Great evening out at Luna Rossa…Short attention span?…Pigs are smart…

My entree consisted of grilled barramundi, one of my favorite types of fish we discovered in Australia, with scallops and shrimp. Divine!

It was a lovely evening last night when the four of us had a drink in our condo after we gave them a tour of our condo, then walked down that one flight of steps for the short walk to Luna Rossa. We love that restaurant, the quality food, the ambiance, and the service. It couldn’t be better.

Plus, the conversation at our table was lively and animated, with a seemingly endless stream of laughter. The evening passed too quickly, and before we knew it, by 9:00 pm, we said our goodbyes. In no time at all, we were situated comfortably on the sofa, me in my PJs and both of us watching the first episode of Season 4 of True Detective after struggling through Seasons 2 and 3. Season 1 was fantastic, but it went downhill from there.

My side of roasted vegetables.

Tom is way more patient than I am. I want to change to something else if I am not engrossed in a series after the first episode. Tom, on the other hand, will stick it out to see if it improves. When I don’t like it, I play games on my phone and do not pay attention. Admittedly, I have a short attention span.

Once I get bored, I tune out and search for something stimulating to keep me entertained. I’ve never been one to sit patiently in one spot when I have lost interest in the situation at hand. No, I won’t be rude to those engaged in a dull (to me) conversation and will make every effort to appear engaged and interested and pay attention.

When in school, the teacher often yelled at me if I was distracted by a boring topic. I was a straight-A student through high school, but I often felt like I “skated through” by studying well for tests and diligently completing my homework. By doing so, I was able to tune out when I wanted. Also, I always enjoyed writing essays, and good scores on those always added to my final grade.

Tom’s lasagne.

No wonder I have no trouble writing a new post each day. When we do what we love, it’s not complicated.

Since I am this way, it’s not hard for me to spot others who also may have a short attention span, and on occasion, l find myself making eye contact with them, smiling in acknowledgment that we are the same.

Last night, there never was a moment that I lost interest in our lively banter. I was so engaged I was using my hands too much when talking, a habit more frequently seen from Tom, that I spilled the balance (a small amount) of the wine left in my glass. I felt terrible to have sprinkled our guests with red wine.

Richards’ chicken piccata with roasted vegetables.

Today is a low-key day. I am making baby back ribs for Tom, and I’ll have something else. I don’t often eat pork, mainly since I love pigs. Due to my necessary low inflammation diet, I’d never be able to give up meat entirely, but pigs…well, that’s another matter.

We love pigs (warthogs) and look forward to seeing them again.

Tom always makes fun of me for a Facebook site I always follow, “Arthur’s Acres Animal Sanctuary in Parksville, New York.”  Todd, the owner, is a fantastic guy who loves animals, mostly abandoned and mistreated pigs. He has devoted his life to the pigs and animals he rescues that their former owners grossly neglected. Check out his site for a chuckle and some heart-warming entertainment. Go to search on Facebook and type in Arthur’s Acres. This site instantly picks up your mood if you feel out of sorts. It always makes me smile.

Pigs are listed as #5 of the top smartest animals worldwide.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 25, 2014:

On either side of the face are two hanging red-tipped hanging pieces of skin. When the helmeted Guinea fowl moves about, these swing around like dangling earrings. For more photos, please click here.

We’re back after no WiFi for almost two days…It’s a piglet morning!…The wonders of nature never cease to amaze us!…

Octomom with her eight piglets, four of which she adopted.

We were both antsy without WiFi all day Thursday and most of the day on Friday. A train details about 100 miles, 160 km from here, and the internet lines were toppled. Then, a massive storm prevented repairs when It rained in buckets for over 24 hours.

We’d have gone to Kruger National Park, but with the rain and potential flooding on the dirt roads and fewer possible sightings in the storm, it made no sense to go to the park. Instead, we’d stayed home, except for a quick trip to Louise and Danie’s Info Centre to pick up a puzzle that I thought could entertain me with nothing else to do.

The Info Centre has dozens of books and puzzles guests can borrow at no charge, none of which could entertain us during this period. Who was I kidding that I could do a puzzle? With my short attention span, I lasted about five minutes and then packed up all the pieces and placed them back in the box near the door to return to Louise the next time we went out.

Now, I write this post at 10:30 am, and once again, the signal is lost, most likely due to the high winds occurring all morning…more downed lines may keep us without WiFi for days to come. Then again, TIA, ‘This is Africa,” and stuff happens. The infrastructure is delicate, and the slightest situation upsets an entire service for hours, days, or weeks. It doesn’t pay to complain. No one is listening. When it gets fixed, it gets fixed.

You may ask, “How do I post a notice that we have no WiFi?” I use Google Fi on my phone, which is way too expensive to use as a hotspot to work on posts. We only use it for a few moments here and there to get load-shedding, water,  or internet outage updates. But when the WiFi returns, I will keep typing and save this post onto a document to upload later. Sure, it’s frustrating, but what can we do?

I’ll keep watching to see if it returns for a few moments and upload this post as quickly as possible.

Octomom and her piglets snacking on pellets, apples, and carrots.

