Three days and counting…11 hour power outage…The outcome in tomorrow’s post…

This is the male buffalo that chased after Tom in Bali.

Note: This post was written on my phone during an 11-hour power outage beginning at midnight last night.

Oh dear, the hassles continue right up to the end of our time in Mirador San Jose. The power has been out for 11 hours, and all our food in the refrigerator may have spoiled. We haven’t opened the refrigerator door to check it yet and won’t do so until the power comes back on.

The only solution is to go to the little store today and buy lots of eggs and cheese so we can eat omelets for dinner for the next three nights. We don’t trust buying their meat since they don’t have a generator, and their meat will spoil.

Nor will we consider eating at Kokomo on Wednesday evening, as we planned to do the night before we depart. They don’t have a generator, and we don’t trust their meat either after such an extended power outage. We always order chicken for me and ground beef for Tom. No way would we eat those.

Eggs aren’t refrigerated here since they use different processing than the US and can stay fresh for weeks. Cheese should be safe since it has been fermenting unrefrigerated.

It’s not as if we are willing to take half a day to drive back and forth to Manta to buy something for dinner. However, we assume the bigger markets have generators to keep their volumes of food cold on such occasions.

In the realm of things, we will only be out about $45 worth of groceries, and no major harm will have come to us. It’s merely a matter of inconvenience and readjusting our meal plans a bit. Thank goodness we aren’t staying until our original departure date of January 8 and had recently shopped in Manta.

Last night, it was hot and humid in the bedroom without aircon. We kicked off the covers and awoke every hour or so, aware of the heat in the room. When we got up this morning, we both felt sluggish and unrested.

As I write this on my phone, I wonder when I can post it. But, with nothing else to do right now, preparing this made sense while I still had juice left on my portable charger. It won’t last beyond this afternoon; by then, we’ll be on our last leg with nothing to do tonight in the dark with no devices working.

Tom is playing games on his phone, and his battery will die before too long. The only candles here are tea lights; with the doors open for some air, they are hard to keep lit in the wind. Even if there were books to read here, we couldn’t see them.

This makes me think of the settlers before electricity and how they entertained themselves at night with only kerosene lamps. Many read books, told stories, or played games. Many went to bed early since they had to get up early and work the farm. Their lifestyle was very different from that which we have become accustomed to. It’s all relative. We have it easy.

At the little store last week, we heard a story about Mirador San Jose residents not having power for 21 consecutive days in 2019. At that time, the owner/developer was collecting money from the residents for electricity and paying the power company one lump sum.

When the developer pocketed the money the residents had paid and failed to pay the electric company, the power was off for 21 days. Of course, everyone was in an uproar, but they could do nothing. Few had funds to cover the outstanding bill for every house in this gated community of dozens of homes.

Twenty-one days without power or WiFi is unthinkable. It was a painful period for those residents who couldn’t afford to leave while the situation was resolved. Many who could afford it purchased generators, but even those had no WiFi for communication with the outside world when many depended on WhatsApp, which requires a WiFi connection.

Nonetheless, are we chomping at the bit to drive away on Thursday morning or sooner if the power doesn’t come back on? Yep! That’s for sure. We’ll report more tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago, December 11, 2013:

This elephant began his trek across the river from the Marloth Park side to get close to an awaiting elephant. The river is loaded with crocodiles who seldom attack adult elephants. Boating on the river is strictly prohibited. For the outcome of this trek, please click here.

Wait until you hear this one!…More whinging, whining, complaining…11 days and counting…

This was Mont Blanc, a precious baby alpaca born before our eyes in New Plymouth, NZ, in 2016 while we lived on an alpaca farm. It is one of our favorite memories. Sadly, a few months later, he died due to his blue eyes, which indicated a genetic abnormality. We were so sad to see this unravel before us. For more, please click here.

I am sorry we’ve whinged so much since we arrived at Mirador San Jose on October 24. It’s been one thing after another. In our attempt to “tell it like it is,” our dear readers have had no choice but to listen to me complain day after day. The alternative would have been to smile and pretend nothing is wrong, painting an unrealistic representation of our challenges as we’ve traveled the world. We never intended to have it all be “fluff.”

Maybe Ecuador itself is fine for many expats and residents. No doubt it is when many live here, enjoying nature, the sea, and, like us, the Galapagos Islands expedition, which we’d highly recommend, especially if you aren’t prone to seasickness and the altitude in Quito, which is the launching point for most Galapagos tours.

As we quickly approach the time we’ll be leaving Ecuador in 11 days, we are reminded of the challenges we’ve faced here, including power outages for extended periods. In Marloth Park, South Africa, load shedding was and continues to be a daily occurrence. But we knew when they were coming, and 95% of the time, they only lasted two hours.

