In the meantime on the farm

Since we live in Napier (Western Cape, South Africa) I’ve been picturing the surrounding landscapes during the past 17 months. Never lived in a place where I experienced continuously changing sky colors/temperatures on such a fast track; sometimes I’ve only seconds to shoot the right image and often I’m too late … The influence of the light on the landscape is astonishing many photographers from around with who I made an early morning trip. It’s a challenging world here.

The open landscapes in this part of the world are ‘layered’ ones with numerous hills and mountains at the horizon. Sometimes I have to go on private property of the farmers and in principle I always ask beforehand. Never had any problems. On the contrary: a real genuine warm hospitality of farmers and their staff; sometimes even touring me around in a four wheel drive to places inaccessible for my car. Last week, for example, I was during the day at Sanddrif Farm about 5 kilometers out of the village just to ask the owner if there were no objections to go on his land. “You can drive and walk here whenever and where-ever”, farmer Jan Wessels answered. While chatting he tells about his farm with 170 (free range) milk cows producing milk for Woolworth (of ‘Woollies’ as some South Africans name this supermarket chain). The farm is self-sufficient meaning that all food is produced on the farm and he has to store (‘opkuil’ as he calls it) grass  so he does not have to buy fodder during dry periods. Layer by layer the grass is deposited between two walls and tractors driving up and down on top to compact it. Coarse salt is spread on top of every layer for preservation. Once the ‘tray’ is full it’s covered. In a few months time, during the dry South African Summer months, it’s ready for consumption. It’s also called “silage”. Green fodder is packed airtight so as to ensure fermentation instead of decomposition, thereby preserving its nutritional value.

Quickly scanning the farm I see winged wildlife around and can’t resist to make a few snapshots.