In the interim, we wanted to share a most precious update on Lollie’s piglets. Last night, while at the bar at Jabula, I spoke to  Honorary Ranger David. He, too, had seen Lollie and explained what was wrong with her. When she had her piglets a few months ago, there may have been a fourth piglet that was never delivered. It may have been the sac or afterbirth hanging from her rear end, not her intestines.

What happens next is what would happen to a mammal if the afterbirth isn’t delivered….it will become gangrenous and eventually turn black and infect the animal to the point that death is unavoidable. It is sad to think that poor little Lollie has been wandering around the bush suffering for the past few months, to the point where she finally had to release her three piglets to be on their own.

For a few days, they came here without her. We fed them. We called Deidre from Wild and Free Rehabilitation to ask how to care for them without a mom when they were still suckling. Deidre assured me that the carrot and apple bits, along with pellets, would help them to survive, and I found myself cutting them up several times a day to feed them when they often arrived, just like Lollie, who’d been our resident warthog for many months.

On the third day, shortly after the piglets left together, and to wander the bush, Lollie, whom we’d assumed had died, showed up in the garden standing at her usual spot by the edge of the veranda. We fed her pellets, apples, and carrots, but she didn’t eat much. The dark, gangrenous afterbirth was still hanging out of her. It broke our hearts.

After a while, she walked a short distance into a grassy area and peed, then slowly walked away. She looked thin and frail. We figured this would be the last time we’d see her. She was going off to die. I must admit tears welled up in my eyes. There was nothing we could do.

About ten minutes later, the three piglets arrived once again. They all sniffed where she’d stood at the veranda’s edge and then found where she’d peed. One of the little piglets started running around in circles, squeaking louder than we’d ever heard. The other two followed suit. They must have assumed they’d found their mom. They followed her scent but never found her.

The next day, a miracle happened. A mom we’ve seen several times a day with four piglets arrived with Lollie’s three piglets in tow. She had adopted them! After spending hours watching them for days, I quickly recognized the three little pigs, each with their distinguishing marks.

It was amazing to watch and see how her piglets had accepted them, and they all played together as if they were all related. We fed them plenty of pellets, apples, and carrots. After a while, they left but returned several times a day throughout the days to follow.

Pigs are smart. But, another oddity occurred. We’d seen one little piglet alone in our garden for a few days, perhaps lost from her mom. On the second day, after the mom who’d adopted Lolle’s three piglets appeared again, she had the lost, lonely piglet with her. Now, a mom of seven was a mom of eight, and I named her Octomom. In no time at all, she’ll know her name.

As for naming the piglets, well, that will take time once they develop their little characteristics and personalities. So far today, Octomom and the eight piglets have been here at least four times and surely will return as the day progresses.

So there’s our piglet story which helps soften the blow of losing Lollie, the resident warthog we’ve loved since we rented this house in May, eight months ago.

That’s it for today, folks.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago, January 7, 2022:

Gosh, our porcupine is becoming quite a regular. Next time we shop, we’ll purchase some root vegetables for her. For more photos, please click here.

Exciting opportunity presented to us from the US…

A handsome zebra stopped by himself.

Last night, we received an email from a Minnesota Live Eyewitness News KSTP-TV news show producer who asked if we’d be interested in participating in an interview via a Zoom meeting sometime in January. We replied that we’d be happy to do so but would have to wait until after January 16 due to the high volume of tourists in Marloth Park until the end of the school holidays.

She’d heard about us from listening to Garage Logic and had heard the podcast when we were guests on a May 2022 podcast while we were in Minnesota. Although testing negative, we were still suffering from Omicron symptoms but decided not to miss the opportunity to be on the show. We had a fantastic time. If you missed the show, please click here.

Now, with an opportunity to be on TV to promote our site and share our story, we look forward to this interview. We will let you know when we’ll post the video from the interview, which will be sometime at the end of January when we’ll have a better WiFi signal. Please keep an eye out for this.

A short time later, three other zebras joined in.

This morning, I prepped food for dinner and made a loaf of keto macadamia nut bread that I have each morning topped with avocado and egg. I always make a double batch of the recipe resulting in enough bread to last for a few weeks. This breakfast holds me until dinner.

Lately, I have been making eggs for Tom. I am a good cook but have the worst time getting his over-easy eggs cooked perfectly. Today, I made scrambled eggs that always turn out to his liking, to which I add some imported cheese and several slices of bacon which I cook in the microwave rather than splatter all over the stovetop.

We only have tonight and tomorrow night’s dinner to cook until it’s time for Friday night’s dinner again at Jabula, and then it will be New Year’s Eve when we’re going to a party at a bush house. We have no plans for New Year’s Day, but that day is less important to us, and we usually stay in and cook a nice dinner.

Soon, Tom will drop me off at Imbewe Spa for a  pedicure. Most often, my dear friend Dawn from Jabula has a pedicure with me. But today is assistant David’s birthday, and he’s off for two days, so she’ll have to be at the restaurant for lunch service with their resort packed with guests and other tourists who may stop by for food and drinks. It’s a busy place.