Yesterday was the end of my rope, as they say…the last straw…the straw that broke the camel’s back. I threw my arms up in frustrated resignation and complained most of the day. We had no power for over 12 hours, two hours in the morning and ten more hours, well into the night, when we laid in bed in the dark, digital equipment dead, with no aircon in the humid heat.

The power was restored at 11:00 pm when, as a light sleeper, I was convinced I’d never sleep a wink if it didn’t come back on. There are no screens on the windows, and opening them wide made no sense for some more sticky, humid air. We lay there, talking in the dark, as we’d done downstairs, before heading upstairs.

Our only candles were tea lights, which hardly lit the room, and we sat in the living room, squeezing out the last bit of power on our phones to play a few mindless games to keep our minds occupied. Even my portable charger was out of juice, and of course, my laptop was dead, and we couldn’t stream anything anyway without WiiFi, which is also out each time the power is out.

Plus, we couldn’t stream anything to the TV monitor, which wouldn’t go on without power even if we used the external hard drive Rita and Gerhard gave me for my birthday a few years ago, loaded with 1000 movies. There was no way to watch them.

Technology is excellent, but power is more significant. Even making dinner without power was a pain, although, thank goodness, the stove is gas, or we wouldn’t have been able to eat. We ate by candlelight, usually romantic, but not in this case. Tom did the dishes in the dark.

Ugh! After fussing all day, I was wound up and had trouble falling asleep even after the power was restored. I didn’t nod off until after 1:00 am, feeling exhausted and unrested this morning. Later, I will take a short nap on the sofa to help recover.

We’ll see what today brings, hopefully, not more of the same. I am uploading today’s post earlier than usual, in the event the same power outage occurs.

Have a lovely Sunday, and be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 3, 2013:

These are African skimmers, and we were excited to get this shot of mom or dad feeding a baby. Look at those yellow eyes! For more photos, please click here.

The challenges continue but we stay strong….

This is one of our favorite photos while in India. We were touring and having dinner outdoors at the Khaas  Bagh during our train tour on the Maharajas Express over a month before we had to go into lockdown for ten months in a hotel room in Mumbai due to Covid-19. For more details, please click here.

Yesterday, as I began to write today’s post, we’d been without power for over 4 hours. We headed to the little store for a jug of water as we do every few days, hoping the owner, Gilles, had some idea when the power would be restored.

Gilles didn’t have a clue or the other people in the store. This is getting ridiculous. I am beyond frustrated today about how anxious I am to leave.

I was concerned that if the power wasn’t restored before too long, we would lose the balance of our food in the refrigerator. There’s no way I’d be interested in driving back to Manta for more groceries. We’d eat eggs for dinner every night until we leave, which is 13 days as of today. Raphael sells eggs and produce, which we can always get from him if we have to toss our food.

Everything for last night’s dinner was prepped and in the fridge, waiting to be cooked. We were having roasted bone-in chicken breasts, which we had to put in the gas oven before they spoiled. Lighting the oven without power would be difficult since we didn’t have a long lighter.

We have kept the refrigerator extra cold for such an event. Normally, within two hours the power has been restored. I will update this post to reflect what transpired.

I hadn’t uploaded yesterday’s post before the power went out. So, as I wrote this post for today, I was hoping it would come back on so I could upload it. Otherwise, I will receive countless email messages inquiring if we are okay. Thank you for thinking of us. We will try to reply to those messages if that’s the case.

I was looking forward to today, December 1, knowing it would be our departure month. Ah, Henderson, Nevada, sounds awfully good to me right now. Our simple life in a condo in Lake Las Vegas holds a lot of appeal right now.

It’s quite cool there now, especially in the mornings, but it warms up nicely during most days in the winter months. Being in a less humid climate in only 13 days will be great. The humidity is so high here in Ecuador by the sea that we must wear non-slip rubber-soled shoes to avoid slipping on the shiny tiled floors which always feel wet in bare feet.

Thank goodness there haven’t been loads of insects here since we keep the doors open all day and close them at night when we sit in the living room, stream our shows, and turn on the nearby aircon, which dries everything up quite well.

Tom is upstairs taking his 2:00 pm, 20-minute nap (if lucky). Since I have been taking the drugs for the past several weeks. I’ve been sleepy during the day and nod off sometimes, too. It’s quite refreshing.

That’s all I have to say today, dear readers. I will update this post tomorrow before uploading it if…we have power.

Note: As it turned out, the power was restored five hours after it went out. The food was fine; moments later, we were again our usual selves anxious to get on with our day.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 1, 2013:

Some of our views were obstructed when we were seated over the wing on our flight from Kenya to South Africa. But the Heavens offered up this cloudy view. For more, please click here.

