No power!…No Water!…Our road washed out…Huge storm with 100+ mm, 4″ rain during the night…Crazy night!…

  • A handsome male duiker in the garden.

This morning this message was on Facebook regarding access to our house:

“Good morning.
“Spruit”* in Bird: washed away the road. Impassible.
Eagle: VERY bad: no sedans can drive there.
Keep safe.”

*Definition of spruit:: a small, often dry tributary stream in southern Africa.
Bird and Eagle are the two roads that provide access to our house. I guess we won’t be going anywhere today. We needed to go to the little market for lettuce for our taco salads. But with the meat in the fridge and the power out, it will be spoiled by dinnertime, and we won’t dare to eat it.
Tom put the metal bowl filled with ice in the refrigerator during the night. The ice will be a good indicator that the fridge’s contents will be safe to eat. The freezer should keep the contents frozen for a few days. With the storm’s intensity, we could be out of power for days. But, as we always say, TIA, This is Africa, and occurrences such as this are common.
When the power is out, the pumps for the water supply don’t function. Subsequently, the only water we have right now is left in the house’s lines. Miraculously, I was able to take a quick shower this morning. Soon, Tom will bring buckets of water from the pool to the bathrooms in the house to flush the toilets.
Duikers, the smallest of the antelopes in South Africa, are very shy and don’t come close to the house.
Of course, we use bottled water in a water machine for drinking water. The water is included in our rent. We do not purchase small bottles of water. Why use all those plastic bottles?
The electric inverter provides us with WiFi, able to supply power to the router. Without that, we’d have no access to the Internet. The inverter will run out in less than a day. If we could go out, let’s say, and go to Kruger, we could turn off the inverter and save the remaining power to use later. But, with the road washed out, that’s not possible.
The little rental car won’t make it on the washed-out road. Besides, the Crocodile Bridge may also be covered in water and debris, preventing access to Kruger National Park, even if we could go. As a result of all of this, we’ll stay put and wait it out, until the power returns, until the water returns, and until the road dries out sufficiently to pass.
Stringy and Gordy, preferring not to get close to one another. Bushbucks are solitary animals and rarely travel in pairs or more.
With all the rain, the only wildlife we’ve seen so far today is a few bushbucks, Spikey and Gordy, and Barbara, Lori, their mom, and the two piglets and a female duiker, who all came for some pellets this morning. It will be a quiet day.
We can only imagine how frustrating it is for holidaymakers who are still in the park on what may be their only annual vacation. For us, it’s a lot easier.
This morning, Rita and Gerhard invited us for breakfast at Stoep Cafe in Komatipoort. If we had been able to go with them, they’d have had to pick us up in the big four-wheeled truck. But, after being awake the majority of the night with little sleep, we were still in bed at 8:00 am. By 8:30, we got up to begin our day.
We hope you have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 6, 2020:

This photo was posted one-year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #287. A Marwari horse with curly ears at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India. For more photos, please click here.

Oh, what a night!…

Holey Moley, chewing on a piece of cabbage, we tossed her way.

Last time was torture. During the day, the temperature rose to 98F, 37C, with the dew point at a high/uncomfortable tropical 72. At about 4::00 pm, 1600 hrs, the power went out due to an Eskom fault. On the horizon at 11:00 pm. 2300 hrs, load shedding was scheduled to begin. We weren’t hopeful.

We were seated at the table on the veranda, listening to music and chatting about our dreams for the future amid these crazy pandemic times. When we heard the usual ping of a power failure, we started planning how we”d prepare dinner when several items we’d planned required the use of the stove.

We cooked the rice, creamed spinach, and bacon on the braai to go with our beef patties I’d already seasoned and prepped. Earlier in the day, I’d made a big salad that would stay cold in the fridge until we’d eat, a few hours later. Regardless of the power outage, we were roasting on the veranda in the interim. It was hotter indoors.

We prepared and ate dinner, and when the bugs got bad, we had no choice but to go indoors. With WiFi still working, we decided to sit on the bed and watch a few more episodes of Yellowstone. By 8:00 pm, 2000 hrs, we still had now power. Worried about the food in the fridge, Tom filled the metal bowl with ice and placed it in the center of the refrigerator, hoping to keep the contents cool enough not to spoil.

Only on the hottest days that Little sits in the cement pond.

The bedroom was a hotbox. We had to keep the door closed since many bugs were flying around the house, including flies that came out of nowhere when preparing any meat.

