Trying to catch up and simplify daily tasks…Great photo from trail cam…

From the trial cam: A civet walked across the wooden section of the veranda.

Since I haven’t been feeling my best the past few weeks since the headache returned, I’ve gotten behind on a few tasks including laundry, cooking for the next three nights, and record keeping. As my head improves a little each day after three nights on the medication, I awoke knowing today I needed to tackle some things.

Once I was up, l showered and dressed and made my breakfast of toasted homemade keto bread, topped with mashed avocado and one egg. I sat down outdoors to eat with my cup of decaf coffee. I have this same breakfast every morning, while Tom eats a portion of egg casserole that I make every few weeks and freeze in individual portions. This makes mornings a little easier.

Of course, this morning, he ate a good-sized portion of the apple crisp (minus the ice cream) I made yesterday for Leon, making two smaller pans for Tom. We froze one and he’ll be eating the other over the next several days. He’d hoped to have some last night when we returned from dinner, but he was full and didn’t want to eat anything so close to going to bed.

From the trail cam: Zebras looking for the remnants of lucerne.

A moment ago, four zebras visited the garden. Tom suggested we give them the leftover apple peels from the 36 apples yesterday. We gave half of them to Norman this morning and now the zebras are enjoying the second half. We all know horses love apples, and zebras are not a lot different in their taste preferences. Then again, Norman loved them as well.

Today, I am making enough spicy chicken peanut stir fry to last for three nights. I’ve cut up all of the chicken and it’s marinating in the fridge. I spent a few hours chopping the chicken and vegetables including the laborious task of cleaning sugar snap peas and pea pods, removing all those pesky strings that can get caught in one’s throat if they aren’t removed.

To keep the dish fresh each night, I will cook all the chicken today but cook each night’s vegetables and seasonings separately so they don’t get overcooked. I’ll add the cooked chicken at the last minute to reheat it in the pan with stir-fried vegetables. We still have plenty of fried rice, stored in individual containers in the freezer, left from when we had Dawn and Leon come for dinner, and stayed overnight in the little cottage.

The bottom line is…I don’t like to have to be in the kitchen for hours each day. Prepping meals for three dinners works well for us since we love the dishes we make and thoroughly enjoy having them three nights in a row. We never get tired of what we had the previous night. Then, all I have to do is make a salad.

Two zebras looking for food.

I know salad doesn’t necessarily go with stir-fry but since I gave up having an after dinner snack three nights ago, I find if I eat a big salad with dinner, I don’t get hungry after dinner. I have never been one to eat when I’m not hungry but when I was eating less at dinner to save “room” for the ritual of the snack, it was impossible not to be hungry an hour later.

Now, I make sure I’ve had enough to hold me over to the next meal, 14 or 15 hours later. This way, I am doing “intermittent fasting,” a method that works best for me. With the hearty breakfast, I don’t even think about food all day long until it’s dinnertime. But come around 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs., I get hungry. Tom prefers to eat later so we compromise and have dinner around 5:30, 1730 hrs. That works for both of us. If we were to eat lunch, which we never do, obviously, we could eat dinner much later.

Yep, it’s still really humid today. Right now, at noon, the dew point is 75, the highest we’ve seen since last summer. With the three loads of laundry I’m doing today, going back and forth to the outdoor laundry area, the chopping, dicing and cooking I am doing today, I found myself soaking wet in sweat, a rarity for me. At one point, I went into the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed with the fan cooling me off.

And then, there were three zebras.

Oops, it’s time for me to get the next load of laundry from the washer and hang it up to dry. The clothes won’t dry today due to the high humidity. Tonight, Tom will haul the laundry rack indoors, hoping for a sunny day tomorrow. We’ve seen the drying take almost three days to dry when the humidity is this high. This time won’t be an exception.

Once I upload today’s post, I’ll get to work on the record keeping I’ve failed to do in the past several weeks. There sure is plenty to do each day which I am sure is the case for all of you.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 13, 2021:

On a walk in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2012, shortly before we left the US to travel the world, we stumbled across this saying on a large slab of stone. So true. For more photos, please click here.

We had a fantastic 10-year anniversary celebration with friends…Spring is in the air!…

This is starling Vega’s partner. They are building a nest. Female starlings look very different from males, which is not uncommon.

I was so distracted ensuring our friends had a pleasant evening and dinner I failed to take any photos. We apologize for failing to take food and people photos. We have found that some occasions are less about photos and more about living in the moment.  Bear with us during those times.

With a new lucerne bale arriving at noon, the animals came in droves, and Dawn and Leon enjoyed every visitor along with us. Mom and three piglets visited, along with Norman, Noah, Nina, Lollie, Earl, Bad Ear, Bad Leg, and many more. It was a delightful time.

But even more than the joy of the visiting wildlife, the light rain, our bonfire, and our homemade Asian food, the conversation was meaningful and treasured by all four of us. They are such good friends. They are living through such hard times. We are right beside them through the entire process.

