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Old 7th October 2010, 12:40   #301
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Default Another road video

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am happy to present another one of my now famous road videos. For road and driving enthusiasts only.

No story, no specific destination, just a video made on the road to Ljubljana. It's fun, you may feel like you're doing the driving yourself.

Enjoy!

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Old 7th October 2010, 13:19   #302
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Default Ljubljana to Bled.

Why Bled?

Just like you, neither of us had heard of it. We were simply looking for a place to stay in and around the Julian Alps, or near the Soca Delta.

The evening when we had internet, we both found out that Bled and Bohinje are amongst the top 1000 most romantic destinations in the world (!!). Of course we wanted to go and stay in the slovenian countryside too.

It was during this internet hunt a day ago that we discovered a little farm in a village not far from Bled, called Selo. In this village of Selo (population a few hundred) there was this farm that had rooms for tourists. Apart from tourists, they had cows, dogs, cats, horses, apples and more.
Farm-produced breakfast at the foot of the alps sounded good.

But the weather was already pretty bad and only going to get worse tomorrow and the day after that. No choice. Even if it was cold and cloudy, we'd still enjoy ourselves, the only drawback would be the photos.
Besides we already had our new jackets.

Driving to Bled from Ljubljana seemed pretty straightforward and it was.

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When we reached Bled, the day was over and it was quite dark. Armed with directions on paper we tried to find the village of Selo but could not. There was nobody to ask directions from either.
We weren't hungry (we'd eaten at Castle Ljubljana) but now were tired and needed a bed and rest.

With some luck and a phone call to the farm, we made it. Beautiful place (what we could see) and a lovely room.

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Time to crash.
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Old 7th October 2010, 14:38   #303
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Default The countryside

We sleep, one of the best sleeps we've had on this entire trip.

I awake to crisp, really crisp air and the smell of well, cows.

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We're well and truly at the foot of the alps in a little, little village in Slovenia. It seems impossible even as I repeat it to myself as I stand and stare from the balcony.

Who would have thought... that life would take us so many different wonderful directions, that there would be parts of the world that nobody would have any real ambition to see and yet experience the way we do so now?
People aim to see Paris and Zurich and London and Amsterdam. And here we are, happy-as-you-please in little no-name villages in countries that nobody thinks of in their usual thoughts.

When was the last time you (dear reader) thought of Slovenia?

I'm shaken out of my reverie.
Ah, says a beaming Jenny. Frische Landluft!
I nod. It is a mix of rain, earth, really cold clean air, flowers and cowdung. Frische indeed.

We go down into the parlour for some simple country breakfast made on the farm. Bread, jams, honey, cold meat, milk.
But oh, the milk! It is the most amazing tasting milk we've ever had. No it isn't the fat content or the sweetness. It's just, well, amazing.

As we compliment it (somehow, using a mix of broken German and English) the lady in charge smiles and points to her stable.
We know! Amazing.

After breakfast we step out.

Where do you wanna go?
I want to go see the cows first!


I sigh. There are certain wonderful advantages of marrying a country-girl. This certainly isn't one of them.

OK. Let's go see the cows.


We walk into the stable where the cows are eating peacefully. The dogs take an immediate liking to us and decide to show us around.

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Old 7th October 2010, 15:07   #304
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Default Where are the milkmen?

We walk around the cowshed as I notice that there is a place for everything. Strangely, everything looks, well, dare I say it, automated???

I mean the fodder looks like it is place.
The fodder for tomorrow and the day after looks like it is in place too.

The cows look like they can only eat for a limited time before the grating goes down. In fact as I pay attention to the inside, I realise that there is a place for every cow and every cow is in its place.
I see the yellow tagged ears, I guess one needs to know his cows. I see the cows wearing collars.

But that's no ordinary collar. I know radio tagged collars. These cows are wearing radio-tagged collars with proximity sensors.

What the huh? Radio collars?
Radio?
I see Jenny looking at me confused. She's wondering what I'm going on about.
Uhh... around their necks.

As we walk further, I finally see the farmer. He's probably the lady of the house's husband.

Hello, I nod.
Hallo, he smiles.
Is OK we are here?
No problem he smiles and nods.

Jenny points to the littlest calf, in a little box enclosure by himself.

How sweet!!
4 days old,
says the beaming farmer.
4 days?? Where is is mother?
He answers in broken German (which is a lot better than his English) - we keep the calf separated as it must drink ONLY from his mother, but all the cows here have milk so when he is hungry we bring his mother to him.

I nod and focus on what he is saying. It is a lot harder for me to understand German that English, which I can do in my sleep.

When do you milk the cows? Asks Jenny.
He looks at her, slightly puzzled.
Milk! She makes the action of milking a cow.
Ha haha. He laughs. We don't do this. He makes the action of milking a cow.
Machine milking? Asking Jenny.
He replies in a long broken German sentence that I do not understand.
blablabla bla blabla robotic.