Finally, yesterday, I received a call back from the credit card insurance office after leaving messages for days. They gave me another phone number to call, which I will do today after 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs., due to the time difference. Hopefully, I will finally get adequate instructions on how to file the claim for our missing bags. I hope we won’t have to produce receipts for each item. Otherwise, as mentioned, this process could take weeks to complete.

Their heads were down, eating pellets.

Once I return from the pedicure appointment, I will finish this post and get it uploaded. From there, the remainder of my day is easy. Today’s high will only be 95F, 35C, with humidity at 35% and the dew point at 63, a much more bearable day. Sitting outdoors is much more comfortable now than in the past several days.

Still, we see fewer animals in the garden than usual with so many holidaymakers here for a few more weeks. We can’t wait until they leave and our favorite animals return to see us. Recently, we only saw Norman and his family every other day, sometimes three or four times, but not the usual eight to 12 times before the holiday started. I make Norman’s Lunch daily but often give it to the few bushbucks visiting or the kudus.

Lollie has had a medical problem since the birth of her three piglets. It appears that her intestines, in part, are hanging out of her rear end. It’s an awful sight that breaks our hearts. But with so many pigs in the park, the rangers and vets don’t treat the warthogs, which are sturdy and generally heal quickly. But we can’t see how this issue, worsening each day, can resolve on its own. Oh, we hope somehow it resolves. Her piglets are too young to survive on their own. She’s such a good mom.

Be well.

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

Due to WiFi issues in the park right now, we cannot post the year ago photo.

A little life is fading away…

Hoppy is trying to eat a little but is not thriving like the other piglets. The hair on her back stands up as a sign of defense since I stood nearby to take this photo.

There are no words to describe how sad it is to watch precious little warthog Hoppy slowly lose her life. Her mom brings her and her two siblings to see us at least once daily. But Hoppy’s broken leg prevents her from thriving, and she is losing weight and drifting away. Now, when they visit, she nuzzles the remnants of the lucerne into a little bed she makes for herself using her snout.

She no longer stands to eat pellets, even if we toss them near her. When it’s time to go after they stay for an hour or more; she hops along on her three legs, unable to put any pressure on her right front leg. It’s swollen. There is nothing the rangers can do. Some animals may be treated, such as bushbucks and other animals. In the wild, nature takes its course, however sad it may be.

Warthogs may proliferate with three or four piglets each season, while bushbucks, kudus, duikers, wildebeests, zebras, and others generally only have one offspring per season. As a result, less money is allocated to treat injured and ill warthogs, which, as you’ve seen in our past posts, often fall prey to severe injuries.

Hoppy doesn’t have much chance of survival with this severe leg injury. We don’t know how much longer she’ll be able to keep up with her mom and siblings.

Warthog’s protective nature of protecting their young, and their territory, coupled with their often feisty personalities, lead them to be easy targets for other prey, including lions and leopards, as illustrated a few days ago in this post. These types of injuries are hard to see when we have a particular affinity for warthogs with their intelligent and humorous nature.

But, Hoppy? What happened there? It’s unlikely it was an injury. The newborn’s bones are flexible, and it’s doubtful she incurred this severe injury after we saw her within hours of her birth when mom and babies stopped by, and we observed the leg problem immediately.

With all the inbreeding in wildlife in Marloth Park, other areas, and national parks, it’s possibly a congenital disability, but it could quickly have occurred during birth. We’ll never know for sure, but in the interim, we’re watching a fast path to her demise, which, based on how she is moaning when she lays in the lucerne, we expect it won’t be too long. She’s withering away.

On the right is the mom we called Wounded, who was attacked by a leopard or lion. She likely won’t survive either, although her injury looks a little better, as shown in the photo below.

We know that one day soon, her mom will arrive with only two piglets, and then we will know….unless she passes during the hour or two, they are in our garden each day. Yes, I know the words people always say., “It’s the nature of wildlife,” with the same logical sense that accompanies life in the wild.

The great joy of spending our days and nights in the bush leaves a propensity to feel deeply for these animals. It’s unavoidable. But, in this environment, unique from anything else we’ve ever known, it’s easy to become attached in a way similar to falling in love with a puppy in only a few days.

Last night, we canceled our reservation at Jabula and stayed home. I wasn’t up to going out again. One of the medications I am taking causes me to be sleepy, and I didn’t have the steam to go out. We took out a container of leftover stir-fry with fried rice for Tom, and I made a salad to go with us. We had a nice dinner in the dining room. Since the insects were so awful outdoors, we had no choice but to eat indoors.

Wounded’s injury still looks awful, and she will not survive when sepsis sets in.

This morning, when we got up, I washed all the insects off the kitchen counters before we made breakfast or prepped any food for tonight’s dinner of bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, fried rice (for Tom), green beans, and salad. We already had dozens of flying insects in the kitchen, which are attracted to hot food and meat when prepared and served. We had to shut the dining room doors during dinner. After dinner, we headed to the bedroom so Tom could spray the kitchen with Doom.

A few of today’s photos are repeated. There haven’t been many photo ops this weekend, with more tourists in the park and the awful heat on Saturday topping 103F, 39C. Fortunately, today is a fantastic and cloudy day with moderate temps and humidity. It certainly is appreciated by both of us.

