Lovely evening at dear friend Connie’s home to commemorate Jeff’s passing…

Mark, Sandy, Tom, Micheal, Connie, and Nina sat around the outdoor table on the veranda of Connie’s Lake Minnetonka home.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of our dear friend Jeff passing away at our holiday home in Marloth Park, South Africa. Connie, his wife, was thrilled when she read in our posts that we’d be in Minnesota during the anniversary date so she could plan a special dinner for a few select friends to acknowledge Jeff on the anniversary of his death.

We hesitated when she extended the anniversary since September 21 is the same date as our grandchild, Mad, and grandson, Nik. Madighan’s birthday, which we didn’t want to miss. But we worked out another plan for the birthday without a problem, and all was good.

The blue pot contained tender, delicious beef with mushrooms in a flourless gravy.

Yesterday afternoon, we stopped at a liquor store to pick up a bottle of red wine for Connie. I brought a bottle of low-alcohol dry rose that I miraculously found a few weeks ago. Low-alcohol wine is not easily found in the US. Once we return to South Africa, we won’t have any trouble finding low-alcohol wines. I have no idea what we’ll find in Ecuador at this point.

Connie had made a fantastic dinner with several items I could eat, which was thoughtful of her. As a professional chef, she’s obviously an excellent cook and moves through the process of cooking and serving food with ease and finesse. The spread was not only pleasing to the eye but also mouth-watering and delicious.

Connie made this delicious chicken and prune dish. I tasted a bite of Tom’s but couldn’t eat it due to the sugar in the prunes.

If I hadn’t eaten so much of my favorite cheese, she served with the starters, Belton Farms Cheddar, which has a crunchy texture and amazing taste. I’d have had more room for the dinner. But, I had a little of everything I could eat and was full and content. Tom enjoyed everything as well, especially the garlic-buttered French bread and the pot-roasted meat, reminding him of one of his favorite dinners I’ve often made for him when the proper cuts of beef were available.

I was able to eat everything here except the potatoes and the bread.

The group of guests were enthusiastic sailors, and the conversation flowed on this topic as well as many questions from the group on our world travels. It was fun to share our varied interests. Michael asked if we’d ever be interested in sailing around the world. No, we are not. One, we aren’t sailors, and two, neither of us would be interested in all the work required to sail long distances.

Connie found these napkins to remind her of the time she and Lindsey spent in South Africa with us one year ago when Jeff passed away at our house.

Nor would we ever be interested in a non-sail boat, or as we’ve often been asked, traveling in a motorhome. Long ago, we considered that possibility, but after considerable research, we aren’t interested in that lifestyle either. What we’ve been doing these past almost 11 years suits us just fine.

Everyone’s tastes and desires are different. Most people cannot imagine giving up everything they own and leaving a familiar lifestyle to do what we do. Interestingly, more often, men say they could do it, but women can’t imagine living out of one suitcase and parting with their beloved belongings. We certainly understand that. Sometimes, we shake our heads, unable to believe that we did it.

Last night’s half moon in Minnesota.

Today, we’re meeting several of Tom’s family members at their usual Billy’s Bar and Grill in Anoka, where they often meet on Fridays at 3:00 pm for drinks and dinner. When we were here in the past, we’ve always enjoyed this special time together with his sisters and other family members in the fun and busy establishment.

The time before we leave at 2:15 will be spent on various projects we’ve been working on in order to be prepared to leave the US in a mere 19 days.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 22, 2013:

In Diani Beach, Kenya, our property owners, Hans and Jeri, invited us for dinner at their house next door. The table was set on the well-manicured lawn. With the balmy breeze and the fire roaring, the mosquitoes stayed away, although we were well armed, wearing our BugsAway clothing. For more photos, please click here.

Lovely evening with friends at their home in the bush…

Helmeted guinea-fowl chicks have yet to develop the blue and red facial features shown on the adult in the far left.

There were only six of us at Janet and Steve’s bush home for dinner on their upper-level veranda overlooking their exquisite garden. Lynne and Mick also were in attendance, and the conversation flowed with ease and considerable passion when we touched on so many topics of the day.

Most inconvenient for our hosts was load shedding when dinner was served, but Jan and Steve orchestrated all the food for a seamless event. Other than all the candlelight and lanterns on the veranda, we were entirely in the dark, but the warm and inviting ambiance only added to the magic of the evening.

