Happy 4th of July to all of our family and friends in the USA!..


Many of our readers are not living in the US and are located in countries worldwide. For those readers and American readers who may like to be updated on the meaning of the Fourth of July, we’ve added the following from this site for convenient reading:

“The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues. The Fourth of July 2023 is on Tuesday, July 4. When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical.

By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in the bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776.

On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies independence.

Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution but appointed a five-man committee—including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of ConnecticutBenjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and Robert R. Livingston of New York—to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.

Did you know? John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

On July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written mainly by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on, the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.

Early Fourth of July Celebrations and Traditions

In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions, and speechmaking. By contrast, during the summer of 1776, some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty.

Festivities, including concerts, bonfires, parades, and the firing of cannons and muskets, usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war.

George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at the Battle of Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties—the Federalist Party and Democratic-Republicans—that had arisen began holding separate Fourth of July celebrations in many large cities.

Fourth of July Fireworks

The first fireworks were used as early as 200 BC. The tradition of setting off fireworks on the 4 of July began in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, during the first organized celebration of Independence Day. The ship’s cannon fired a 13-gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies. The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported: “at night,” there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.” The Sons of Liberty set off fireworks over Boston Common that night.

Fourth of July Becomes a Federal Holiday

The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812 when the United States faced Great Britain again. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.

Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline, but Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.

Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has, since the late 19th century, become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.”

Today, although we aren’t celebrating in any special way, we observe this special day with reverence and respect for our nation. Yes, there are issues in our country, as is seen in countries worldwide but many of us reflect on these special occasions with hope and prayers for better days to come.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 4, 2013:

Last week I found this photo from when we walked to Petra in May 2013. I’d saved it in the wrong location, realizing it was never posted. These steps were much steeper than appearing in this photo. To see this horse gingerly tackle them in the scorching heat was both heartbreaking and awe-inspiring at the same time. For more, please click here.

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.