Our social life continues…A friendly visitor in the restaurant…Nature can be both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time…

Tom at sunset as we dined with Rita and Gerhard at Ngwenya on buffet night. Rita took this great photo so indicative of the peaceful and views from this excellent location.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Rita and I were captivated by a visitor who entered the restaurant, a friendly little dung beetle. We both held him and felt the ticklish feel of his spiny legs moving rapidly in our hands.

Last night, Rita and Gerhard picked us up at 1630 hrs (4:30 pm) for sundowners on the veranda at Ngwenya overlooking the Crocodile River to be followed by the buffet dinner inside the restaurant after darkness fell.

We’ve so enjoyed spending time with new friends Rita and Gerhard who came to Marloth Park after reading our posts years ago. Through our site, they found the holiday home they’ve rented and also found Louise to help them get situated.  They’ll be here in Marloth until February. Hopefully, we’ll be here as well for more fun times together.

We have a lot in common with this lovely couple and the conversation flowed with ease, animation, and enthusiasm.  They, too, have traveled all over the world and have great stories to tell. Our mutual love of nature and wildlife precipitates an endless flow of interesting conversation.

From quite a distance Tom spotted this elephant with an obvious problem with his left tusk.

This Sunday friends Kathy and Don return to Marloth Park and more social activities will ensue over these next few weeks. Next Saturday is our Thanksgiving dinner celebration here at the orange house.

It was apparent this elephant’s left tusk has been damaged affecting the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that hold it in place. We hoped he wasn’t in pain.

Today, I’m working on making the equivalent of canned pumpkin using lumpy frozen pumpkin. I’ve processed the first two bags and I think it’s going to work well. 

Another view of the elephant with a damaged tusk.

As soon as I upload today’s post, I’ll prepare the homemade pumpkin pie spices using multiple spices. There’s certainly no prepared pumpkin pie spice to be found anywhere in South Africa or even on the continent. It’s a USA thing used for a specific USA holiday.  

From there, I’ll make the from-scratch pie crust, a favorite recipe from Martha Stewart, the best pie crust in the land.  If you’d like the recipe, please click here.  It’s a little time-consuming but worth the extra effort.  

A black-winged stilt we spotted at Sunset Dam in Kruger.

For the first time in seven years, I purchased a bag of white flour and another bag of sugar. I won’t be even tasting the pie so Tom will be on his own to determine if this pie will be worthy of making in number for our guests arriving for dinner on the 17th.

Tonight, Tom will dine on marinated pork chops on the braai while I have salmon steaks, along with roasted vegetables, mashed cauliflower, and salad. And then, for dessert (a rare treat in this household) Tom will have a piece of the pumpkin pie.  He doesn’t care for Cool Whip (which isn’t available here) or whipped cream atop his pie. Plain and simple, that’s how my guy likes it.

A crocodile made an appearance to check out his surroundings and possible food sources.

Back to last night, after our fine buffet dinner, a “visitor” walked into the main door of the restaurant, my favorite “bug” of all time, the fascinating dung beetle.  

He didn’t have his ball of dung with him or had yet to prepare it but as summer approaches, we’ll surely find plenty of these interesting creatures with their ball of dung in tow. More on that later when we see one with his perfectly shaped ball and perhaps a wife running atop it as he pushes it along with his bag legs.

While I was indoors preparing dinner, Tom called me to hurry and come outside. He’d taken these photos of Wounded with an oxpecker “working on” the severe injury near his left eye.

Rita and I held him in our hands. I was so excited I could hardly hold the camera straight to take a decent photo. That happens to me sometimes…my enthusiasm supersedes my ability to hold the camera steady.  

As I always say, I’m not a professional photographer. I’m an enthusiastic photographer which sometimes results in my emotions getting in the way of the perfect shot.

Here again, is another example of the symbiosis between certain animals. The oxpecker eats the maggots and decaying debris from his injury while he cooperates with the intrusion.

Also, included today are several photos took of our new friend and now frequent visitor “Wounded” who showed up about a week ago and now visits every day. His obvious facial injury is heartbreaking but he wastes no time eating plenty of pellets and vegetables.

Wounded is very shy around other warthogs so we imagine he may have been wounded by another warthog in a fight for dominance or food. We make a point of fussing over him whenever he arrives, hoping in time his injury will heal. It’s too soon to tell if he was blinded in his eye from the injury.

Nature can be both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

What astounded us about yesterday’s visit by Wounded was when he walked into the garden he had an oxpecker, as shown in the photos, working on “cleaning out his wound.”  

The oxpecker may or may not be helpful when they may become too aggressive in clearing an injury from maggots or other insects, only making matters worse. We can only hope Wounded starts to heal at some point soon. Such a grievous injury can result in a long and painful death.

Three giraffes stopping for a drink in the river.

Today is a warm sunny day, not too cool, not too hot. It’s comparable to what one may experience on a tropical island.  But, the bush is no tropical island.  And life happens for these creatures as shown in the above photo of an elephant with an injured tusk. There’s nothing we can do but let nature take its course.

So for today, we’ll let nature take its course as we’re delighting in a number of visitors stopping by on this perfect day. The pellets and veg are plentiful as is our enthusiasm in sharing it all.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 9, 2017:

A fiery-billed acara in Costa Rica says, “I’ve got mine!” For more photos, please click here.