Zoom in to see a few of these tiny mongoose babies! They are so adorable!

Much to our surprise, we didn’t return home until 11:15 pm, 2315 hrs which is late for a night out in the bush. Fortunately, when we returned, load shedding was over for a while and wouldn’t restart until 3:00 am and end at 5:30 am. Our bedroom turns into a hot box when there’s no air-con on the night when there’s load shedding.

Thank goodness we have a floor fan operated by the inverter when the power is out. I always hear a little “ding” when it goes off and then back on. We left that on when we went to bed, hoping it would help in the middle of the night. Wide awake after the fun evening, I had an awful time falling asleep, and I suppose I was anticipating waking up when the power went out.

We placed a dozen eggs on the ground for the mongooses. It was fun to see the babies getting in on the action.

Last night, our friends from the UK explained that they don’t use air-con to sleep. We always left the air-con on, knowing once the power was restored, it would automatically kick back on. We Americans are spoiled used to air-con in hot weather. It’s hard to break that habit. However, we always ensure that wherever we book for a stay has air-con which we both prefer a good night’s sleep, even in cooler weather.

It’s easy to recall the many sleepless nights we endured in the heat and humidity. That’s not to say we haven’t had times without air-con. In Kenya, where the heat is unbearable at times, we spent three months in a thatched roof house with only a slow-moving overhead fan in the bedroom. Again in Trinity Beach, Australia, we also didn’t have air-con, and we remember many sleepless nights in the hot climate.

It’s delightful to watch how the mongooses crack an egg. The “hike” it between their legs like a football.. Very funny!!

After a few years, we wised up. We no longer book holiday homes without air-con in the bedroom. We can manage fine during hot days, but sleeping is vital to our health and well-being. After sleeping only about four hours last night, I feel out of sorts and exhausted today. I am struggling to get my walking done. I awoke the moment the power went out and barely got back to sleep by the time it was restored.

For the last time before we leave South Africa in 13 days, this morning, we’re returning to Malalane to Dr. Singh’s office to have him check on a painful tooth, which I’ve needed to address for the past few months. My appointment got moved several times due to load shedding (they don’t have a generator), but today it’s a “go” at 11:20 am.

Bossy’s baby has a long way to go to become more sure-footed.

I hope to complete half of my daily walking before we leave soon. Tom will drop me off at the dentist’s office. Then he’ll go to the local Spar Market to buy his favorite donuts. I don’t tell him what to eat when he craves something like donuts. I can only control what I choose to eat.

Believe me, if I weren’t committed to this low-carb way of eating, I’d succumb to a donut now and then. I haven’t eaten a donut in at least 15 years. My blood sugar goes up just from looking at them!

Bossy is a good mom. Here she is, keeping an eye out for the baby of a friend as well.

Tonight, we’ll stay in for the evening, cooking bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin on the braai with veggies, salad, and rice for Tom. We always enjoy our evenings outdoors when the temperature cools a little, and many of our wildlife friends stop by to say “hello.”

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 10, 2021:

An adorable young male bushbuck, we later named Stringy, checks out the grassy area in our garden, waiting for Tom, in the red shirt, to toss him a few pellets. Later, we named him Stringy since, on several occasions, he appeared with vines hanging from his head. For more photos, please click here.

More exciting sightings from the trail cam…A special day of celebration with friends.

What a night it was in the bush! These fantastic creatures stopped by after we’d left some bones out after dark. Genets, as shown in the photos, are carnivores. Porcupines aren’t carnivores, but I also tossed out some vegetables, so perhaps that’s what attracted them.

We’ve had a few glimpses of genets, here and there, but never quite as clear as seen in these photos from last night’s shots by the trail cam. Each morning, it is so exciting to see what treasure the trail cam picked up when we aren’t sitting outdoors.

We couldn’t have been more thrilled to see a genet on last night’s trail cam photos.

It rained in buckets last night, and we were inside when these photos were taken. Plus, sitting outdoors in the dark right now with all the insects buzzing around our heads isn’t as fun as it was a few months ago. Although, when we have guests, we have no choice but to sit outdoors when our dining room table only seats four.

