In 2010 Wapke Feenstra explored the Limburg landscape by following the movements of land-based products.
19 JANUARY 2010 – BICHTERWEERD
Gravel extraction and landscaping go hand in hand. Three men are laying stones on the flood plains. They do this by hand while a crane grabs stones from a heap. Bichterweerd´s washing, crushing and sieving unit lies idle. A waste, economically speaking, but a lucky break for the special guided tour Pierre Prikken is giving today. We walk inside discharge pipes. Stand beside conveyor belts. Orange plastic sieves look vibrant against ash-grey metal. "Plastic is stronger than metal and it makes less noise", Pierre explains. Today he´s clearing out a cupboard; he retires in eight days´ time. He has worked here for 47 years running the warehouse.
20 JANUARY 2010 – SONNISHEIDE
All the sheep have to be sheared, ready for lambing. Today, there are still four rams left to do – young Texel sheep. Johan Schouteden manoeuvres the ram into an unnatural sitting position. It´s the first time... for the ram that is. Not for Johan, who has sheared countless sheep. A whole day´s shearing puts a strain on the back and the last sheep are always the wildest. They hide and are hard to catch. He presses the wool into bales. It has to go into storage, as the wool merchant has told him on the phone that the wool price won´t rise before next summer. Nowadays it all goes to China. Except for a few good-quality tufts, which will go to his father, because he likes to spin.
21 JAUARY 2010 – HASPENGOUW
"Pruning is relaxing", says Koen Martens. He looks at the bare branches of a Belgica apple tree and can tell from the buds that there will be a lot of spring blossoms this year and where the apples will grow. As he lops and discards old branches, he predicts an average harvest this year. Better that than a bumper crop, as overproduction leads to a poor harvest the following year. All the branches that grow downwards or which block the light are to go too. Koen uproots a row of Jonagold trees, leaving a few exposed stumps for the rabbits. Hungry rabbits have gnawed through some trunk protectors.