Power outage for 14 hours…Long night without aircon….Amazing responses from readers…

Spikey Kudu has only recently begun to sprout his lifetime horns. Look at his tongue sticking out a little. Cute.

Last night when we were sitting indoors watching the final emotional episode of the excellent prequel to Yellowstone, 1883, the power went out. With numerous short-term outages lately, we expected it to be restored shortly. No such luck! It never came back on until this morning, 14 hours later.

We did the usual, putting the metal bowl of ice in the refrigerator, which Tom refreshed with more ice this morning. Last night’s meaty casserole was still cold, but since we will be going to Rita and Gerhard’s for dinner tonight, we tossed it out to the few dozen mongooses waiting in the garden for paloney. They loved it! Their digestive systems are sturdier than ours. After all, they can eat venomous snakes!

I keep thinking about Little stopping by several times after leaving and not finding us here.

Luckily, we still had hot water but could not make coffee when we got up. The side burner on the braai wasn’t working for some reason. I made myself an iced coffee using decaf crystals and added ice leftover in the freezer. That worked ok for me. Finally, when the power was restored, Tom could have his coffee.

After carefully checking the food in the fridge, I determined it all survived, but I threw out a few questionable items. Since last Wednesday, we hadn’t shopped, so the refrigerator wasn’t overly stocked. Everything in the freezer was still frozen solid, including fish and prawns. No worries there.

As far as homely warthogs go, Little is a fine-looking specimen, although he has small tusks.

Luckily, with our laptop’s long-lasting batteries, we were able to watch shows until finally we shut it down, played with our phones for a while, and drifted off to sleep. Of course, we awoke several times during the night, never even using the top sheet. It was too warm. Thank goodness, yesterday wasn’t the hottest day in the past week.

Today, I’ll continue walking and make a salad to bring to R & G’s tonight. They have friends visiting from the US, whom they picked up yesterday at the Nelspruit Airport. They are all going on a road trip in about ten days and won’t return to Marloth Park until next September.

Last night, Mom and babies stopped by, accompanied by Barbara and Lori (not shown in the photo), her daughters from her previous litter.

Maybe another surprise will be on the horizon!! We probably won’t see Rita and Gerhard when we return in December since they spend Christmas in the US at their home in Washington. But, they surprised us by showing up on New Year’s Eve at the party at Flo and JiJi’s. That would be fantastic.

Tonight there will be eight of us, with Louise and Danie joining in on the dinner party. Gosh, it’s fun to go to a dinner party on a weeknight. We never did that in our old lives when we had to get up and go to work the following day. It’s one of the many joys of retirement.

In yesterday’s post here, I apologized for our mundane posts and lack of exciting photos since the pandemic hit the world over the past two years. As for many of you, traveling became cumbersome and complex with all the Covid restrictions, closed borders, and regulations.

Mongooses sleep close to one another, even when it’s hot. After this morning’s breakfast, they stay around for a few hours, lounging in the side garden.

In response to that post, the email messages came in by the dozens, if not more. All of them were kind and thoughtful, expressing their support of what we do each day to bring you our latest news. There wasn’t one “hater” or negative comment. We thank every one of you for taking the time to write and for your thoughtful and generous words.

One of these email messages particularly stuck in my mind overnight from a longtime reader/friend, Liz. It’s a bit self-boasting to post this, so in advance, let me say that it is not our intention to “fluff our feathers.”  Here’s what Liz wrote:

“Dear Jess,

It should be us who thank you and Tom to allow us ‘homebodies’ to travel vicariously through your experiences. The time and effort it takes to photograph, create the post idea, write and edit is not lost on me. The fact that, unless in exceptional circumstances, you have provided a daily post for many years now is amazing.

On the one hand I too am ‘champing at the bit’ to get back out there to see more of my beautiful country, but on the other hand circumstances, health, and finances.

In the mean time I am able to watch the world through your eyes informing and learning not only about the far flung places but my attitude, likes and dislikes. Geography, social history, politics and the human race are all presented there in your blog giving me the chance to learn something new.

Thank you!

Liz”

Another slightly younger Spikey Kudu arrived in the garden.