Speaking of guests coming for dinner, tonight at Rita and Gerhard’s US citizenship dinner party at the Khaya Umdani house, we’ll plan a night for all of them to come to our house for dinner, maybe next Thursday or Saturday. With Rita’s sister, Petra, and brother-in-law Fritz here with them for a few weeks, it will be fun to entertain them on our veranda.

“A genet is a member of the genus Genetta, which consists of 14 to 17 species of small African carnivorans. The common genet is the only genet present in Europe and occurs in the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, and France. Genet fossils from the Late Miocene and later have been found at sites in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Morocco.”

It’s always so exciting to share the adventures in the bush with first-time human visitors. It’s delightful to watch the expressions of pure joy on their faces when they see a giraffe crossing the road, warthog moms and babies in the garden, and even insects one has never seen in their lives and may never see again.

After all this time we’ve spent in Marloth Park, which Tom and I just figured out has been 30 months, less one month in the US, and several short visa stamp trips, we’ve never become bored for a day. Yes, we’ve been miserably hot, covered in mosquito bites, and suffered some long stretches without power, water, and WiFi. But, as our long-time readers know, none of this keeps us away.

The small, catlike genet is extremely common in Africa. Nocturnal, secretive, and shy, the fox-size common or small-spotted genet has black marks on its face that give it the appearance of wearing a mask. The spots on the back of a genet’s coat are arranged in parallel lines and become elongated as they approach the tail, which has distinct black rings. Blotched genets are close relatives and share a similar facial mask, but they have larger spots and black-tipped tails.

A few minutes ago, I heard the hornbills pecking on the kitchen window as they often do. I jumped up in an attempt to take a photo of them but instead was distracted by five “go-away” birds near the veranda. And when we’re gifted by the constant flow of human and animal visitors, life couldn’t be better than this. I got several excellent shots which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post.

Every day it’s something new. This type of constant stimulation wasn’t as prevalent in our old lives. And, as much as we enjoyed those days and nights, we have a different perspective of life, of nature, from living here in the bush. We’re often asked if we’d live here permanently, and the answer is still an emphatic “no.” It’s the novelty of all of this that keeps us coming back for more.

That’s not to say we’d get bored living here. Many people live here full-time and never tire of the wildlife and their many friends in this hugely social environment. But, our goals remain the same…we are world travelers, and once we can get back out there in the world, we will. Right now, we’re waiting to see if our cruising plans, in less than three months, will once again send us on our way.

This appears to be two porcupines. Could it be a mom and baby?

For now, I’m finished in the kitchen, having made an enormous salad and surprise treat for Rita, which I’ll share in tomorrow’s post. Her birthday is on Friday, and we’re all going into Kruger on a private guided night drive, ending in a dinner in the wild shortly thereafter. We’ve done this in the past and loved the experience, as I’m sure we all will again.

That’s it for today, folks. I have some projects to complete before heading out to Khaya Umdani for tonight’s festivities. It will be fun to be back at that fabulous house where we stayed for a few weeks in 2014 and have been to several times over the years for other social events.

Have a safe and productive day.

Photo from one year ago today, January 12, 2021:

We were no longer in Mumbai, India, on this date, one year ago. Adorable giraffe at rest. For more photos, please click here.

A sorrowful year-ago post…

Big Daddy, as seen on the trail cam last night.

The past few days, I haven’t been my usual cheerful self. I blamed it on taking antibiotics for my bad tooth, the one that had a root canal done by Dr. Singh in Malalane almost two months ago, and still hurts when I brush my teeth. He explained a week ago, if the antibiotics don’t work, I will have to have the tooth pulled. Today is day three of five on the pills, and I’m not experiencing relief as yet.

The Imposter was trying to get comfortable to take a nap with his tusks in the way.

Usually, by the third day of taking antibiotics, one often begins to feel relief from their infection. Although I prefer to get optimistic, at this point, my optimism is fading fast. Sure, losing a tooth isn’t a big deal in the realm of things, especially when it’s the furthest back molar. If it left a gaping hole, it wouldn’t be noticed when I eat, laugh or talk. But, I spent my entire life taking good care of my teeth, and surely this issue is a part of aging more than from a lack of good dental hygiene, facing all of us as we age.