This is Vega taking a bath before he meets up with his girlfriend.

The food was, no doubt, a lot of work. Asian food requires a lot of chopping and dicing, organizing spices and sauces, and getting the taste done to perfection. I only  needed to use a recipe for the batter for the fried tenderloin pieces, combining corn starch, flour, eggs, and salt. I wanted to ensure the measurement was accurate for a light, fluffy batter. The rest I knew in my head from past experience.

This had been the first time in years I’d deep-fried anything. But, the meat for the sweet and sour pork must be pre-fried and kept hot while the sauce is stir-fried separately with carrots, green peppers, garlic, and fresh pineapple chunks. The pineapples I purchased here in South Africa look very different from those in the US and other parts of the world.

We love this little bird. I need help finding information on its species.

They are smaller with less “meat” and more skin and dark spots. I was surprised by how little there was after I cleaned the two pineapples. The remainder of the vegetables were fine. The sauce is made using chicken broth, sugar, pineapple juice, soy sauce, red wine vinegar and spices and thickened with cornstarch mixed with cold water for a smooth thickened sauce.

It seemed to take the sauce quite a while to thicken sufficiently. It’s quite a balancing act to deep fry the meat (it took four batches) while preventing the oil from having too many loose bits of the batter and cooking the sauce simultaneously, watching each pot carefully.

Fortunately, I’d already made the fried rice which is a half-day operation, considering I wanted to make a big enough batch to send them home with plenty and to be able to freeze at least a dozen containers for Tom. Each night we can take a batch from the freezer to defrost in the refrigerator overnight for the following evening’s meal.

Another dung beetle and his mate. We now see them every day!

I’d made the spicy prawns and asparagus dish earlier in the day which I easily reheated in the same pot while the sweet and sour dish was cooking. Of course, I made a mess of the stovetop and planned to let Vusi clean it this morning. But, once I looked at it when I got up, I cleaned it myself. We can, but don’t leave dishes and pots and pans for them to clean.

We always do such tasks ourselves, grateful that we have Vusi and Zef to wash floors, make the bed, clean the bathrooms and c the veranda. We try not to make extra work for them.

Hornbill, up in the trolley birdfeeder. He also has a girlfriend with whom he’s building a nest. Spring is in the air! Love is in the air!

Dawn and Leon were comfortable staying overnight in the little cottage on our property. This morning, they came over around 9:00 am for breakfast. I overslept a bit and got up, showered, and dressed at 8:00 am. I rushed to make the egg, mushroom and sausage flan, and banana coconut bread from scratch. By 8:30, I had everything in the oven, but the banana bread takes an hour to bake so we didn’t eat until a little after 9:30. They had an appointment and were able to get out the door by 10:30, after which Tom did the breakfast dishes. Everything from last night’s dinner was washed, dried and put away.

We have fantastic leftovers for tonight’s dinner. Also, I made a keto cheese pie which Tom and Leon didn’t like, but Dawn and I put a good dent in. There was plenty left to send Dawn home with a piece for tonight after their leftovers. Luckily, I made enough of everything so we all could have leftovers tonight. They even took some of the banana bread home for later.

We put an egg out for this monitor lizard, but he never found it. Instead, the mongooses found it the next day and shared it.

Since I don’t eat sweet and sour pork or fried rice, I made a salad to go with my spicy prawn stir fry, and that was all the more prep I had to do today. It is too damp to do laundry since it rained and the clothes never dry on days like this. Tomorrow, will be drier and less humid, so I can tackle that job then.

We had a wonderful 10-year anniversary, doing precisely what we wanted to do…spending it with friends. We have so much to be grateful for and never forget it for a day. And, of course, we have all of you to share our lives and ongoing journey, which picks up once again in three weeks when we take off for Seychelles.  Thanks for all the heartfelt anniversary wishes!

Happy day to all.

Photo from one year ago today, November 1, 2021:

Big Daddy was chewing on the core of a massive head of cabbage. He loved it! For more photos, please click here.

Short post today…Busy prepping for our Asian dinner…And, working on our 10-year anniversary post…

If you know what type of bird this is, please let us know. Our trail cam picked up this photo early this morning.

I’d considered preparing a normal-sized post today. Once I started chopping and dicing for tomorrow’s Asian dinner with Leon and Dawn,  I realized it would take me longer to do the 10th-anniversary post. I needed to do it today, so I am free tomorrow to prepare the two complex dishes and spend time paying total attention to our guests as we always do.

They plan to arrive by noon and are staying in our guest cottage overnight for a much-needed break away from the responsibility of running a very busy restaurant. David and the staff will hold down the fort while they are away and we aren’t going to allow them to lift a finger; not wash a dish, not clean up after dining, and of course, no cooking. We are handling all of that!

I went through every page in our bird book and could not find this species.

