Monday, July 27, 2015

Farewell To Some More Piglets

Farming with animals requires constant care and the boys have learnt that lesson well. There is not a day that you can think of not feeding them, or just ignoring them when you want to sleep a little late...  Animals are hard work and require commitment! This was one of the reasons my parents allowed the boys to have the pigs as part of this adventure on the farm - to learn what it takes to care for animals (it is fun and easy the first few weeks, however as the months passed it got tiring), to learn the value of hard work for money (especially if the chore is not so much fun after all), to take the risk of plans not working out (as we discovered in the process of selling the pigs) and to learn that working in a team helps motvation (when the one can help the other when it just gets too much).

Our other five piglets (the 3 Minions, Plum, and Fig) have been eating, sleeping, and growing quietly, but the time has run out age-wise for the oldest three – boars has to be slaughtered before a certain age, otherwise hormones are released into the muscles and the resulting meat is not recommendable. As a result it has been piglet-catching time again, and ‘tannie’ Marina from Uniondale fetched 2 of the Minions for slaugther.  The good thing is that the remaining three are suddenly much less effort than the seven together!

As they were smaller than the previous Ham and Bacon, they were much easier to catch and load.

 Picking the target.

They simply grabbed them by the hind legs and pulled them to the 'bakkie'. 

 Out the gate (the crucial part where everyone is yelling advice and piglet screaming our ears off).

 Then they picked them up by the ears and hauled them onto the back of the bakkie - squealing the whole way (my mom is laughing).

 Cheers piggies!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Big Buffalo Bay Weekend

Earlier in June, it was the Big Burger Buffalo Bay Weekend - 'tannie' Anel and 'oom' Jan Burger both turned 40 this year, and celebrated with friends and family at Buffalo Bay (Buffelsbaai) over a long weekend. After the Saturday evening party we slept over in a holiday flat, and the next day went on a long beach walk to Brenton-On-Sea (which is about 5km away coast-wise). Here follows the story...

As a favor for tannie Anel, we were the 'balloon and birthday cake couriers', picking up a huge (and rather colorful) birthday cake and lots of helium balloons on our way to Buffalo Bay. Despite a punctured tire, we arrived safely and the night was on!


Burger Birthday Cake.

The party theme was anything (and everything) to do with 'B' - accordingly, everyone had to dress up as something beginning with 'B'. There were everything from Ballerinas, Bunnies, Brides and Beach Bums to 'Boere' (farmers), Bridegrooms, Bikers, 'Boewe' (thieves) and even Braveheart (William Wallace)!

Theuns and Maarten went as 'Best Buddies', mom and dad as Bedouins, and me as a Basotho. I was a ninja Basotho though, as I was the party photographer as well.

As the night grew longer people 'shed' their costumes - not my dad though. 

 Later on, I turned into a 'Beanie'.....the DJ rocked tunes from the 80's and it was comical watching grown people relive their teenage years - until I got dragged into it.

A new day dawns... Wait up!

 Snack attack - never go anywhere without supplies.

Maarten found a a very dried out (and dead) shark ("Elna Elna neem 'n foto!!").

Me and mom made it to Brenton-On-Sea, and got a magnificent view of Buffelsbaai. We had excellent weather as well - barely a breeze stirred and it was lovely sunny.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

LANKO Apple Warehouse/Factory

This post deals with a very interesting outing that me, my mom and brothers went on, to LANKO Apple Warehouse in Louterwater, the Langkloof.

Lanko's producers (the apple and pear farmers) bring the fruit in large wooden crates and the whole truck is weighed. After the crates are unloaded the truck is weighed again, and the total weight of apples is worked out. The crates of apples go through a chlorine treatment process and then the crates are packed directly into giant cooling rooms where they are cooled as quickly as possible to around 0° Celsius. 

Apples incoming.

Giant 'refrigerators'. 

The cooling rooms hold between 1,000 and 1,700 crates, and are sometimes stacked up to 10 crates high (special permission must be obtained for at OHSA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) for this though, as the law only allows up to 8 crates high). Depending on demand, the fruit is then either directly packaged, or can be stored in specially sealed cold rooms for months.  

Once a coldroom is filled up and the doors closed, the oxygen and carbon dioxide is pumped out while nitrogen is pumped in, causing the fruit to go into a state of dormancy. Probes inside the rooms monitor levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, ammonia and ethylene (the hormone that apples/pears release as it ripens). 

Us with the manager who showed us around, in front of a sealed room.(notice the height of the door)

If there is enough demand for apples, a sealed room will be opened up, but only after 24 hours have past it will be safe to work in.  Once safe, the crates are removed with forklifts and are taken to the packaging 'factory'.

A large machine with arms pick up the crates and lower it in water while tipping over the crate. All the apples tumble out into the water and begin drifting down the 'canal'. Water is used to transport the apples because 1) apples float in water and 2) it's the softest way of transportation !

 At first sight.