Also, as I’ve pined the past few days since we decided to leave Africa in 58 days, I’ve found myself feeling melancholy, as evidenced in yesterday’s post here. This is quite unusual for me, when most of the time, I am upbeat and cheerful. Then today, when I reread the post of my dear sister Susan’s passing while we were in lockdown in India, it dawned on me that I have been grieving her loss all over again.

Spikey is too cute for words. He stops by several times a day, often with his mom.

Many experience a resurgence of grief on the anniversary of their loved one’s passing. In actuality, she passed away on August 16th, but I didn’t write the tribute to her until August 24th. When she died, I was caught up in our new site going live and its many issues in the process, and oddly, I kept some of my emotions at bay until the site was working and I could allow myself to grieve. I did so writing this post, dated one year ago today.

And today, as I  began to reread it, I asked Tom to let me read it aloud to him. I did so while he waited patiently, while I stopped several times, overcome with tears, in an attempt to continue. Sharing this with Tom, once again, helped me so much. When I was done, I felt better already.

Mr, Hornbill, doesn’t stay still long enough for a good photo, but we’re happy to see him and his three companions several times a day.

I knew that the sadness I’ve been feeling these past several days had everything to do with losing Susan, coupled with the knowledge and acceptance of leaving Marloth Park in less than two months, and little to do with taking antibiotics and the prospect of losing a tooth. It’s funny how we do that. We cry over something insignificant when, in fact, we’re crying over something else, something big, something meaningful.

So, now I’ve shaken myself off, so to speak, and put on my “big girl pants,” and I am getting ready for tonight’s dinner party here at our house in the bush. There will only be the six of us, Kathy and Don and Linda and Ken, since Rita and Gerhard are yet to return from their trip. But, six is ideal for the small table and accommodates the sparse number of matching dishes in this house.

It’s always delightful to see a young-growing “Big Daddy.”

It will be a leisurely dinner, not typical of “the olden days,” where I prepped and cooked for hours. We’ll start with easy appetizers during sundowners, and dinner will consist of bacon-wrapped filet mignon, baked potatoes with sour cream, vegetables, and salad. The evening will end with the choice of a dozen ice cream bars we purchased yesterday at the little store. Easy peasy.

Once the table is cleared, Tom will do the dishes, and my work will be done. Right now, this suits me just fine. Linda and Ken are leaving soon to return to the UK and may not return for a while, not unlike us. Kathy and Don will return to their home in Hawaii for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Rita and Gerhard are leaving within a week for Germany to see family. Most of all, we’re looking forward to spending time with our friends tonight and avoiding being trapped in the kitchen.

We are looking for morsels of food.

The uncertainty of travel in times of Covid-19 has impacted us all. We are not unique in our decision to return to the place in the world that feels the safest and provides us all with a degree of comfort and peace of mind, coupled with future time spent with family and friends wherever they may be.

So that’s it, dear readers. I need to get back to a few remaining tasks for tonight’s dinner. It’s a beautiful day and should remain comfortable well into the evening.

Enjoy your day and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 24, 2020:

This flower was posted one year ago today, in a tribute I wrote to my sister Susan who passed away a few days earlier while we were in lockown on day #154. Aptly, named a” bleeding heart..”  If you missed this post or would like to reread it, please click here.

Day #179 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Hope on the horizon???…

Last night as we greeted Jeri and Hans in the yard, Tom took this shot.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living on the island of Diani Beach, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

Yesterday, after preparing and uploading the daily post, I spent the entire afternoon, writing, and editing the first of five special 2000 word posts required for our web developers to set up with keywords to increase our web traffic. Doing so will increase our position in Google and other search engines for us to be found more readily by the user searching using specific keywords.

Only moments later he took this shot, but oddly, the sky appeared brighter.

