“It’s all a part of nature,” they say…It still hurts…More Kruger photos…

Check out those long eyelashes.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
A vulture is on the lookout for a meal.

We often see videos on YouTube, at Marloth Park’s and Kruger National Park’s websites and Facebook pages and other locations that depict horrific photos of wildlife being captured and subsequently eaten by apex predators.

Their graceful beauty is breathtaking.
Often comments are made by viewers after such postings stating, “It’s all a part of nature.” Recently on the Marloth Park Sighting page on Facebook, there was a photo of a still-living young bushbuck being strangled by a massive python preparing to consume it. 

The little bushbuck’s legs were kicking at its last moments of life. Sure, the person who’d found this sighting surely was pleased to have witnessed such a scenario first hand, right here in Marloth Park.
She noticed us watching her from the dirt road.

There’s no doubt had we encountered such a sighting, we’d also have taken photos and posted them. And, yes, it is a part of life worthy of sharing with others who appreciate and love nature including the good and bad it has to offer.  

Giraffe mom and baby.

Most assuredly, some who see such a photo would find it “cool” with no emotion attached to their response. It all depends on one’s attachment and love of nature that precipitates a human response.

Oftentimes, I’ve shed tears watching the brutal slaughter of animals for human consumption. My life-saving diet requires I consume meat, fish, chicken, and other animals (I refuse to eat any of the animals we see in Marloth Park or on safari). Otherwise, I’d only be able to eat eggs and non-starchy vegetables, not providing sufficient nutrition for survival.

Generally, giraffes don’t bend much to eat although they must in order to drink. On occasion, they find certain bushes appealing requiring them to bend to graze.

The reality for those with religious or scientific beliefs is the fact that animals, by our higher power or other beliefs, were placed on this earth to provide sustenance for other carnivorous creatures including humans.  Otherwise, why would ours and their bodies have been designed to consume food as a herbivore, omnivore, or carnivore?

For example, cows have four stomachs as described here: “The cow has four stomachs and undergoes a special digestive process to break down the tough and coarse food it eats. When the cow first eats, it chews the food just enough to swallow it. The unchewed food travels to the first two stomachs, the rumen, and the reticulum, where it is stored until later.”

Another bird of prey on a search for a meal.
Cows are herbivores only meant to consume plants and grasses.  In this world today, for pure greed, cows are often fed animal by-products as described here:
“The advent of “mad cow” disease (also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE) raised international concern about the safety of feeding rendered cattle to cattle. Feed for any food animal can contain cattle manure, swine waste, and poultry litter.” This goes against nature.
I’m not on a “political soapbox” on this topic. I’m simply stating that yes, animals and humans may be intended to eat according to their status as a herbivore, omnivore or carnivore.  
Wildebeest grazing in the bush.
Although the sighting of the python and the bushbuck shook us to the core, this is the reality of being a part of this magical wildlife environment. With it comes the fact that we’ll be witnessing, from time to time, a sad scene such as this. How we respond to it is entirely up to the individual, their level of compassion, and their core beliefs.  
For us, we don’t simply brush it off as “nature at its finest.”  In essence, we humans could say when an elder passes away, “It’s the way nature intended it to be.” But this doesn’t diminish nor negate the fact that we loved that person and our hearts are broken over losing them.  
If all of us could embrace life, whether human or animal, with compassion and love we wouldn’t be facing the extinction of many animals in the wild or the inhumane treatment of those that are a part of the food chain, the harsh reality of the sustenance of life itself.
A vulture spreading its wings in the treetop.
Now that I have this off my chest, on to other topics of discussion. Please feel free to write in our comments section your views. We’ll happily respond and share them with our worldwide readers.
Last night’s dinner with friend Don and his kindly brother Kieth, proved to be a stupendous evening. Having prepared much of the meal in advance, we had considerable time to spend with our guests and it was purely delightful.
Tonight, we’ll be dining on great leftovers, and on the veranda for another fine evening in the bush. By the way, I just got an email from our friend Don that one of the two lionesses we spotted at “Two Trees” today, (coincidentally running into Don and Keith there) killed an impala and are dining in the sand. Hmmm…
Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 10, 2017:

From Part 2 of Toledo Coffee tour in Costa Rica: These dark beans were as a result of the end of the roasting cycle, created the darkest roast which much to our surprise contained the least caffeine. The light roast, produced at the beginning of the roasting cycle contains the highest levels of caffeine. (See our above video) Who knew?  For more details, please click here.

An Easter egg hunt for grown-ups…Last night’s fun and games at Kathy and Don’s home in the bush…

Tom’s other prize for winning the trivia game, this gorgeous giant chocolate Easter egg filled with more chocolate treats (see below). He’ll be eating this on his own.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

When the party was getting started, a wildebeest stopped by for a bite to eat.

I don’t recall we’ve ever had such a consistently busy social life. In our old lives, it was typical for us to socialize with friends once every one or two weeks. But, here in Marloth Park, we’re having such a great time with our variety of friends, at least a few times each week.

