Day 2, Change in a feature on our site started yesterday…Exciting trail cam photos….About us…

The genet and Earl had an encounter at the veranda railing during the night.

For those who may not have read yesterday’s post here, we have changed a feature on our site regarding the “Photo from one year ago today…” at the bottom of the page. We’ve now changed it to “Photo from ten years ago today…” Further explanation of this change is documented in yesterday’s post, as shown in the above link. Otherwise, all other aspects of our site will remain the same.

It’s hard to believe it was three years ago, while we were in lockdown in the hotel room in Mumbai, India, that we hired our current web developer to make major changes to the format of our site. It was a time-consuming and frustrating process.

The genet started out on the veranda rail where Tom had placed some cooked chicken.

There couldn’t have been a better time to update the site with so few distractions other than posting daily, finding sources for photos, washing all of our clothes by hand, walking in the corridors, and living a very peculiar life for ten months in a hotel room, unable to interact with the outside world.

We think of this often, wondering how in the world we got through it with the grace we did. We never fought with one another, nor were there ever angry or frustrated tones in our voices to each other. We had a strong and loving relationship going into this odd situation and a strong relationship coming out.

They engaged in a “stare-down” for quite a while.

We’re often asked if it made us stronger as a couple or as individuals. Ideally, we’d say yes. But the reality is that we used the adaptation skills and strengths we acquired throughout our world travels, at that time, over seven years into it. Nothing changed other than our personal affirmation of our resiliency, which both of us have developed over these years of world travel.

We’ve had our ups and downs, although none of them were in regard to the strength of our relationship, which somehow remains interesting, exciting, playful, and fun. We spend almost every day and night together, seldom apart, and we never tire of one another.

Part of that may be because we each do our own thing during daylight hours. Sure, we talk and laugh while reveling in our surroundings. But, once we’ve been in a location for a while and the sightseeing tapers off, those quiet days are easy for us. We never feel frustrated over what one of us is doing or not doing. There’s no judgment or criticism.

We saw Norman visit in the middle of the night. We can tell it’s him by the colors of his legs.

Ultimately, we make happiness a goal for ourselves and each other. With that in mind, we rarely have disagreements except when stressed over travel plans or circumstances. Even that is a rarity. We’re lucky, and we know it. Then again, is it luck? Probably not. It revolves around a sense of self-confidence and emotional security that we’ve chosen for ourselves.

Neither of us operated this way in past relationships, although we each extrapolated lessons we’ve learned from failed past relationships, choosing happiness over “always being right.” Being right doesn’t matter. Making smart decisions does.

Big Daddy at sunrise.

No, we’re not experts and have little advice for others. We’ve only allowed ourselves the privilege of making the most of every single day and night. Speaking of nights, this is when we come together after our daytime forays into activities that appeal to us individually. We listen to music, talk, laugh, tease, and often compliment one another, genuinely and from the heart. This is the glue that binds the quality of who we are together as a couple and as individuals.

As we spend days watching the behavior of wild animals, we often giggle over how much alike we are to them. They share pellets and loving nudges but then, at times, go off on their own, only to return later for more of the same. That’s us. Plain and simple.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 17, 2013:

My friend of 33 years, Colleen, had lived in St Thomas, USVI for many years. I was excited to see her when our ship docked at the Port of St. Thomas for a day. Sadly she passed away a few years ago from COPD. In this photo, she is shown with an oxygen tank, which was always at her side once she developed the awful condition. For more photos, please click here.

Moving through the days and nights with hope and love…

Early last week, when Jeff was still with us, he dropped a chunk of chicken on the veranda during a meal together on the veranda. Later that night, after they’d gone to bed, Tom spotted this genet enjoying the piece of chicken.

This morning, Lindsey and Connie took off for a day in Kruger National Park. We decided to let them go on their own to be able to have some private time without us in tow. They wanted to exchange all the clothes Connie purchased for Jeff in the shop at Lower Sabie for special gifts for his closest friends back in the US. How generous and thoughtful.

But generosity and thoughtfulness have been the nature of all our experiences over the past five days. Many of our readers have written to us with kind condolences, including friends from all over the world. Many have expressed concern over how Tom and I are doing under these circumstances.

Our only concern has been to make Connie and Lindsey feel as much comfort and love as we could provide during this sorrowful time. Neither of us has given a thought to our emotions. For us, our focus has been on their well-being and comfort.  We discussed the day’s events at night when we were alone in our bedroom. We are both sad this happened but glad we were able to share this sorrowful experience with Connie and Lindsey.

But, most of all, we are grateful Jeff was able to see the unique wildlife in our garden and then experience the wildlife in Kruger National Park, fulfilling his lifelong dreams of Africa. It was a joy to watch his expressions of sheer wonder when Mother Nature bestowed her treasured gifts upon us as we gawked in awe at the majesty of wildlife in Africa.

We took these three photos through the glass on the veranda door in the dark, resulting in poor-quality photos. If we’d added light or waited, we’d have lost the opportunity since any sound would drive the genet away.