I whip my head round from playing with the dog.

Did he say robotic, I turn to him Robotic?
Robotic! he says proudly. No human touch. Cow go in automatic. Machine milk cow automatic. Machine feed cow automatic. Milk collect automatic. Milk test automatic.
I stare at him. And what do you do?
Nothing
, he shrugs exaggeratedly. Everything automatic. Cow go in machine also automatic. Robotic everything.

As he says that I hear a metallic clang as various gates and gratings change position to allow cows to move in a certain way and direction. A cow steps out from behind a red wall and another steps in. Another cow tries to jostle the first cow in order to go into the red milking section. She cannot.

They WANT to go in there? I ask incredulously.
Of course, replies Jenny. It makes sense. They need to give milk, it must collect and hurt.
The farmer nods smiling.
And in there? I point to the red section.
Machine.
May we see.

He waves graciously. Go ahead. And he's gone to do his work.

Jenny, the dog and I walk into the milking machine control room. It is indeed robotic and windows-based.
I stand there with my mouth agape as I watch 2 entire cycles. The windows-based software is in English and I try to follow it.

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It allows the cow in.
It already knows the cow that's gone in. Radio tagged collars, remember?
It weighs the cow and offers the statistics on the screen. Nobody is there to read it. If the cow is sick or underweight, it will stop.

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The cow is offered a tasty treat to distract it. The cow is happily munching away.

A laser measures the underside of the cow.

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The brush comes in and cleans the cows underside, paying extra special attention to the teats.

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Another machine comes in (while the brushes are steam cleaned) and measure the teats, distance etc etc. Not all cows have 4 teats, I discover.

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The machine robotically attaches itself to the teats and tests the pressure.

The cow is happily munching away, oblivious to the lack of human presence.

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The teats are milked. The initial milk collection is analysed and the results are displayed on the screen. If all is well, the milk collection is then begun.

Down to the last milliliter from each teat is clearly measured on the screen for all to see. The cow offers about 6 to 8 litres of milk before it is sent away.

The gate opens and the cow steps out, lighter and happier. The next one gets in soon after the parts of the machine that touch the cow are self-cleaned using steam jets.

I'm staring at the process open-mouthed. Is this what we have come to? Is this how it's going to be? A thousand thoughts hit my head from the Terminator, Rise of the Machines to The Matrix.

I cannot describe it. While it is extremely exciting to the techie side of me, the philosophical side feels like something was snatched away from the human race.
It hurts more because this is supposed to be a little village and little villages are supposed to have no infrastructure and poor people and....

But aren't we the only nation where cows roam freely in our cities? I wouldn't find robotic milking machines in the cities of Europe because they have no cows!
The cows are in the villages.

Where they belong!


I snap out of it. For God's sake. This is amazing!! And the fact that we are in a sleepy little village like this!

I make a video of the next cycle. A video that I will put up shortly.


When we leave, I think of the investment and the electricity that goes into the running of this farm.
Did you say electricity?

Has anyone seen the roof of our robotic, human-replacing cow-shed??

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Everything is self-powered using solar panels.
While Jenny is impressed too, she isn't going crazy and wonders why I'm acting like I've seen a new wonder of the world, I think it will take a fellow Indian to understand the deep cause of my shock and wondrousness.

This is no village as I know villages.

I apologise for the length of my post.

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 7th October 2010 at 15:21.
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Old 7th October 2010, 15:29   #305
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post

I snap out of it. For God's sake. This is amazing!! And the fact that we are in a sleepy little village like this!

While Jenny is impressed too, she isn't going crazy and wonders why I'm acting like I've seen a new wonder of the world, I think it will take a fellow Indian to understand the deep cause of my shock and wondrousness.

This is no village as I know villages.
Sam, one of the dairies in Kolhapur is also fully mechanised. Though I did not visit it, but it is there. Starvagabond offered to take us there, but the plan did not work out.

Nainar
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Old 7th October 2010, 16:34   #306
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Originally Posted by anainar View Post
Sam, one of the dairies in Kolhapur is also fully mechanised. Though I did not visit it, but it is there. Starvagabond offered to take us there, but the plan did not work out.

Nainar
Oh really?

Because this was a first for both of us. Jenny has seen dairy farms in Germany and France where people fit machines to cows, but not self-analysing robotic processes.

Still, what do we know?

Here is the video. I found it terribly interesting. Some of you may laugh at my naivety, well, I just share what I find wonderful, I hope you will find it interesting at the very least.

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Old 7th October 2010, 16:39   #307
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Sam,You say the machine is "Windows based."

Hmmmm...just thinking aloud here :
What happenes if the "Windows based" machine encounters a BSOD ?
(Blue Screen of Death) ?