This email brought tears to my eyes. We posted for the first time in March 2012, almost ten years ago, and our readership continues to grow with many new readers each year. Is this why our readers have stuck with us through boring, mundane, and repetitive posts, year after year?

All we can say is “thank you” to Liz and to every reader who wrote to us, and every reader continues to read our post. With your support, we stay motivated and engaged in bringing you more content, especially now as we hope to enjoy more freedom of travel.

Will this war in Ukraine have an impact on our future travels? As always, only time will tell. But, again, travel freedom can change in a moment, as we’ve seen over the past two years. In the interim, we continue to make as many plans as possible at this point.

Have a pleasant Monday!

Photo from one year ago today, February 28, 2021:

Tom and I and Ken and Linda, great friends from Marloth Park who happened to be in Sydney at the same time as us! Small world! In May, we’ll see them again in England. For more photos, please click here.

Making plans for England…Yesterday…a fun and varied day!…Photos of Komatipoort…

Rita and I each had this fantastic smoked trout salad at Stoep Cafe. I can’t wait to return to order it once again.

Yesterday, the plan was for Rita and me to go to lunch while Tom and Gerhard drove to Nelspruit to return the last rental car before we depart Marloth Park in 27 days. Yesterday, knowing that Rita was picking me up to go to lunch at 11:30, I was determined to get in as much walking before we headed out. I managed to do 6000 steps before Rita and Gerhard pulled into the driveway.

It was great for Tom to have company for the over three-hour trip, and of course, Rita and I enjoyed the quiet time together, when in a few weeks, they will be leaving Marloth Park for a while. They aren’t sure when they’ll return, but hopefully, we’ll see them sometime after we return in December.

Tom stopped at Mohammed Moussa shop to get his Cole Haan shoes repaired. The total cost was ZAR 80, US $5.26.

Initially, we’d planned to go to lunch in Malalane, but Rita changed her appointment, so we decided to head to Komati, which is half the distance. It’s an excellent little restaurant where we’ve had many breakfasts, but I’d never been there for lunch. We decided on lunch at Stoep Cafe, a favorite haunt of ours and other locals.

Kathy got us all excited about Stoep when she often stopped there for coffee and a light breakfast a few times a week. In 2013/2014 and again in 2018, Tom and I often had breakfast there before grocery shopping. But, this time around, he and I hadn’t been there at all.

The shoe repair guys sit outside the general store waiting for customers who may need repairs.

However, before Rita and Gerhard returned to Marloth Park on New Year’s Eve, Kathy and I often got together at Stoep for breakfast and lively chatter. Once Rita arrived, the three of us would go, and she and I continued the ritual once Kathy and Don returned to the US a few months ago. We all miss them terribly. We are fortunate to have such good friends all around.

The lunch continued longer than we’d expected, and finally, by 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs, we were back at the house. A short time later, Gerhard and Tom arrived in the same car we had rented earlier. Budget Car Rental was low on vehicles and based on our excellent pricing. Tom didn’t hesitate to re-rent the exact vehicle.

Another strip of shops with vegetable stands in the parking lot.

With much for Rita and Gerhard to do back at their house, as they prepared for friends from the US visiting in a few days, they took off. It was too hot to be standing in the kitchen prepping for a meal. With nothing chopped and diced for dinner and the awful heat, I suggested we go out to dinner at Giraffe Cafe, a short distance down the road, and Tom agreed.

Before we headed out the door, friends Linda and Ken called, and we wrapped up plans as to when we’ll be seeing them in England around the first of May when they return from visiting the tulips in Holland. Gee, we should do that someday! That sounds like something we’d love to do as well. Most of our friends are world travelers in one way or another. They may not be homeless like us, but they do get around the world!

There are countless vegetable stands on the side of the road.

By 4:30 pm, 1630 hrs, we reached Giraffe, running into a few locals we know and making our way to the bar where we chatted endlessly, sharing the details of our partial day apart and discussing plans for the future. Based on the information we’ve read online, it appears all of our cruises should sail as planned.

