The wonders of the bush continue to thrill our guests…A first time visitor…

How wonderful this lovely lizard stopped by for our guests to see! “Agama is a genus of small-to-moderate-sized, long-tailed, insectivorous Old World lizards. The genus Agama includes at least 37 species in Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, where most regions are home to at least one species. Eurasian agamids are largely assigned to genus Laudakia.”

No words can describe how meaningful it is to have friends from afar experiencing Marloth Park with us. Meeting the wonderful locals and our friends and seeing all the stunning wildlife is hard to explain to an outsider. For those who are not animal lovers, these experiences may hold little significance.

“Reptile. Agama lizards are sometimes called rainbow lizards because of the colorful displays put on by the dominant males. While most agamas are green and brown, dominant males show off by rapidly turning their bodies blue and their heads bright red or yellow. Most agamas live in small groups, with the dominant male ruling over several females and sub-males. While sunning themselves each morning, the dominant male will claim the most elevated spot, with subordinates in lower areas. Agamas hunt by vision and prefer to wait for an insect to come by. Their sticky tongues help them hold onto prey.”

But, for the rest of us, each interaction leaves us reeling with pure delight. Once our friends leave at the end of the month, Tom and I will continue to treasure every day as we always have.

Now, as I write this, everyone is taking a much-needed nap. Our days and nights have been filled with one activity after another. Tom and I, used to all the commotion, are still sitting at the table on the veranda, watching numerous birds stopping at the birdbath, as shown in the photo below, to drink and bathe in the clean water.

Do you recognize this birdbath? Louise had the boys bring it here from our last holiday home, Lovebird’s Nest. We love all the birds and animals stopping by for a drink. In the background is a pile of lucerne we placed on a cement structure after receiving our second lucerne delivery this week.

Numerous animals have stopped by to drink. Now that the weather is warming up again, having access to clean drinking water is essential for our animal friends. Sure, they can search throughout Marloth Park to find a suitable waterhole, but such water sources are often dirty and filled with mud. Tom refills the birdbath a few times a day with fresh water.

With two bales of lucerne(hay) delivered here this week on Monday and Thursday, we had an opportunity to see many animals at one time. In some cases, there were no more animals than usual since our garden appears to be a desirable place to visit.  You may say, “No wonder! The animals are being fed.”

An adorable bushbaby stopped by to partake of the little yogurt cup we left for her in the evening. Our friends loved seeing her.

But it’s much more than being about food. The number of animals that come here often clearly illustrates how safe they feel here. It is instinctual for wildlife to remain on alert for life-threatening predators. Sure, there are lions and leopards in Marloth Park. Recently, they’ve just about obliterated the entire ostrich population in the park, along with countless impalas and warthogs.

To see these beloved animals feel safe around us is heartwarming on the one hand but terrifying on the other. Lions and leopards could just as easily come to our garden as anywhere else in the park. At night, we often hear the roar of these dangerous beasts. On Facebook, we often see photos of the remains of an animal that the large cats had partially devoured.

Lots of bushbucks, kudus, and wildebeests hanging around.

They can “run, but they can’t hide.” Nature always wins. A starving lion is as entitled to eat as the gentle little bushbucks that come to our garden for pellets, carrots, and other vegetables and fruits. Who’s to say one wild creature is more or less deserving of eating than another? It’s all a part of the life cycle in the wild, and we have no control over how it ultimately plays out.

This morning Tom took some photos and a video while Connie and I were getting our pedicures at Imbewe Spa (where I go once a month to have my toes done) when he spotted Norman and his son Noah, who’s maturing quickly in what appeared to be a horns-to-horns scuffle. Was Norman teaching Noah how to defend himself, or was he giving Noah the message that it’s time for him to move to another territory and let loose of following his mom and dad around?

Tulip and her daughter, Lilac.

We’ll only know the answer to this question soon if we see Norman and Nina visiting without their son. The three of them often visit two or three times a day. Will we ever see Noah again when so many residents in Marloth Park have never seen the nyala family as those of us in this area have been blessed to witness, day after day?