Monday, Monday…Oh, oh…load shedding…

The sun sets a few minutes after 6:00 pm. It doesn’t change daily, only based on the cloud cover since we are located at the Equator.

We’re fortunate that the back of this oceanfront property is facing the west. On clear evenings, we can watch the sunset while we lounge at the table and chairs by the pool. We’ve never lost interest in sunsets all these years, especially when we’ve spent time in properties overlooking the ocean.

It’s been cloudy most days. We’ve yet to have a fully sunny day. It may start that way, but in a few hours, the clouds roll in, and with it comes drizzles and often rain. Neither of us cares to use the pool or sit outdoors on cloudy days. However, I am looking forward to being able to do some walking in the pool if the weather changes.

See below:

“The inter-Andean valleys have a temperate climate and rainy season from October to May and a dry season from June to September; average monthly temperatures are about 14.5C (58.1F) in the rainy season and 15C (59F) in the dry season.”

Since we arrived two weeks ago, the temperature has been mainly in the 21C (70F) range to a high of 27C (80F) with very high humidity  (often 88%) and dew point (75), basically uncomfortable weather. The pool is not heated, and the water is cold, making it less comfortable than we’d prefer.

With all the walking I am doing, I am okay with waiting until it warms up a bit, which it may not be while we’re still here. If not, I am fine as long as I’m getting exercise by walking.

It started to disappear into the horizon in less than a minute.

So here we are with ‘load shedding” in Ecuador. Apparently, due to the lack of rain in the mountains, the reservoirs are low, and the country’s electric company has instituted power outages. They don’t call it load shedding here. Here’s an article about this from this site:

“Power supply disruptions are occurring across Ecuador as of Oct. 30 due to production shortfall. Business disruptions are likely.”

Power supply disruptions are occurring throughout Ecuador as of Oct. 30 due to lower hydroelectric power generation in the midst of ongoing drought conditions in the Amazon region. Authorities have stated that rolling blackouts of up to 4 hours are likely throughout the country until early December. A recent deal to import electricity from Colombia may alleviate the severity of power outages, but energy shortages are likely to persist.

Commercial disruptions are likely for businesses dependent on public electricity. Transport disruptions due to malfunctioning traffic signals are possible during periods of power failure. Temporary commercial and communications outages, including cellular service disruptions, may also occur during blackouts. The outages are unlikely to affect government buildings and businesses relying on private generators. Essential services like ATMs and petrol stations may temporarily cease operations during load-shedding periods.

There is an increased security risk as a result of power outages. Blackouts could adversely affect security protocols, including alarm systems and electronic fences; opportunistic criminal activity could increase during electricity outages.”

Here we go again. We experienced the outages last week but didn’t write about it, assuming it might be a temporary fault causing the disruption. After speaking with residents at Kokomo at dinner last Wednesday, they were all aware of it when they’d been notified by email.

I haven’t found a definitive schedule for this area online, but Carol, whom we met last Wednesday, offered to send me the schedule when she receives it soon. That way, we can plan our day.

That’s it for today, folks.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 6, 2013:

Sunday’s sunset in Kenya from owner’s Jeri and Hans’ third-floor veranda. For more photos, please click here.

We are load shedding free!…

Bats hanging from the ceiling at Lower Sabie, outside the Mugg & Bean Restaurant and the gift shop.

Aside from not running the aircon when other power hogs are running, we don’t seem to have any limitations on what we can use during load shedding, other than the oven, now that we have this fantastic inverter system. This morning, during load shedding, I had light in the bathroom, I could use the teapot and the toaster for my keto bread, and the refrigerators and chest freezer were humming along as when the power was on.

This is amazing for us. We lost WiFi this morning for about 40 minutes, but this had nothing to do with us. When there is a 4½ period of load shedding, such as this morning, the batteries in the towers for WiFi and cell service run dry, and no one has WiFi, not just us. After a while, it came back on.

It was great to see a Cape buffalo when we hadn’t seen many recently.

This morning, during load shedding, I was able to do laundry. I won’t be using the dryer since I’ve found it uses too much power when we can just as easily hang the clothes on the portable rack. It takes about five minutes to hang a load onto the rack instead of running back and forth, checking to see if the dryer is done. Plus, our clothes last longer when line dried as opposed to using the dryer.

Last night, we cooked a boneless prime rib roast on the braai for dinner with whole mushrooms roasting in the pan. We have half of the roast left, which we’ll finish off tonight. It’s always a challenge to reheat rare beef to maintain its proper level of doneness. I will cut the meat into even-sized slices, wrap it in a foil pack, and then place it in a skillet with a bit of water in the pan, not touching any of the meat. This will heat it quickly and maintain its pink color.

