For adults only, please...Mature theme...Plus, a little of this and that...

Little Wart Face gave it an honest effort but he just couldn't get it quite right.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
Although Tom has to take down and refill the bird feeder several times a day due to the monkeys eating the seeds, we thoroughly enjoy watching the birds partaking
We'd hoped to head to Kruger today but have decided to go another day.  The sky is cloudy and doesn't appear it will clear in time for us to go.  Instead, today, we'll make our usual run to Komatipoort and Lebombo for groceries and carrots and apples for the wildlife and head to Kruger on the next sunny day.

Yesterday, I called Obaro and it appears they now have pellets in stock and we'll load up enough for the next few weeks until its time to go to Zambia and Botswana on August 16th.
Little Wart Face attempting to mate with this young female.
Although neither of us particularly loves to shop, we find the weekly trips interesting and diverse.  The townspeople are friendly, the culture fascinating and generally we can find the majority of the items we need to purchase, forgoing thoughts of those items we can't find.

Since I'm no longer eating dairy, my options for meals are limited.  Most of our favorite dishes include dairy in one form or another.  It appears I have no trouble with butter but all other dairy products must be excluded from my diet in order to maintain this high level of feeling so well.
This occurred after dusk and thus, the photos aren't as clear as we'd hoped.
Day after day, I'm aware of how great I'm feeling for the first time in over two years.  From the time I contracted the bacterial infection in Fiji and later the injury in the pool in Bali, I was plagued with constant pain and discomfort.

To be free of pain is such a blessing and I never forget how important it is I don't consume a slice of cheese, a dollop of cream or smear of cream cheese on a celery stick.  It takes no willpower whatsoever...the excellent end result of feeling good keeps me highly motivated.

Snack options are limited so I avoid snacking.  I'm continuing to slowly lose weight and will share details when I reach my goal in the next few months.  Surprisingly, it hasn't been that difficult. 
He'd been making the train-like noise up until he actually tried to make contact.  The bowl in the dirt was left after we'd fed eggs to the mongooses a few minutes earlier.
We now have a hearty breakfast each morning...with two eggs and sardines, for me, which are high in calcium to compensate for my lack of dairy products while Tom has three eggs and bacon.  We don't eat again until dinner on the veranda around 7:00 pm.  This schedule provides us with approximately 11 hours of intermittent fasting which works well for both of us.

As for today's warthog mating photos, I'd like to stress, we do not include these or other mating photos for any shock value.  Our intent is purely to illustrate the magic and mystery of nature at its finest.  Having the opportunity to observe the "cycle of life" in nature is truly a gift.
It's obvious in this photo that contact wasn't fully executed.
In many months to come, we'll see the park filled with babies from this mating season.  For an interesting article in Africa Geographic regarding warthog mating, please click here.

The gestation period for warthogs is 152 to 183 days.  Generally, piglets are born between October and February.  It won't be long before we see entirely new batches of youngsters coming to call with their moms, (occasionally dads), aunts and siblings from past litters. 
Its a rare opportunity to see mating in the wild but this appeared more to be "practice" than anything.
Warthogs may stay with their family group, a sounder, for a few years eventually finding their own burrows for rest at night.  However, they often stay in the same general territory as other family members.

When we see them at night, they tend to wander off by 2100 hours (9:00 pm) to return to their burrow for the night.  Moms will place their offspring in the burrow first and follow behind facing the opening to guard the family unit.
Not a night passes without an opportunity to watch these adorable bushbabies enjoy the yogurt we place on their little stand.

Intelligent animals, pigs of all breeds are rated #2 of the top 25 most intelligent animals on earth.  See this list for details.  This is clearly evidenced to us daily as we carefully observe their behavior.  Dogs are rated #6.

That's it for today folks!  Have a fabulous day!  We'll be back with more tomorrow.

Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2017:
Here were our total expenses for the 25 nights we spent in Henderson Nevada.  Please click here for more details.
 Expense  US Dollar 
Housing (Richard's home)  $                       -  
 Gifts & Misc.  $                  299.00
 Airfare   $               1,137.00
 Rental Car & Fuel $                  926.00
 Groceries  $               1,245.30
 Dining Out  $                  402.52
 Supplies & Pharmacy  $                  609.32
 Entertainment  $                  310.25
 Total  $               4,929.39
 Avg Daily Cost 25 days  $                  197.18

In the realm of things, it just doesn't matter...