Ah, if only “they” could talk and tell us their intentions. How fascinating that would be. But, like us humans with a degree of uncertainty about our eventual demise, we don’t get to know precisely what our wildlife friends are thinking. It’s another one of those “mysteries of life” we don’t get to know.

Soon, we’re off to Jabula with friends for our usual Friday night dinner.  May all of you have a lovely evening as well.

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2021:

A new bushbuck to our garden, Short Horn. Notice the size difference between his right and left horns. For more photos, please click here.

It’s wonderful having houseguests…Can’t wait for Monday!…Exciting new sighting!…

Sorry, this is the back of a ground hornbill, a large bird we’d never seen in Marloth Park in the past. We couldn’t grab the camera quickly enough, but they moved away fast; these two shots were all we could get.

Why would I possibly wish time to fly at my age? There are only two reasons: one, the holidaymakers will have left after the weekend, and the animals will return to our garden; two, we’re having lucerne delivered, and more animals than we’ll be able to count will finish off an entire bale in one day.

Sundays are always quieter in the garden except, so far this morning, Norman, Nina, and Noah, several bushbucks, Delilah, and three ground hornbills (the first sighting for us other than when we’re in Kruger) also ran through the garden quickly preventing me from taking good photos other than the few I have posted here today.

Another distant view of the ground hornbill.

Our guests are still in their little cottages after a long flight and two travel days, but as I write this now, Lindsey just arrived and was happy to see a bushbuck in the garden. They missed the morning influx, but hopefully, more will come throughout the day.

This was a little lunch I put together yesterday for my boy Norman. He loved every bite.

Last night during dinner, which turned out well, we only had three huge warthogs in the garden napping at the edge of the veranda. From the size of the tusks, we determined it was Mom and Babies, and they hung around for a few hours.  But our guests enjoyed seeing the pigs but weren’t quite able to understand my affection for warthogs. In these next few weeks, I genuinely believe they will understand why.

My boy Norman came to call this morning before our friends were up. We hope that he and his family return soon.

We are thrilled to have Connie, Jeff, and Lindsey here. We have had a great time commiserating with them since we’ve been friends for over 30 years, have many great memories, and are excited to make new memories.  Last night’s dinner was fantastic, and now as I write this after taking many breaks, the three of them are sitting at the table on the veranda.

Nina, Norman’s partner, also stopped by this morning.

It’s a beautiful day today, thank goodness not as hot as yesterday’s 98F, 37C. There’s a slight breeze, and the humidity is relatively low at 26%. By dark, it cools down considerably when we’re sitting outdoors enjoying our dinner and watching for wildlife.

Last night’s dinner was a huge success. We were surprised the our three houseguests held up so well after the two travel days, including yesterday’s long drive from Johannesburg to Marloth Park. By 9:00 pm, 2100 hrs., they headed to the two cottages for the night. After a good night’s rest this morning, they are all feeling better and ready to enjoy time in the bush.

Norman was sniffing Nina.

This morning Louise dropped off another battery-powered lantern, so each of us has enough to get us through the frequent load shedding that escalated to Stage 6 as last night. This means that for 10 hours a day, we won’t have power for 12  hours. This is too much. Eskom is supposed to have a big press conference today to discuss the 500 billion rands they need to stop load shedding, which translates to about 28.4 billion US dollars.

We doubt that will ever happen, so we don’t see an end to this. There’s no way this country can come up with that sum to alleviate the possibility of a total blackout. I just read an update from Eskom stating that Stage 6 is unavoidable, or there would be a total blackout. This would be a fiasco and certainly impact our desire to continue our desire to stay here much longer.

Norman and Nina…

We can only wait and see what happens. As I’ve been typing this post, our power went out again. It’s been a few hours, and it hasn’t come back on yet. Louise checked on it, and apparently, it’s a  municipal fault, not more load shedding. We’ll get more of that starting in a few hours. Oh, good grief.

My boy…he’s so handsome.

TIA…This is Africa. This is what happens here. We do everything we can to get through this. Meanwhile, we’re enjoying time with our friends and looking forward to seeing more of our wildlife friends.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, September 18, 2021:

When peering out the kitchen window, we saw this image in the front of our house. For more photos, please click here.

