We had a fantastic 10-year anniversary celebration with friends…Spring is in the air!…

This is starling Vega’s partner. They are building a nest. Female starlings look very different from males, which is not uncommon.

I was so distracted ensuring our friends had a pleasant evening and dinner I failed to take any photos. We apologize for failing to take food and people photos. We have found that some occasions are less about photos and more about living in the moment.  Bear with us during those times.

With a new lucerne bale arriving at noon, the animals came in droves, and Dawn and Leon enjoyed every visitor along with us. Mom and three piglets visited, along with Norman, Noah, Nina, Lollie, Earl, Bad Ear, Bad Leg, and many more. It was a delightful time.

But even more than the joy of the visiting wildlife, the light rain, our bonfire, and our homemade Asian food, the conversation was meaningful and treasured by all four of us. They are such good friends. They are living through such hard times. We are right beside them through the entire process.

This is Vega taking a bath before he meets up with his girlfriend.

The food was, no doubt, a lot of work. Asian food requires a lot of chopping and dicing, organizing spices and sauces, and getting the taste done to perfection. I only  needed to use a recipe for the batter for the fried tenderloin pieces, combining corn starch, flour, eggs, and salt. I wanted to ensure the measurement was accurate for a light, fluffy batter. The rest I knew in my head from past experience.

This had been the first time in years I’d deep-fried anything. But, the meat for the sweet and sour pork must be pre-fried and kept hot while the sauce is stir-fried separately with carrots, green peppers, garlic, and fresh pineapple chunks. The pineapples I purchased here in South Africa look very different from those in the US and other parts of the world.

We love this little bird. I need help finding information on its species.

They are smaller with less “meat” and more skin and dark spots. I was surprised by how little there was after I cleaned the two pineapples. The remainder of the vegetables were fine. The sauce is made using chicken broth, sugar, pineapple juice, soy sauce, red wine vinegar and spices and thickened with cornstarch mixed with cold water for a smooth thickened sauce.

It seemed to take the sauce quite a while to thicken sufficiently. It’s quite a balancing act to deep fry the meat (it took four batches) while preventing the oil from having too many loose bits of the batter and cooking the sauce simultaneously, watching each pot carefully.

Fortunately, I’d already made the fried rice which is a half-day operation, considering I wanted to make a big enough batch to send them home with plenty and to be able to freeze at least a dozen containers for Tom. Each night we can take a batch from the freezer to defrost in the refrigerator overnight for the following evening’s meal.

Another dung beetle and his mate. We now see them every day!

I’d made the spicy prawns and asparagus dish earlier in the day which I easily reheated in the same pot while the sweet and sour dish was cooking. Of course, I made a mess of the stovetop and planned to let Vusi clean it this morning. But, once I looked at it when I got up, I cleaned it myself. We can, but don’t leave dishes and pots and pans for them to clean.

We always do such tasks ourselves, grateful that we have Vusi and Zef to wash floors, make the bed, clean the bathrooms and c the veranda. We try not to make extra work for them.

Hornbill, up in the trolley birdfeeder. He also has a girlfriend with whom he’s building a nest. Spring is in the air! Love is in the air!

Dawn and Leon were comfortable staying overnight in the little cottage on our property. This morning, they came over around 9:00 am for breakfast. I overslept a bit and got up, showered, and dressed at 8:00 am. I rushed to make the egg, mushroom and sausage flan, and banana coconut bread from scratch. By 8:30, I had everything in the oven, but the banana bread takes an hour to bake so we didn’t eat until a little after 9:30. They had an appointment and were able to get out the door by 10:30, after which Tom did the breakfast dishes. Everything from last night’s dinner was washed, dried and put away.

We have fantastic leftovers for tonight’s dinner. Also, I made a keto cheese pie which Tom and Leon didn’t like, but Dawn and I put a good dent in. There was plenty left to send Dawn home with a piece for tonight after their leftovers. Luckily, I made enough of everything so we all could have leftovers tonight. They even took some of the banana bread home for later.

We put an egg out for this monitor lizard, but he never found it. Instead, the mongooses found it the next day and shared it.

Since I don’t eat sweet and sour pork or fried rice, I made a salad to go with my spicy prawn stir fry, and that was all the more prep I had to do today. It is too damp to do laundry since it rained and the clothes never dry on days like this. Tomorrow, will be drier and less humid, so I can tackle that job then.

We had a wonderful 10-year anniversary, doing precisely what we wanted to do…spending it with friends. We have so much to be grateful for and never forget it for a day. And, of course, we have all of you to share our lives and ongoing journey, which picks up once again in three weeks when we take off for Seychelles.  Thanks for all the heartfelt anniversary wishes!

Happy day to all.

Photo from one year ago today, November 1, 2021:

Big Daddy was chewing on the core of a massive head of cabbage. He loved it! For more photos, please click here.

Comments and responses We had a fantastic 10-year anniversary celebration with friends…Spring is in the air!…

  1. Carolyn Smith Reply

    Hi Jess,

    Is it a hawfinch? Saw one once in France. The shape of their beaks allows them to crack huge nuts? If not,I still have a book on East African birds which might shed some light but have guests staying until tomorrow so no time at the moment!

    Love, Caro

    • worldwide-admin Post authorReply

      Caro, thank you. I looked into birds of Africa and a hawfinch is not typical. We’ll keep checking. Hope all is well with you both.

      Much love,
      Jess & Tom

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