Pain and Joy…

The wise man once said that people might think you are a fool when you remain silent, their opinion is confirmed when you speak… So I have been silent for a few weeks.

I do not wish to talk about Jacob Zuma and the ANC anymore. I am just so tired of being blamed as a white person for all the wrongs in this country when our “leadership” has wasted such a lot of money on corruption, silly weapons deals, bribing Fifa for the 2010 world cup, Nkhandla… I have thought too much about all these things the last few months. It has really stolen my joy in life and made me negative. So I remained silent. And used the time to rethink my priorities. Or as our fearless leader so love to say: “Apply my mind to it…”

I have decided that it is not my job to expose all these negative things through facebook and twitter and other social media. It causes too much pain.

So I am rethinking and applying my mind to focus on the things that I do have control over, that give meaning to my life and bring back the joy. Things like family. And faith. And relationship. And motorbikes.

Family: My son is somewhere in Texas on a John Deere 670 Combined Harvester, been away from home since the 20th of April, I really miss him a lot. I really wish that I can also see some of the USA one day. My son really loves it!

Bernard in VSA

Faith: Like the rest of humankind I am also struggling to understand why there is so much pain in the world. I really believe that the church should be a channel of love and hope to this world. But I really am having a hard time to understand why 80% of church people also seem to don’t care to try and make a difference anymore… That is also why I am so quiet these days… I am really questioning myself if I  make a positive difference in our community…

Motorbikes: I had a wonderful motorbike trip in March with my wife and the SA Bible Society to Lesotho and the Eastern Free State and Cape.

11130086_10152990957283071_7776815418845759_n

April and May was hard work, and June will be as well till the 27th. Then…

Everything is coming together for a 5000 km Motorbike tour through Botswana and Namibia, with my wife and 3 other couples… BMW GS all the way…  There are still some hick-ups in getting my bike ready to take all the equipment needed, we are going wild- with tents and sleeping bags between the elephants and lions near Kasane in Botswana. (So sad about the American lady connected with Game of Thrones, being killed by a lion just outside Pretoria this week… People of the world, if you ever come to Africa on safari, don’t accept all lions are cuddly like Simba in Lion King. Nobody just walks with lions!  And please stay in your cars and close the windows when near a lion. Please! )

I still need to find the time to take my bike to Pretoria for a service and a new front tyre. But then all should be well. I still need to find a lion and elephant repellent spray… 🙂

In the meanwhile, to fund this next road trip, I had to sell my beloved BMW R850R…

BMW R850R

I hope the new owner gets a lot of joy from this Mädchen, and takes good care of her…

So thanks, still alive and kicking! Thanks for all those who asked if we’re OK, I really appreciate it.

Thanks, and if you see my son doing his laundry in Abilene, Texas, give him a hug from his dad, and buy him a beer?

Another day of Fun in the Sun…

It is the depth of winter. My eldest son is out there on the sunflower fields, with a 1967 John Deere tractor, all on his own. So- while it is school holiday here and my wife is having a rest from her school, we decided to hop on our GS, and go and surprise him. We bought a 2 liter Coke, and some meat pies, and then drove all the way to the farm, and on the dirt roads to the back fields where he work. This time I took my little Powershot camera with, to take some better pictures.

IMG_2507

This IS the depth of winter around here, I suppose Minnesota does look a bit different in it’s winter time?

IMG_2511

And this is to a wonderful wife who rides my bike with me, even on some dirt roads…

I had a wonderful Friday so far!

Some primitive agricultural implements in Africa…

My eldest son has this dream to go to Minnesota to go and drive combined harvesters for Mr  Olsen.  This week he started working on a farm outside our town. He finishes school in November, and this is an opportunity for some excellent school holiday employment.

Now I am just a little worried- Africa is so primitive and we have such old technology around here… NOT!

I am so grateful to the young farmer in our church giving my son some holiday work to see if he likes it.