Since our site’s main focus hasn’t been to generate income in the past, we never went through this procedure in the past. Generally, this is a very expensive process since the site must be observed by the developers on a regular basis.  Based on the wonderful relationship we’ve built with Kate, we have been able to secure a reasonable cost of this ongoing process. She can be reached at the following:

Name: Kate Miller
Phone No: +91 8431344070
A baboon shot on our return cab ride from the grocery store. They approach the car when we stop, curious to see what food we may have for them. We had none but a lot of tourists buy bananas to give to them.
Several weeks ago we wrote a detailed post, at this link, about this fine company who has diligently and professionally handled my frequent questions and changes with the utmost patience and ease. I couldn’t recommend them more. The fact they are also in India was merely a fluke, but somehow it provided us with an added level of comfort knowing they were working with us from India.
However, they will work with clients from all over the world. No longer is a face to face meeting needed for web development for small to mid-size sites and businesses. Writing a post with 2000 words was challenging. Our usual posts are 1000 words or less. By the way, recently, we watched a fantastic Australian TV series, entitled “800 Words” about a blog writer, his daily 800 word posts, and his interesting life after his beloved wife passed away.
Our glass table was set and ready for our dinner guests, the landlord, and his wife. With no Windex or glass cleaner in the grocery stores, I’ve had a heck of a time cleaning the glass table top. I asked Hesborn how he is able to clean it so well with no streaks. He said he uses soap and water on a rag, drying it with a dry towel. I tried this method, only to end up with streaks.
If you’re into “binge-watching,” “800 Words” is an easy and entertaining series to keep you engaged for days, if not weeks, with its many episodes. We found it on Amazon Acorn for US $5.99, INR 439, a month. Acorn has many fantastic British, Irish, and Australian series. Please feel free to ask us for suggestions if you decide to give it a try.
On another note, there’s a lot of commotion in the corridors lately, making it difficult for me to walk every 30 minutes. I recently changed my walking schedule from every hour to every half hour still reaching my 10,000 step goal each day. Breaking it up this way has made it less boring, I’ll do anything within reason to break up the boredom.
This is Jessie, who disappeared for 24 hours to later be returned by a kind local man after he’d heard that a small long-haired dog was on the loose. She and I became very close during the three months. She wasn’t allowed indoors but she waited outside our front door all night, excited to see me in the morning.
Lately, busy with the new site and all the changes requiring most of my day, along with the walking, I’ve had little time to watch shows in the late afternoon, instead, saving dinner time and the evenings when we can finally relax. I have never been one to enjoy “working” in the evenings.
But, most recently, the web developers who work well into the night, have asked me questions which couldn’t wait until the next day.
In an attempt to avoid stress and cut into our relaxation times, today, I asked them to save their questions for me for the following day, if possible. It’s a true balancing act for us to maintain a positive attitude in this peculiar situation.
We’ve found that maintaining our comfortable routine helps us avoid “over-thinking” and worrying. Escaping into our shows each evening is an excellent opportunity to escape.
Jeri and Hans, our landlords, neighbors, and new friends joined us for dinner.

Subsequently, we are both holding our own, staying upbeat, and hopeful for the future. News coming out of South Africa states (true or not) they are opening their borders soon, but are restricting travelers from certain countries from entering.

This could easily exclude India and the US. Both have to be allowable for us to be allowed to enter. The wait continues.

Right now, we can’t plan a thing until our FedEx package arrives. It’s still stuck in Delhi, after two full months. We shall see how this goes.
Stay safe.


Photo from one year ago today, September 18, 2019:

An adorable pygora goat on the farm in St. Teath, Cornwall, England, posing for a photo atop the picnic table.  “The pygora goat is a cross between the pygmy goat and the angora goat that produces three distinct kinds of fleece and has the smaller size of the pygmy.” For more photos, please click here.

Suddenly well again…Two and a half years of a miserable condition now resolved…

Wildebeests, zebras, and impala in Kruger National Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Check out the wear and tear on this old elephant’s right ear.

Early posting today.  We’re off to Kruger again to see our friends with a more pinned-down plan for where to meet in Lower Sabie.  We’ll be back tomorrow with more new and hopefully exciting photos.

You’ve read repeatedly regarding my awful gastrointestinal issues, which began in Fiji in 2015 after eating octopus at the five-star resort on Christmas Day, the only scenario to which we could attribute the illness that has lingered over the past two and a half years.

Oh no, it didn’t keep us from continuing in our world travels and in enjoying doing so, as illustrated in the past hundreds of posts we’ve uploaded since the onset. 

Wildebeest and zebras.

I’d decided at the time that as long as I could function in our day-to-day lives, nothing was going to “keep me down.” Never once did we cancel or change any travel or social plans we’d made during this extended period. Never once did I have a single day free of pain or discomfort in these past two and a half years.