I ordered a small salad with grilled chicken, and Tom had the chicken schnitzel, which he’d ordered there in the past. The food isn’t as good as Jabula, nor is the atmosphere quite as lively. But, we had a pleasant evening and returned home to get into comfortable clothes and watch an episode of Billions on Showtime and “1883” (my new latest favorite show) on Paramount Plus on Amazon Prime,

Huge bags of onions are sold at cheap prices.

After a reasonably good night’s sleep, we were both ready to tackle another day. Time is flying so quickly right now; it’s astounding.

Yeah, the power just came back on! That certainly changes my attitude about walking today. At least I can turn on the air-con from time to time to cool off.

Many locals’ only source of income is from selling vegetables and fruit from local farms.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 24, 2021:

There were no photos on the post from one year ago today, but there was a video from Garage Logic, a podcast Tom has listened to for years on which he is mentioned every day! To listen to the video, we posted one year ago, please click this link. Now, one year later, Tom continues to be mentioned each day. They usually mention him toward the end of the podcast. If you’d like to hear more mentions of Tom, please click here.

Power outage during Valentine’s dinner…What’s happening with the cruising industry?…

Tree frog foam nest hanging over the pool, made by a female frog during the night.

Yesterday, we heard that power was out at Gate 1 due to necessary repairs due to vandalism and theft of significant parts at a substation. This happens frequently. Fortunately, since our area is considered Gate 2, we weren’t without power for 12 hours. However, as mentioned in a past post, the power used to pump the water supply fails when the power is out.

Luckily, by the time we were getting ready to go to Jabula for Valentine’s dinner, the water had returned, and Tom was able to take a shower. I had showered early in the morning before the water turned to a trickle.

Adult pigs and piglets in the garden. Bossy is standing in the bush, waiting for the pigs to leave.

When we arrived at  Jabula, the power outage was evident. Lyn and David set up battery-operated lights. We were able to sit at the bar as usual, which we always enjoyed. We decided to eat dinner at the bar around 6:30 pm, 1830 hrs, rather than go out onto the veranda at a table. It was still hot and humid without a breeze and felt cooler inside, even when the air-con wasn’t on due to the outage.

In no time at all, we forgot about the outage and had fun chatting with each other and other locals as they arrived for the evening. There were three seating times resulting in a steady flow of guests. It always amazes us how many people we’ve come to know, or at least recognize when they came in. The exchanges were always enthusiastic and friendly on both sides.

Little was in his usual spot eating pellets at the same time each day, usually around 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs.

Yesterday, we started looking at potential flights to Tampa, Florida. We decided to wait to book anything until we are closer to the date we’ll be leaving. It’s still possible the transatlantic cruise will cancel, and we don’t want to risk losing any portion of the cost of the airfare. We’ve already lost enough from non-refundable cancellations due to the pandemic.

The cruise on April 8 is a repositioning cruise which is described as follows:

“A repositioning cruise is a cruise in which the embarkation port and the disembarkation port are different. This is a less common type of cruise; in most cruises, the ship’s final destination is the same as the starting point. Some cruise ships relocate due to change in season or economic conditions.”

Bossy was posing for a photo.

The cruise industry has lost billions of dollars since the onset of the pandemic. Anything can change on a dime, including cancellations of cruises for which passengers have arranged and paid for flights, transportation, hotels, and holiday homes.

Some of the cruise lines are offering future credits for lost airfare if the passengers booked the air travel through them when a cruise is canceled at the last minute.

For example, if our cruise from Istanbul was canceled after we were already there, we’d be in a pickle. We’ve been to Istanbul in the past and have no interest in staying there for weeks, let alone a month. If we spend the two months in the UK from the end of April until the end of June when we must fly to Istanbul, it’s possible the cruise could be canceled at the last minute. We’d end up in Istanbul without plans and losing our airfare from the UK.

Regardless of how much things seem to be settling down since Omicron hit, there still is a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the travel industry. We are anxious to get “back out there” and hope our future plans will stay in place.

Have a great day!

Photo from one year ago today, February 13, 2021:

Here was mom and Lori and Barbara when they were piglets. This mom has three new piglets, and Lori and Barbara often hang out with her mom and three half-siblings. Of course, they could be full siblings if mom mated with the same male warthog. For more, please click here.

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.