Happy day.

Photo from one year ago today, November 20, 2021:

Gordon Ramsay, also known as Gordy, lounged in the garden after eating veg and pellets. He visits us at this house as well as the last. Each bushbuck has some distinguishable markings, making it possible to recognize past visitors using our past photos for reference. For more photos, please click here.

Back to Komati today for appointments…

Lollie and her three piglets, so tiny, so cute.

We are experiencing a severe lack of wildlife visitors due to the upcoming weekend. From here on, this fact may continue until after the first of the year.  Starting in early December, most of the holiday homes in Marloth Park have been rented through the first of the year.

The restaurants will be packed, parking at Two Trees will be impossible, and entrance into Kruger National Park will only be allowed via an appointment. Now that travel has picked up, as the pandemic has ended, people are traveling here from all over the world.

Another warthog mom brought her four piglets for a visit. They are so cute and funny.

Many US travelers who are still employed do not come to Marloth Park due to the short term of their paid vacation/holiday periods and the lengthy time required to fly here and back, which may comprise four days of a two-week vacation. Few travelers want to use so much of their vacation on flights and often long layovers in airports between flights. Also, they may have concerns about jetlag and malaria prevention,

Many are opposed to living in an insect-snake-ridden area where they can’t drink tap water, with countless unpredictable power and water outages. Taking a cold shower in the dark may be a deterrent for some travelers. Often load shedding results in seven to ten hours a day without power. When unable to use the aircon during the night when there’s an outage, many are impacted by the quality of their sleep.

This mom has a hole in her side that appears to have maggots in it which help to eat the dying flesh which may prevent infection. She may have been fighting with another warthog or animal to protect her piglets.

One of the most challenging aspects, hard for travelers, is the weather in the spring and summer months. It won’t be summer until December 21, yet many days have been uncomfortable with high humidity, dew point, and temperatures. Overall, this past week has had several almost intolerable days. (Luckily, today is much cooler, and the humidity is lower).

Well, you know, if you’ve been reading our posts, the list goes on and on. Many tourists like to dine out for every meal, which is a part of the enjoyment of traveling. With only a handful of restaurants in Marloth Park, visitors can become frustrated over dining-out options. (Of course, if they’d tried Jabula they may have an entirely different take on it and love returning time and again).

Precious little piglets.

Yesterday, when we grocery shopped for the next two weeks until we leave for Seychelles, we were both sweating so much that when we entered the house, immediately, I changed into cooler clothes. When Tom unloaded all the groceries from the bags onto the counter, I looked at the pile of food and cringed. I still had a headache and couldn’t imagine getting through the task ahead of me. Since I cook, its better to put the food away.

Somehow, I got through it and could get back to work on finishing yesterday’s post and getting it uploaded. The WiFi was out when we left for Komati but was back on when we returned. After getting back to it, I got it uploaded after 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs., and finally, I could relax for an hour before making dinner, which I hadn’t prepped in the morning.

Then again, you know my spiel now…it’s all worth it. The first time we came here in 2013, was in December. The park was packed with tourists like us, and we had the time of our lives, which resulted in us repeatedly visiting with little regard for all of the above-listed inconveniences. We’ve gotten used to it.

It appears she has two females and one boy, based on facial warts or lack thereof, visible at this early age.

Also, a tourist visiting for a few weeks may experience only some of the above. But, never once have we heard of anyone not loving every moment here, regardless of the challenges. Many dreams of returning in years to come. Some do, and some don’t, more often due to the cost of staying here in the short term, especially for airfare.

We’ll head to Jabula as usual, anxious to see Leon and Dawn. With the awful headache this week, I didn’t feel up to going out. Last night, I started back on the small dose, 10 mg, of Amitriptyline, (in South Africa, it’s called Trepiline). I awoke this morning, after a fitful night’s sleep without a headache and reduced facial pain. The drug usually takes weeks to kick in. I am going to stick with it this time, even with the daytime sleepiness, possible weight gain and brain fog.

I will try to combat the possible weight gain with getting some exercise, no more low carb snacks after dinner and eating a little less at meals. The weight gain is caused by increased appetite for most patients. I have enough self control to combat this. I hope.

Soon, we are on our way back to Komati for my dentist appointment and picking up a new prescription for the medication and then to the pharmacy to get it filled.

Have a great day and weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, November 11, 2021:

A group of hippos is called “bloat.” Often they wander off on their own. For more photos, please click here.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends in the US and throughout the world…

Three little pigs are growing fast. They love pellets!

Thanksgiving was always one of our favorite holidays. The family, the friends, the comfort food, the games we played, and the lazy football watching while recovering after the big meal, while contemplating the next piece of pumpkin pie, often to be topped off with a dollop of whipped cream for those who liked it.

Once everyone left our home, the dishes and table linens were washed, dried, and put away. The next phase of the four-day Thanksgiving weekend began…a full three days of decorating the house for Christmas. Traditionally, I started this process every year, on this same date with a process I followed to a tee, year after year.

Tom brought down all the decorations from the attic, and my work began, often with Christmas music playing in the background or a favorite TV show on, to entertain me during the lengthy process. My two sons never seemed interested in decorating. Instead, once it was done, they’d revel in the beauty of it all if I say so myself.

