowhere in the world have we’ve ever been offered the depth of serenity and peace than Marloth Park.

There wasn’t a lot we could do when he approached us, other than getting behind the door. If we tried to scare him off, he could have used his massive horns on us.

Although from time to time that may vary due to visit by those select few who see this magical place as a “party town” where there is minimal police presence with many opportunities to go wild, drinking, to drive fast, and to have little regard for others seeking the peacefulness of living among the wildlife.

I accidentally dropped a carrot which he couldn’t quite reach. He came around to the other side to get it.

Fortunately, where we are located, the property backing up to Lionspruit, we rarely hear any noise other than the weekday construction work on a house across the road. In Marloth Park, there are strict regulations about weekend and evening construction noises to avoid disturbing visitors and the wildlife. Most comply or face fines.

He was contemplating how to get the carrot before he came onto the veranda.

This morning, as I struggled to get out of bed after staying up until after midnight with only about 5 hours’ sleep, Tom came to the bedroom, hoping I hadn’t gone back to sleep to tell me to hurry and come outside. He didn’t want to awaken me if I dozed back off. But, I was wide awake playing a fun word game on my phone.

Such beautiful and majestic creatures! See how he was checking out the bag of carrots.

I bolted out of bed to head directly to the veranda, and there they were…four mature Big Daddy kudus, seeing what we had for breakfast. We couldn’t have been more thrilled. Sure, we get one or two Big Daddies from time to time. But, four was something we’d never seen.

There they were, the four adult male kudus munching on pellets we tossed into the garden.

Quickly, I ran to the kitchen for the remaining carrots from the considerable bag we’d purchased at the market last week, and we both started tossing thick, whole carrots in their direction. They gobble them up in minutes, leaving us grabbing for pellets to throw onto the ground. As always, we never feed wildlife by hand, especially not Big Daddies with their enormous horns that could easily eviscerate a human in seconds.

Kudus are not violent animals, but they can startle easily, push one another, or lunge unintentionally. Besides leopards, the occasional lion, or warthogs with razor-sharp tusks, they are the most dangerous wildlife in Marloth Park. Even the adorable male bushbucks who visit us all day and night are extremely dangerous with sharp and long horns. One can never be too careful around any wild animal.

Broken Horn was in the background, but he seemed to get along well with the Big Daddies.

It was quite a delightful experience to be among them. We felt very fortunate to be privy to this amazing visit. And even if they never return together again, we are grateful for the opportunity to witness such magnificence.

Last night, our friends Fiona and Alan came for dinner. Alan is a prolific writer of outstanding published books on Marloth Park. He is a wealth of stories and information about this magical place after living here for 20 years, and the time spent with the two of them is rife with fantastic wildlife and human stories.

They rarely picked up their heads for full-face photos.

We had a lovely evening on the veranda with them, with our new speaker spewing out music to highlight the evening. We kept the speaker indoors (not too loud) to avoid making too much noise in the bush. The dinner turned out well, and the evening flowed with ease. As always, I was glad I’d prepared so much of the meal in advance.

We had various visitors while they were here, primarily warthogs, bushbucks, and many mongooses, who’ve been hanging around with us for days. Once they arrived, we savored the starters. We then put the meat on the braai, cooked the rice, reheated the roast vegetables, and tossed the salad with the homemade dressing. We sent them home with a “doggy bag” of leftovers.

Hmm…another lovely weekend here in Marloth Park. Tomorrow morning, I have an appointment with Dr. Singh to have that problematic tooth pulled. If we haven’t posted before leaving here at 10:15 for the long drive, hopefully, I’ll feel well enough to wrap it up when we return.

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today. September 5, 2020:

We posted this photo one year ago while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #166. We visited Blarney Castle as a port of call on a cruise in 2015. For more, please click here.

Holiday makers arriving in the park starting today…Noisy weekend in the bush?…

Big Daddy is such a handsome animal.

