This morning’s events in the bush…Mating season is in full bloom…

Tom noticed this dung beetle rolling his ball in the garden at quite a distance. We were thrilled to get these shots.

We only need to pay close attention to what’s transpiring around us to witness the behavior of the wildlife that is not only funny but astounding at times. This morning was no exception after we finally finished our tasks and were able to sit outdoors on the veranda with our coffee.

This morning around 7:00 am, I got out of bed to open the rolling shade in the bedroom to peek at what was transpiring in the garden. When I didn’t see any visitors, I rolled back into bed, figuring I could read the daily news on my phone before getting up.

A few minutes later, I heard a sound on the window’s glass. Bossy, my favorite female kudu, was nudging the window in an attempt to get me up to deliver her some pellets. Of course, I bolted out of the bedroom to ensure she had plenty of her morning pellets. As Tom always says, “They have “us” trained.”

Moments later, he was on top of his dung ball.

Once I’m up, showered, and dressed for the day, the time seems to get away from me. I can’t believe how busy I am sometimes, considering I don’t have to clean the house. My mornings are full of folding and putting away laundry from the portable rack, prepping a few items for dinner, and tidying up before Zef and Vusi arrive to clean.

It’s no different for Tom. First, he empties the dishwasher and puts everything away. Next, he fills the four ice cube trays placing the ice into freezer Ziplock bags, and then into two drawers in the tiny freezer and serves two pitchers of water from the water machine, which is a slow process, and then refills the trays with the purified water. He does this two or three times a day. We use a lot of ice.

When I think back to those ten months in lockdown in India, we didn’t use any ice. It would have cost us a fortune in tips to get a sufficient amount of ice delivered to our room each day in their tiny ice buckets when there was no available ice machine for the guests to use.  We gave it up along with other familiar comforts during that period.

Two hungry hornbills were pecking at the kitchen window, hoping for some seeds. We complied.

Then, he makes a big pitcher of Crystal Lite Iced Tea which arrived in our recent DHL package from the US, just days before we ran out. Louise loaned us a giant spouted jug for the ice tea, so he doesn’t have to make the iced tea more often than every three days. That helps.

After most of our tasks are completed, finally, we can sit outdoors. At the same time, I manage photos, prepare the post, and handle financial matters, keeping track of our spending, often requiring daily attention. Amid all of this, we’re continually watching what’s happening in the bush. Recently, I’ve been back at work on the corrections on old posts and have diligently stuck to my schedule, which takes about two hours a day.

Tom grabs the garden hose and refills the water in the birdfeeder. It’s become a daily task when “everyone” is drinking from it now, including birds and Big Daddies. This morning, Tom had yet to refill the birdfeeder with water. Tiny was busy chasing Lonely Girl around the garden, making the mating “train noise” during a series of intermittent advances on this female warthog.

Ms. Duiker has one tiny horn in the center of her head instead of the male’s two horns.

He wore himself out and walked over to the birdfeeder for a drink of water. When he couldn’t access the remaining water with his giant tusks, he looked at us, and then, in a frustrated flurry of activity, he tried to topple over the huge ceramic feeder. It teetered back and forth but thankfully didn’t fall over. He was mad there wasn’t enough water in there for him to reach.

Tom waited until Tiny moved away and refilled the bird feeder with fresh water. Moments later, Tiny returned for a series of generous gulps. Caution must always prevail when wild animals are unpredictable, and humans can easily be injured.  We always exercise the utmost caution, coupled with common sense.

Big Daddy was in and out of the garden this morning chasing after the “girls.” Right now, rutting season is in full bloom! Mating pairs are everywhere. We will be sharing some of the mating antics as the days roll on, including a few interesting videos. We’re hoping none of our readers are offended by our photos and videos.

This male duiker has been accompanying her for days.

This is “life,” regenerating in the bush. It’s all a part of the magic and wonder of the wild animals surrounding us each day. When we post some mating photos or videos, we will note this in the post’s heading as “Adults only please,” leaving you to decide if you’ll share the post with children and grandchildren. It’s entirely up to you.

Big Daddy, wondering what’s on the menu.

Later this afternoon, we’ll be heading to Komatipoort to shop for groceries. With Linda and Ken coming for dinner on Saturday night and the school holidays not ending until Sunday, we decided to shop today instead of waiting until tomorrow. It will be even more crowded as the last day of the month. We’ll be well masked, gloved, and I’ll be wearing a face shield as an added precaution.