This morning we opened the door to find 19 kudus in the garden, breaking our prior record of 17 at once.  The one closest to the veranda is the girl that always licks my toes.  She is identifiable by an oval notch in her right ear.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
Yesterday, this "Grey Go-Away" bird stopped by.  The name was as a result of the song this bird sings that sound like, "go-away."
It's imperative that one must temper their expectations when staying in Africa, especially when coming from cities throughout the world that are highly developed and have an abundance of literally everything, for example; in any big city in the US and other parts of the world.
There were all moms and babies some of which were males.
When we say abundance in the US, we mean going to a market, a superstore, or a shop and finding anything you may conceive of or anything special on your shopping list. 

Do you have almond extract on your grocery list?  No problem.  You will find it in the first grocery store you visit. Are you looking for a certain brand or popular style of jeans?  No sweat.  You'll find them in a number of locations in exactly your size and chosen style.
Tusker, last night in the dark of night, hung around for a few hours,
But, in Marloth Park and surrounding areas, certain items are difficult to find often requiring a more than an hour drive to be presented with a few less than ideal options.  
A pair of hornbills sharing the bird feeder.
Sure, one could drive to Nelspruit, (where the airport is located) but still not find what they're seeking, certainly not, the style, the price or the size.  We don't bother to make the long drive unless we're flying somewhere as we will in 17 days to make the "visa run" to Zambia, required every 90 days.

In the realm of things, for us, none of this matters.  There's always a workaround of one sort or another.  Last week, when we grocery shopped on Thursday, the Obaro store where we purchase pellets for wildlife was totally out of pellets.
In attempting to recognize different animals within a species, we search for variances in their markings.  In this case, of Ms. Bushbuck, her lower facial marking is a round dot as opposed to an oval dot.  Another identical looking female bushbuck has two white dots similar to the upper dot in this photo.  Now we can distinguish between the two females.
We usually purchase three 40 kg (88 pounds) bags which will last a little over two weeks with all the visitors we have here.  There were other options if the stock never returned for a while.  We could pay a higher price (as much a 30% more) where they were available at other locations. 
Very distant photo taken a few days ago at the overlook entitled "Two Trees" all the way across the Crocodile River and up the hill to Kruger. 
We're slowly doling out our last bag of pellets, instead focusing on tossing the carrots and apples.  This morning, I called Obaro and the pellets are again back in stock.  We'll head out in a few days to purchase more.

One week there will be celery at the market.  The next three weeks there won't be any.  It's the ways it is.  We've learned to accept these situations and be flexible in our meal planning.
Big Daddy drinking from our cement pond.
Over the weekend, I opened two bottles of my favorite low-alcohol red wine, called Skinny Red by Four Cousins, a South African brand which also carries many wine options that aren't low-alcohol, to find both bottles had gone bad (turned bubbly and vinegary).  This has happened at least 10 times in the past several months.

In each case, we've returned the bad bottles to the Spar Supermarket in Komatipoort where we'd purchased the wine and were easily given a refund without a receipt, no questions asked.  In the realm of things, it just doesn't really matter.  We'll purchase more when we return to Spar in the next few days.
He seemed content after pellets and a few big gulps of water.
In certain instances, expiration dates have long past on some items in the market.  No worries.  We just don't purchase those.  Also, most recently, we've been dealing with the fact that the package we had sent on from the US on May 28th has yet to arrive.
Wildebeest Willies stops by almost every evening.
Apparently, there was a strike slowing it down.  Right now, it's still "stuck" in Pretoria. We have no idea when and if it will eventually arrive. This is probably the situation most likely to cause a certain degree of frustration.

There are power outages every few weeks some lasting a short while and others lasting for several hours.  In the realm of things, it really doesn't matter, as long as our food doesn't spoil.  It hasn't as yet.
We can always count on a visit from Tusker and friends.
However, we don't forget that in the US during the stormy season, we could be out of power for days.  We don't forget that for years we had trouble with the TV cable company often requiring service once a month, never seeming to be resolved. 

