Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015: Leaving Klerksdorp for The Farm

I think I need to make a brief explanation – We know two couples in this part of S Africa due to Rotary.  Both couples have been in the District Governor chain. Our first host was a classmate of Cal’s and we met them in San Diego during Rotary training.  In 2010 while visiting in S Africa we met up with them and they brought along another Past District Governor couple for a 5-day trip into the country of Lesotho. We spent 5 wonderful days together. 

On this trip we spent the first two plus days in Klerksdorp with the couple who was Cal’s DG Classmate and now we are moving to be with the other couple who live on a farm.  Cal has been wanting to spend a little time on a S African farm.  

By 10:00 am we had our breakfast, were packed and ready for our second host to take us about 40 minutes away to their South African farm for several days.  They live in the Free State Providence.

Nearby the farm we stopped at their local grain elevator/mill.  This is the largest privately owned grain processing facility in the southern hemisphere.  They have 48 cement silos that are used to store grain, mostly white and yellow maize (corn), but also some sunflowers.  This facility is owned by a family that is currently in the second generation with the next generation also working there.

We went to the top of the silos by elevator to see how the grain is placed into the silos.  This location at the top also gave us a good view of the countryside.  The landscape is very level at this location as is most of the Free State, (one of the nine South African provinces).  The grain handling facility receives the grain from the farmers, stores it in the silos, then either grinds it, adding protein and other additives to be taken to the farm to feed animals OR grinds it, bags it, and sells it for human consumption as their Mealy Meal which is eaten like grits in the U.S. The Mealy Meal for retail is packaged in 25 kg, 12.5 kg and 1 kg packages. They load and send out 22 semi loads of Mealy Meal per day.  This is an extremely impressive operation.

Alem Brothers Grain Elevator

Weighing the Grain Cart

The Silos that we went to the top of

Apparatus used to put the Grain in the Silos - 12 Silos Long

View of the Countryside from the top of the Silo

Mills that Grind the Grain

Bagging the Meal

Sewing the Bags

Stacking the Meal Bags

1 kg Bags of Meal

Loading the Trucks

Unloading a Grain Wagon

Another view of the Elevator
After the stop at the elevator/mill we went to our host’s farm where we had lunch and also had some time to relax.  In the evening we went with our host for a walk to see some of the many different species of birds they have on their farm.  They really have a birdlife sanctuary. There was another beautiful sunset which was followed by a wonderful dinner of lamb chops, sausage, mealy meal with tomato sauce and baked creamed corn.  It was a wonderful dinner!!
Farmers in this area plant sunflowers (primarily used for oil), peanuts, white corn, and some soybeans. Right now the fields are empty.  They are waiting for the rains to begin hopefully in the next few days, and then planting will be “full speed ahead”! Last season was very dry and they are basically in drought mode at this point, but forever hopeful for next season.  True farmers!!!  At this point the pans and dams are empty.  We cannot hardly believe photos when water is flowing everywhere and when everything is green.
Our Host's House on The Farm

Spacious Back Yard

Garden Shared with their Hired Help

Blue Heron in the Field

Blue Heron on their Nest

Sunset on the Farm

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