We’re preparing the Asian dinner and then breakfast the next morning. Thank goodness, we got the fried rice done yesterday. Otherwise, we’d have been too rushed today and Monday. Asian stir-fry dishes should not be prepared ahead of time in order to taste fresh and not be overcooked from reheating. The only item we’ll reheat is the fried rice which reheats quite well in the microwave.

On November 1st, we’ll post food photos and the menu. So, dear readers, I’m signing off on today’s post to continue to prep for the big meal and to start working on the anniversary post which we’ll upload tomorrow morning.

We’ll be back to you soon!!!

Photo from one year ago today, October 30, 2021:

That morning we had 12 antelopes in the garden, sharing pellets. For more photos, please click here.

Busy chopping and dicing for Monday’s guests…Ethnic foods in South Africa…

Such an unusual looking animal.

Ethnic food is not particularly popular in this part of the world. Locals like their Pap and Sheba (see a photo here), meat on the braai, and starchy sides. For dessert, they like malva pudding and Melktart (milk tart). For more on South African desserts, please click here. Based on my way of eating, none of these traditional foods fit my way of eating, other than sauce-free meat on the braai.

There are few options for ethnic specialties here in Marloth Park, although Giraffe Restaurant offers sushi, attracting many visitors, including locals and tourists. It’s not that South Africans don’t have a taste for ethnic foods. Mostly, they do, and they seem to love trying new dishes.

A few zebras and a few giraffes came to call.

But, for a restaurant to make a go of it in Marloth Park, local cuisine is the way to go. Otherwise, an ethnic restaurant would have a hard time being successful enough to survive. Thus, when I started shopping for ingredients to make Leon’s favorite Asian dishes, Sweet and Sour Pork and Fried Rice (with Spicy Prawns with Asparagus for Dawn and me). It was tricky finding the ingredients necessary to make these Asian dishes. I ended up placing an order with an online Asian grocer in South Africa.

In my old life, one of my favorite meals to make was what was then referred to as Chinese food. Politically correct or not, it is no longer called Chinese food but Asian food, although I doubt Chinese people have stopped calling it Chinese food, based on the names of restaurants we’ve seen throughout the world in bigger cities.

Zebras were eating the remnants of the last lucerne delivery

Asian food is quite popular in Cape Town.  According to TripAdvisor, there are 74 entries for Chinese restaurants. See here for details. Surely, tourists who visit the beautiful big city seek out all types of ethnics food. But it’s not the case here in sleepy little Marloth Park and nearby Komatipoort.

This morning, I decided to tackle the fried rice, having chosen to make a huge batch. This way, we’ll be able to give Leon and Dawn a good supply “to go” and we’ll freeze single portions for Tom. This way, when we braai, or make other dishes, we can take out one container at a time to accompany his dinner instead of his usual plain buttered white rice.

A baby zebra nibbling on lucerne while resting.

Tomorrow, I’ll start chopping and dicing for the two remaining dishes we’ll cook on Monday. Our guests are planning to arrive around noon so we can enjoy relaxing time on the veranda. With everything cut and ready to stir, preparing the two remaining dishes won’t take long.

Today, we received another bale of lucerne. We scheduled another bale for Monday morning so our friends can enjoy watching the animals with us. We’re hoping all of our favorites will stop by and say “hello.”

We always love it when giraffes stop by.

I am still holding my own with the headache and facial pain. On Thursday, I had the headache return for a few hours but went away on its own. The facial pain is almost completely gone. I am practically holding my breath in hopes the pain won’t return.

Last night, we had an enjoyable evening and dinner at Jabula, as surely we will again tonight, hanging out with Leon and Dawn and other patrons, laughing and telling stories. His attitude is amazing.

On the move…

We just finished making the fried rice and once it cools, we’ll place it in containers to serve and to freeze. After standing in the kitchen for several hours, I am ready to get off of my feet and take a little rest with the fan on. Although the temperature isn’t high today at 81F, and 28C, the humidity is outrageous, and the dew point is tropical once again.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more. Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 29, 2021:

We purchased these giant cabbages for the kudus, bushbucks, and duikers, which love cabbage, for about US $0.70, ZAR 10.69 each. We tear off the leaves, break them in half and toss them their way. For more photos, please click here.