Several birds were cooling off in the birdbath near the walkway to the Mugg & Bean.

I saved enough mushrooms to saute a new batch with butter, garlic, spices, and fresh ginger. Once again, we’ll have a delicious dinner, one that Tom particularly enjoys. He has always been a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but now, to avoid starchy carbs, he doesn’t eat potatoes. Instead, he eats white rice, which is considered to be a “resistant starch’ explained here:

“Rice is made up of digestible starch, and a special type of carbohydrate called resistant starch, which recent research suggests may be key for weight control. Humans don’t have the enzymes to digest resistant starch, so it isn’t transformed into sugar and absorbed quickly in the bloodstream like digestible starch.”

A yellow-billed stork and a crocodile at the Sunset Dam.

Unfortunately for me, this concept is useless. White rice raises my blood sugar, so I don’t eat it or any other starchy foods. But I’d love to be able to eat rice. It’s not worth having my blood sugar respond as if I’d just eaten a candy bar after consuming only a half cup of white rice. Instead, I eat non-starchy vegetables and salads.

Today, I’m wearing long pants, one of my “Bugs Away” long-sleeve shirts, and short socks to cover my ankles. After all of the rain, the mozzies are out in full force, and I have been getting lots of bites while attempting to wear short sleeve shirts while it’s been so hot. No more short sleeves for me during the summer months. It’s not worth being up all night when no cream can stop the extreme itchiness. I have tried every cream they have available at the pharmacy.

A crocodile was resting on the bank of Sunset Dam.

We’re hoping to return to Kruger National Park again on Monday. We had such a good time; it makes sense to do this as much as possible. If I plan ahead and get dinner prepped in advance and start the post before we leave, I can avoid being rushed when we return for dinner. Plus, it was fun having breakfast at the Mugg & Bean. Their meal options are limited for me, but a mushroom omelet always works for me with a side of avocado and sour cream.

It feels good the recent bulk of paperwork behind us. Next week, we’ll begin the process of applying online to renew our passports. We’ll see how that goes.

There was water from a pump feeding fresh water into Sunset Dam. This crocodile seemed to like the feel of the running water.

Have a fantastic day, and we’ll be back with you soon.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 2, 2022:

Mom appeared to want to show her offspring how to drink from the river. For more photos, please click here.

Discussions about total failure of power grid in South Africa…Very concerning…Baboons in the garden…

Baboons always have scowls on their faces. Not pretty animals.

Yesterday, the following article popped up on my phone. After reading this, we both wondered, as we have in the past, if there was a total blackout in South Africa and how it would impact us. Our biggest concern would be figuring out a way to leave the country when most likely, the airports would be closed, especially if we couldn’t be online to conduct research for possible flights.

Of course, we could make ourselves stressed by worrying about this possibility, but we have decided to go about our lives, knowing that we’ll be leaving in five months. No doubt, we’d be concerned for the friends we’ll have left behind and how they will function in such a dire situation. It’s beyond our comprehension.

There’s always hope on the horizon, as described in the article below from this site (text copied verbatim):

US Government warning about Eskom — time to think about total grid collapse

The United States Government has advised its stakeholders in South Africa to start thinking about disaster management plans for a total collapse of Eskom’s power grid.

Although a blackout remains unlikely, the risk has increased due to how unreliable Eskom’s coal fleet has become. This is evident by the higher levels of load-shedding South Africa is experiencing. The consequences of a total blackout would also be devastating, making it worth preparing for even if the likelihood is low. The US Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) convened a meeting with stakeholders last week to discuss business security concerns surrounding Eskom and load-shedding.

Representatives from several large US-based corporations with operations in South Africa and large local companies participated in the meeting. MyBroadband has viewed a recording of the meeting. After speaking to one of the participants, we learned they were all asked to agree to the Chatham House Rule.

It should be noted MyBroadband was not a party to the agreement. However, we chose not to identify any participants by name to avoid them being punished for speaking their minds. A US Government minerals and energy expert focusing on South Africa said that they are still not very worried about a total blackout.

He was looking for a place to get into some mischief!

“I have a lot of faith in Eskom System Operators. I think they really know what they’re doing,” they said.

“But when you start to get this level of load-shedding, and the amount of power plants that are tripping, I think it’s something we need to start thinking about.”

They said that although a total blackout presents several dangers, the primary threat is the time it takes to bring a system back up from that total collapse.

“Eskom estimates, in the best case scenario, it would take 6–14 days to restart the power grid,” the official said.

South Africa’s grid topology makes a “black start” like this challenging because it’s so spread out and because Eskom is in a power island.

“There are a few feeder lines from other countries, but not enough to help with a black start situation,” the US Government official said.

