Sunday, September 27, 2015

Auction Time

A while ago, there was some commotion down the road and when we went to investigate, cattle were being loaded onto a transport truck. 'Oom' Jan was taking sheep and cattle to a nearby auction the next day, and we decided to go check it out. We've been to auctions before, but all auctions are different and we figured it would be a fun outing. 

Loading the first bunch. 

Monkey tactics. 

The second bunch. 


 Sheep business.

It was a cattle and sheep auction (there are different auctions for different animals), and before they started, we walked around and checked out the process of how the animals got into the pens. First, the entire transporting vehicle including animals are weighed, and then the animals are unloaded and put into their pens. The vehicle is weighed again (minus the animals) so the total weight of the animals can be determined. 

Que for the (giant) scale. 

Empty pens awaiting occupants. 

A (literal) leap of faith for the sheep. 

Some brave ones who weren't supposed to jump. 

Chased to their pens. 

Groups of animals are sold by average weight (dividing the weight of the group by the number of animals). If an owner is selling animals in different groups but all of them were brought to the auction on one vehicle, once one group is unloaded the rest of the animals still on the vehicle has to be weighed again.

Before the auction started, we took a look at some of the livestock already in pens. From tiny calves (sold with their mothers, of course) to huge bulls, rams, ewes and lambs of different breeds of sheep; all awaiting their fate. 

Photographer and assistant (in the making). 

Soft and fuzzy... 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Spring in the 'Veld'

Last week's post was about the blossom explosion in the fruit orchards, this week will feature smaller and easier to miss wonders - the flowers of the 'veld'. Blue, purple, yellow, white, orange, and pink - they're often tiny and easy to miss, but each is a work of art in their own right.

Some have single large flowers, such as the gazania and daisies.... 

Wild gazanias.

Cape rain daisies and mesembryanthemum ('vygies').

I found one Chicory (Cichorium intybus Asteraceae), a beautiful flower with forking petals.

I like to call these butterfly flowers (Polygala). 

 Others have many smaller flowers...

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Spring Amidst the Orchards

Spring has arrived in the Kammanassie valley, and we have been awed and inspired by the loveliness of this season. Because we are living among the orchards, we've had the enormous privilege to watch the fruit trees' stunning blossoms emerge and I've taken many pictures. This post includes mainly snow white plum blossoms, light pink apricot orchards and pink peach trees. So turn your face towards the sky, take a breath, and smile. Here follows some flowers to celebrate the beauty of a new beginning.

First comes the buds.... 

Apricot buds.

Plum buds. 

Then the blossoms explode.

 Apricot orchards... 

Plum orchards...

Peach orchards...