The trip ended…Final expenses…Back in Marloth Park…

My dinner at Chobe Safari Lodge in the fine dining restaurant was grilled prawns and chicken. Delicious.
Our expenses were done a little differently this time. When we first arrived, we understood that we’d need about 20000 kwacha (Zambia currency) to pay for transportation and tours. When one ATM was out of cash and another only dispensed 18000 kwacha, we decided we could figure out the rest later.
When we arrived in Botswana, the rep there required either pula (Botswana currency) or the use of a credit card. We used a credit card to pay for the tours we’d booked in Botswana. Well, it got confusing, so that I won’t go into it. But, we managed to use most of our kwacha before we left Zambia and have a remaining 2900 kwacha (ZAR, US $178), which we’ll exchange for rand at the bank when we go to Komatipoort tomorrow. There’s no point in carrying 2900 kwacha with us around the world.
After some confusing figuring, we came up with the following for our expenses for these seven nights away. They are as close to accurate as possible.
                                     USD                                    Kwacha

Hotel Botswana          $1736.92                              28292.37

Hotel Zambia              $236.18                                  3833.49

Meals/Tours Zambia    $1109                                   14800.00

Tours in Botswana       $280                                      4544.75

Airfare                         $1302.78                              21145.74

Includes all tips

Total                           $4664.88                               72616.35

Total daily expense  $   666.41                               10373.76

Breakfast of two fried eggs, grilled mackerel, and sauteed mushrooms at Chobe Safari Lodge.

Our primary reason for this trip was to acquire a new 90-day visa. As it turned out, we encountered some difficulties at immigration which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post.

If we had filed for an extension, using the law firm in Johannesburg, which we can only do once per year in South Africa, we would have paid approximately US $2500, kwacha 40578.50. Thus, we ask ourselves, was this trip worth the difference? We thoroughly enjoyed this trip and felt the experiences were worth it.

Now, as we returned to South Africa to our bush house in Marloth Park with a new 90-day visa in hand (providing nothing went wrong at immigration), we won’t have to leave again until our upcoming cruise in Seychelles in November. This means we can relax during the next three months with only the flights and transportation to book and a two-night stay in a hotel in Mahe, Seychelles.

Mixed salad with artichoke hearts and green beans.If we were feeling up to it, we decided we would go to dinner tonight at Jabula, which we did shortly after we arrived back in Marloth Park around 5:30 pm, 1730 hrs. Even though the flight was only a few hours long, the trip began at 11:30 am when Chris picked us up to take us to the Livingstone Airport and ended when we arrived at our bush house, as mentioned above. It still is a long day.

I’m still not feeling 100% with this headache and face pain, and I have an appointment with Doc Theo on Monday at 10:00 am. We will grocery shop after the appointment. Monday night, we are headed to Marylin and Gary’s holiday home for a braai and final get-together (seven of us) before they leave a few days later. It’s been wonderful spending time with readers/friends who have now become great friends we’ve met due to our site. We feel so fortunate.

Soup with a slice of grilled bread.

Today, we’re sharing food photos from our one-week trip, but we still have many photos to share from game drives and boat tours. It will be fun to share those with all of you here and to see our animal friends (and taking photos) again in Marloth Park in our garden. It will be wonderful to see Norman and his family again. I can’t wait to see him, Lollie, and the others.

Note: This morning, Norman, Noah, Nina, Gordy, Tulip, and Lilac were waiting for us in the garden. No sign of Lollie yet. More tomorrow. Norman and Nina are here for the second time in two hours.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2021:

Bossy is always thrilled to see us, hoping for morsels of pellets. For more photos, please click here.

The tours have ended…Lots of photos to share…Tomorrow, our final expenses and back to Marloth Park…

The sun is setting on the horizon.

We have completed the last of our land and river adventures and are now spending our last day and night at the hotel in Livingstone. Tomorrow afternoon we fly back to Marloth Park, hopefully getting a new 90-day visa stamp and be able to relax for the next three months until we fly to Seychelles for a one-week cruise of the islands.

The upper deck of the Lion king sunset cruise boat.

This has been one of the most enjoyable times we’ve spent on a “visa run,” having planned many activities that kept us busy a part of each day. Of course, all of this costs money. But not nearly as much as we’d spend living in countries other than South Africa as our current base. By early June, we’ll be leaving South Africa for quite a while to explore other countries we’re considering.

There were only a few hippo photo ops during the cruise on the Zambezi River.

Most countries only allow us to stay for 90 days, many for less, so visa issues are always a consideration when we’d like to stay  for an extended period. The pandemic has changed everything for our world travel, but increased costs and lack of availability have made traveling freely more difficult.

Little plates were served on the boat, along with drinks. I ate the chicken leg, and Tom tried the rest.

Even this morning, when we entered the dining room for breakfast at this Marriott Hotel, we were told we had to wear masks while dining. We didn’t bring our masks after checking and discovering they weren’t required in the countries we were visiting on this trip. When we couldn’t eat breakfast without masks, and thus, we requested them from the front desk.

A crocodile is lounging on the Zambezi River bank.

Right now, we are sitting in our hotel room waiting for the cleaner to do our room since neither of us wants to wear a mask to sit in the lobby and work on today’s post. So we will sit here until the cleaner arrives and head out to the lobby wearing the masks.

There were many homes and resorts on the river.

We had a fantastic day yesterday. Chris picked us up at the resort by 11:30 am to make the drive back to Livingstone. There was much monkeying around to wrap up our exit visa for Botswana and entrance visa back into Zambia. But Chris was persistent, and eventually, we were on our way.  He dropped us at the Protea by Marriott in Livingstone, where we promptly checked in.