At 10:00 pm. 2200 hrs, we turned off the laptop to complete darkness except for the light from our phones. Since the outage, I’d been texting back and forth with Louise since she gets updates on  Eskom outages on her phone. She, too, speculated this would be our fate for the remainder of the night.

I’d taken another shower before bed but was dripping in sweat in no time. Tom was feeling the same, but neither of us complained. What was the point? We weren’t the only people feeling uncomfortable. The power was out in all of Marloth Park. Also, without power, the security system doesn’t work. The house locks up tightly. We keep the house keychain in the bedroom with us every night since the emergency button on the keychain is battery-operated.

Field Security could be here in five minutes if we pushed that button—lately, many break-ins and burglaries in the park, including on our road. We always stay super alert to sounds outside the house. Most of the break-ins have occurred at night when residents are in bed. This is especially frightening.

Getting to sleep wasn’t easy. I awoke at midnight sweating under my lightweight tee shirt. Tom slept restlessly beside me. Finally, we drifted off.

At 1:30 am, I heard the familiar ping of the power returning. We’d left the remote for the aircon on the bed between us. I couldn’t hit the button quickly enough. Within minutes, I was back to sleep, pulling up the duvet, hopeful our food in the fridge might survive.

He moved around a few times, looking for the coolest spot.

This morning, Tom said the ice in the metal bowl hadn’t melted, a good sign the food would be ok. What a relief! On numerous occasions, we have lost most of the perishables in the fridge.

Today, it’s still hot with a high of 97F, 36C, but with a slightly lower dew point which makes all the difference in the world. Of course, load shedding will occur tonight but only from 9:00 pm, 2100 hrs, for a total of 2½ hours. We can handle that easily.

Summer is almost here, but we’re already amidst its brunt now. It will worsen, and we will prepare ourselves for that eventuality. We could be in Minnesota now, where we spent most of our lives (Tom all of his life), where temps are often below zero with snowfalls hard to imagine. Nowhere in the world is exempt from challenges such as these.

We forge ahead, slaying the dragons as they appear and carry on, filled with hope and optimism for the future to come.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 6, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #257. A pelican was proudly posing for a photo while in Pisco, Peru, in 2017. For more photos, please click here.

Still, few visitors due to lions…Two kills found in Marloth Park…Seventeen hours without power…Heat, humidity, dust mites in the bed again…

Note: Due to WiFi issues today, I am unable to post the caption for the photo below, which  should read:

This is Stringy. He often has dirt and vegetation on his horns, as was the case this morning. Please zoom in to see a string stretching across his two horns. Very funny!

We have been shocked to see so few visitors to the garden over the past several days. Last night, when we were getting ready to go to Jabula for dinner for the second night in a row, Little appeared, waiting on the edge of the veranda closest to where I sit. I was busy inside getting ready to go out.  He’ll wait there patiently for me until I come out to say hello. Not only does he love the pellets, but he also enjoys it when I talk to him, moving his head responsively and animatedly.

Last night while at Jabula for yet another pleasant time chatting at the bar with Dawn and Leon and some of their guests, we heard that two kills had been found in Marloth Park, obviously due to the four lions sighted days ago. They are still roaming the park for readily available food. Two Impalas were sighted, including a rare sighting as told by Jabula hostess Lyn,…vultures circling above the carcasses.

This is Stringy. He often has dirt and vegetation on his horns, as was the case this morning. Please zoom in to see a string stretching across his two horns. Very funny!

The wildlife in Marloth Park is subject to kills by leopards often seen at night. But, lions hunting is more unusual when they usually prefer to stay on the other side of the fence in Kruger National Park. The only way we’ll know for sure that the lions have left is when the animals return to our garden, as they’d done so before this event.

In the past few minutes, ten impalas appeared in our garden. Is this a good sign the lions may have moved on? Maybe, maybe not.

Stringy was sharing with the ten impalas that stopped by while I was preparing this post.

Some residents take the presence of lions very seriously, refusing to go outdoors, while others conduct their usual walks on the uneven dirt roads throughout the park. But, there is always a dusk-to-dawn walking curfew.  As we’ve done several times this week, one must consider their safety when leaving restaurants and gatherings when returning to their vehicles and bush houses after an evening out.

We always bring a rechargeable lantern with us whenever we are out after dark. Last night, with the power outage starting about while we were at Jabula, the light came in handy when walking from the carport to the house, turning off the alarm, and opening the front door.

The Big Daddy of the herd of impalas seemed to get along well with Stringy.