“To start one unit at Medupi would require a 60-megawatt generator. It’s massive power to get a Medupi unit started.”

Citing an Eskom presentation, they said the power utility believes there would be looting and civil unrest if the grid collapses. They quoted an unnamed individual as saying, “What’s left after a blackout would be what was left after a civil war.”

The official emphasised that Eskom was talking about the ruinous consequences of a blackout to illustrate why load-shedding is critical. Eskom has repeatedly explained that load-shedding is necessary precisely to prevent a total collapse of the grid. Gauteng residents may have an advantage over the rest of the country due to the density of the electricity network in the province. However, the US Government official said Eskom would not confirm how long it would take to bring Pretoria back online after a blackout.

Eskom has publicly stated that it would have to restart the system in islands, beginning with the interior network.

“I think our power in Gauteng would come back faster, but that’s just supposition,” the official said.

Constantly on the lookout for food and being very strong, they’ll overturn and destroy anything they think may provide an opportunity

Network outages, water shortages

Major considerations for organisations developing blackout plans is the eventual failure of South Africa’s telecommunications networks, and water and fuel shortages. The official said Eskom told them in 2021 that mobile sites would be available for 2–4 hours, and to expect telecommunications backbone failure within 8 hours. They acknowledged that this information was old and the backup power situation had likely improved since then.

Based on feedback MyBroadband has received from South Africa’s network operators, fibre networks will be able to operate for some time, provided that data centres and Internet exchange points can remain powered. However, batteries at cellular sites will start running empty after 4–6 hours, severely impacting mobile communications in South Africa.

This baboon didn’t find any opportunities for destruction in our garden.

“Water reserves would be severely impacted. There would be no sewage pumps,” the US Government official warned.

“Data centres and power stations could run out of water.”

While there are 48-hour water guidelines for municipalities, they don’t all have them.

“Liquid fuel would be a challenge for everybody. Eskom would [also] have a hard time getting liquid fuel to their [open-cycle gas turbines],” they said.

All they had done was leave several pits from marula trees and other fruits on the veranda.

The US Government warned attendees that they would be unable to rely on South Africa’s national security structures as they would be stretched too thin. One attendee from a major South African financial institution added to this, saying that any disaster management plan could not rely on the government at all.

“If any mitigation plan has any reliance on the state, you’ve got a very poor mitigation strategy in place,” they said.

All of us here in South Africa continue with a high level of frustration over the ongoing power outages. Right now, as I write this, the power is out, and it’s not during a period of scheduled load-shedding. An outage isn’t scheduled until 1:00 pm, 1300 hrs. After researching online, it appears there is a problem at the “Main sub in Komati. Eskom locals on site, waiting for Eskom people from Nelspruit to assist.”

It could be hours before we have any power today.  Since we got the new clothes dryer over a week ago, we’ve yet to have a single load that can dry fully. We’re back to hanging clothes on the rack. TIA. Life in the bush.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 21, 2022:

Last night, Tom spotted the porcupine at the edge of the veranda. We were shocked when it didn’t run away when we opened the door and the screen, allowing me to take these three photos. What a thrill! For more photos, please click here.

Off and on water and electricity…Hot and humid…Forecast for Sunday,106F, 41C…Lions…Keeping humans and wildlife safe….

This puffy red flower blooms in the spring is a fireball lily. Quite beautiful. Danie told us he’s chased off a man who tried to dig up this flower from their property, the house we live in now. We will keep an eye out to ensure no one can steal the three of these in our garden.

These two notices were posted on Wild and Free Wildlife Rehabilitation’s web page on Facebook as shown at the end of today’s post. We take these circumstances seriously and hope all of our local readers, of which there are many, would kindly heed these warnings.

Fortunately, we have the birdbath in the garden from which countless wildlife drink throughout the day. We’ve seen many species drinking from the lower and upper areas, which we keep filled with fresh water daily. However, with no running water over the past 24 hours, there was little we could do to top it off.

Instead, mny of the larger species have been drinking from the pool, but we worried about the little creatures. Danie had installed a JoJo tank for us, but then there was a problem with the electricity running the power to the JoJo. Danie was all over this with an electrician here both yesterday and today.

Stingy got into a little scuffle with a young male bushbuck, or…they could have been playing.

Finally, a few minutes ago, we have water after the repairs were made on the JoJo and the power came back on. The recent outage wasn’t load-shedding. It was a fault at an electric supply station. In another hour, load shedding again in a little over an hour.

