Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sheep and Cattle

As we are living on a farm there are inevitably encounters with, well, what happens on a farm - farming! Whether it's lambing season, calves being tagged, new land being cleared, orchards being pruned or alfalfa being baled, it's all around us and we are learning by simply being here and observing how a farm is run. This post will be about the animals (sheep and cattle), and the hard work that goes with having them.

In February, a team of sheep shearers from Lesotho came to shear St. Ancothesa's sheep - it was fascinating watching them work, doing 1 sheep in about 3 minutes. Although not done with shear scissors anymore, using the shear machine still requires skill and speed.

The machine has 4 'arms', thus 4 people can work at the same time. 

The sheep seem to enjoy being sheared, they just lie there turned paralytic.


Rather grimy wool, but packed and ready to be sold. 

During April and May (mainly), it was lambing season and every day the farm bakkie and trailer could be seen transporting ewes and new white lambs down from the mountain to the safer alfalfa fields in the valley.

They really are cute, but also surprisingly loud - a field of them calling their mothers (and mothers calling back) is quite a symphony.

One day we joined 'oom' Jan and the farm workers going up the mountain to fix the water pipes for the sheep, as well as feeding them bales. It turned out a lovely day on the mountain.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Goodbye Ham and Bacon

Last week, the 2 oldest piglets ("Ham en Spek") were sold to a neighbor - at 5 and a half months, Ham weighed 80kg and Bacon 50kg. Getting the pigs on the back of the bakkie proved to be quite a mission though....

The boys were glad to get their money, and even gladder they didn't have to slaughter the pigs themselves haha.

They used a steel plate to stop the pigs from slipping past them.

Clever little pig. Even though we put food in the scale, they refused to go in.

Johnny gave Bacon some help, and pushed her in by one leg. The scale can open on both ends, so they decided to get the pig inside the scale first, then lift it up so that the pig could climb out the other end into the bakkie. 

They did the lighter pig first, so the lifting was not too difficult. 

With Bacon safely on the bakkie, it was Ham's turn. He was more of a challenge though, and led Theuns, Johnny and Zahn on a wild goose chase for a few minutes, before they trapped him in the pigsty and maneuvered the scale in front of the entrance.


Sunday, June 14, 2015


Every evening (as far as it's possible for them), Brendon and Breyton has been coming here to work with the horses. They go on walks with Arend, and Maarten (horse trainer in progress) has been working with Valk as well. The process of training horses requires lots of patience, but we feel that we've learnt a lot in the 3 months they've been here.  Arend was not really approachable, but now some people can even ride him (although not yet completely alone). Valk did not even come near human beings when we got her, and now she eats from our hands. But the best thing about the horses is how we can build relationships with other people in the process!  It's also great to see how when people work together towards a common goal, things between each other are sorted out to achieve that goal.

Late evening sun. 
 Maarten using the glove technique, to desensitize her to being touched.

Rewarding her for not panicking with a glove on her back. 

 'Styling' his mane with anti-fly spray.

Come rain or shine...for the love of horses.

Last week we had a breakthrough with Arend. Since a neighbor's son had ridden him 'cowboy style' in March, Arend picked up the habit of turning to kick the moment anyone attempted to climb onto his back. This led to nobody being able to get onto his back, even if they just wanted to lead him around (with someone on his back). As a result the team had been getting slightly discouraged, so my mom arranged with 'tannie' Marina, a neighboring horse breeder much more experienced in horse-iness than us, to come visit and give advice. She offered a few valuable tips and tricks, and in a matter of 2 days the boys were climbing onto Arend's back again! Thanks tannie Marina!

Jason (another farm worker who works on a neighboring farm with horses) has also been helping now and then. Here he is on Arend.


Maarten summoned enough courage to ride a bit.

We went all the way to the dam.  

 On the main road. "Oee dis so lekker..."

Our excellent lawnmowers.

Taking a nap. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Rain Has Come!

The past week it has been cold and wet here on the farm, and the Kammanassie River overflowed several drifts, blocking the shortest route we have to George. The rain is welcomed after a long dry summer, but it is causing some interesting experiences.

The second day of continuous rain brought up a problem we hadn't anticipated - the two smallest poor piglets' pigsty had drainage problems, and was filling up with freezing water. Luckily my dad came to the rescue and hauled them over into a third separate pigsty next to the other pigs' cage.

Much-needed rain.

Flooded pigsty.

 Catching the pig.

In you go piglet!

My parents and brothers then left with our car to find some new straw for the pigs, and got stuck in the mud (literally). After attempts to pack rocks and give the wheels some leverage, my mom went to find help and oom Jan pulled them out with his 'bakkie' (I had a good laugh). 

Stuck in the mud. 

Packing rocks. 

Ponies looking drab - they've grown their thick winter coats, but looked miserable nonetheless. I would too, in their position after 3 days of continuous rain. 

When the rain finally stopped, we went to check out all the drifts.

Oh bother...we can't get through this drift for a while.