Lately, we’ve been seeing insects everywhere, including mozzies, ants, cockroaches (prevalent in the bush), scorpions, spiders, and many more. Now, during the spring season and summer looming, we need to start paying extra attention to avoid letting insects into the house when we open the door and watch for snakes coming out of winter hiding as the weather warms. Snakes will be next.

It was evident that many of the females were pregnant with bulging bellies, as shown in the center of this photo. Soon, we’ll see plenty of calves from this herd.

As for the dust mites, they are back, infesting our bed. Vusi and Zef will change the linen tomorrow, and when doing so, they will spray every inch of the mattress with the dust mite killer and repellent. At the moment, I have no less than ten areas of my body covered in hive-like welts from the dust mites, which are very itchy. I am using cortisone cream, which seems to work well.

As for the power outage, as of this writing, it has been 17 hours. We can still use our inverter for charging laptops and phones and running one fan in the bedroom. But with only two bars remaining as a charge on the inverter, that may stop working later today, at which point we won’t have WiFi, the fan, or a means of charging our digital equipment.

Impalas, who can grunt and bark, seemed to be harmoniously sharing pellets with Stringy. As shown, the bush is getting green after all the rains that have knocked out our power.

Hopefully, the power will be restored sometime today, and all will be well. Our biggest concern is always about saving our food.

Otherwise, all is well with us. We’re staying upbeat and looking forward to being done at the dentist in Malalane tomorrow. Tom is getting his implant bases set, and I’m having a bone spur removed from the space where the tooth was pulled six weeks ago. Oh, dear.

Have a great day!

                Photo from one year ago today, November 14, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #236. The various colorful displays were set up in the hotel to commemorate Dawali, the Hindu holiday. We asked the staff if we could come downstairs to take photos. For more, please click here.

12 hour power outage due to a big storm…Hot today…103F, 39.3C…

This is a new friend, named Father Brown, a praying mantis.

Last night, while dining on the veranda at Jabula with Kathy and Don, we were wrapped up in lively conversation when a storm rolled in. Dawn and her staff immediately went into action to bring everyone inside, including tables and chairs, to ensure there was room inside for everyone who’d been dining outdoors.

Lightning and thunder followed during the pouring rain. They were already operating on generator power since load shedding was happening, which began at 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs. By the time we got home, the power was out. The house and bedroom were probably around 90F, 32C, too hot to sleep with the hot temperatures.

Broken Horn is trying to stay in the shade while we get the pellets. It’s awfully hot for them as well.

Somehow we knew it was more than load shedding, especially when the power never returned after the usual 2½ hour outage. Luckily, we have the inverter, which can run one fan in the bedroom, charge our phones and laptops, and maintain a WiFi signal.

It’s a rarity to see the bushbucks lying down, but it’s so hot today. They are seeking comfort in the bit of shade in our garden. This is Stringy.

But, we were mainly concerned about the US $214, ZAR 3219, we’d spent on groceries yesterday. How long would everything keep fresh in the refrigerator? When it didn’t come back on by 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs, we filled the big metal bowl with ice and set it inside the fridge, which was packed with dairy products, tons of fresh vegetables, and a massive package of ground beef I’d planned to use today to make meatloaf, enough to last for a few days.

We moved the ground beef to the freezer atop a few rows of ice cube trays and hoped for the best. I struggled to stay asleep in the heat during the night when thinking about the food in the fridge, hoping we wouldn’t lose much. This morning, after  12 hours, the power returned, much to our delight.

Medium Spikey, trying to rest in the shade.

We checked the fridge and the freezer, and most of the food was still cold. The meat in the freezer hadn’t defrosted, nor had the hamburger frozen overnight. But it was cold to the touch, and I feel confident using it today. Early this morning, I put together all the ingredients for the meatloaf I’m making for tonight, to be cooked on the braai, to avoid heating the house any more than it already is. Also, I made low carb, no sugar ketchup to go along with the meatloaf.

Two bushbucks were lying in the shade in the garden.

The meat is in the fridge, ready to be cooked at 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs,  along with a big salad, fresh steamed green beans, broccoli, and white rice we’ll prepare for Tom 30 minutes before everything else is done.

With the food prep out of the way, I can relax the remainder of the day, except for doing laundry and exercises. When I say relax, I mean, I’ll hide away in the bedroom with the fan on high while I get back to work on the corrections. At the rate I am going now, I should finish this tedious task in four to five days!