On Sunday, when the temperature rises to 106F, 41C, we won’t have power and possibly no water during the following hours:

  • 11:00 am to 1330 hrs. (11:00 am to 1:30 pm)
  • 1900 hrs. to 2130 hrs. (7:00 pm to 9:30 pm)

Without power, we will all be subject to this awful heat during these hours. But, the Catch 22…when the power returns, many people hide away in their bedrooms where they have aircon and crack it to the lowest possible temperature. This behavior precipitates more faults and subsequent outages.

Norman likes eating pellets off the railing to avoid warthogs and helmeted guinea fowls from eating them.

We have to keep in mind that we are still experiencing spring, fast heading our way to summer, which starts on December 21. If it feels hot right now, we’d all better brace ourselves.

So, dear readers, how do we deal with all of this? We’re certainly not exempt from becoming frustrated. Nor are we foolhardy to say it doesn’t impact us. It does. Last night, the power was out twice during the night, and I awoke each time, sweating when the fan wasn’t doing it to cool the room.

Last evening, we sat outdoors at the table on the veranda, sipping on our sundowners while the temperature was 38C, 100F. We were in the shade under the veranda roof. When our chicken dinner was done on the braai at 6:00 pm, 1800 hrs., we moved indoors to eat at the dining room table…there’s no aircon in the main living area.

We added some cut-up carrots for Norman to enjoy as well.

We turned on the little portable, rechargeable fan Louise bought for us, and we were okay. The bacon-wrapped, mozzarella, garlic-stuffed chicken breasts, and salad were delicious. I’d accidentally overcooked Tom’s white rice, but he ate it anyway without a complaint.

This morning I asked Tom, do you want to leave and go somewhere else?  Without hesitation, he replied, “No, I’m good here.
I agreed. In a little over a month, we’ll be heading to Seychelles for a glorious cruise in the country’s islands.

Tonight, as always, we’re headed to Jabula, but this time for a birthday party for our friend Sinndee who lost her dear husband, Bruce, only a week ago. It will undoubtedly be a tough evening for Sinndee, but we and others who love her will provide compassion, love, and support.

Kudus finishing the last of lucerne in the nearby garden. Tomorrow, we’ll receive another bale while it’s still busy in the park with holidaymakers.
The Lowveld is currently going through a massive heatwave of 42C (108F) degrees and more, and the animals are struggling. Could we please ask you a favor? – please put out a shallow bowl of water for our small reptiles, birds, and mammals. We have been called out for many smaller animals that are suffering due to dehydration with the last heatwave. This is the least we can do for our little neighbors until the heat subsides.
If you find an animal that looks lethargic please do not try and hand feed water. It is very easy to drown them. If they can drink on their own, put fresh water down and keep a close eye on them. If their condition doesn’t improve move the animal to a cool dark place and phone your closest Wildlife Rehab Centre immediately!
From Wild and Free Team
Deidre – 079 988 5748
Juan – 060 665 5000
Mark – 082 498 6599
Anneke – 079 931 8744″
7th October 2022
The Carnivore Team has released another GENERAL WARNING that at least four lions were spotted and could be busy hunting. The Carnivore Team is monitoring the situation.
A very urgent alert for the following block: Maroela, Olifant, Volstruis, Renoster and Crocodile.
Everybody in these areas need to be extremely cautious and an urgent alert for joggers, hikers and cyclists along the fence and also in these areas!
Please do not allow children in these areas, as the lions could be hiding anywhere! 😳
Unfortunately the warnings are not taken seriously! The onus is on each and everyone to adhere to the alerts and warn others of the dangers.
If you happen to come across a carcass, do not leave your vehicle to go searching and if you are walking or cycling don’t be brave and search for the lions! They will find you! They are extremely dangerous in the vicinity of a kill.
Should you spot the lions, please contact any one of the following persons:
Rangers 082 802 5894
CPF/ Nadine 082 672 4545 Gerrie Camacho 082 353 9097,
Ernst Röhm /MTPA 083 626 6309,B
April Lukhele: 082 807 1057. Jan Koekemoer 063 053 7601.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding – Carnivore Team, Rangers, MTPA, CPF, Security and the Vet.”
And so it goes, the challenges of life in the bush, always interesting, often unusual from our former way of life but always softened by the glorious enjoyment of the wildlife and the people, all of whom we love dearly.
Be well.
Photo from one year ago today, October 7, 2021:
This morning, nine bushbucks stopped by. We gave them carrots, cabbage, and pellets. For more photos, please click here.

Now, we’re having problems with the washing machine!…Load shedding damages appliances!!!..

A couple of female kudus are checking us out.

In the past few weeks, since load shedding escalated to Stage 4 and Stage 6, resulting in added hours without power and increased events per day, we noticed problems with the kitchen refrigerator, as described in yesterday’s post here, and the washing machine.