While living in Tasmania, a year after the symptoms began, I visited three doctors based on areas we were living during our three months on the island. Only one doctor did a blood test, after which I was diagnosed with Helicobactor Pylori and prescribed two rounds of two potent antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor (PPI).

Elephant on the side of the tar road.

Once the infection was resolved, as was typical, I developed ulcers and suffered from severe gastritis, which continued on and on. To make a “long story short,” only months ago, the ulcers seemed to be gone, and I stopped all medications only to begin going through a form of withdrawal from PPIs, which reduces acid in the stomach. It wasn’t easy stopping the PPIs due to an “acid-rebound effect,” which lasted for three weeks, after which I felt a little better.

This elephant was nestled in the dry bush.

Now and then, I’ve mentioned my condition here in our continued desire to be transparent in the realities of world travel, living without a base, without a home, condo, or apartment (or storage) anywhere in the world and, without a doctor with whom we’d established a history of care and treatment.

Of course, some days were worse than others, as is often the case with a chronic condition. I’d come to a place where I resigned myself to accepting this would be my lot in life…constant distress, inability to eat normal portions of food, feeling hungry, and needing to eat something every few hours, which only exacerbated the symptoms. 

Sitting down for a break.

Not used to eating so often, I gained 7.7kg (17 pounds) over these past few years.  My clothing was no longer fitting comfortably, a disaster based on our limited wardrobes.  It wasn’t as simple as going to a shopping mall and replacing all of my clothing.  I was hoping something would change.

Based on my way of eating, I found myself frequently snacking on cheese several times a day and just not getting any better. A few months ago, I stopped eating salads. They seemed to make it worse. A year ago, I gave up coffee and cream.

Two elephants grazing.

Why wasn’t I getting better?  I was determined not to have to go through a battery of invasive medical tests, only to be told what I already knew. Sure, at times, I worried I had a life-threatening issue and would end up in an emergency room somewhere in the world. This was a frightening thought that I tried to dismiss when it cluttered my mind at the worst of times, on the worst of days.

Visitors to the park must remain diligent, staying far back to avoid a confrontation.

Two and a half weeks ago, everything changed in one day. I decided to avoid eating cheese when the hunger pangs came instead of eating boiled eggs and cooked vegetables. I didn’t have a salad that night with dinner. Instead, I had steak on the grill and cooked green beans. 

The next morning upon awakening, something was different. I couldn’t pinpoint it until a few hours later when I realized. IT WAS DAIRY! I hadn’t eaten anything with dairy in 24 hours, and I felt so much better. 

We noticed a patch of hide missing from the neck of this giraffe.  See the close-up below of this injury.

Since that time, I haven’t had one iota of lactose (dairy products). It wasn’t the salad that bothered me. It was the dairy in the homemade salad dressing. It was the cheese I continued to eat daily in an attempt to ease the gnawing discomfort, which only made it worse. 

It was the cream in my coffee I’d given up so long ago, not the coffee. And, it goes on and on.  I ate a lot of dairy to compensate for the lack of sugar and starch in my diet. Before I realized this, I decided to see if eating unsweetened Greek yogurt would help, but I was only worse the next day. Now I get it.

This injury could result from a confrontation with another giraffe during this mating season when they may engage in “necking,” a fight for dominance using their weighty and dangerous necks.

I’m a new person. For over two weeks, I haven’t consumed one morsel of dairy, and I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in years. As more time marches on, I’ll continue to heal the damage done to my gut by entirely avoiding all dairy products.

Yes, my diet is now limited to animal products (no chemicals) and non-starchy vegetables. I don’t care. I’ve lost 2.7 kg (6 pounds) in the past two weeks and surely will lose the remaining weight easily in the next few months. 

Elephant family crossing the road.  Note that tusk of the largest (which could be the matriarch) on the baby’s back to keep it safe and on track.

Mainly, I’m eating chicken breasts and frozen wild-caught fish (no fresh fish is available nearby), a wide array of cooked vegetables as often as I’m hungry. I’ve been able to enjoy a few glasses of red wine as a special treat when we’re socializing and dining out. 

Perhaps in time, I’ll get more creative. But, for now, I want to feel well and fit back into my clothes. The bloating and pain I suffered day after day is gone, gone, gone.