We recall dealing with incorrect statements for medical bills, utilities, and more.  We easily recall the difficulty in handling certain insurance claims often requiring a tremendous amount of time and effort.
Mom, babies, and Tusker seem to get along while nibbling on pellets.
Now, we don't have medical bills (we pay cash when we have an occasional doctor or dentist appointment).  We don't pay for utilities or cable bills (we don't watch TV).  And, we don't handle any type of insurance claims.  In many ways, this life is easier even amid occasional incompetency and slow service.

Wherever one resides, there are inconveniences, annoyances, and frustrations.  I suppose it is how we handle these situations that determine the overall quality of our lives.  We chose to take an attitude of "it just doesn't matter."

If we have our health, well being, safety and financial stability (by sticking to our budget) and, each other, the rest is of little cause for worry or the realm of things.

Be well. 
Photo from one year ago, July 30, 2017:
Tom's Reuben sandwich with chips (fries) when we were out to dinner and movie with son Richard and friends on our last night in Henderson, Nevada.  For more details, please click here.

The kindness and generosity of special people...

Louise and Danie dropped off this beautiful knife set this morning which fits perfectly into a space in the kitchen drawer where the flatware is stored.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
This is a black-eared seedeater was awaiting her turn at the bird feeder.  This morning I used the bird book Louise dropped off to identify this bird.
Today's late start was as a direct result of many distractions this morning.  I was anxious to use my new knives, a gift from Louise and Danie as shown in the above main photo, along with beautiful Africa shaped hand-carved cutting board, South Africa bird book, and delicious little dark chocolate coffee bean nibs.

How did we get so lucky to become friends with our kind and generous property managers, a friendship that started four and a half years ago?  Over the years, we stayed in touch and there was no doubt in our minds that we'd rent one of their properties when we arrived in February.
This beautiful hand-carved cutting board is made into the shape of Africa indicating
"my heart belongs to Africa."  So true.
We'll certainly rent from them again when we return to Marloth Park in 2020 for a 90-day visit, knowing we'll never get these fine people and this extraordinary experience out of our minds.

But, it's not about "gifts" for us since these items and others, we'll have no choice but to leave behind when we leave in February 2019, a mere seven months from now.  We'll be delighted to return them all to Louise and Danie along with numerous other items they've provided for us since we arrived.

This bird book from Louise and Danie will help so much when trying to identify birds for our posts.  This way we won't have to pester our birding friends quite so often.
When it comes to these two fine people, they have an uncanny way of getting cues from conversations that often result in a gift.  Going forward I must be careful to avoid mentioning anything we may need or want since these two dear attentive people never miss a beat. 

Last night I asked where we could buy some knives or a sharpener since the knives here in the property have become dull with all the cutting I do as shown in the photo below. 
This stainless steel bowl is larger in diameter than the average dinner plate and quite deep.  Each day I cut up no less than two of these bowls with apples and carrots.  Having sharp knives really speeds up the process.
Each day I cut up no less than two, sometimes three of these big bowls of carrots and apples.  Also, with our low carb home-cooked meals often requiring lots of fresh vegetables, side dishes and salads, I spend a lot of time each day chopping and dicing.

In our old lives, I had a variety of kitchen gadgets that aided in the cutting process including a food processor and various "As Seen on TV" handy choppers and dicer all of which I used regularly.  Over the past few months, I struggled to cut up the carrots, apples and other vegetables for meals using the dull knives.

Danie made these little coffee bean treats made with 90% chocolate and brought me a package last night. Now, I am totally hooked on these tasty little morsels for a special sweet morsel.  Check out the pretty packaging.
In this life, there's no space in our luggage for knives (not good to pack anyway) or any other items of any weight but having these special items to use over these next months means the world to us. 
We were particularly interested in this young male kudu who's horns have begun to sprout.  See photo below for detail.
Once we leave here in February and then Kenya in March, we won't be cooking again until we arrive in Ireland in May 2019 where we'll stay for 90 days where we'll see what's available in that holiday home.  