Meet Gordon Ramsey. He likes to dig in the dirt with his horns, looking to dig up roots to eat.

Many animals are stopping by, even in this excessive heat. Most are drinking the fresh water in the birdbath. We’ve been chilling cabbage and carrots to serve to them. At the moment, the mongooses are here, enjoying Tom’s rib bones and Kathy’s prawn shells from last night’s dinner. Broken Horn is munching on pellets and carrots. He doesn’t care for cabbage, nor do the warthogs, which enable everyone to have a little something they like without sharing too much.

These prawns with heads which Kathy doesn’t care to eat, make an excellent treat for the mongoose. This pile will soon be gone.

Right now, it’s hot and sunny, but rain is expected in a few hours. Clouds must be rolling in. The temperature is expected to drop considerably, hopefully cooling us and the wildlife a little on this hot, humid day in the bush. But, in any case, we’re good. There are always workarounds during power outages, and over the years we’ve spent in Marloth Park, we have learned to make the best of the situation, especially when we’re blissfully distracted by our wildlife and human friends.

Happy day to all.

Photo from one year ago today, November 6, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #228. The grocery store in Savusavu, Fiji, where we shop for a few items each week. There was only one aisle with food. The other two aisles consisted of cleaning supplies, Christmas decorations, and Diwali fireworks. For more photos, please click here.

A wild start to day…All is under control now!…

Mom and baby elephant munching on the vegetation. We shot this photo from the veranda of the Mugg & Bean Restaurant in Lower Sabie in Kruger National Park.

With Louise and Danie coming tonight for sundowners and dinner, when the power went off before 8:00 am this morning, of course, I started thinking of how I’d prepare the food without the use of the electric oven. Everything I’d planned to make was to be cooked in the oven.

As soon as we were up and about, Tom ran out to purchase four bags of ice. When he returned, I loaded up the chill box, layering it with the perishables from the refrigerator, the items for tonight’s meal, and layered them in the unopened bags of ice, hoping the chill would last longer.

Baby elephant playing with another elephant in the Sabie River.

Also, I placed one bag of ice in a large metal bowl on a shelf in the refrigerator. This has worked well for us in the past as long as the ice stays frozen. I noticed the freezer was doing fine when I had to take out an item, and it could conceivably keep the foods frozen for many hours to come.

I considered how I’d cook the main items we’d planned for the meal on the braai, as opposed to the oven, when some dishes cook better in the oven than on a grill, with a more consistent and even temperature. The braai would have been my only option, and I contemplated the fact that everything wouldn’t be quite as well prepared as I’d planned. Plus, with three main dishes cooking on the grill at once, Tom would hardly have had time to socialize when he was busy tending to the food.

Elephants love to swim, using their trunks as snorkels. They are prolific swimmers.

Fortunately, the WiFi kept working during the outage. It often goes out within an hour or two of an outage since the towers run on batteries that don’t last long without electricity. I contemplated whether or not to post today when it was entirely possible. We’d have no connection in no time at all.

Much to our delight, while drinking our coffee while seated at the big table on the veranda, made with hot water that Tom heated on the side burner of the braai, the power popped back on. The way we know it’s back on is because Tom always turns on the outdoor fan. When the power returns, the fan starts running.

Elephants were climbing out of the Sabie River in Kruger National Park.

Immediately, I got to work prepping the meal, warming the oven for the first item of slow-cooked smoked baby back ribs, and preparing the bacon-wrapped, Emmental stuffed chicken breasts. We’ll cook the jumbo prawns when they arrive. With a few side dishes, we’ll be good to go.

Now, while I’m cooling off in the bedroom with a bit of air-con after sweating profusely in the high humidity, I am preparing today’s post, sharing more photos from Kruger National Park. We can’t wait to return to the park and will do so next week. We plan to embark on a self-drive every week, especially on sunny days.

Elephants on the move.

Although it’s the weekend and our visitor count is usually lower than during the week, today was an excellent start to the day. We’ve had several visitors so far and look forward to more as the day progresses. Once I complete and upload today’s post, I’ll get back to work on prepping for tonight.

I don’t enjoy cooking as much as I did in years past, but we certainly love having sundowners, starters, and dinner guests. In part, I think my diminished interest in cooking is because I don’t have all the cooking gadgets and serving pieces I had in my old life. Also, it’s often scorching and humid, like today, and sweating in the kitchen impacts my level of enjoyment. I suppose that’s to be expected.

Elephants were crossing the paved road in Kruger National Park taken through the car’s windshield.

