Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew…

We made two of these large pans of apple crisp and one smaller pan. We’ll bring one large pan to Kathy and Don’s tonight and keep one large and small pan at home.

Desserts are my favorite foods to make, although I don’t eat them. It’s not unlike me to volunteer to make certain dishes to share with others when I have accumulated so many amazing recipes over the years. There’s something special about making desserts that feels like love.

Lately, I’ve been making either blueberry or lemon poppyseed muffins for Tom, enough to last a week.  My desire to provide comfort food has been satisfied by making his muffins. No, I don’t encourage Tom to eat sweet treats, but when he was buying muffins in the market, at least I knew my homemade muffins didn’t have preservatives and chemicals. Making them myself assured they had quality ingredients, with no trans fats and bad sources of oil or butter. Only he can decide when he’s ready to give them up.

In South Africa, bringing our meat to braai and drinks is traditional. It is more the norm than not. We appreciate this tradition since we enjoy bringing our preferred cuts of meat when Tom and I eat larger-sized portions of protein than most.

Because I eat such little variety, meat and salad may be the only items I’ll eat at a host’s home. Tonight, we’re bringing beef tenderloin, cut into appropriate portions for Tom and me. Kathy and Don will serve baked potatoes, salad, and sweet corn. This way, our hosts can spend time with all of us instead of working in the kitchen.

A few days ago, expecting the dry socket to be totally better by now, which it is not, I volunteered to bring homemade gluten-free apple crisp, a dessert we’ve found many enjoy, especially when topped with vanilla ice cream, which we’re also bringing. Little did I know at the time that I would still be under the weather due to the ongoing pain, although greatly diminished, and off pain killers would be an issue.

So, upon awakening this morning after sleeping for nearly 10 hours, according to my FitBit, I still felt sluggish, and the socket was still sore. I’d hoped by today, it would be over. This painful scenario has left me feeling out of sorts, especially after spending several days lying on the bed, propped up on pillows, on narcotic pain pills, which I’ve since stopped. I feel weak from lack of activity and the horrible drugs.

Last night, we went to Jabula with Rita and Gerhard, but we were home before 8:30 pm (2030 hrs). We watched an episode of Big Brother, and I dozed off to sleep. When I awoke at 9:00 am, I thought, “Wow! I am going to feel great after this long night’s sleep!”

But, once up, showered, and dressed, I wondered how I’d manage to make the apple crisp still feeling unlike myself. As always, Tom helped peel the zillions of apples. I wanted to make a big pan to bring tonight and another big pan to have at home. This resulted in peeling, coring, and slicing over 40 apples.

Prepping a little more than we needed, I had a third extra smaller pan than we required, surely Tom will finish it off in no time. We gave all the scraps to the bushbucks and kudus, including Bad Eye. They all loved them. Bad Eye, although not treated for her injury, seems to be doing better. The bleeding has stopped, and it looks as if, at some point, it will heal. She still has a good appetite, devouring the apple scraps with her three female friends/family members.

By noon, I had the first of the three pans of apple crisp in the oven. The small oven only fits one pan at a time. It’s hot today, and the oven will most likely be on for about three hours to thoroughly cook the three pans. It’s already pretty hot in the house, so once I put the first pan in the oven, I came into the bedroom to sit on the bed with the fan on to cool off and recover from standing on my feet for 2½ hours. Surely, later on, I’ll perk up.

We aren’t expected to arrive at Kathy and Don’s house until 5:30 pm (1730),  leaving plenty of time to finish baking and get dressed and ready for tonight. There will be eight of us at their home for dinner. I doubt I bit off more than I could chew making this multi-step dessert, but now that they are baking, I’m relieved to have it done and out of the way.

Nothing more is required of me today other than completing and uploading today’s post. I’ll have plenty of time to chill out, work on more corrections and enjoy jumping up every so often to welcome visitors to the garden until it’s time to get ready to go.

Have a pleasant day and evening!