Be well. Be safe. Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, April 29, 2020:

Tree frog foam nest, made overnight above the cement pond. For more photos, please click here.

Remembering lost loved ones during the holiday season…A visit to a local resting place overlooking the sea…

What a peaceful spot for the General Penguin Cemetery. May all those who rest here bring peace and comfort to the family members and friends of Penguin, Tasmania.

The holiday season is upon us and for those who celebrate worldwide, many find themselves entrenched in myriad festivities, purchasing gifts and participating in endless traditions.

With thoughts of those we’ve lost, we visited the General Penguin Cemetery overlooks the Bass Straits in Tasmania.

But, many with memories of heartbreak and sorrow for the loss of loved ones during the holiday season and other times throughout the year are plagued with feelings of loss and grief during these special times.

View of the bay in Penguin from the cemetery. 

Anniversaries of losing someone we love can be daunting. I sense this feeling myself while easily remembering my father’s death in October, 1960 when I was only 12 years old. All these years later the angst of that loss becomes all the more prevalent on that date.

How interesting it would be to know the history of those buried here.

For Tom, the loss of his first grandchild in 1999 and losing both his parents, his father in 1985 and with whom he shared a birthday on December 23rd, and his mother who passed away in 2008, remain in his heart during the holiday season and throughout the year. 

Penguin General Cemetery was established as a National Heritage site.

We all grieve differently. Losing a loved one never seems to heal, but as “they” say, “time is a great healer.” In essence, this may be true but no one wants to hear these words during their deepest periods of grief.

There were fresh and permanent flowers recently placed throughout the cemetery.

The feelings of joy and excitement over holiday festivities are often marred by the sense of loss sweeping through our hearts and minds as the flurry of activities often helps us avoid thinking about loss.

From the 1800’s on we noticed many young lives lost.

Suddenly, the memories overcome us resulting in holiday periods being one of the most likely periods of depression and suicide.  Loss, in the form of the passing of a loved one, the end of a relationship or especially in today’s world, the end of a meaningful and pertinent career or financial security, merely enhances the heaviness in one’s heart, easily exacerbated during the holidays.

What stories could be found herein?

There’s no easy answer as to how to avert these feelings. No method is cut and dried. We’ve found that focusing on embracing the spiritual meaning or special significance of the holiday while sharing joyful stories of those we’ve lost may be instrumental is softening the sorrowful feelings. 

Decades of erosion and weather left some headstones tilted.

The ability to fill our hearts and minds with the blessings we’ve been gifted in our lives today (and in the past) may ease an overwhelming sense of sorrow.  Above all, finding ways to give to others may aid in taking us outside of our own grief to focus on bringing a moment of happiness and joy to those who may need it more than us. 

This lost soul at the top of this headstone was born in 1829, the lower lost soul was born in 1859 and passed away in 1877, at only 18 years old.

Now, far from family and friends, alone together in this foreign land that we only call our own for short periods, we still feel the love awaiting us when we visit Minnesota and Nevada in five and seven months respectively.

There is a wide array of markers.

In the interim, Penguin has wrapped its arms around us healing some of our losses from the past, including us in her magical world and filling us with memories we’ll always carry with us.

It was sunny the day we visited the cemetery, but the wind was blowing voraciously, chilling us to the bone.

In a mere 27 days, we’ll be on the move again, leaving behind new friends, a town we’ve treasured for its charm and unique qualities, adding greatly to the repertoire of memorable experiences in this unusual life we live of traveling the world until we can’t, with no home, no stuff, no storage and an ultimate sense of freedom and adventure. 

This gravesite is showing signs of many years of erosion.

We’re grateful. We’re happy. We continue on..

A statue commemorating the cemetery.

Thank you to each and every one of our readers for sharing this seemingly never ending journey with us (health providing). It’s through YOU that we find the determination, the commitment and the dedication in sharing our story, day after day.

A family plot of many years.

Photo from one year ago today, December 20, 2015:

Danny, Samantha, (newlywed couple staying next door) me and Tom, outside our house in Pacific Harbour, Fiji, one year ago today. We had just returned from dinner at a local restaurant.  For more photos, please click here.