This appeared to be a setup for a wedding.

We were thrilled to see how warmly we were welcomed. Most of the staff remembered us from past visits and made a point of making us feel special. This is the fourth time we’ve stayed at this hotel. When we entered our room on the ground level, we were surprised by the noise coming from the room next door that was being renovated. There was a loud, ear-splitting drill that continued for a few hours.

This is a new luxury resort that will be opening soon.

We asked to be moved to another room but didn’t have time to pack up when the tour operator for the Lion King boat ride on the Zambezi River was coming to get us at 4:00 pm. The hotel manager approached me while we waited for our ride to explain they had stopped the construction work for the time we were here. That was so nice to hear and appreciated. Otherwise, we’d have been quite annoyed by this time today. Now, it’s as quiet as a mouse.

Our outdoor dining table at the Royal Livingstone Hotel at the Old Drift restaurant. We are returning tonight for another dinner.

The Lion King sunset cruise on the Zambezi River was packed. The last time we had done this cruise, we had the entire upper deck to ourselves. But, we were entertained by the antics of the other guests, mostly young tourists from Scandinavian countries, devouring the included drinks and having the time of their lives. It was actually as fun to watch them as it was to watch the scenery.

The savory, not sweet, crackers reminded us of Christmas sugar cookies. Tom ate all of them with delicious garlic butter.

We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife, a few crocs on the river banks and a few gurgling hippos surfacing from time to time. But the live African music was a treat, and as always, Tom and I enjoyed ourselves whatever we may do. When the boat ride ended, a driver took us to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for our dinner reservation. Oh, my goodness, was that ever fun!

This was my side salad.
Tom enjoyed this pumpkin soup as a starter. Tomorrow, I will post a photo of Tom’s main dish. The image was too blurry to post.

It felt like a romantic date when we swooned over one another, as we often do, reveling in past experiences and hopes for the future. We laughed, we teased as we dined on the finest of gourmet foods in a fantastic atmosphere. It was dark dining outdoors, but the lighting was inviting, the seating comfortable, and the service over the top. While we sat at our outdoor table, we spotted three zebras and three warthogs wandering around the exquisite grounds of the luxury resort.

We’d had a long busy day and were content to be seated for a relaxing fine dinner.
My left eye is puffy from the headache and facial pain I’m still feeling. Maybe it’s an allergy.

Last night, we decided that the next time we come to Zambia, we’ll bite the bullet and spend a few nights at the expensive resort. The food was over-the-top, as shown in today’s photos. As planned, we’ll incorporate more food photos into our final post tomorrow when we add the final expenses. However, we still have many photos we’ve yet to share and will continue to post them in days to come.

This was an eggplant dish I ordered. The orange drops are mashed butternut squash. It was delicious, although it had small potato chunks, which I offered to Tom.

We’re returning to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for one more dinner tonight. We have lots of kwacha left that we need to spend, so what better way to spend it on than a repeat of last night’s outrageously wonderful dinner?

My prawn dish was also delicious.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow. As much fun as we’ve had on this trip, we’re not dreading its end. It is delightful to return to Marloth Park for more unique experiences in the bush with our animal and human friends. We couldn’t ask for more.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2021:

Old Man wasn’t looking his best. For more photos, please click here.

Menu for today’s party for readers/friends…

Persistent little bugger made us laugh!

It’s Sunday morning, and I have a good handle on the food for this evening’s sundowner party for 11 guests, including Rita, Gerhard, and Lee, Marilyn and Gary, Carrie and Jim, Louise and Danie, and the two of us. Louise and Danie had committed to another event but will stop by for drinks.

Yesterday, I cleaned and prepared all the vegetables, and this morning I worked on the other items. It will take about 30 more minutes to prep the balance of the food. I’m glad I made an easy menu that wouldn’t require me to be in the kitchen for hours. Today, there are lots of flies now that it’s getting warmer, and I had to work while swatting them away. We can’t spray in the kitchen since all the dishes, pots, and pans are in open, doorless cabinets. TIA,” This is Africa,” as I always say.

We’re always thrilled to see zebras.

It’s a perfect weather day, no breeze, partly cloudy with an expected high of 90F, 32C. By the time everyone arrives, the temperature will drop to a cool and comfortable level. Surprisingly, I am not sweating while busy since the humidity is low at 32%. The 90F is quite tolerable at this level.

As for the menu, I am happy to share it here:

Sliced, Seasoned Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Spicy Buttered Prawns with Homemade Horseradish Dipping Sauce

Cheesy Russian Sausages with Homemade Mustard Sauce

Ham and Turkey Cheese Rollups

Baked Brie Cheese Wrapped in Phyllo Dough filled with Apricot Jam

Medley of Fresh Vegetables with Three Dips

Fresh Vegetable Platter with Dipping Sauce

Cheese and Crackers

Potato Chips, Peanuts, and Various Crunchy Snacks

We only need to cook the pork, which is ready to go, and the sausages on the braai, before our guests arrive at 4:00, 1600 hrs. The prawns are cooked, seasoned, and plated in a pretty white serving dish with the dipping sauce, chilling in the outdoor refrigerator.