We usually make-do with what's on hand at holiday rentals but Louise and Danie have made this stay extra special for us with their thoughtfulness and consideration of our needs.
Male kudus have horns, females do not.  At about 15 months the horns begin to take on the shape of the first spiral.  See adult male below.
As for last night's evening, the weather was so warm we didn't need to bundle up or turn on the outdoor gas heater (another item they presented to us for our comfort).  The food was good, the ambiance perfect, the conversation lively and animated...along with a handful of visitors that stopped by from time to time.

All of our wonderful friends in Marloth Park are considerate, thoughtful and generous, as were all of our friends back in the US.  We feel so blessed to have been able to experience such kindness from all of our friends over the years.

Big Daddy, one of many adult male kudus in Marloth Park.
But, we must admit these two special people go over-the-top in ensuring we have an exceptional experience each and every day in this property and in sharing this exceptional friendship.

Thank you, Louise and Danie.  Wherever we may be, you'll always be in our hearts and minds for being the special people that you are.  If any of our readers ever decide to come to Marloth Park for a holiday rental or to build your dream home in the bush, these are the people to contact.  Their kindness, creativity, and thoughtfulness carry over into everything they do.

Yesterday morning Mom and Five Babies stopped by for the first time in a few months.  My, how they've grown!
Quote from this site:
"The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares. Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when. Simon Sinek"

May you life be rich with friendship!

Photo from one year ago today, July 29, 2017:

Opuntia pinkavae, common name Bulrush Canyon Prickly-pear is a species of cactus which originated in northern Arizona and southern Utah which we found in Nevada for this photo.  For more, please click here.

Blood moon..Full view of total eclipse of the moon...We had a full moon party!...

 "Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
Even the bushbabies were curious as to what was transpiring last night.
Most of today's blood moon photos don't include any captions.  The moon speaks for itself. 

From this site

"JOHANNESBURG – South Africans are in a for a treat on Friday with the longest total lunar eclipse of the century taking place. According to the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, at around 19h13 pm, the moon will start moving into the penumbral (partial) shadow of the Earth. Less direct sunlight will reach the eastern (lower) side of Moon, and you may notice the Moon dimming slightly from that side."
We knew we'd be in for quite a treat with the announcement over the past month regarding the rare appearance of the 'blood moon" and a total eclipse of the moon clearly (weather providing) visible in South Africa.

With the weather forecast predicting a cloudy night, we were thrilled when the sky was totally clear by nightfall.  We set up our usual routine including the light to see the wildlife arriving for a visit; the burning repellent candle on the big wood table; the coil repellent at our feet.

The vegetable container for the animals was freshly chopped with carrots and apples.  The container for pellets was ready to go and the bin of birdseed was ready for Frank and the Mrs. who never disappoint.  The cup of yogurt for the bushbabies was filled to the brim with the fruity treat and placed on their little stand.

At 1730  hours, (5:30 pm), Frank and the Mrs. sounded their nightly alarm as they headed into the bush to make their usual announcement that darkness is imminent. They never fail to sound the alarm at night and again as the sun rises in the morning.

Within minutes, the bushbabies appeared on the little stand ready to share the tasty yogurt with one another, flying through the trees for taste after taste.  It's a stunning ritual to observe night after night.

Our dinner was ready to go into the oven, the salad was made and tossed.  Tom made a cocktail of brandy and Sprite Zero and I poured myself a glass of my now favorite low-alcohol red wine.  The table was set with flatware, plates, and napkins. The two-person full-moon-blood moon-total-eclipse party was ready to begin.

Both cameras had fresh batteries and were set identically for nighttime photos.  Of course, our lack of expertise didn't necessarily result in the most professional looking photos but in our laid-back manner, we did our best and decided against editing the photos.  We share them here as they were taken, except for cropping as mentioned above.

The evening was so full and busy we were on our feet most of the time.  We started at 1700 hours (5:00 pm) as we always do and never went inside for the night until 2230 hours (10:30 pm) when the moon had done most of its magic.

It couldn't have been a more perfect evening.  We sat down to dinner but when visitors came, we jumped up time and again to toss pellets and veggies.  There was no way we'd ignore our usual visitors when they have faithfully provided us with so much entertainment night after night.

