News Letter Vol 4: #12

(December 2017)
A whole year has flown past yet again! The year 2017 was a trying year for a great many people around the world with numerous armed conflicts continuing unabated and many more flaring up, an increase in the number and ferocity of natural disasters all around the globe and a great deal of instability in many financial sectors as well as a rise in criminal activity worldwide. These events have also led to a worldwide increase in the number of refugees of one sort or another. These factors all lead to stress in us as human beings as well in the production of food for the earths growing population.
Well the school and Varsity holidays are upon us and it has been such a blessing for Robyn and I to have all of our children and our grandson Damon coming and going throughout the month. The house has been a veritable railway station!
Big congratulations are due to our youngest daughter Ashleigh on doing so well in Grade 11 and now heading into her final year of school. Then we are as equally proud of Seth and Falcon who have just joined their oldest brother Jesse and me as becoming old Cedarian boys after completing their Diplomas in Agriculture at Cedara College of Agriculture.
Now I see only two ways we as farmers can cope with the stress and uncertainty created by the above factors and they are in order of importance –

  1.  That we turn from being self-centred and confess our sins before the one and only name that can save us and that is the name of the Lord of lords and King of kings, Jesus Christ and invite Him into our hearts and ask Him to be the Lord and Saviour of our lives. By being God centred we can then rely on Him to lead us through these perilous times and not have to rely on ourselves.
  2. We need to adjust our farming practices to farm with nature and not against nature. By this I mean that we need to learn to adapt to the changing climatic conditions as well as the ever increasing cost of agricultural inputs; by farming with the type of livestock and production systems that allow us to make the best possible profit whilst protecting our farms / ranches resources in a sustainable way for the generations to come.

Fairly good rains have fallen across the summer rainfall regions and Cape Town was even blessed with some rain this month, for this we thank our lord Jesus. More follow up rains are needed as is some decent heat units in order to get the growth rates up especially for the stockmen who farm in the cold mountainous regions as early frosts are the norm and not the exception.
Our rainfall for the raining season 01/09/2017 to 31/08/2018 is as follows:-
September 2017 -- 21.0 mm
October 2017 -- 88.0 mm
November 2017 -- 101.0 mm
December 2017 -- 89.0 mm
Total for 2017/18 to date 290.0 mm


RH Ranching’s Canis Africanis news:-
This was a bitter / sweet month for us here at RH Ranching in regards to our AfriCanis Stock Guardian dogs. The bitter part was the loss of our beautiful three legged bitch “Missy”. Missy was suspected of having contracted the dreaded disease Rabies (there have been three confirmed cases of rabies in dogs and one case in a stud bull in our area recently) and therefore had to be put down in order to conduct brain smears in order to confirm the disease.

It was a very hard call on my part but the responsible thing to do as the implications for the rest of our dogs, horses and not to mention our staff and us as a family are unthinkable. Well the long and short of it is that “Missy” tested NEGATIVE for Rabies! We praise Jesus for this outcome even though we will miss our lovely, loyal and brave “Missy”.
The sweet part of the month was that my friends Lou and Lourens Erasmus blessed us with two three month old male pups that they bred by of a son of “Missy” and “Semane” called Beethoven and a bitch bred down in the Eastern Cape by Lionel Whittle of Bolo.

These two pups, a black and tan chap called “Cole”; whom we have kept and his black and white brother named “Vutela” who is now living with and protecting my friend Sean Hansmeyer’s goats are doing exceptionally well in their respective new homes. I know that I have said this over and over, yet I must say bit again – It never ceases to amaze us as a family as to how wonderful the AfriCanis are at adapting to new environments and situations. To my way of thinking this is one of their greatest assets along with their determined loyalty and protectiveness unto death!

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Vutela


RH Ranching’s Free Range Chickens:

Well the birds (both chickens and ducks) are all doing very well. We are getting lots of eggs, which is a huge blessing over this holiday period what with all of our kids coming and going and the boys eating at least a loaf of moms home baked bread and three eggs each for breakfast!
The Muscovy’s have also started laying beautiful waxy off grey coloured eggs and we are looking forward to our first clutch of ducklings soon. Our daughter Ashleigh says that “she can’t wait to cook us Duck ala Orange”. Ashleigh will have to wait a bit and in the interim make do with preparing a good old chicken curry for us as we will slaughter a batch of young cockerels in the early part of January 2018.
We have yet another three hens on eggs and have just transferred three clutches of chicks with their mothers to the kraals. Slowly slowly we are gaining ground with our multipurpose flock.

RH Ranching Mbuzi Stud and KZN IVG CLUB News:

Overall this has been a quiet month in the goats department. We marketed a small starter flock for Charlene Chubb to the Bornman’s of Howick and then I have been preparing for the board meeting of the Indigenous Veld Goat Breeders Society up in Bloemfontein which takes place on the 13th of January 2018.

The KZN IVG Club will be holding their AGM on the third of February 2018 at Little Spring Farm Wartburg. The AGM will be combined with a presentation on -
“The use of Pregnancy Scanning as a management tool”

RHR Mules and Polo Ponies:

Once again we have just been busy with routine schooling and the day to day management of both our mules and Polo ponies. Our son Falcon and I went down to Summerveld Race Horse training centre to look over and pick up a 3 year old Filly called “Summer” for our client Margret Meaker. Summer has now been turned out for several months to learn to be a horse again and in the fall we will bring her in and start to school her for Polo.

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The filly “Summer”

We have also ventured into the business of repairing and refurbishing Polo Mallets. Our first batch of fifteen mallets is complete other than for the new grip tape and slings which we are waiting on to arrive in mid-January 2018.

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From this ------- to this!

On our website the process has been started of splitting our mules and Polo ponies for sale that are currently displayed on one page into two separate pages. We are also in the process of building a page on the website dedicated solely to Polo. So watch this spot for up -dates on these new developments.

General:

Please do remember that you can contact us directly via email from this website by going to the “Contacts Page” and following the prompts or on these numbers- Hilton 072-372 9065 and Robyn 082-428 6641 we would love to hear from you!
Now my prayer for all of you is that the Lord Jesus Christ will become a reality in your lives and that He will become the Lord of your lives.
Best regards,
Hilton and Robyn Sanders.