They often walk along the fence, deciding where to stop to beg for pellets.

Once the food is set up for serving, I will take a photo to share in tomorrow’s post. I am thrilled I planned this easy menu since I still have an awful sinus infection. No improvement yet from the two antibiotics, but it’s only been 24 hours since I started them. I don’t expect to start feeling better for at least three days considering I’ve had this since April when we got Covid-19 Omicron.

I stopped working on this post for a few hours, and now, I am done short of cooking a few items before everyone arrives! Done! Done! The plates and glasses are washed and set up outside for our buffet-style meal. There’s enough food that no one will need to eat dinner when they return to their respective homes at the end of the evening.

He was thinking of putting his head between the railing.

Tom has been an enormous help, cleaning, sweeping, doing dishes, washing all the glasses, and cooking, including an endless array of tasks that made this day so much easier for me. I killed most of the flies in the kitchen with a towel snap. There aren’t any flies on the veranda, but they will arrive once we put out the food. Once everyone serves themselves, I’ll cover the remaining food with kitchen towels.

We’re putting a metal bowl of ice under the prawns to stay cold on this warm day. We’ll watch them and the other meats to ensure they remain iced cold. The sundowner tradition is that all guests bring their beverages in an ice-cold chill box since we won’t have room in the refrigerators for drinks other than the wine and beer in the outdoor refrigerator.

“Hmm…this works,” he thinks.

As it turned out, this weekend was another holiday, and the park was packed with holidaymakers. As a result, we’re only seeing a few wildlife visitors today. By tomorrow, they’ll all return and fill our garden with myriad species checking out the pellet situation and responding to our enthusiastic welcoming.

Hopefully, Norman and his family will stop by tonight while everyone is here. He’s already been here a few times today. When they are here, curious tourists driving on our road often stop when they see them, taking photos and enticing them with pellets. It’s not a good idea to feed the animals from a vehicle. It gives them a sense that it’s safe to be around vehicles after so many animals have been killed on the roads. This is a ridiculous practice.

A group of zebras is called a “dazzle.”

So there it is folks…our busy day. We’re so looking forward to this afternoon when everyone arrives. What a magical thing that three of four couples are here due to them reading our site over the years and coming to Marloth Park for the adventures.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 14, 2021:

We spotted this crocodile with its mouth open at Sunset Dam, beyond the Lower Sabie area. Crocs rest with their mouths open to cool off since they don’t sweat. For more photos, please click here.

Thank you for all the kind comments and inquiries!…

This kudu has huge, wide horns. Such a majestic and wonderful animal!

Gosh, we’ve had many comments and inquiries about our non-starchy roasted vegetables, as shown on Monday’s post here. Most of the questions were regarding which vegetables were included and the spices used. Here are the vegetables I used, but you can use any you prefer.

  1. Zucchini
  2. Onions
  3. Mushrooms
  4. Red, green, and red bell peppers
  5. Carrots (a small amount, if low carb)
  6. Eggplant
  7. Garlic


  1. Himalayan coarse salt
  2. Garlic powder
  3. Onion powder
  4. Bottled Cajun spices or any other spicy mix
  5. Fresh ground pepper

I spray the pan with olive oil or coconut oil spray and then place a piece of parchment (baking paper) to cover the bottom of the pan to get the paper to stay in place. Then I lightly spray the vegetables before adding the spices, so they stick nicely. Bake for 90 minutes at 375F, 190C, tossing with a spatula every 30 minutes. These will keep refrigerated for four days. Reheat or eat cold; delicious either way.

Also, a few readers have written that they are not receiving automatic emails again. Please email me if you aren’t receiving the emails; we will report it to our web people again. In the interim, if you do not see a post, check for a new one each day at the same time, and the latest one will appear. Type: in your browser’s address bar. Thank you for being so patient. It’s some fluke the web people can’t figure out but keep trying.

Last night, for the first time in days, we could relax and enjoy our sundowners on the veranda. The issues have bogged us down. We had to resolve and for me to get the taxes ready for the accountant. We must wait for the duplicate tax documents to arrive at our mailing service and forward them overnight to the accountant.

This morning, these two male kudus rested in the garden for a few hours.

The cruise credit has been processed for the next upcoming cruise, our paperwork is in order, and I feel like I can relax for the first time in a while.

In 10 days, we’ll be leaving for our next visa stamp trip, returning to Zambia and Botswana for more safari adventures.  We’ll only be gone for a week and plan to post each day as always, providing the WiFi is working OK at the resort and hotel. Hopefully, we’ll have some stunning photos and stories to share.