They are so cute when they are chewing.

Richard was living in Nevada from 1988 on, and Greg had his own home in Minnesota, creating his traditions and decorating. His house. In the years since I became an empty nester before I met Tom in 1991, the process continued seamlessly, year after year, never missing a beat, until our lives changed in 2012.

Often Tom had to work on Thanksgiving Day, even getting called to work on the railroad during Thanksgiving dinner. He swallowed a few more bites and headed out the door, leaving me with the adult kids to continue. Usually, he’d return within 12 hours, help bring down the decorations, and head back to work again.

By the end of the weekend, he’d come up the driveway in the dark to see the Christmas lights on the tree. Most years, I decorated two trees, one by the window facing the private driveway and another in the breakfast room to be seen upon entry into the house. It was a festive time. We loved every moment, especially after the work was done.

Mom happily shares the pellets with them.

Following Thanksgiving weekend, although I worked long days, I began the Christmas baking, making plenty for us to have at home but even more to give away to the kids, other family members, neighbors, and friends. Every spare moment from the Wednesday before Christmas, when I made about a dozen pumpkin pies, to after New Year’s when the decorations were put away, I was busy.

I shopped, mostly online, wrapped numerous packages, each with a handmade bow made by me on every single package. We sent no less than 200 Christmas cards, each with a handwritten message inside, and took them all to the post office after placing matching Christmas postage stamps on each card. Oh, good grief. I worked so hard.

In the 1990s, we started making bottles of homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream, later called “Lyman’s Irish Cream.” Tom did all the prep work making the delicious recipe and filling the bottles while I designed and printed the decorative sticky labels, placing them on the bottles once the outsides were dry.

We love how perfectly shaped Mom’s tusks are.

The first year we may have made about 25 bottles. During our last Christmas in Minnesota in 2011, before we decided to travel the world, we made over 120 bottles to give to special friends, which we both personally dropped off to the recipients. Whew!

Then, of course, there was a holiday dinner party for friends, the celebration of Tom’s birthday on December 23, Christmas Eve dinner, and festivities on Christmas Day. As the years passed, our children created their own traditions at their own homes with other extended family members, and those special traditions we’d hosted year after year changed with the times.

Yes, 2011 was the last year we tackled all of these projects. And now? What do we do? We don’t send Christmas cards. We don’t buy all those gifts. Instead, we send gift cards to the grandchildren. We stopped sending gifts to our adult children, requesting they don’t buy anything for us either.

They stayed in the garden for quite a while.

Once we began traveling, we stopped purchasing gifts for one another. We never have a Christmas tree or any decorations. We no longer make Lyman’s Irish Cream. I don’t bake cookies and Christmas treats. It’s all over now. And what do we do on Thanksgiving today? And over the Christmas season?

We celebrate the meaning of the holidays without the usual merriment associated with these special times. We are thankful. We are grateful, and we never feel lost, alone and sad about having let go of all that embodied the holidays for us years ago.

This will be the 10th holiday season we haven’t celebrated as we had in the past, and we are content and fulfilled in many other ways.

Today, on Thanksgiving, we’re meeting up with our new American friends, Carrie and Jim, at Two Trees on the Crocodile River (we were rained out a few days ago), and together we’ll all have a toast to Thanksgiving in the US. As for Christmas, we’re planning to spend Christmas Eve at Jabula with friends, along with others like us, who may not have nearby family members to join in the celebration of the holiday season.

On Christmas Day, we’ll stay at our bush house, cooking a nice meal on the braai and enjoying our wildlife friends who come to call any day of the year.

It’s all good. We’re content.

May your day be content and fulfilling.

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

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #247. View of houses on the channel heading out to sea in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more photos, please click here.

No WiFi Sunday…Are we too dependent on WiFi?…

Peter, Paul, and Mary (she’s in the center) couldn’t have posed better for this shot.

It’s getting hot here now that winter has ended and spring is in full bloom. Yesterday was 93F (34C), and today should be the same. Although this doesn’t sound that hot, when sitting all day outdoors under the shade of the veranda roof, coupled with the humidity, we are well aware of how warm it is already.

We’re well prepared that when we return here in December 2022, it will be even hotter. South Africans find this weather to be pleasant, but for us, living in mostly cooler climates, we can certainly feel the impact of the heat. But we will easily handle it when we return in the summer in months to come.

After all, this is Africa, and with the pleasures, sights, and sounds of this amazing continent, we all pay the price of heat, humidity, snakes, mozzies, other insects, and power outages. Speaking of power outages, we’re grateful there hasn’t been any load shedding since we returned from the US, other than a few short periods of “overuse” issues. Of course, last month we experienced five days without water. That was challenging.

An older photo of Tiny and Narrow. We’ve yet to see Tiny since w returned. He may have been culled, which makes me sad.

However, among power outages, there are WiFi outages. The infrastructure here is unstable, and WiFi outages also happen from time to time. Usually, they last for short periods, but yesterday we were without WiFi from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (1700 hrs), a total of six hours.