Off to Komati…Lots to do to get ready for company…

We love the colorful heads on helmeted guinea fowl who visit us every evening around 4:30 pm, 1630 hrs., and then 90 minutes later head off in single file into the bush to “go to bed.” Early birds. We laugh every time we see this.

We don’t have many new photos today. I’ve been so busy taking care of travel-related projects or financial stuff and then nursing my aching head and face that I haven’t focused on taking photos as much as I had. I hardly have any photos in the folder on my desktop entitled “Today’s New Photos.”

We’d intended to return to Kruger National Park, where photo ops are aplenty, but bouncing around in the small rental car has held little appeal with the headache. Although I have experienced some relief in the past few days after increasing the dose of the medication, the slightest motion or sudden turn of my head starts it all over again.

When we returned from shopping, these four bushbucks were mainly female, waiting in the garden for us.

I’ve learned that standing quickly after sitting fires it back up again. I am trying to learn to be mindful of such activities to enjoy the pain-free periods for however long they last. This morning, after awakening without pain, I bolted out of bed, realizing I had better get on the ball and get up.

I planned to get up early and clean the main refrigerator, making room for all the groceries we’ll be buying today after my breakfast at Stoep with Rita. Once showered up and dressed, I immediately tackled the fridge cleaning, and 20 minutes later, we had plenty of room for the new influx of food.

Tulip decided to take a rest in our garden.

While doing this, I kept thinking about how much I longed for a cup of coffee but decided to wait until I was done and then reward myself. Alas, I forgot to turn on the kettle, and just like that, load shedding started. Of course, the kettle wouldn’t work, and I didn’t feel like boiling water in a pot on the gas stove, using a lighter to start the gas burner. Yes, we are grateful we have gas burners, although the oven is electric.

When load shedding occurs during dinnertime, which it has done every day so far this week, it helps to use the stovetop to prepare our meals instead of waiting until 7:30 pm, 1930 hrs., to eat dinner. We prefer to dine by 6:00 pm, if possible, although it may be later when dining out.

Any minute, Rita will arrive to pick me up. I have the most extensive grocery list on the app on my phone than I’ve had in a very long time. But with three guests who eat foods we avoid, my goal is to be mindful of what they like instead of what we always eat. So, I will be buying both ways – low-carb; meat, eggs, vegetables, and some high-fat dairy, and also for our guests, the typical US diet of grains, starches, meats, vegetables, and snacks.

I tossed some cabbage out to them. They love the moisture in fresh vegetables.

Tom will come into the market with me, and we’ll use two trolleys. This way, we’ll be able to keep it all straight. I only plan to purchase enough food for four or five days, and then Connie and I can go shopping together, choosing what we prefer to cook and eat. I am sure it will all work out well.

Back from Komati…

Rita and I had a lovely breakfast, after which she dropped me off at the pharmacy to fill my prescription and a few toiletries. When done, I walked the short distance down the strip mall to the Spar and began shopping while waiting for Tom to join me. Our plan worked well; we kept their food and supplies in one trolley and theirs in another. We spent a small fortune.

And then, there were five…

Once back at our place, we brought their food to the cottage, and once it was all put away, we headed back to our house to unload our food into the two refrigerators and the chest freezer. We purchased enough food for five dinners and breakfasts,  lunches, fruit, and snacks for them. Whew!

For the rest of the day, which is rapidly ending, we’ll hunker down and have a nice dinner of leftover mozzarella stuffed meatballs topped with homemade Italian sauce and grated mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, with steamed broccolini and a big salad.

Tomorrow, I’ll make a huge batch of blueberry muffins and a few pans of crustless quiche to share with our guests. The next few weeks will be busy, but we’ll do everything we can to make it seamless and stress-free. Staying calm is of the utmost importance in making house guests feel at ease.

Have a great day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 15, 2021:

Broken Horn can’t get enough visits to our garden, even napping when he needs a restful break. For more photos, please click here.