Now, as the time Connie and Lindsey are staying in Marloth Park with us winds down, we’ve packed the remaining time together with more beautiful experiences; dinner out on Friday night at Jabula, where they were greeted with warm hugs and sincere condolences, let alone the great food, festive atmosphere and friendly banter among strangers who felt like friends before the evening ended.

Then, there’s been the two evenings we dined out since Jeff passed away; Amazing Kruger View with Louise and Danie on Thursday and, as mentioned, Friday night at Jabula. For the remaining three evenings, we dined on our veranda with good food, animal watching, and plenty of wine and drinks amid countless conversations and topics; many centered around Jeff and his life.

Last night, we made our low-carb pizza and salad, and the four of us dined and lounged on the veranda until well after dark and load shedding started again. Finally, the bugs got so bad that we had to go inside and all headed off to bed for an early night. Tom and I streamed a TV series on my laptop, and after I started nodding off, he stayed up and watched the Minnesota Vikings game until almost midnight.

I don’t ask Tom to wear earbuds when he watches the game in bed. For some odd reason, the sound of the football game is comforting to me, and I sleep right through it. Plus, the pills I take for headaches and facial pain make me very sleepy. I take the one tablet at 9:00  pm, 2100 hrs., to ensure I am not too sleepy in the morning. But, after taking the pill I can stay up for several hours if necessary.

Loouise and Danie told us that recently the genet has been eating their francolin’s chicks. They had six and now are down to one.

During the day, I feel a little sleepy but not enough to require a nap. However, the headache and facial pain are almost entirely gone. I hold my breath when I say this since suddenly, for no reason at all, it is painful  again but improves a short time later. I have no idea how long I’ll have to take the drug. Right now, I am not concerned about that. In a few weeks, I must return to Doc Theo for the next refill.

Today, with Connie and Lindsey gone for the day to Kruger National Park, we’ll work on future planning and financial projects we’ve postponed. Nothing was urgent since we’d prepared for their arrival and had addressed most tasks we had pending.

When they return and when Tom returns from returning the car to Nelspruit, we’ll cook another fresh homemade pizza we saved for tonight, having pizza two nights in a row. Tonight will be another evening on the veranda commiserating over the events of the past five days and mutually sharing stories from our lives and our adventures. Of course, we’ll be enjoying wildlife visits now that the holiday weekend is over.

Be well.

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

A thick-tailed bushbaby was eating yogurt we left out. For more, please click here.

Lovely evening on the veranda with great friends, good food and Mother Nature…

It was 4:00 am when our regular genet appeared in the garden sitting atop of a rock observing these two female bushbucks.

The weather was ideal, the guests were cheerful and enthused to be at our bush home, and the food, wine, and conversation flowed with ease. Rita, Gerhard, Rita’s sister Petra and brother-in-law Fritz joined us at the table on the veranda for snacks with beverages at sundowner time, beginning at 4:30 pm, 1630 hrs, followed by dinner a few hours later.

All of us stuffed from dinner. After the main course, we waited for about an hour to serve dessert, the chocolate cake I’d made in the morning, with photos in yesterday’s post found here. The low-carb cake was delicious and another treat we appreciated after it was only recently that I’d baked a few cakes, having missed desserts for quite some time.

We turned on the music between dinner and dessert using our JBL Essential Bluetooth speaker, which sounds almost as good as any major sound system. We sent my phone around the table for each of us to say, “Hey Google, play _ _ _ _ _, on YouTube.”

Young kudu male stops by, standing on the veranda to get our attention. We tossed pellets out into the garden to avoid getting too close to those growing horns.

We’d each speak our favorite song on the phone, and it was fun to hear what each of us chose. There certainly was a wide array of music, in part cultural, with our four guests from Germany (although Rita and Gerhard have lived in the US for over 30 years). Tom and I each chose oldies, his more geared toward rock and roll and mine, from the disco period in the late 70s and early 80s. It was great fun.

At one point, Rita and Petra danced to a favorite song from their OctoberFest days. It was delightful to see their favorite cultural dance. Ironically, in yesterday’s post, I’d mentioned cultural dances we’ve observed and enjoyed worldwide over the years and most assuredly enjoy in years to come, health providing, and we’re able to continue.

This warthog stopped by who’d recently had an injury to his left wart. It could have happened in several incidents with other animals.

As always, after dinner, Tom insisted on handling all the dishes, requiring that he load and empty the dishes twice and wash a variety of pots and pans. It helped that we’d all carried the plates and dishes indoors, but, still, he had his hands full for a few hours after our guest left, slightly before 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs.

On and off, throughout the evening, we were entertained by many of our favorite wildlife visitors who weren’t put off at all by our loud banter and not too loud music. We are far from any other houses at our current location and are never concerned we’re disturbing neighbors.

Tom just finished his leftovers while I am munching on the leftover salad and vegetables, cooked green beans, and sugar snap peas. We’d made individual low-carb pot pies and had saved the thick lids used to cover the tin foil pans. After dinner, we passed around the lids and a pen so everyone could write their name on their corresponding leftovers and take them home for today’s lunch.