I had already started the post, and in order not to lose what I’d already written, I had to use my phone’s WiFi as a hotspot to complete and upload the post. Once I was done, I turned off the hotspot to save on the outrageous expense of using the phone’s data for any longer than necessary.

Keeping in mind, we’ve never turned on the TV in this house, we no longer read books after years of doing so, and neither of us felt like playing cards or games. I could have done a puzzle, but we don’t have table space, other than in the dining room, where there’s no airflow. I decided against it.

Warthogs enjoy drinking from the birdbath since they can’t reach the pool. (Photo was taken during the greener season).

Tom played the same solitaire game on his phone that he occasionally plays while I fussed in the kitchen for a short period, preparing a few items for dinner. Needless to say, once I was done, we both were bored. We couldn’t go to Kruger National Park or sit overlooking the Crocodile River due to overcrowding and traffic from holidaymakers.

It had been a long time since we were bored. If we lived in a home of our own, we could have watched a movie on the TV using our DVR, cable TV, or non-WiFi services. If we lived in a home of our own, we could have tackled some projects around the house.

I thought about packing, but I have so few clothes I need to access over the next 24 days until departure. It was quite a dilemma. Gerhard had given us some movies on a flash drive, which I downloaded to our external hard drive, so we decided to see if we’d like any of them. As it turned out, we’d seen most of the movies, or they were those Tom doesn’t care for, such as superhero, fantasy, and science fiction.

I turned on the WiFi on my phone long enough to look up details of a few of the movies. Fortunately, I found one with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, a peculiar film called Florence Jenkins Foster that we watched and found mildly entertaining. In the middle of the movie, Tom needed a nap but only slept for 15 minutes, after which we finished the movie.

Hal is drinking from the birdbath.

At 4:00 pm (1600 hrs), we decided to head back to the veranda for sundowners. With our new speaker with songs we play using YouTube and Spotify, we realized we couldn’t enjoy the music without WiFi as we’ve done on other evenings. Instead, we sat there with the heat of the sun shining on us at 93F (34C) while we chatted. At times, we wondered when the WiFi would return, hoping it would be back on for our usual after-dinner streaming when we go inside due to the mozzies.

Much to our delight, at 5:00 pm (1700 hrs), I heard a ping on my phone that the WiFi was back on. We were thrilled. We proceeded to make dinner on the braai consisting of steaks and chicken breast. On the side, we had a salad with sweet corn and rice for Tom and grilled eggplant for me. It was a lovely dinner.

We’re making roast beef and chicken breasts on the braai, with sauteed mushrooms and salad tonight. Tom will have rice and sweet corn on the side while I have shrimp salad and grilled eggplant. It will be another great dinner. The boredom is gone.

Yes, based on our lifestyle, when WiFi is out, we scramble to find ways to entertain ourselves. It’s the “nature of the beast.” Thank goodness this doesn’t occur frequently, and most likely, while back in the US for a few months, it won’t occur at all.

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 27, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #188. This is where we planned to lounge on the chaises at Madafoo’s in Diani Beach, Kenya, in 2013. It was a guarded area overlooking the Indian Ocean.  For more photos, please click here.

Adults only, please…Rutting season in full bloom in Marloth Park…Love is in the air!…

The above video is intended for “adults only.” We consider it a part of the wonder of nature, offering us a front-row seat on how wildlife finds their mates, court their potential mates, and ultimately propagate in the wild. Certainly, some may feel that this is inappropriate. We kindly ask you not to write to us in this regard.

This is nature at its finest, and for us, it is fascinating to provide us with an opportunity to witness the relationships among wildlife as they seek to preserve their species. Although warthogs do not appear on the list of endangered species, like all wild species, they have their place and their raison d’être on this beautiful Earth.

Whether it’s love or pure instinct of the more intelligent animals, like warthogs, is irrelevant. Watching them interact during this busy mating season in Africa is educational, and we must admit, at times, highly entertaining, when their behaviors are so unlike our own as humans, with some similarities regarding “the chase.”

Big Daddy Kudu is resting in the bush, awaiting the arrival of a female.

No, most of us weren’t courted by our significant others making “train noises.” But, it’s easy for most of us in relationships to recall the methods that members of our species implemented to express an interest. Whether it was a feature of one’s appearance, their scent, often referred to as pheromones, words spoken, or a plethora of other signals humans utilize, knowingly or not, to let the other person become aware of their interest and intent,

Animals in the wild are no different. Their language among one another may not be known to us in most cases, but it’s easy to detect, as we observe them in the wild, that they have no difficulty communicating with one another. Today’s video and a few photos illustrate this point.

Shortly after that, this female arrived, sitting a short distance away, an example of a subtle and gentle approach.

Who are we to say it’s purely instinctual when the process can be so complex, as we currently observe each day? Living in the bush, day after day, we are gifted with the opportunity to observe these interactions, often subtle and gentle, and at other times, bold and forthright, as shown in the above warthog video.

We hope in many months to come, we’ll see the “fruits of their labor” and be able to revel in the newborn nature has born to these precious animals. Only time will tell if we will be able to stay. The warthog gestation period is from 152 to 183 days; the kudu is 240 days, and the bushbuck is 182 days.