Don was explaining, in his usual articulate way, how the “game” will be played.
We’re yet to turn down invitations when we know we’ll always have a great time not only with the special friends that have included us but with their other friends who are also in attendance. Each week, we meet more and more people. 
There were 12 of us at the party.  At this point, Don was explaining the details about the Easter Egg hunt and the after-dinner Easter-related trivia game.

No doubt, traveling to other countries in the future won’t be as easy when we’re missing these meaningful interactions. Although, this time here in Africa will undoubtedly inspire us to reach out more to make friends wherever we go.

Kathy, Jill, and Sandy listened as Don explained the rules.

Oftentimes, we meet people who are on a holiday/vacation who seldom reach out to make new friends with a busy agenda of things to do and places to see. The exception to this is on cruises when we’ve made some outstanding friendships that will always be close to our hearts.

One egg was hidden in this floating hippo in the pool.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll see many of the friends we’ve made on cruises in person, with busy work lives, retirement functions and activities they’ve generated in their home states, cities and countries. 

We found only eight of the 60 eggs hidden in the yard.  Others found much more than us. It was the first time either of us had ever participated in a hunt. IWewere always hiding them for our kids and grandkids to discover, in our old lives not finding them ourselves.

We’ve been blessed to stay in touch with many of the friends we’ve made along the way. In the past day, we’ve heard from several friends we’ve met on cruises with whom we’ve often stayed in touch for years. How magical is that?

A small section of Kathy and Don’s beautiful yard.

Then, of course, there are our friends from our old lives with whom we stay in touch on Facebook, Messenger and Skype whom we hope to see again in person when we return to Minnesota in 2019 for another family visit, (in about one year from now).

We love this kudu statue in their yard, appearing to be munching on the leaves of a tree.

As for last night’s party, it couldn’t have been more enjoyable. Kathy and Don certainly know how to throw a dinner party, often surrounding some type of theme, with great food, drinks, decor, and ambiance. We feel so fortunate to be included and look forward to reciprocating with dinner at our place soon.

One of the guests found all of these!

Upon the prompt arrival of their 10 guests, we immediately got to the business at hand of Don explaining the “rules” who shortly after, sent us on a frenzy in the yard, searching for eggs. Don had to cut his instructions short when Kathy noticed that Vervet monkeys were finding the eggs and eating them! What a hoot it was seeing the monkeys in the tree eating the candy eggs!

With the camera in hand, looking for photo ops I managed to find half of the eight eggs we collectively gathered though not nearly as many as others. It was such fun!

Adorable decorations were placed throughout their home.

After counting and recording our finds, to be used in the tally of the score of a trivia game after dinner, we all made our drinks and made our way up the two flights of stairs to their third floor veranda to what Kathy calls “Pu Pu’s” an expression used in Hawaii (they have homes in Oahu) which refers to pre-dinner appetizers or starters.

The huge dining table on their third-floor veranda was beautifully set for the occasion.

The evening flowed with ease and by dark, we were all seated at their enormous dining table, plates filled with great food, wine glasses topped off and delightful, humorous dinner table conversation.

View of the Crocodile River (we need more rain!) from Kathy and Don’s third-floor veranda.

After dinner, we played Don’s clever Easter themed game and wouldn’t you know, Tom won with the highest accumulated points for the hunt and the answers to the questions. He’s always been good at trivia type games, often beating me and everyone else at the table.

He won the bottle of champagne (for me) and the candy (for him). He’s already dug into some chocolates this morning, mentioning he got somewhat of a “high” from eating candy on an empty stomach after all these years of low carb, sugar-free way of eating. Hmmm…what does that say? I’ll be glad when it’s gone.

I guess Tom will be on a chocolate frenzy for days.  He loves this stuff.  Then back to healthy eating!

Today, we’re heading out for a drive in the park and to stop at the little market in Marlothi center for mushrooms for tonight’s dinner. Oddly, with a limited supply of produce at the tiny market, they usually have fresh mushrooms after their mid-day delivery of produce.

Up at 6:00 am, I started cooking chicken and sausages and chopping and dicing for tonight’s Low Carb Chicken Sausage Casserole, one of our many favorite meals. It takes a bit of work to make this dish but I make enough to last three nights. We always savor it to the very last bite along with fresh green beans with onions and bacon and cabbage salad.

Tom is such a good trivia player he ended up winning the game we played at the dinner table. The prizes included the giant candy-filled Easter Egg shown in the above photos and this bottle of Champagne which we’ll save to drink when Kathy and Don come to dinner in the near future.

Tonight, we’ll put out the yogurt for the bush babies, set up the spotlight, the camera, and tripod and settle into another fabulous evening in the bush.

May you have a fabulous day and evening as well!

Photo from one year ago today, April 3, 2017:

While we were living in Fairlight, Australia our new friend, a kookaburra stopped by for bits of meat he’d eat from my hand and was already responding to my voice.  For more photos, please click here.