We just missed a good photo of this monitor lizard.

We won’t eat again until dinner tonight at Jabula, where the six of us will meet up for dinner, which will undoubtedly be another fun evening. We enjoy our busy social life, which will continue after Petra and Fritz return to Germany. Several other friends will be arriving in Marloth Park in the next few weeks, and the social activities will ramp up from here.

We’re pleased to share another sighting of our usual genet from our trail cam, as shown in the main photo. What a joy it has been to see our favorite nocturnal animals these past many weeks, as well as the frequent daytime visitors that continue to entertain and amaze us.

May you have a pleasant day, evening, and weekend.

Photo from one year ago today, January 22, 2021:

There are no less than three mating pairs of francolins in our garden. In a short time after our arrival to Marloth Park, we named this francolin Frank, along with his partner, The Misses. For more, please click here.

First time visitor stuns…Gentle musings on a busy morning in the bush…Two must-watch videos…

Notice the train-like mating noise Wart Face makes when approaching
this female, one of two moms that stop by each day.
The interaction with wildlife is not only educational but also humorous.
Each day, we spend hours watching their behavior.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

As shown in this photo (not ours), a genet appeared last night while we were packing to go inside for the night. Unfortunately, I’d already put away the camera. By the time I went back inside to get it, the genet was long gone. Now, I suppose, we’ll be hell-bent on seeing this lovely cat again and taking our photos.

We’ve had few quiet mornings in Marloth Park since we arrived two and a half months ago. Whether it’s the four dozen helmeted guinea fowl that live in the bush surrounding our house, a single kudu or a forkl of kudu, a sounder of warthogs or Frank (the francolin) and his wife, it’s always a busy morning.

A good-sized turtle was crossing the road.

Often, they begin to appear once we’re up and about, but on a rare occasion, as soon as we open the giant wooden doors to the house, a variety may be awaiting us. “What’s for breakfast,” their eyes ask as they stare at us. Wildlife in Marloth Park is used to being fed.

A part of this outrageous adventure are the sounds in the bush both day and night, including an indescribable variety of bird calls, cricket chirps, impala barks, hog snorts, frogs croaks (only the males’ croak), and the frequent sounds at a distance, often hard for us novices to decipher. In time we will learn.

Three young monkeys were playing in the dirt in front of the veranda.

For now, we sit back in a perpetual state of wonder, rarely ever missing a beat. The rustling in the bush is often a good indicator that an animal is approaching. My finely-tuned hearing is quick to pick up on a pending arrival, for which I quietly alert Tom while we both wait in anticipation as to who will grace our presence in the next minute or two.

They are highly social and spend considerable time playing with their troop-mates.

With Tom’s years of hearing loss from “working on the railroad,” with difficulty hearing certain tones, he’s often dependent on me to let him know someone is approaching.  But, then, his keen eye often spots action in the bush long before I see it. We’re a good team as observers of wildlife in the bush (along with other things).

Monkeys use rocks and boulders as tools to open nuts and fruit.

One may ask, “What do we have to gain from this?” Other than the joy of knowing we’re providing some sustenance for the wildlife who often suffer during droughts, why do we have this peculiar passion that we and many homeowners and visitors to Marloth Park and nature reserves throughout the world also possess?

As wildlife populations diminish worldwide due to human intervention and a natural cycle of life, death, and extinction, we’ve added the experience of seeing and being entrenched in the beauty of nature and wildlife, which our great-grandchildren may never be able to see.

Monkeys such as this Vervet come by in troops, swinging through the trees and carrying on in our side yard.  Vervet monkeys are smaller and less destructive than baboons.

Perhaps our stories and photos here will provide them with a peek into “what it was like” decades ago to help them have a better understanding of cyclic changes in nature precipitated by myriad forces often beyond our control.

This monkey picked up this pellet off the ground and wiped off the dirt before eating it.

Did “humankind” wipe out the dinosaurs? No. Nature did.  And maybe, just maybe, nature naturally has played such a role over the millennium. Once, humans weren’t on this earth. Will one day we be gone as well? We don’t know, nor can we accurately surmise or assume we can change what is yet to come in our destiny.

This is a blue-tailed day gecko we often see close to the river.

Meanwhile, many of us are allowed to play a role, however small and seemingly insignificant in the realm of things, that may or may not impact the future. If doing so brings us peace and purpose, then the effort and dedication were valuable and meaningful.

Our cute little bushbuck baby with her mom on the left is growing up quickly.

Some may say, everything we do is for our pleasure. And, we’d be foolhardy to deny that reality. But, if somehow, through our daily stories and photos, we can provide a moment of pleasure to others throughout the world who may be reading our posts, then this daily commitment was all worthwhile. For this, dear readers, we glean our greatest joy.  For this, dear readers, we thank all of YOU. 

Photo from one year ago today, April 26, 2017:

The coral reef in the Isle of Pines was exquisite. For more details, please click here.