Last night, we had dinner with Linda and Ken at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant and had a fantastic evening. The food, as usual, was delicious, the service was beyond reproach, and the four of us, as always, never had a lull in delightful conversation. Tom and I often arrive an hour before a planned meeting time with friends to have fun sitting at the bar, chatting with Dawn and Leon and their trusty, warm and efficient manager, Lyn.

This is The Imposter, rubbing his scent on a tree. We’ve seen a lot of this “marking” on a few chosen trees in the garden.

There were few guests when we arrived at 5:00 pm, 1700 hours, but after we took our table an hour later when Linda and Ken arrived, more and more diners filtered in. It feels safe there with the employees well masked and the tables sensibly socially distanced. Hand sanitizer is readily available in all areas.

Tonight, Linda and Ken are coming for dinner with sundowners with snacks at 4:00 pm, 1600 hours. Dinner, suitable for all of our “ways of eating,” will be served a few hours later. Today, it’s surprisingly cool and windy. If it becomes any cooler and stays this breezy, we may have to dine indoors at the dining room table, which we did on another occasion when they were here, when it was raining in buckets.

The reason we’ve recently seen two Big Daddies certainly has to do with the fact that several females frequent our garden.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow as the adventures in the bush, nature at its finest, continue.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, May 1, 2020:

A parade of elephants crossing a dirt road in Kruger. For more photos, please click here.

Almost every day something amazing transpires in the bush…See the latest…”Pig in a Pond”…

I.B. (Itchy Butt) laying in the wet, muddy cement pond, attempting to ease the itching.

Here’s our new video of “Pig in the Pond”:

Just when we think we don’t have enough photos to share here, something unique happens in the bush, and once again, we’re in business, ready to post a new story with accompanying photos. If we wait patiently, it will happen. Late yesterday afternoon was no exception.

OK, I get it. You may be tired of hearing about warthogs and their hysterical antics. But, the reality remains…we see more warthogs at this particular house in the bush than we’d seen in past houses in 2013/2014, 2018/2019. Undoubtedly, we’ve embraced this fact and named most of the pigs, many due to their physical characteristics or peculiar behavior.

The cool water, on a cool day, must have made him feel better.

Today, we introduce you to I.B., short for “Itchy Butt.” We’ve never seen anything like it. Yes, we’ve had a Pig in the Pond in 2018/2019, when Little, whom we seldom see now, since Tiny, has become “King of the Garden” entered the pond, and we wrote a story about him, entitled, “Pig in the Pond, Pig on the Porch, Pig in the Parlor. See that post here.

Little not only entered the pond, but he also came up the seven slippery steps to the veranda (the porch) and entered the living room (thus, the parlor). We continue to laugh over that story even a few years later. And now, this new pig, who arrived late yesterday afternoon with a severe itch, spent considerable time in our cement pond.

He repositioned himself in an attempt to feel better, scratching his hind end on the sand.

During the first few months since we arrived in Marloth Park in 2021, it rained non-stop for days and days, leaving mosquitoes breeding in every pool of water, including cement ponds. The cement pond outside our bedroom window was filled with vegetation, creating an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Moses, an employee of Louise and Danie, stopped by one day and emptied the pond’s vegetation and water, filling it with sand. Well, it continued to rain and the cement pond filled with water once again. No doubt, more mosquitoes are breeding in the pond, although the small amount of water continues to evaporate during the past dry weeks.

Nothing seemed to help relieve the itching.

Yesterday afternoon, as we lounged on the veranda, watching various animals stop by, including bushbucks, kudus, Frank and The Misses, and of course, numerous warthogs. I’d stepped inside to put away the laundry when I heard Tom yell out to me, “Get the camera! Pig in the pond!”

And there was I.B., rolling around in the mud and remaining water in the cement pond, mainly attempting to scratch his itchy hindquarters. He was on a mission, scratching against the boulders lining the pond, using the sand at the bottom to scratch. During one hour, he entered the pond three times, exhibiting the same behavior on each occasion. Later, when he exited the pond, he practically visited every surface in the garden to help him get a good scratch.

Finally, he climbed out of the cement pond.

Of course, we felt sorry for him. There was nothing we could do to help him. After all, this is nature. When warthogs have medical issues, the rangers don’t attend to them. There are many warthogs in Marloth Park, and their healthy and sturdy constitutions prevent the park from providing medical care for them. They usually recover from most injuries and illnesses on their own. It’s a rare occasion that a carcass of a warthog is discovered in the bush.

He tried scratching on the pebbles and big rocks in the garden.

If they have life-threatening injuries or illnesses, typically, they are found and euthanized and delivered to Lionspruit for Dezi and Fluffy’s next meal. Marloth Park residents are good at informing the rangers when such serious situations occur. But, an itchy butt is not necessarily a life-threatening situation. After we’d taken photos of his bloody behind, it looked so much better when he returned this morning. We were relieved to see the improvement.

After all his efforts for over an hour, his hind end was red and bleeding.