Tom, of course, isn’t eating the same foods I’m eating. As a result, I’m making two separate meals each evening. But, I don’t mind at all. He’s not big on plates of roasted vegetables with a chicken breast or piece of fish, nor do I expect him to eat like me.

This family wanders off into the bush while other family members after a short distance behind them.

I’m so happy to be better. I don’t care about food. Once I return to my former weight, I’ll up the amounts of chicken, fish (occasionally pork and beef), and veggies I consume to maintain my weight and stay healthy. It’s a no-brainer for me. 

Thanks to all of our readers who’ve gone through this with me.  I’ve always felt badly mentioning health issues.  We all want to “appear” strong, healthy, and fit. But, as we age, the reality is, we may no longer be able to “pretend” all is well with our health. 

If anything, perhaps dealing with this issue here has helped or will help even one reader who’s attempting to figure out solutions for their health. 

Note: The information provided here today is not intended as medical advice nor do we profess to have any medical knowledge or expertise.  Please see your medical professionals for assistance.

Photo from one year ago today, June 13, 2017:

My chopped salad with a side of Mexican season shredded beef. In Minnesota, in 10 months, we can still go to this favorite restaurant, but I’ll leave off the sour cream and cheese and have lettuce, meat, salsa, and guacamole.  Sounds acceptable to me. For more photos, please click here.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?…New, or shall we say, returning special feature?…

With a lack of rain, there was little water in the Crocodile River.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We love Hornbills. “The hornbills are a family of birds found in tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia, and Melanesia. They are characterized by a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly colored and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible.”

Note: Today, we’re beginning a “Sighting of the Day in the Bush” feature, which we’ll continue during our time in Africa. We hope our readers will enjoy this feature which we’ve presented similarly in specific past locations. 

The first zebra we spotted in the park.  We’ve seen several more since taking this photo a few days ago!

This is the first dinner party we’ve had since Fairlight, Australia, when we invited our dear landlord Bob and another couple we’d met who was also staying in his properties.

A baby zebra, most likely approximately four to five months old.  Zebras weigh from 30 kg to 35 kg (66 to 77 pounds) at birth. 

With friends Kathy and Don and Linda and Ken returning to Marloth Park yesterday, we could hardly wait another day to see them all once again.  We haven’t seen Kathy and Don since we were here four years ago.

As for Linda and Ken, we met up with them for lunch in Sydney, Australia, and had a spectacular time together. Please click here to see the post about our get-together.

“Ossicones are horn-like (or antler-like) protuberances on the heads of giraffes, male okapis, and their extinct relatives, such as Sivatherium, and the climacoceratids, such as Climacoceras. The base that a deer’s antlers grow from is very similar to an ossicone.”

We’ve stayed in close touch through Facebook, Messenger, and email, never losing touch with any of our South African friends during the past four years after leaving on February 28, 2014. 

In a way, it feels as if it was a lifetime ago we were in Marloth Park. But now, as we’ve settled in, it seems as if it was only a short time ago.  Lathering up in repellent several times a day, sweating in the high temperatures and humidity, batting off the mozzies while living every moment to the fullest is not hard to forget.

Giraffes lay down to rest but rarely sleep for more than five minutes at a time.

After we uploaded the post, we drove for two hours in Marloth Park, searching for wildlife. During the first hour we didn’t see much and what we did see was too far away for good photos.

During the second hour, everything changed, which is typical when on safari. You search and search, often coming up empty-handed, and suddenly there they are, one after another.

A male giraffe can weigh  1200 kg (2646 pounds), while a female may weigh 830 kg (1830 pounds).

I should mention that when we refer to “safari,” we’re constantly referring to “photo safari.” At no point would we ever participate in shooting wildlife for sport or trophies. Thus, we’ll say “safari” here in the future, constantly referring to photos safari unless stated otherwise regarding the senseless slaughter of endangered animals. 

With dwindling populations of most animals in Africa and the toll, poaching takes on nearly extinct wildlife. It makes no sense to kill any for sport or profit. But I won’t get into that here. Our readers know how we feel about this controversial topic.

No words can describe how excited we were to see these giraffes. Not wanting to disturbs them, we stayed on the road, taking photos from afar.

Much to the delight of all of us here in Marloth Park, it’s been raining off and on since yesterday afternoon. This provides much relief for the wildlife who so desperately need to eat the greening vegetation. 

