Happy 4th of July weekend to all of our readers and friends in the USA!!!…Food photos…A kudu anomaly…

When we first noticed this bump on this Big Daddy kudu’s face, we thought it might be a clump of vegetation. Check out his tongue in anticipation of pellets.

Almost ten years later, we still haven’t forgotten how much fun the 4th of July celebrations were when we lived in the US. We always had plans, whether it was a party at our house or a party at the home of friends or family members. It was always a festive celebration.

But, upon further inspection, we realized it wasn’t something he picked up in the bush. It was some type of growth between his eyes.

Now, living this life on the move, except for being in Minnesota visiting family on a few occasions over the past years, we’ve spent the fourth in many different parts of the world, as shown below:

  1. Boveglio, Italy (2013)
  2. Madeira, Portugal (2014)
  3. Trinity Beach, Australia (2015)
  4. Singapore (2016)
  5. Minnesota, USA (2017)
  6. Marloth Park, South Africa (2018)
  7. Connemara, Ireland (2019)
  8. Mumbai, India (2020)
  9. Minnesota, USA (2021)
  10. Marloth Park, South Africa (2022)

In 2012, on the 4th of July, we were still in Minnesota preparing to leave on our years-long journey, departing on October 31. The only times we celebrated were in the US in 2017 and again last year, 2021, when we returned to the US to get vaccinated and stayed for one month. On both occasions, we spent the holiday at my son Greg’s home with his wife Camille and our three grandchildren, Maisie, Miles, and Madighan.

Was this a future unicorn, we asked, “tongue in cheek?”

This week on the 4th of July, on Monday, we’ll be enjoying our daily lives in the bush without fireworks, US flags, a flag cake, and a wide array of delicious barbecued meat and side dishes. Instead, we’ll cook some meat on the braai, a big salad, rice for Tom, and green vegetables. We’ll remember the occasion but won’t make a fuss celebrating it.

Tom reminded me that in 2018, we celebrated the 4th of July at dear friends Kathy and Don’s lovely home overlooking the Crocodile River. We had a fantastic time, as shown in these photos from that post, found here.  Tom and I were the least dressed up for the occasion, unaware that the other guests, none of whom were Americans, enjoyed dressing up.

Could he be growing a third horn?

Should we be fortunate enough to share such a particular date with them again, we’ll dress accordingly next time. We do hope that time will come again for all of us. So much has changed these past few years that it’s hard to predict if time and circumstances will allow for repeated memorable occasions.

Last night, we went to Jabula Lodge and Restaurant for dinner as we always do on Fridays and once again had a fantastic time, along with great drinks and consistently excellent food, as shown in the photos below:

Tom’s Chicken Schnitzel, mushroom gravy, chips (fries), and creamed spinach. As always, it was delicious.
My Grilled Garlic Chicken Breast, three eggs fried in butter and pumpkin mash. It couldn’t have been better.

Today, we’re busy around the house, doing laundry, prepping food for the next few days, and organizing cupboards and closets. Storage space is at a minimum on the main floor of this house so being organized is a must. We have plenty of room for our clothes and personal supplies, but the kitchen, although a pleasing design, is short on cabinet space.

There are no above-counter cabinets. But, the windows overlooking the garden are well worth it. Non-perishable food storage is at a premium, so I’ve been organizing and consolidating to take advantage of every space.

We’ll never know for sure, but we’ll keep an eye out for him and see what develops.

But, there’s nothing like standing in the kitchen, chopping and dicing, and watching our wildlife friends putter about the garden in search of tasty morsels. When I’m chopping vegetables, we can toss out treats they love. This morning bushbuck Lilly and her daughter Lilac were waiting for the scraps from carrots, cabbage, and celery. We couldn’t toss the scraps out there quickly enough.

Today, we’ll enjoy time on the veranda. It’s warmed up a bit today and we can be outdoors without sweatshirts. Right now, at 12:30 pm, it is 75F, 24C, a perfect day. Tonight it will be as low as 49F, 9 C. As we discussed last night at Jabula, we have never turned the heating element in the aircon units to warm the bedroom. We’d rather bundle up in warm clothes and use lots of blankets to stay warm at night.