It’s a fantastic experience to watch wildlife all day and evening, learning their behavior, nuances, and special needs. Observing the behavior of wildlife is a rare opportunity and experience. Watching wildlife in zoos doesn’t provide such an opportunity. It’s only a feature of being in the wild among them, watching them and interacting with them, day after day. For this, we are humbled and grateful.

While all of this was happening, another warthog took a nap using a rock as a pillow.

Be well.

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

Beautiful orchid we spotted in our travels from this post. For the year-ago post, please click here.

A little Little in the morning…What a great way to start the day!…

Less than three feet, one meter, from me, Little settled in this spot at the edge of the veranda, napping from time to time.

This morning, only minutes after Tom stepped out onto the veranda, he called out to me, “Little is here!” We hadn’t seen him in a week.

With holidaymakers coming to Marloth Park over the past holiday weekend (Women’s Day in South Africa), the influx of humans kept many of our favorite animals away. An exception to that has been Tiny, who visits each evening within minutes of 4:30 pm, 1600 hours, regardless of what’s transpiring in the park.

Occasionally, he’d get up onto his knees or stand when he’d hear a noise or see something moving in the bush.

As for Little, he’d last visited about a week ago. Tom is not as attached to him as I am when he considers that Little is like a “bull in a China shop.” but Tom shooed him away from eating Frank’s bird seeds, and we hadn’t seen him until today. I genuinely believe he decided to let go of feeling rebuffed and return to see me.

Little came into the living/lounge room in the Orange house last time we were there. After all, Little tore the screen to the lounge door, which has since been repaired. It was Little who languished in the cement pond on hot days. Little precipitated our post entitled, “Pig on the Porch, Pig in the Parlor, Pig in the Pond.” See here for the post.

He rested his chin on the ground or the edge of the veranda.

Little brought a friend into the house to share in his bounty of pellets, as seen in this link. The laughter and amazement we experienced in 2018/2019 are now repeated in 2021 by the intelligence of this bossy and yet charming warthog who continues to bring us great moments of awe and wonder over his ability as a wild animal to communicate with us humans to this degree.

This morning, was it love he exhibited when he nestled on the ground only three feet, one meter, from me after having his fill of pellets and the forbidden birdseed, as I sat in my usual chair at the table on the veranda? He couldn’t take his eyes off of me. I couldn’t help but laugh in sheer wonder.

When Zef and Vusi arrived to clean the house, Little stood up, checking out the visitors. Moments later, he settled back down to his former position, lying down next to the veranda.

Some may say he was looking at me to give him more pellets. But it’s been Tom who’s tossed him the pellets when he’s better at throwing them into the garden than I am. But, even Tom is amazed by how Little responds to my voice and interacts with me. We always loved our dogs and their ability to communicate in loving ways with us. Pigs, much more intelligent than dogs, certainly can do the same. It’s not always about “the food.”

We see a tremendous amount of loving behaviors in the bush. The moms and babies of most species exhibit an enormous amount of love toward one another. We often see friendly and loving behavior among the kudus, giraffes, warthogs, zebras, bushbucks, and other species. Why would it be so unusual that a wild animal could, under certain circumstances, express caring behavior for us human animals?

Last night’s sunset from the deck at the Amazing Kruger View Restaurant, we dined with Linda and Ken, who left today to return to Johannesburg.

As far as wild animals are concerned, most likely, we are simply another species they encounter in the wild with whom they may choose to interact or not. We often find ourselves gifted with a response that warms our hearts and fills us with great joy for those of us passionate observers who choose to interact with the wildlife in subtle ways, such as through eye contact, voice tones, and appropriate food offerings.

Yes, we know. That’s not our intent. They are wild animals, and we shouldn’t attempt to domesticate wild animals. Instead, we find ourselves in a state of awe and appreciation over the gifts of life so blissfully bestowed upon us by Mother Nature to enable all of us to live in harmony on this earth.

Yes, Little, and now also Tiny, each in their way, teaches us the importance of their existence and how to cohabitate in this unique environment. For this, we are grateful, as we spend every day living in the bush continually reveling in their very existence, let alone in an opportunity to somehow communicate with them.

We’d intended to post this photo from Friday evening’s sundowner party on our veranda, but WiFi issues prevented us from doing so at that time. We had a great evening, which ended when the mozzies came out with a vengeance.

Tonight, after spending five evenings celebrating life with local friends, we’re staying in. The heat and humidity continue to be outrageously uncomfortable. But, we’re managing well, especially when the air-con in the bedroom allows us to get restorative sleep at night. We sweat on the veranda during the daylight hours, occasionally taking a break to come into the bedroom to turn on the AC for a short reprieve. Knowing we can do this helps tremendously.

We’ve had several days without WiFi or power outages which have been delightful. But, as we discussed with Linda and Ken last night at the Amazing Kruger View Restaurant, after all, this is Africa. It’s a hot, dusty, humid, bug-infested continent with snakes, wild beasts, and dangers in many directions. If one cannot adapt to these conditions, visiting Africa may not be for them.

For us, with all its challenges, we feel right at home while continuing to stay on guard for any potential risks. By the way, in 30 days, we’ll be on our way to Kenya.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 9, 2020:

Sundowners on the beach at the Ideal Beach Resort located in Mahabalipuram, India. For more, please click here.