This morning, I spilled a little liquid from the bags of prawns onto the kitchen floor. Immediately, I wiped it up with hot soapy water. Less than 20 minutes later, while I was here in the bedroom cooling off, I could hear Tom busy in the kitchen, spraying with Doom and sweeping.

My little spill attracted hundreds of ants from outside, who crawled under the front door to the spot on the floor where I’d spilled. I apologized for not cleaning the spot well enough, but he didn’t seem at all concerned. When I asked him what happened, he explained about the hundreds of ants he killed and removed.

Another Mom and Baby in the bush

This is the bush. It’s hot. It’s humid. And insects of many types are found inside the house daily. The power goes out regularly. The water stops flowing from time to time as it did last week. For many, these annoyances and inconveniences would be unbearable. For us, they are fair and reasonable trade-offs for the things that we do love.

Last night I jumped out of bed when some creepy crawler was walking on my neck. I got up, flicked it off, and then shrugged it off, content I didn’t get bit. It’s the way it is. The bush. Nature’s paradise. What more could we ask for?

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 10, 2020:

Birdie, contemplating his day. For more photos, please click here.

Cyclone Eloise making her mark…No power for over a day…Inverter keeping our equipment alive…

Last night, two bushbucks stopped by during the storm. I took the photos using the flash since we had no lights to illuminate the garden.

This morning around 9:00 am, the WiFi signal was restored. The power had been out since 5:30 am Sunday. It’s now midday on Monday. The inverter has been working well to keep our phones and laptops charged but can’t be used for much else to avoid it running out of power. That helps us considerably.

Ah, Cyclone Eloise keeps pounding us with torrential rains and occasional thunder, but fortunately with only occasional gusts of high winds. We heated water for coffee/tea this morning on the gas braai on the side burner. Last night, we ordered takeaway dinner from Jabula when it was raining too hard to cook bacon and eggs on the grill, all the food we had left.

The eyes of the two bushbucks are showing in the dark.

We’ll probably do the same tonight since there’s no way we can grocery shop today when the roads to Komatipoort may be flooded. If we have to do takeaway for a week, we will. Jabula’s food is excellent, and Tom loved his ribs, chips (fries), salad with a small loaf of white bread while I had a double order of the starter, spicy peri-peri chicken livers.

There are other restaurants in Marloth Park offering takeaway, which we may try since we don’t want to get into the rut we were in during those ten months in the hotel in Mumbai, eating the same meals over and over again. However, owners Dawn and Leon know precisely how to have my food made to comply with my eating method. That can’t be assured from other restaurants.

Three warthogs ventured out in the inclement weather. We tossed them a big load of pellets for their efforts in coming out in this weather.

Last night, during the pelting rain, we had only a few visitors: two male bushbucks stopped by when the rain let up for a while, and then we saw “Mom and Babies” who scrambled to get every last pellet we tossed their way. During daylight hours, when the worst of the rain had yet to hit from Eloise, we only saw Frank, The Misses, and The Chicks, and the hornbill mating pair still busy with their nest in the hijacked bushbaby house.

Photo taking has been at a minimum the past few days, so we are sharing a few recent shots from last night and those taken over the past week or so. I considered doing a video of the pounding rain, but its brunt occurred during the night when the winds were much worse. I didn’t consider it sensible to head outside during that situation.

Mongoose is contemplating how she will crack the egg. She banged it on the cement.

Today, it is very cool, which is refreshing, although the humidity is relatively high. It’s currently 74F, 23C which is comfortable, the lowest we’ve experienced since our arrival. This is only temporary due to the cyclone. Once that ends, surely the high summer heat will return, often as high as 104F, 40C, or more.

Louise and Danie offered to bring us their generator to keep the fridge and freezer cool and allow for air-con at night. But, we’ve already lost the few items we had left in the refrigerator, and if the power doesn’t return soon, the bag of chicken wings and containers of bacon in the freezer will also soon be lost. As long as we have WiFi to entertain us and serve our posting and communication needs, we’re fine.

Mongoose was enjoying the contents of an egg we offered.

You may ask, “How the heck are we putting up with this after all we’ve been through?”

Hey, today is day #12 of our 14-day self-imposed quarantine, and we didn’t get Covid-19 from the 59-hour journey from Mumbai to Nelspruit. We’re grateful. We’re thrilled! What’s to complain about? Soon, this power thing will subside, although not entirely, when load shedding will resume.