Today is another perfect weather day, and the wildlife has begun to return since the holiday weekend is over as of last night. The majority of the holidaymakers have left. The roads are quiet once again. Construction sounds waft through the air from time to time since sound travels in the bush, but we aren’t bothered by it.

My tooth to be pulled when we return isn’t hurting right now. The dentist gave me extra antibiotics (which I hate taking) if it flares up while we’re away. If it becomes a problem, I’m bringing along plenty of Tylenol (Paracetamol). I don’t particularly appreciate packing for these short trips and most likely won’t start packing until the day before we leave.

Then again, I wouldn’t say I like packing anytime we leave for anywhere when we aren’t taking everything with us. In those cases, I have to decide what to bring and what to leave behind; when we go for an extended time, taking everything with us is much more straightforward.

Yesterday, I made Tom some “regular” (not low carb) blueberry muffins which he loves. Here’s a photo:

Two dozen blueberry muffins I made for Tom yesterday afternoon. He takes one out of the freezer each day. To have with his coffee.

Instead, I’d make these for him rather than have him eat those awful chemical-laden muffins sold at the Spar Market. He invariably buys the junk at the market if we don’t have homemade muffins or banana bread in the freezer. At least when I make them, I know the ingredients I am using are good quality.

Tom reminded me today that he was getting low on coconut banana bread. When checking his frozen inventory, he only had a few pieces left in the freezer. He takes one piece out of the freezer daily to savor after dinner. A new double batch is in the oven, taking 60 minutes to cook. I put the ingredients together, while he mashes the bananas. When it’s done, we let it cool, cut it into individual portions and place them in a freezer bag.

With him enjoying one of these days, the entire two batches last 24 days. There will be a little left when we return from our trip. But, the day after we return, I have my tooth pulled and may not feel like baking for a few days. I may make these all again next week. Fortunately, Tom has a propensity to enjoy the same thing repeatedly. That’s why he likes me!!!

After the baking, we’ll head to the butcher store here in Marloth Park to purchase some prawns for our sundowner event with readers/friends on Sunday. I’m making a list of starter-type items to serve, all of which will be as filling as a meal but served as appetizers. None of our guests will need to return to their houses to make dinner. Serving this way is easier, leaving me time to spend with our guests.

That’s it for today, folks.  Enjoy the day!

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

Spikey and his mom came to visit. For more photos, please click here.

Busy Monday morning…Cooking and tax prep day!…Food photos…Exciting news on the horizon…

This morning, I cleaned and cut these vegetables to make spicy roasted veggies for me for the week. Tom won’t try them, but they are delicious, heavily seasoned, and roasted in the oven for 90 minutes, tossing them every 30 minutes. This photo was taken before they were cooked.

I realized it was tax prep day, but I had an urge to cook. All the prep shown in today’s photos was done by 10:00 am, and now I can work on the post. After the post, I’ll work on the tax prep and forward everything to our accountant in Nevada. The vegetables are in the oven now and should be done soon after turning them every 30 minutes during their 90-minute roasting time at 375F, 190C.

The roasted vegetables taste good hot or cold. I may have a cup full during the day and another cup with dinner, heated in the microwave. Often, when I make this much, I freeze half of them to eat the following week. I season them well since I like them spicy, but they can be made mild for those who don’t.

By roasting them now, the oven will be available to cook the two pans of meatloaf. I cook both for ease of use when eating the leftover loaf down the road. We defrost it overnight in the refrigerator and reheat it in the microwave later on both occasions; it’s moist and delicious, like the leftover roasted vegetables.

Scraps for the animals. They love all these vegetable pieces, and they are good for them.

I prefer to cook a lot at once, leaving me free on other days only to make a salad and the rice for Tom. It’s a rarity that we’ll make a meal for only one night, except when we have guests for dinner and never serve leftovers. Even when we have something easy on the braai, we’ll buy at least two nights of meat but only cook one each evening. It seems to make life easier for our lives.

No doubt, my days are hectic. I hardly ever sit and do nothing, even when we’re enjoying the wildlife, for which I jump up every few minutes to feed them pellets or, in today’s case, fresh veggie scraps. Unfortunately, none of the animals like the veggies visited us this morning. The long holiday weekend ends tomorrow, and our furry friends will return to see us.

We’ll keep the veggie scraps in the refrigerator until they return. We can only imagine how refreshing moist, cool veggies taste to them on a warm day. We can easily detect their enthusiasm. This morning, we did see our usual band of about 40 mongooses. Did we have some treats for them!! Last night Tom had the remainder of a small prime rib, and I had the remaining four tiny chops from a rack of lamb. We carefully prepared the leftover meat and bones in bite-sized pieces for them.

Of course, they arrived this morning, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to share this special treat with them. I know this sounds unbelievable. When we see the mongoose in the garden, we make a clicking sound, and they scramble to get to us. They know this sound from the old house two km from here, and they respond quickly, all the while making their hysterical cackling sound.