Right now, it’s nearing the end of summer. The green vegetation will begin to wane in the fall season, commencing on March 21st and throughout the following cooler winter months. The wildlife will be on its own trying to find food. It’s a sad time for them, and many don’t survive the long winters.

Large ant hill with trees growing from it.

Today is a busy day, like few others, as we prepare for our six-person dinner party tonight. What a unique and memorable experience for us…to be entertaining in our “temporary” home, here in the bush in South Africa.

A vervet monkey is sitting in a yard of a house as we passed.

Today’s temperature is currently 90F, 32C, and the humidity is a bit uncomfortable after the rain.

May today bring you unique experiences.

Photo from one year ago today, February 17, 2017:

Tom was proud of their big catch, all flatheads, when he went fishing with our landlords. He had a great day!  For more3 details, please click here.

Goodbye Braai…Both human and animal visitors in attendance…An overnight adventure on the Crocodile River starting today…Back tomorrow to pack…

“Hey, you guys, come on!  They’re serving pellets for breakfast!”
This morning, zebra mom was scolding her baby about fighting for the pellets.

The seven of us and coincidentally, seven zebra visitors had a night we’ll always remember. Even Mr. Tree Frog returned to his perch in the rafters after a 36 hour absence. 

Check out those interesting suction type toes.  Mother Nature certainly provides the appropriate body parts to aid in functioning in life.  Mr. Tree Frog came down from his usual perch to show off for our guests, later returning to his usual spot in the veranda rafters this morning.

Later in the evening, while the festivities were in full bloom, he made a rare appearance on the wall in the veranda enabling me to take this close up of him. This morning he was back on his usual perch, in the exact spot, in the rafters. 

From left to right, Okee Dokee, Louise, and Dawn.
Tom with his hands flying as he talks! In the middle is Danie with Leon on the right.
The table was set and we were ready for our feast.
The zebras visited, hanging around most of the evening. On the left is Dawn and Leon, our friends and owners of Jabula Lodge, as Tom tosses the pellets.
As soon as we ran out of the carrot chunks they looked at us for more. 
Although zebras are herbivores, they enjoyed the fire and the smell of the meat.

How does one become attached to a frog? In reality, it’s no different than the excitement we feel when any visitors come to the yard. They are God’s creatures with their own unique story and purpose in our world. 

Feeding the zebras by hand using a flat palm. 

The party? Stupendous! The food worked out well. It was fun to share an American type meal with our South African friends and they enjoyed it. But, most of all, the companionship, conversation, and laughter was as delightful as it could have been. 

Finally, at 9:00 pm, we were ready to dine. With starters earlier, none of us minded the late meal. 

Danie managed the braai, making a roaring fire to cook the sweet corn and steaks with Tom at his side.  Once the fire was at a full roar, the zebras appeared, gathering around the braai, two together and another five together shortly after the two departed. 

This morning, the family of five was back including one mom and baby, one pregnant mom and two young males.
“See, I can reach up there for a few pellets.”

What is it about the noise that attracts the zebras? Simple. They associate “partying” humans with treats. Makes sense. Last night, we went through an entire bag of carrots.

Last night, this baby spit out the chunk of carrot. Today, she’s anxious for more pellets.

This morning, we’re busy packing for an overnight stay at a safari camp directly on the Crocodile River that we’ve been invited to by the owners, orchestrated by Louise and Danie. We’ll be sleeping in a tent with AC, a bed, and a bathroom. Sounds good to us.

Mom and baby cuddling.  Zebras are very affectionate with one another.

Our minds, preoccupied with packing to leave in three days, make packing for an overnight trip a challenge. But, we’ve been graciously invited and we accepted. If necessary, we could pack everything in one day. 

Happily sticking out her tongue at the prospect of more treats while making eye contact. 

We leave for the lodge at 2:30 today, returning less than 24 hours later. Once back at the African Reunion House, on Wednesday, we’ll start folding, sorting, and packing. The diversion may prove to be good for us with our minds wrapped around our departure on Friday. 

We’ll be back tomorrow with photos from a day and night spent living on the shore of the Crocodile River, meeting new people, and tonight’s bush braai at the campsite. Crocs, anyone? 

Okee Dokee displaying this beetle we found inside the house during the party.