Soon, we’ll be able to cautiously grocery shop and stop in a pharmacy for a few items for the first time in a year!!! Soon, we’ll be able to shop at the Biltong shop in Komatipoort to buy that great South Africa jerky, the best we’ve had in the world. Soon, we’ll have an opportunity to visit with some of our friends, old and new, who will and have maintained social distancing and mask-wearing with diligence since Covid-19 arrived in Marloth Park a few months ago.

Dad Hornbill is considering his nest-building options.

Soon, we’ll be able to use the electric stove, turn on fans as needed, and use the electric water kettle. Soon, I’ll be able to use the rented treadmill again, which isn’t working without power. One thing we’ve learned after ten months in that hotel room is patience. It was only that level of tolerance that allowed us to get here eventually. We wait patiently.

Oops, I had to take a break to toss birdseed into the garden. Frank, The Misses, The Chicks, and Auntie just stopped by. They make a cute little chirping sound when they eat the seeds. It is delightful.

A forkl of kudus in the garden, and of course, a warthog in the photo. They never miss a photo op.

Another oops, we had to come indoors when the wind picked up during the downpour to prevent our equipment from getting wet. Life in the bush.

Wow! By the time I was about to upload this post, our power was restored. We don’t know for how long, but we’ll enjoy it while we have it! Time to go work out on the treadmill while I can.

Happy day.

Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2020:

Ironically, similar to a new photo we posted a few days ago. Here is a photo from seven years ago today at this link. On either side of the face are two hanging red-tipped pieces of skin. When the Helmeted Guinea-fowl moves, these swing around like a pair of dangling earrings. Ah, the beauty of the wild! For last year’s post, please click here.

Power outage due to Cyclone Eloise…We’re figuring it out…

Please note: Due to a power outage and poor WiFi signal, we cannot upload photos until power and WiFi are restored.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, it was highly likely that power would be out today, and it is. It went out early this morning when I was awakened by the temperature, climbing in the bedroom without the air-con running. Louise sent a message this morning to inform us it wasn’t “load shedding” but a power outage due to last night’s rains, and Eskom has yet to come out to work on it.

Why the power goes out from the rain when there’s little wind baffles me. But with the poor infrastructure here, anything seems to be instrumental in the power going off, often for hours, if not for days at a time, under certain mysterious conditions. There’s no point in attempting to analyze the reasons. It is what it is.

Right now, I am using my phone as a hotspot, utilizing Google Fi data service. We only use it for short bursts such as circumstances, such as today when the power and tower aren’t working for the house’s WiFi. It’s pricey, and only warrants use during these situations. Thus, the number of photos in today’s post will be limited.

At least now, we have the inverter to help us for a while, but that runs on batteries, and if power isn’t restored soon enough, that will stop working. For now, we can charge our laptops and phones, but the WiFi isn’t working. That’s most likely due to the system at the tower being down due to the power outage.

At the moment, as I’d done last weekend during load shedding, I am writing the text for today’s post using the offline app, “text,” which I can save to upload later on when the power is restored and then add the photos I’d planned for today. Cyclone Eloise is beginning to impact South Africa, but we cannot see how seriously without a connection.

Instead, we can continue to sit at the big table on the veranda and do it the “old-fashioned” way, watching the weather before our eyes. Right now, it rains intermittently, with occasional big gusts of wind rustling through the trees. The only visitors we’ve had this morning have been a half dozen helmeted guinea-fowl who came and “peck, peck, pecked” the seeds we’ve been tossing out for (francolin) Frank, his family and friends, and our nesting pair of hornbills who’ve taken over the bushbaby house in a tree at the edge of the veranda.

During past stays in Marloth Park, we’d noticed we didn’t get many visitors during rainstorms. I genuinely believe many animals seek shelter when the rain, wind, thunder, and lightning frighten them. Oops, I spoke too soon. I just looked up to find Frank, The Misses, and The Chicks have stopped by for some seeds. We tossed out several handfuls of seeds, and they are making happy little chirps as they peck at the seeds. It’s quite endearing.

Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, this inconvenience causes us little concern compared to our experience of the past ten months. We are outdoors, don’t feel confined, and have nature at our disposal when the timing is right. Fortunately, we don’t have much food on hand to spoil in the refrigerator and freezer.

We’d hope to head out to shop tomorrow in Komatipoort, but until the threat of Eloise is over, it makes no sense to fill the fridge with food that could ultimately spoil. Tonight for dinner, we’ll make bacon and cheesy scrambled eggs on the grill, which has a side burner since we are all out of meat, other than frozen chicken wings, which may spoil if the power doesn’t return by this evening.