We didn’t connect the issues between the two major appliances until I tried again to get the washer to run a complete cycle. I’d often run back and forth to the laundry area outside five or six times to reset it, taking several hours for one load to wash, rinse and spin.

This is Bossy from our old bush house, 2 km from here.

This morning it dawned on me that the process we’re going through with the refrigerator of shutting off the power for 24 hours may be the same process we need to do with the washer. Once we somehow complete the must-do two loads, we’ll unplug the washer and wait a few days to plug it back in. Maybe it will also reset.

Here is an interesting article about how load shedding damaged appliances. It makes all the sense in the world. From this website:


ECA(SA) Associate Member, Major Tech, says South Africans are adapting to continual rolling blackouts, more politely known as load shedding. But, says Major Tech’s Rhodam Evans, while everyone is cursing Eskom for being left in the dark or stuck in traffic for hours at a time, the damage caused by load shedding is far more than lost time and the macro impact on the economy.

A new LED driver.

The financial problems caused by load shedding will also impact individuals in their homes and businesses as they are faced with electrical products that seemingly stop working for no reason. This will naturally also affect suppliers and installers of electrical equipment, who will be accused of either selling poor quality products or doing an inferior installation job.

Burnt LED driver due to voltage spikes.

The reality is that, while poor quality products and bad installations can cause problems, load shedding will damage even the best electronic products on the market, eventually leaving them broken beyond repair. The reason for this is not the loss of power, but the surge of current and voltage spikes when the electricity is switched on again, says Evans.

While many think switching the power on or off is a simple task, the way load shedding works means that every time the power comes back, some technician has flipped the switch at a substation, suddenly sending a stream of around 11 000 Volts back into the circuit.

Single-phase power in the average home runs on 230 V. Therefore, when the lights come on again, all the appliances in that particular suburb suddenly get a surge and voltage spike much more potent than 230 V. This only lasts for a microsecond. Still, it is enough to damage electrical equipment, from your television to your lights.

Electronics can’t last against voltage spikes.

“Even the most well-designed equipment of the highest quality can not handle these surges. Many electrical devices are built with some form of protection against voltage spikes, but these are designed to handle surges that happen occasionally, not daily, or even multiple times daily. For example, many circuits have metal oxide varistors (MOV) to protect against occasional surges. Still, even these wear out and can’t protect the circuits after the constant spikes due to load shedding.

“Major Tech has seen lights which have actually exploded after one spike too many,” adds Evans, “as well as USB ports that are black shells of what they once were. Thankfully, these results are not common, but damage to electrical equipment is.”

Surges and voltage spikes cause damage every time, although most often, the equipment carries on working. Eventually, the equipment will fail, and it may seem illogical when considering which particular device or LED light fails or what path the current takes (it looks for the shortest path to the earth), but the damage is a given

What can be done to protect yourself?

Since electricity users in South Africa are at the mercy of Eskom and can do nothing to resolve the problem, the only solution is to take precautions and protect your electronics. These precautions cost money, but they will save money in the long term because few suppliers are willing to constantly replace devices that electrical surges have damaged. A warranty does not cover malicious damage to the system, and it does not cover surges and voltage spikes.

“Surge protectors have therefore become vital necessities in a world with load shedding,” explains Evans.

Level 3 surge protection happens at the wall sockets. These surge protectors plug into the wall socket and your equipment is then plugged into the protectors. This will protect your equipment from all surges. Level 2 protection is the ideal as this is added to the circuit board by a qualified professional to protect the whole premises.

Evans warns that surge protectors don’t last forever either and while they will protect the electronic equipment you use every day, they will also eventually need to be replaced. He also advises that there is an “enormous difference” between a surge protector and lightning protection. “A lightning strike in your vicinity can release far more power than Eskom, and a surge protector will not stand up to the pressure.”

Best remedy

“Dealing with load shedding is a challenge, and we should all take responsibility for the equipment in our houses and businesses,” concludes Evans. “Suppliers will not simply continue to replace equipment damaged by load shedding as this practice will devastate their businesses.

The best remedy is to unplug as many electrical devices as possible during load shedding and install surge protection on those that are not or cannot be unplugged.”

For more information on how to handle surges and voltage spikes, please view Dan Moyane’s interview with SAIA Insurance Technical Adviser Susan Walls about how load-shedding can cause damage to electronic devices and appliances, which has led to more frequent insurance claims”

The kudus certainly enjoy jumping over the fence.

If unplugging the washer for a day doesn’t work, we may have to go back to having Zef and Vusi do our laundry. The problem with that is the fact that it takes about three days for them to be able to return the items to us. With our limited supply of clothing, three days is a long time. We are hoping we don’t have to go that route. It’s extra work for Zef and Vusi, and they are busy enough as it is.