These are some of the beautiful tractors and other equipment on his farm.

image

No, my son won’t be driving this one yet. As it should be, he is driving the oldest tractor on the farm, dragging a huge tree stump across an old sunflower field to flatten the stalks before the next planting season.

image

As you can see, this farm does have a John Deere obsession…

image

I dropped my son off at sunrise to start his first day. Then I drove around this huge farm, looking for some warthogs. It was wonderful sitting at the edge of a huge field, drinking a cup of coffee from my Stanley flask.

image

While I sat here, I thought a lot.  In America to own a huge commercial farm makes you a good businessman and a success story. In South Africa our government brands you as a racist landgrubbing thief. If you are white.

The young owner of this farm is an excellent farmer. He takes out land loans from the bank, and grows his business bigger. He works extremely hard, and is successful in what he does.  He treats his workers very well. He is no racist and definitely no thief. He has my respect and gratitude. His farm is unfortunately on the wrong continent.

 

For a balanced opinion on land ownership in Africa- read this: http://www.sabreakingnews.co.za/2014/07/01/economic-view-white-farmers-are-not-land-thieves/

Community Festival to kick of the year

Years ago our region was known for it’s grape farming. We were the first to have fresh table grapes on the market in the new growing season. And then other regions started doing the same, and some of them gets grapes much earlier to the markets, so the prices fell a lot when our farmers finally pitched with their produce. So nearly nobody produces grapes around here anymore.

But that does not distract our community from having an annual Grape Festival. It is still the first remarkable community festival on the yearly calender, and a nice way to end off the Christmas holidays, before the kids have to go to a new academic year next week…

It is the Annual Grape Festival this weekend.  It is extremely hot at the moment- the last thermometer I saw indicated another 37 degrees day.

In this heat, my eldest son and I took part in the festival procession, on my BMW motorbike, so that we can go for free  into the festival terrain.

I was just there for 2 hours, then it became too hot for me. But this is some of the sigbts so far:

We have a Classic Tractor Society in our district, here are some of their tractors:

IMG_1866

I have never heard of these before…

IMG_1858

IMG_1871

What would the world be without John Deere?

IMG_1860

Was the Farmall engineers drunk when they designed this?

But there are not just tractors at the Grape Festival- we also have… Bengal Tigers! Small ones… my one friend is helping with the marketing of Mystic Monkeys, a very nice tourist destination just north of Pretoria. And there you can have your picture taken with these guys, while they are small…

IMG_1874

Adorable as kittens, i would not like to play with their momma!

And while it is 37 degrees, I ended my quick trip at the beer garden. I bought a fantastic kebab roll (beef kebabs, with mushroom sauce and onion relish on a freshly baked bun… delicious!) A nice cold Draught in the Festival Mug… I had a lot of those over the years, but my kids…

IMG_1878

After this I came home to have a nap. I have to rest- tomorrow morning I am going to try the 50 km cycle race with a few friends. The furthest I have trained since last year’s Argus Cycle race is 35 km… It is a flat, fast route tomorrow. I am going to struggle, but I will compete…

I won’t be returning to the Festival terrain tonight, but over today and tomorrow some of South Africa’s best artists are performing live in the Main Tent.   But I have another barbeque evening with friends lined up- the 3rd night in a row… life is really hard in the Bushveld…

Enjoy your weekend!

Being a Biker is a state of mind

“It’s not about the Bike” would be a more appropriate title for this one, but somehow, in the last 3 months, it has lost it’s meaning…

Being a biker is to love a motorcycle. Some guys are fortunate enough to own a BMW S 1000 RR. Others are old enough to drive around on a Harley. Any Harley is supposed to have some sex appeal (please give generously- for I am old…)  You get the biggest crowd in our country on a BMW R1200 GS (best selling bike in South Africa) but they just look down upon lesser beings not able to afford their toys.

But every now and again you find a true biker. Someone who drives SOMETHING with two wheels and an engine, and loving it for what it is. The passport to Freedom. They are not in the least worried by how sexy it looks. They do not try to impress anybody else, they just want to RIDE!

One such biker’s bike I saw outside the Landmark (Agri Co-op) in De Rust. I never knew John Deere went into bikes…

This is Jan’s Deere:

Respect, Jan!