Some may say, “Why didn’t we go to a well-established tropical island renting a beachfront property and be able to relax in comfort?” We understand this mentality, and for many, that would be an ideal scenario. But, for us, “rough and tumble” types, we feel right at home with some inconveniences when the tradeoffs are well worth the occasional trouble.

We’d love to go to Kruger National Park soon, but all the facilities are closed due to Covid-19 and now, this storm. There would be nowhere to stop for a bathroom break. We’re hoping soon enough, activity in Kruger will be restored, and we’ll purchase an annual pass and visit as often as we’d like.

There’s not much on the agenda today in light of these current developments. However, when and if the weather improves, we may see our wildlife friends in abundance.

Have a safe and healthy day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 24, 2020:

Almost ready to leave Arizona, while visiting some of Tom’s siblings,  here are his four sisters (two weren’t able to travel to Arizona). From left to right (back row); Colleen, Tom, Mary Ellen with Rita, and Margie (front row). For the story one year ago, please click here.

Power outage today…

A Great White Heron was standing in the water at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is our friend Tusker.  He is the sweetest guy who comes to visit several times each day, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm).  He’s so comfortable here he often lies down for a short nap.

While midway through making one of our favorite low-carb meals, and before I started working on today’s post, the power went out at 0945 hours (9:45 am). We weren’t too concerned when most often, it comes back on within a few hours. 

Tom read a “paper” book we borrowed from friends Lynne and Mick about the history of Marloth Park while I’m typed the text on the offline app for our site on my phone, which I often use during power outages.

We never get tired of seeing these wondrous animals, both in Kruger and in Marloth Parks.
Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to plug in my phone when I got up this morning, and the battery was almost dead. I typed fast and furiously to be prepared when and if the power came back on today.

Power outages are common in Africa, as are other areas of the infrastructure. For example, we had a package shipped from the US on May 28th, almost two months.  Due to a strike, it’s been stuck in Pretoria since June 6th.
Zebras were crossing the road in Kruger.

We check package tracking and often call to no avail. Yesterday, I was told the “network was down” and to call back again. I called again, and there was no answer.

But, as everyone always says…this is Africa, and we can’t expect such services to be comparable to that in the US and other more developed countries in the world.

A bloat of hippos at Sunset Dam.
Expectations must be kept in check. Our friend Kathy (and Don), while home alone at one of their other homes in Pretoria, South Africa, was without power from last Friday until late Sunday. She couldn’t leave when the electronic gate wouldn’t open without power. We could only hope that type of scenario doesn’t happen here. 
From this site: “Hippos can stay underwater for up to 5 minutes without coming up for air, according to National Geographic. When they sleep in the water, their bodies automatically bob up to the top of the water so that they can take a breath, and then they sink back to the bottom. Hippos’ eyes and nostrils are on top of their head. This allows them to breathe and look around while the rest of their body is submerged. “

We’d grocery shopped yesterday, and the extra freezer is full of meats and other items. The refrigerator is all fully stocked. If the power didn’t come back on, we’d be out a lot of money.

OK, folks, here’s a new one for you…This is a “bask” of crocodiles!

I finished making most of the meal and quickly opened and closed the refrigerator door putting everything perishable inside. We decided the best course of action was to embark on one of our usual drives through Marloth Park, hoping the power would come back on while we were gone. 

We returned several hours later, and we have power. That’s why today’s post is so late. We had an eventful drive, including spotting two lions on the river and other wildlife, and yet, we’re happy to be back at the house with power.
Another “bask” of crocs at Sunset Dam.

No doubt, we’ll have another good night in our blissful surroundings, grateful for even the little things; a good home-cooked meal, lots of visitors to the garden, and of course, having power back on.

Three giraffes at a distance in Kruger National Park.

Tonight, clear skies providing, we’ll be able to see the entire total eclipse of the “blood moon,” which is only fully viewable in certain parts of the world,  South Africa included. It should be a good night!

As winter continues, there’s less and less green vegetation for the wildlife in Kruger and Marloth Park.

Hopefully, wherever you may be, tonight, you’ll get a glimpse of this special moon!

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2017:

Too distant for close-up photos, we spotted these two Cormorants sitting on a rock in a pond at the Henderson (Nevada) Bird Viewing Preserve. For more photos, please click here.