Please post the video. I need to see this. A little NATGEO in TBHP perhaps ?
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Old 8th October 2010, 00:15   #308
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My god! The nipple-scrubbing machine!


(And the techie side of me says, yes, Windows, one cow at a time: Unix would be handling thirty! )
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Old 8th October 2010, 02:58   #309
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Sam i have been a reader but your post about the farm made me comment. First off Sam and Jenny Hearty congrats and a very happy married life. May you have a great life together with a lot of Chote chote bache

I love it that you are taking your honey moon impromptu. Its usually seen that a lot of people book tickets and know where they are going but the way you have planned your trip amazes me. Wow. Everyone goes to a city but you prefer an unknown place but WOW that place has more technology than a tabela inmumbai could even dream about!

I loved the video on the cattle farm. Well anyone here listening. Make such a machine in india and trust me you got a market. Atleast i will purchase 1
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Old 8th October 2010, 10:15   #310
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Default The little village of Selo, near Bled

Well, now that we're done with the cows, we begin by getting our bearings first.
We've hardly seen anything last night, by the time we reached Bled it was dark and quite late (though we did manage to get out to a grrreat restaurant for some fantastic local Slovenian cuisine, two thumbs up!)

Time to first explore the immediate surroundings.

Here's the farmhouse where we live.

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YetiBlog® - Of weddings and drivings.(France, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia)-dsc_9147s_l.jpg


As we walk around we realise that the overall sense of cleanliness and aesthetics and beauty runs high, very high amongst the villagers. The homes are beautiful, everything is pristine and pretty to look at and yet so simple and earthy.

Take a look. That's a barn, not a house. Barns usually have corn hanging in clusters like so. Homes have flowers.

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The dude in the safety overalls had a motorized round blade leaf and grass cutter. Clearly he was employed by the town. His job was to simply cut off all the grass and leaves an and such, that grew outside of all the people's land boundary or fence.

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Here's more of the same, cleaning cutting, picking up cut grass and leaves. Keeping the village of Selo picturesque. They can't change the weather though.

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But we walk, through the drizzle and the clouds and the dampness and cold.
I'm suffering though. All I have with me are flip-flops and crocs. The the crocs are letting the cold air dance around my little toes and I squirm. I need closed shoes for sure.

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Truly simple and beautiful. We enjoy our "nature walk" very much. All said, the air here is completely unbelievable. We can feel our lungs react in disbelief. Some of the best air that we have breathed.

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Jenny makes friends with the flora and fauna too. Soon the snail is calling her by first name.

After an hour or two or who-knows-how-long-and-who-cares-how-long, we return to the farm house where I have some tea with the dog.

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Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 8th October 2010 at 10:18.
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Old 8th October 2010, 11:21   #311
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Impressively Brilliant it is! And please, the longer your posts are, the better! So no apologizing and such.
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Old 8th October 2010, 11:47   #312
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Sam, whats the name of the farmhouse ? Saw few farmhouse websites of that region on googling !!
Among the pics posted today dsc_9167_l.jpg is so beautiful. wondering how they maintain the shine on the wood is such moist conditions !!
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Old 8th October 2010, 12:15   #313
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Originally Posted by emkay456 View Post
Sam, whats the name of the farmhouse ? Saw few farmhouse websites of that region on googling !!
Among the pics posted today dsc_9167_l.jpg is so beautiful. wondering how they maintain the shine on the wood is such moist conditions !!
It belongs to the Family Mulej.

It says so in the beginning of the video.
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Old 8th October 2010, 12:48   #314
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Well anyone here listening. Make such a machine in india and trust me you got a market. Atleast i will purchase 1
Present economics of dairy business in India do not support such type of automation here.
If such automation really make sense in India, believe me, it would have implemented here in 12mati way back.
12mati is sugar and milk hub,
@1 million liters of milk come to 12mati for further processing daily since last decade.
In a year or two, additional million liter is required for Italian chocolate manufacturing unit which has set its processing factory here.

If you really want such type of automation, i will pm you the company name which will happily import such machines for you. This European MNC company is in the business of dairy equipments which has manufacturing unit in pune.

ok, enough OT.

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The dude in the safety overalls had a motorized round blade leaf and grass cutter. Clearly he was employed by the town. His job was to simply cut off all the grass and leaves an and such, that grew outside of all the people's land boundary or fence.
You know, such type of cleaning work is done in almost all villages in India....not with the help of employed human but ....... cattle and ships.

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 8th October 2010 at 12:54.
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Old 8th October 2010, 15:23   #315
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cattle and ships? Ashishpallod?

I guess I know what you mean, but there is a lovely mental picture there in what you wrote!

Sam, those village people must, by the look of the condition of their houses, be either very rich or very hard working. I suspect it is more the hard work that keeps them looking so good. All that wood work in the pic-with-the-fountain house must take a lot of maintenance.

Nice to see Jenny with the snail. My wife loves snails!
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