These two pans of meatloaf, shown before cooking, will last for many dinners. We top the loaves with butt bacon which is meatier than streaky bacon. We eat one loaf for three nights (we love to do this!) and freeze the rest for busy days with little time to cook.

As for the exciting news on the horizon, our old friends from Minnesota, Connie, and Jeff, with whom we’ve been friends for over 30 years, are coming to Marloth Park and will stay with us in the guest house on the property. Jeff always dreamed of coming to Africa, and now, we’ll have the opportunity to share this special experience with both of them. They will be here in mid-September which isn’t too far away! How fun that will be!

The last time friends came here to stay with us was Lois and Tom, in October 2018, whom we met on a cruise in 2016. We had a fantastic three weeks together and loved sharing the wonders of Marloth Park. When we were in Florida in April this year, we met up with Lois and Tom for lunch. It was such a joy to see them and share the fantastic experiences we had in the past.

We’re excited to build these same memories with Connie and Jeff. Nothing can compare to sharing the adventures in Marloth Park and Kruger National Park with newcomers to Africa.

That’s it for today, folks. As they say, “I have other fish to fry” and must continue with today’s tasks.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 8, 2021:

This is one of our favorite bushbucks, Thick Neck, also known as Bad Leg. His leg eventually healed, and we no longer called him Bad Leg, only Thick Neck. For more photos, please click here.

Another fantastic evening in the bush with friends…A welcoming surprise for our guests….

Bossy, (kudu) Marigold, Tulip, and Lilac in the side garden looking for pellets.

Shortly before Rita, Gerhard, and their friend Lee arrived for dinner, we were delighted to see that Norman, Noah, and Nina were in the garden. With their holiday home about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from here, it’s unlikely they’ll have an opportunity to see them unless they encounter them while driving around the park.

We hoped they’d hang around until our guests arrived. But Tom offered them plenty of pellets to keep them busy. Since the nyala family is so popular in the park (they are the only nyalas), they don’t always eat all the pellets we offer when they may already be full. They don’t seem to devour them with the same enthusiasm as the other wildlife.

Lots of zebras stopped by last night with Lollie photobombing as usual.

We were fortunate when a few minutes later, our dinner guests arrived. I greeted them outdoors and asked them to be extra quiet in case the nyalas would be scared off by unknown humans. The nyala family is used to us but not necessarily newcomers to their territory. After all, they must be comfortable with us when they usually stop by two or three times a day, except during holidays when the park is packed with tourists.

It was such a joy to watch the faces of Rita, Gerhard, and Lee. They were so excited to see them when they hadn’t since they were here almost five months ago. They couldn’t believe how much Noah had grown in such a short time and how his features were changing from looking like Nina to looking like his dad Norman who looks much different from a female of the species.

Female kudus jumped the fence.

They each took photos with their phones, but that was just the beginning of the evening. Over the next few hours, many more animals stopped by to entertain us, even an adorable bush baby partaking of a little cup of fruity yogurt. It couldn’t have been more enjoyable.

Of course, the conversation was the second highlight of the evening when after not seeing Rita and Gerhard for five months, we busied ourselves telling countless stories of our recent adventures and trials. They have been in Germany and Croatia for the past months and shared some stories and photos. Having never met Lee before, it was fun to hear his take on being in the bush for the past 24 hours. He could not believe what he was seeing!

Bossy gets up close and personal, but we don’t hand feed.

No one can imagine the excitement and joy of living in the bush, even if it’s just for a week or two. Seeing the pleasure derived by newcomers is equally exciting for us. Sharing this magical place with others adds to the experience in many ways.

Crooked Face stops by no less than once per day. He may have a crooked face but we find him very handsome.

All the food turned out well, and everyone enjoyed the various items we served, as mentioned in yesterday’s post here. Fortunately, we have plenty of leftovers for tonight’s meal since I didn’t have much enthusiasm to cook another meal today. This morning I made a double batch of Tom’s Coconut Banana Bread using the ripe bananas we’d stored in the freezer. He’d had enough low-carb muffins and was ready for the “real deal.”

Bad Ear often joins Crooked Face.

I’ll individually wrap each piece in a Ziplock bag, which we’ll keep frozen. This way, it stays fresh when he eats only one or two pieces daily. It was a favorite recipe he loved in our old lives. Luckily I found it in my cloud. Although I don’t bake many non-low-carb treats for him, I was happy to make this favorite he so much enjoys. Plus, I do enjoy baking from time to time.

As for today, it’s a quiet day except for the steady stream of wildlife stopping by, often in the dozens every hour or so. We’re cherishing every moment, knowing another holiday weekend is coming up this week, and we won’t see as many animals until the holidaymakers leave the bush next week. August 9th is Women’s Day, which isn’t until next Tuesday, so that things won’t settle down until next Wednesday.

We hope you have a fantastic day and evening.

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

This hornbill was contemplating eating seeds we placed on the veranda railing. For more photos, please click here.