We’re here!…Power is back on after 10 hours…We’re off to the big city…More Atenas Friday Farmers Market…

When this sweet and friendly butcher at the Farmers Market spotted me with the camera, he willingly posed! The people of Costa Rica are approachable and warm.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

A breathtaking ridge of low-lying clouds.

Two things are of most concern to us when there’s a power outage; one, that our food in the refrigerator and freezer will spoil, and two, the prospect of boredom at night in the dark.

Check out the size of those bananas!

We can easily entertain ourselves during the day by playing cards, chatting, sunning and swimming in the pool.  But, once darkness falls, life without power is daunting.  Our phone batteries are usually dead by dark, and thus we’re unable to read online books, and our laptops may only have enough juice to watch one to two downloaded shows or one movie.

Last night would have been incredibly annoying in the dark had the power not come back on at 1:00 pm yesterday. As it turned out, my laptop, which contains all of the downloaded shows, was dead when I attempted to fire it up when the power returned.

Some vendors offered handmade crafts.

Somehow, on Saturday night, the plug-in came loose, totally draining the battery. We wouldn’t have been able to watch a thing or…to transfer a show to Tom’s laptop. Thank goodness we got the power back yesterday.

These handmade shoes were beautifully made.

In the realm of things, none of it’s a big deal. We could be like the folks dealing with floods and devastation after massive Hurricane Harvey over these past days. Who are we to complain?

Then again, with us humans, it’s all relative. We each live in our moment in time, and although we may feel empathy for those less fortunate, we do tend to get caught up in our own “dilemma of the moment.”

Handmade candles.

Besides the 10-hour power outage on Sunday and the resulting lack of WiFi, which doesn’t work without power, the three sinks in the kitchen had begun leaking on Saturday night to the point where we can no longer use them. Julio is coming today to make the repairs.

These perfectly shaped tomatoes may have been imported, which we’ve discovered is not unusual at markets throughout the world. Instead, we purchase a big bag of uneven, less perfect tomatoes, as shown below.

Luckily, we already had last night’s meal prepared, which required reheating the meat for our taco salads.  No worries there.  We’d have managed even without power when the gas range still worked, power or not.

On Saturday, when we went to Supremercade Coopeatenas, we waited at the outdoor cafe for the rental car #1 guy to pick up the car at 10:00 am after our five-day rental. (This morning at 8:30 am, taxi driver Henry picks us up to get rental car #2 near the San Jose airport).

These are the tomatoes we purchased.

While we waited, we met a lovely couple Pat and Jim, from the US, who owns a home nearby but happen to be returning to the US this week for an extended stay. Gosh, it was fun chatting with them. Their five years of experience living in Atenas were helpful to us. 

They even followed us into the market to show us where to find whole cream and unsweetened coconut milk. Yeah! The cream wasn’t located in a refrigerator section but instead was on a dry shelf in a shelf-stable container. The coconut milk was situated in the liquor section near the rum. Oh, I get it.  In three and a half months, we’d never have found those two much-needed items.

There are many apple orchards in the area.

While checking out, we met another lovely person, Sarah, who wrote down her phone number and whom we’ll call for a get-together in a few weeks. Her husband had just had surgery and needed a few weeks to recover before socializing. Most certainly, we’ll make contact.

Gorgeous flowers for that special occasion.

After the visits with the ex-pats, we purchased several kilos of organic chicken breasts and pork chops when the market was having its special Saturday sale. We filled our insulated bags to the brim, grabbed a taxi in front of the market, and were back to our villa a little after midnight.

We purchased six heads of this lettuce for our big daily salads.

With no car over the weekend until we pick up the rental this morning, we felt a bit stranded on Sunday, exacerbated by the lack of electricity. If we’d had wheels, we could have gone into town to buy bags of ice to keep the food cold. 

Instead, we dumped all the ice from the ice maker into a large cooler and added all the perishables from the refrigerator. Everything survived, and the frozen meats in the freezer stayed frozen. 

More locally grown fruit.

I’d prepared a short post yesterday to inform our readers that we weren’t able to post. I’d considered doing the post in the afternoon. Still, after changing my usual morning posting routine, I decided against it and took the rest to re-organize after the power outage and get caught up on a few tasks.

Now that we’ll have a car, we have many exciting tours on the horizon. Please stay in touch as we continue to share them with all of you.

Have a wonderful day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2016:

The elaborate sign at the entrance to the Muay Thai Kickboxing facility down the road from us. Many nights we can hear the activity. For more photos, please click here.