This morning we had more wildlife visitors than we imagined possible during this school holiday period when visits are usually less frequent. But, our wildlife friends are enjoying it here, especially Lollie, our resident warthog, and now the nyala family of three who visits several times a day; Norman, Nina, and Noah.

Big Daddies are so handsome.

The nyalas aren’t big eaters; they nibble a little. But we think since nyala is so rare in Marloth Park (they are the only family), everyone feeds them. By the time they get to us, they’re full. They all jump over the little fence quite easily and seem to like the fussing we do them over. Here and there, I toss them a little cabbage and carrots. They certainly love those, as do all the antelopes.

At 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs., today, we are meeting up with reader/friends Carrie and Jim at Two Trees, overlooking the Crocodile River, whom we met here about six months ago. They found Marloth Park from our site and bought a fantastic house here! It will be fun to see them again and hear about their home-buying experience. Hopefully, we’ll also see some wildlife along the river.

Nyala Norman and his son, Noah, visit twice a day. Check out Norman’s tongue.

Have a fantastic day, and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 5, 2021:

What a beautiful view and landscape in my son Greg’s back garden where we spent the 4th of July last year. For more photos, please click here.

Load shedding is over the top…Stage 6…12 hours a day without power…Company coming tomorrow?…

Kudus and bushbucks love jumping over the fence to check out our surroundings.

If it goes to Stage 8, we may be looking at a total blackout. Right now, load shedding at Stage 6 results in 12 hours a day without power which we’re facing today. We can live with all this as long as we can keep our food fresh. Again, we just went shopping yesterday, purchasing lots of perishable food.

I suppose we need to stop shopping and buy what we need, one day at a time. This may be our only alternative if we can save what we have and go through it.

Zebras stop by the front of the house to see what’s happening.

We’d planned to have Dawn and Leon for an Asian dinner on Thursday, but now I am wondering how I can do all the prep required by opening and closing the refrigerator over and over as needed in preparing such a meal. We purchased all the ingredients for the three entrees we’ll prepare but wonder if it will be possible to do without power. Our stove top is gas, but the oven is electric.

Bushbuck Lilly is sniffing around the garden.

I’d planned to prep all the meats and vegetables ahead of time, but I am concerned about keeping the meats fresh in the process. We’ll have to see if anything changes between today and tomorrow. At this point, the power will be out on Thursday from:

  • 1:00 – 3:30 am
  • 9:00 – 11:30 am
  • 1700 (5:00 pm) – 2130 (9:30 pm)
Bad Ear and a few kudus checking out the pellet situation.

As inventive as I may attempt to be in the kitchen, I am not sure I can safely prepare three entrees and ultimately serve them in the dark. We’d planned a similar get-together with them a few weeks ago and canceled due to load shedding. Maybe we can figure out something different this time.

In any case, this is the way it is, and there is nothing we can do about it. If it weren’t for the issues with storing food, we wouldn’t be concerned at all. As mentioned in other posts, we do pretty well without electricity. That’s not to say we’d be comfortable living “off the grid” with no power. That’s not our style of world travel.

Kudu boys and girls wondering what we’ll do next…offer up some pellets, perhaps?

Tom will drive me to the little spa where Dawn will meet me in a little while, and we’re both having pedicures. I hadn’t had one since before we left in March, and it’s about time. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t drive here since we don’t pay extra to have me on the car rental contract, I don’t drive a stick shift with my left hand, and I am not used to driving on the opposite side of the road.

“Should I jump or should I stay?” she asks.

Never a good drive anyway; adding these three factors put me at high risk of causing an accident. Since I had open-heart surgery in 2019, my coordination is not ideal. Unless there is an emergency, I will no longer be driving although I will continue to renew my driver’s license in our resident state of Nevada. Many times in our travels, we’re asked to produce a driver’s license for identification, particularly on cruises and in the US.

Last evening the two of us celebrated the 31st anniversary of the day we met. We had a few drinks on the veranda with our JBL speaker playing oldies from our ‘heydays” via YouTube, and we had a lovely time. Since it was cold and rainy, we ate dinner indoors at the dining room table. The power didn’t go out until 1900 hrs., 7:00 pm, so it all worked out well.

Young male bushbuck checking out the pool.

We both had a good night’s sleep which has been the case this past week now that we are fully recovered. I can’t express enough how grateful we have made it through all of that after a very challenging couple of months.

Thank you to many of our readers who wrote to us, wishing us a happy anniversary and offering thoughtful comments about our recent challenges. Every single word means so much to us, and we try to reply to each one.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, June 29, 2021:

Mom and baby. We’ll miss you all as we prepare to leave for the US to get vaccinated and see the family. For more photos, please click here.