Between taking photos of the ever-changing views of the moon, trying to finish dinner, and feeding our friends, it was quite an active event.  By the time we headed indoors, we were ready to call it a night.  Tom did the dishes while I cleaned the kitchen, neither of us able to wipe the smiles off of our faces.

Speaking of "feeding our friends," this time the humankind, tonight Louise and Danie are coming for dinner.  We love spending time with this wonderful couple.  Yesterday, I did most of the prep so today will be easy with only a few side dishes left to prepare.

Ah, it's a good life.  We don't have a complaint in the world, other than the pesky monkeys who won't leave us or our birdfeeder alone.  Several times a day Tom has to chase them away.  Monkeys generally don't respond to women doing the chasing, as if to mock us.  Go figure.

Have a great day! 

Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2017:
These two birds were too busy preening to look up as we passed their habitat at the wildlife center in Henderson.  For more details as we wound down the time in Nevada, please click here.

Power outage today...

A Great White Heron standing in the water at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
This is our friend Tusker.  He is the sweetest guy who comes to visit several times each day, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm).  He's so comfortable here he often lies down for a short nap.
While midway through making one of our favorite low carb meals and before I started working on today's post the power went out at 0945 hours (9:45 am).  We weren't too concerned when most often it comes back on within a few hours. 

Tom read a "paper" book we borrowed from friends Lynne and Mick about the history of Marloth Park while I'm typed the text on the offline app for our site on my phone which I often use during power outages.
We never get tired of seeing these wondrous animals, both in Kruger and in Marloth Parks.
Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to plug in my phone when I got up this morning and the battery was almost dead.  I typed fast and furiously in order to be prepared when and if the power came back on today.

Power outages are common in Africa as are other areas of the infrastructure. For example, we had a package shipped from the US on May 28th, almost two months.  Due to a strike its been stuck in Pretoria since June 6th.
Zebras crossing the road in Kruger.
We check package tracking and call often to no avail.  Yesterday, I was told the "network was down" and to call back again.  I called again and there was no answer.

But, as everyone always says...this is Africa and we can't expect such services to be comparable to that in the US and other more developed countries in the world.
A bloat of hippos at Sunset Dam.
Expectations must be kept in check. Our friend Kathy (and Don) while home alone at one of their other homes in Pretoria, South Africa was without power from last Friday until late Sunday.  She couldn't leave when the electronic gate wouldn't open without power. We could only hope that type of scenario doesn't happen here. 
From this site: "Hippos can stay underwater for up to 5 minutes without coming up for air, according to National Geographic. When they sleep in the water, their bodies automatically bob up to the top of the water so that they can take a breath, and then they sink back to the bottom. Hippos' eyes and nostrils are on top of their head. This allows them to breathe and look around while the rest of their body is submerged. "
We'd grocery shopped yesterday and the extra freezer is full of meats and other items.  The refrigerator is all fully stocked.  If the power didn't come back on, we'd be out a lot of money.
OK, folks here's a new one for you...This is a "bask" of crocodiles!
I finished making the majority of the meal and quickly opened and closed the refrigerator door putting everything perishable inside.  We decided the best course of action was to embark on one of our usual drives through Marloth Park, hoping the power would come back on while we were gone. 

We returned several hours later and we have power.  That's why today's post is so late.  We had an eventful drive including spotting two lions on the river and other wildlife and yet, we're happy to be back at the house with power.
Another "bask" of crocs at Sunset Dam.
No doubt, we'll have another good night in our blissful surroundings, grateful for even the little things; a good home cooked meal, lots of visitors to the garden and of course, having power back on.
Three giraffes at a distance in Kruger National Park.
Tonight, clear skies providing, we'll be able to see the entire total eclipse of the "blood moon" which is only fully viewable in certain parts of the world,  South Africa included.  It should be a good night!
As winter continues there's less and less green vegetation for the wildlife both in Kruger and Marloth Park.
Hopefully, wherever you may be, tonight you'll get a glimpse of this special moon!

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2017:
Too distant for close up photos, we spotted these two Cormorant sitting on a rock in a pond at the Henderson (Nevada) Bird Viewing Preserve.  For more photos, please click here.