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

This photo was posted one year ago in lockown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #186. A few zebras meandered down the hill to the water, but mom didn’t seem concerned. Giraffes and zebras seem to blend well in the wild. For more photos, please click here.

WiFi was out…Late posting…Great time at Frikkee’s Dam…

Three kudus near the braai area at Frikkee’s Dam in Lionspruit.

When the WiFi is out in the house/area, the only way we can post is using the Google Fi data on my phone or using the phone as a hotspot to connect my laptop. In both cases, the cost is high, making posting for the day too costly when I’d be using data during the several hours necessary to complete the day’s story.

Miracle of all miracles, the WiFi was restored a few hours later, and now we can post as usual. As we’ve mentioned many times, “This is Africa,” and the infrastructure is unstable and unpredictable. It’s a factor that everyone who lives here must accept as a fact of life.

This kudu jumped over the fence to join us.

So, now that we’re able to post today, we’re pleased to be able to post photos from yesterday’s enjoyable party at Frikkee’s Dam, located inside Lionspruit, located within the borders of Marloth Park. We hadn’t been to Frikkee’s Dam since we arrived here in January but had during our past visits several occasions.

It’s a private gathering of a group of us that have attended over the years. Everyone brings food to share, potluck-style. We made our usual Brunch Eggs that were a big hit, with only a small amount left to get home. Since it had sat out all day, we decided not to eat the leftovers but instead feed them to the mongoose, who are carnivores, and the meat, egg, and cheese dish was a treat for them this morning.

Two curious kudus were checking out the humans. We didn’t bring along any pellets!

It was funny when Tom tossed out bite-sized pieces this morning, when Peter, Paul, and Mary competed with the mongoose for the leftovers. Generally, pigs only eat vegetation. But, on occasion, they show interest in bones and certain types of meat. There was bacon in the Brunch Eggs. We wondered how they enjoyed eating bacon, pigs that they are!

The time spent from 11;30 am until 5:30 pm when we finally packed up our stuff and left, was delightful every moment. The conversations were interesting and varied, and it was easy to join into any robust chatter at any point. It was fun to see people we hadn’t seen since the last time we attended a gathering at Frikkee’s Dam, back in 2018.

Another kudu is at the edge of the lake, looking our way.

It was interesting to hear varying views of Covid-19 and the vaccine. Some in our group didn’t believe the vaccine was safe, and it was fascinating to listen to their viewpoint. Most of the attendees were already vaccinated, but a few were not due to age or preference. But the conversation was always civilized and considerate, accepting one another’s opinions.

The Friskkee’s Dam braai area had been renovated in the past few years, providing a cleaner, more friendly space for a braai. We all enjoyed the new setting, which was easier to walk about with less awful tree roots causing tripping hazards in the past. Plus, the fence was lowered, and it was easier to see wildlife drinking from the lake while we stayed safely behind the fence.,

Tom took this photo of a bird with an orange head. Any ideas what bird this may be?

Back at our house (since we’d eaten very little at the event), we cooked a light meal of a few hamburgers (no buns) topped with cheddar cheese along with a small salad for me. We streamed a few episodes of a good show we’ve been watching on Hulu, Big Sky, finishing up season one’s episodes. Season two will begin in the latter part of September.

It was a busy morning in the garden. We were swamped, tending to the needs of our visitors. We had eight bushbucks, seven kudus, two duikers, 20+ mongooses, and as Tom said, a _ _ _ _ load of pigs. Of course, Frank and The Misses stopped by a few times, with the four Go-Away birds carrying on noisily in the background. Little was often seen hovering nearby, partaking in any morsels he could garner in the process.

Giraffe drinking from the lake with another looking on.

Rita and Gerhard have returned from their road trip to the Drakensburg Mountains, and today at 1530 hours, 3:30 pm, they will pick us up to head to Buckler’s Africa Lodge to watch the sunset, the Crocodile River for wildlife sightings, all followed up by dinner on their veranda. It will be excellent to see them again after almost two weeks since they left.