No, we don’t pay for electricity. It’s included in our rent. But, our goal is always to use as few available services as possible to save our property owners/managers added costs and consider our desire to leave as little of a footprint wherever we may be. It’s a small sacrifice, but we are so grateful to live this life; it’s the least we can do. The WiFi service in the house is unlimited.

For our family, friends, and reader/friends in the US, have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July weekend, and everyone else…have a blissful weekend.

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

Mongoose and kudus in the side garden,  munching on treats we tossed their way. For more, please click here.

Photo facts we must face while in the midwest…Happy 4th of July to our family and friends in the USA!

Little, please be there when we return at the end of the month!

After signing up for a membership for $60 yesterday at Costco, I was a bit frustrated. Once again, Tom dropped me off to shop, with a plan to pick me up when I was done and called him. I was surprised to discover a new policy after being a Costco member for many years, except for the past nine years since we’ve been gone.

The customer’s credit card to sign up for the membership will automatically be set for future renewals. In concept, this doesn’t sound so bad. But, the only way I can cancel the automatic renewal is to call and talk to a manager after we are no longer using the Costco membership when we leave the US. Why can’t I go online and do this?

Having to call, be on hold, and explain our circumstances to a manager is a big waste of time. Sure, they want to make it difficult for customers to cancel to maintain their vast customer base. I get that, but such policies when it comes to us are archaic and out of date in today’s technological world.

Now, I’ve had to mark my calendar to remember to call Costco when we leave Minnesota on July 16th to head to Milwaukee. The main reason we signed up was to purchase a camera. Once in the store, I discovered Costco no longer sells cameras in their store or online. Maybe they found it wasn’t worthwhile during the pandemic. Who knows?

I have a mental block about learning new camera techniques. It’s just one of those things I am not fascinated to learn. I know how beneficial it would be for me to become more adept at taking photos. But when it comes to wildlife, there isn’t much time to change settings and lenses when the magic happens quickly in the garden or a national park. So, now I begin searching for the best camera for our use, which hopefully won’t require a lot of my time to learn to use.

In the interim, when photo ops present themselves, I will have no choice but to use my phone to take the photos. With Chromebook, getting the images from the phone to the computer is time-consuming and tricky. By the time we leave the US, three weeks from today, we’ll have a new camera and can begin retaking photos.

As for today, Independence Day, aka the 4th of July, we changed our plans from visiting an old friend and neighbor since fireworks on the lake were canceled this year due to Covid. Go figure. What does a virus have to do with fireworks? In any case, I sent Nelleke a message, thanking her for thinking of us, and explained we’d be celebrating the 4th with Greg’s family at their home.

I will be preparing most of the meal but wanted to keep it easy. Since we aren’t planning to arrive at their home until 2:00 pm, I will be busy once we first arrive at their home, getting the cake baked, cooled, and decorated, the ribs in the oven, and later on, the grill preparing the garlic bread and sweet corn. Camille will make potatoes.

We purchased several Costco rotisserie chickens, which we’ll reheat 30 minutes before dining. This makes for an easy meal, leaving more time together instead of being stuck in the kitchen. In my old life, I’d be cooking for hours on the 4th of July, but nowadays, my interest in cooking is marginal at best.

While back at the hotel, we washed, dried, and folded clothes, especially after Tom’s lost bag was delivered from United Airlines, with everything intact. The only issue was my container of Himalayan salt spilled all over his clothes. We had to wash everything to get the salt out.

Last night, we stayed at the hotel after several shopping trips. We were both still exhausted after failing to catch up on sleep. We dined on one of those enormous Costco chickens in our hotel room, streamed a few shows, and fell asleep early, hoping for an 8 hour night. It just didn’t happen. We’re still on South Africa time, 7 hours later than Minnesota. I suppose we’ll adapt in the next few days.

Be well, everyone. Continue to follow safety protocols wherever you may be. We’ve had no ill effects from taking the Covid-19, J & J vaccine, other than Tom’s sore arm. Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, July 4, 2020:

In Trinity Beach, Australia, vegetation growing in the lake at the Cattana Wetlands created this view. For more photos, please click here.