We are located on the borders of Lionspruit, the wildlife conservancy within a wildlife conservancy. From our front yard or back garden, we cannot see another house. The only human noise we hear from time to time is the sound of children laughing while in a splash pool, which we can easily handle, the distant sound of a generator when the power is out and the occasional sound of trucks passing with supplies for a house being built in the area.

Other than those sounds, the only sounds we hear consistently is the blissful sounds of wildlife; whether it birds, mongoose making their chittering sounds, warthogs snorting and grunting, impalas barking like a dog, various chirping insects and frogs, the lion’s roar, and the difficult to describe occasional sounds made by kudus, zebra, and wildebeest. It’s all music to our ears.

Big Daddy was posing for a photo.

One of our favorite sounds is made by Frank and The Misses, a loud bird call like none other, at sunrise and sunset, and occasionally during the day, and the gentle chirp when they happily eat their seeds and drink water from the little containers, both of which we refill several times a day.

Otherwise, the quiet is profound. No traffic sounds, no loud music, with no yelling and loud voices. When we lived at the Orange House in 2018/2019, the human sounds were deafening at times. We could easily see three or four-holiday homes from the garden and hear the rambunctious sounds of holidaymakers during the endless stream of holidays in South Africa.

Marloth Park has distinct rules available to every visitor in regards to noise. This is a place to come to unwind, relax and revel in the wonders of nature and wildlife. Loud noise is prohibited and may result in steep fines. But, many tourists pay little attention to the rules.

He stood quietly for a few hours, watching the action around him with many other animals in the garden.

Not only did we hear screaming, yelling, and “drunk talk,” but loud music permeated the air. It wasn’t unusual to hear swearing and name-calling from that location. Here, nothing. At most, we’ll listen to the children’s sounds and an occasional car driving past. This house is set back far from the road, making passing vehicle noises barely detectable.

Upcoming this weekend is yet another South Africa holiday, called a “school holiday,” which may be found at this link. For the regular government holidays, please click here.

This upcoming school holiday, of course, meaning kids are out of school, impacts tourism in Marloth Park beginning on April 23 and continues until May 3 for a total of 10 days. During these several long stretches throughout the year, Marloth Park is rife with tourists, with considerable fast driving on the paved road Olifant and all the dirt roads, which often results in the killing of many animals.

Big Daddy is in the background with two females ready for more pellets.

As mentioned over Easter weekend, seven of our beloved animals were killed by hit-and-run drivers, some of which were killed instantly and others who had to be euthanized. Each time we don’t see some of our favorites in the garden over days, we end up wondering if they were one of the victims of these ruthless drivers, until once again they grace us with their presence, filling us with a sense of relief.

Likely, we won’t see much wildlife during the ten days when often, they are hiding in the bush away from the commotion or being fed inappropriate foods that they, like humans, can’t help but like. During these periods, we seldom see many of our wildlife friends. In actuality, that has already begun when, this morning, we only saw a few warthogs, bushbucks, and of course, Frank and The Misses, who we’ll continue to see since Francolins are territorial. It’s doubtful they leave the property.

Also, beginning this weekend, it’s necessary to make an appointment to enter Kruger National Park. Visitors may use this site to book their appointments. Due to the crowds in Kruger, we won’t be visiting any time during the holiday period. Also, our usual drives in search of photo ops in Marloth Park will cease during this period.

Young Mr. Bushbuck is hoping for some pellets when the warthogs take over. We always find a way to get some to him and the other gentle bushbucks.

We hope we’ll continue to have good photos during the next ten days for our daily posts. We’ll do our best to ensure we can post new photos. Fortunately, we have enough groceries and bags of pellets to avoid the necessity of driving to Komatipoort to shop, where it will also be hectic.

Oops, I spoke too soon! Nine kudus just arrived in the garden, including some youngsters and Big Daddy. The camera is clicking non-stop! A grouping of kudus like this is called a forkl.

Little, in the side garden, searching for any leftover pellets we’d tossed to the bushbucks.

May your days and nights be pleasant and fulfilling.

Photo from one year ago today, April 22, 2020:

A distant elephant across the Crocodile River. For more from the year-ago post, please click here.