Have a lovely day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 30, 2020:

One year ago, this photo was posted in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #159. This was the shortest (height) car either of us has ever seen, spotted in youth Kensington, England, in 2014. I can only imagine that getting out of it would require rolling out the door onto the street and then standing up. For more, please click here.

First of many fantastic evenings with friends in the bush!!!…No bag yet…

Don and Rita were toasting the occasion.

Last night, it was cold and dark on the veranda at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant, but the seven of us weren’t hindered at all by the weather. The food and service, as always, were superb, and the companionship was over the top. Finally, Kathy and I were together once again and well as my friend Rita.

The three of us girls sat at one end of the table, and the boys, Tom, Don, Gerhard, and their friend from Germany, Achim, came to visit them for a few weeks. It was a celebration of Gerhard’s birthday. He doesn’t care for cake, but Dawn and Lyn have decorated the table for the occasion.

Our gift to Gerhard? Four bales of prepaid Lucerne from Daisy’s Den, to be delivered whenever he and Rita decide.  On Wednesday, we stopped to purchase the bales, seeds for Frank and The Misses, hornbills, and a big bag of sweet potatoes for the wildlife. We included the receipt for the Lucerne in the birthday card with a note explaining the gift, included with Daisy’s Den’s business card, making the ordering as easy as a quick phone call.

Now, as I type this, we hear the funny little chirping of the mongoose who’ve arrived in a small band. Tom raced indoors to get his leftover rib bones from last night’s dinner. Mongooses are carnivores, and they like bones, but hilariously, they try to crack them open on big rocks in an attempt to get to the marrow. It’s rather funny to watch.

Tom, Gerhard, and Achim to the right. Happy birthday, Gerhard!

As for last night’s get-together, the conversation was delightful among the group as a whole and in the male and female groups. We had so much catching up to do after being gone for four weeks. It was wonderful to be back with our friends once again.

Kathy and Don are hosting a goodbye get-together this upcoming Wednesday at their riverfront bush home. We’re bringing our meat, the dessert; apple crisp served warm, topped with vanilla ice cream. Rita’s bringing the salad, and Kathy and Don will host the side dishes.  We all bring our beverages, making hosting a dinner party so much easier when planned this way.

Kathy and Don each ordered the jumbo prawns.

Today, another cool day with sunshine that will hopefully warm the day soon, we’ll stay in. I have to get back to work on post corrections which I’ve ignored for the past week. This morning upon arising very early, I got to work organizing things around the house.

Before we’d left, I filled a large tote with items I’d planned to go through once we returned, mostly old clothes I had to consider giving the heave-ho. It felt good to empty this huge container and make the proper decisions about replacing old worn-out items. Also, I did three more loads of laundry, hung them on the clothes rack, and started chopping and dicing for tonight’s dinner, homemade taco salad.

This is Gerhards’ eisbein, a huge pork knuckle.

Since those flat little taco seasoning packets contain wheat and tons of chemicals, I found a good low-carb recipe for taco seasoning. It took only five minutes to measure and put together the various spices and shake them until blended. Soon, I’ll cook the big package of mince (90% hamburger meat) in a large pot atop the stove, adding the spices after the meat is cooked and drained.

While we were in the US, both enjoyed taco salads, which aren’t necessarily available in South Africa, other than in big cities like Johannesburg or Cape Town. When making these salads, we don’t use prepackaged grated cheese, which also is infused with chemicals. Here’s an article on why pre-shredded grated cheese is not worth eating.

Now, I have to finish working on dinner and then get to work on corrections. In the meantime, I’m on hold with United Airlines for the 10th time to find out where our bag is and when it will be delivered since it didn’t arrive yesterday as promised. It’s frustrating.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow! Have a pleasant Saturday!

Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2020:

From the year-ago post while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #130.A surprising close-up of what appeared to be a blue stalk from afar. For more, please click here.