Stompie Gonzales makes light work of log splitting 2022-11-18
Elmarie van der Merwe is a second year MSc student working on applying CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools to control the insect pest Sirex noctilio. This involves microinjecting S. noctilio eggs and larvae to deliver the CRISPR/Cas9 machinery into the desired cells. The eggs are collected through dissecting female wasps, however the larvae can only be found inside Pine trees and requires one to split open sawed-off logs using a manual log splitter. Elmarie recently received her latest batch of some 200 logs from the Sabie area and realised she will have to reach out to her fellow FABIans for some assistance. An equipment upgrade was also necessary and she decided to adopt a new automatic log splitter she affectionately named ‘Stompie Gonzales’. Stompie lives up to his name as he has split the same number of logs in half a day (with less backache and sweat) than his manual forebears would in three days. He is a true asset to the log-splitting team and hopes to, someday day, have a sibling. On the day the photos were taken Elmarie was being assisted by Lina del Mar and Firehiwot Eshetu – many hands make light work.