Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Slice of Farm Life

Fresh butter...lambs bread...milk squirting into a bucket....a rooster before grown and cooked from born calves and foals...

5 ½ years ago a dear friend moved away from the city and made a new life for her family on a farm on the border of Lesotho.  It has taken me this long to get to visit them...way too long. A 5 day oasis at the end of a busy year full of surprises and changes. A special treat was that this was a trip for just Superman and I this time and the kids were champions to keep the home and businesses running.

Serious onion envy
 Experiencing a slice of their lives was wonderful. Every part of it, from the eager rooster crowing before dawn to the curveballs this lifestyle tends to throw was exciting and inspiring.

But that's just the thing - I can come home to my contained little world and not have to carry the deeper stress of isolated farm living.

Either way as I watched my friend go through her days I was inspired yet again to keep on pushing into this homesteading lifestyle.

Whether she was planning her menus for a three day market, ministering to her servants and their families, giving deep loving care to her animals or serving up a ploughman lunch she inspired me to do better with what I have got here.

Cows enjoying discarded peas collected from the neighbouring farm

They have 5 cows. Two are in milk at the moment and from this milk she makes the most delicious cheeses. Chabrie, feta, gouda, hard cheese, labnah, cream cheese - all super scrumptious. Most of these are sold at local farmers markets but we had plenty everyday.

The cows graze around their beautiful stone cottage along with the pigs and lamb, with the ridgebacks as their protection.

The welcoming or farewell committee when coming and going to take staff, go for a farm drive or off to church has a new meaning. With 5 cows, 2 pigs, 1 lamb, 2 cats and 4 dogs to meet and greet makes my two barking dogs pale in significance. Lucy the lamb was hand raised when her mum rejected her. I enjoyed giving her one of her last bottles as she was weaned this weekend. Superman gave her her last bottle. She is really "Mary's" lamb calling for attention, following people or other animals around and generally being a sweetheart. She will be a breeding sheep in time.

Just one of the many braids
As they truly grow what they eat, only eating what they can get seasonally, the vegetables grown in the tunnel and around the garden are used fresh, preserved, bottled and dried. Plaiting her enviable onion and garlic harvest was one of the first things we did together. 

In true Elastic Mom style simple food combinations are used to make wonderful mouthwatering meals. 

Delicious homegrown homemade ploughman's platter
 Friday night Marlboro Man (a.k.a) Mr Elastic Mom takes over and makes dinner. I suppose nothing remarkable about pizza except that his dough takes days to nurture and the cheese is homemade and the bacon, well that's from a wild pig he hunted and cured.

Home cured bacon
A Sunday morning treat - freshly homemade croissants

Apricot hunting
 Close friends live on the next farm and they have orchards of cherry, apricot, peach and apple trees where picking is allowed.

While we spent some time looking for ripe fruit we were a few weeks to early to get more that a few apricots.

In fruit season jars of jam, chutney and preserves are made to keep going for the whole year.

The same is for the fields of marrows, corn, brassica and other vegetables. This is not an organic farm, but fresh from the earth on to the table you cannot get better unless grown at home.
Corn fields looking over into Lesotho

Large herds of cattle and sheep graze the land and we were treated to a moving herd the day we left with hundreds of moms and babes, and a few bulls, were ushered down to the barn for attention by the herders.

Mimicking mom
Day old foal

While we were there a new foal was welcomed onto the farm and we went to visit mom and little one as well as another recently born foal. Standing on their knobbly legs they were precious to admire.

Then all too soon it was time to come home. Being with my own children, in my own space and with my own animals is wonderful. I find myself looking at my home and little urban farm with new eyes and thinking and planning how to import a little slice of all this amazing woman does into my home is giving me many fruitful thoughts.


Cindy White said...

What a great post Wendy 😊. I miss her blogging. Great to see how well they are. Those onions are definetly something to envy. I need advice please. I have something eating all the leaves of my plants. Especially my spinach. What can I use to get rid of itt.
Tx Cindy

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Cindy, it is the season for caterpillars from the white cabbage moth. If you look under your leaves you should see yellow and black caterpillars. You can hand pick them off or you can make up a eco friendly spray with chilli, dishwashing liquid and water. About 1t of each in 500ml water and spray.

Lori Alexander said...

Wow! Your friend sounds like a Proverbs 31 woman. You have a beautiful blog, Wendy. I wonder, sometimes, if we aren't all suppose to be on a farm. It produces healthy food the way God intended and lots of physical activity for the whole family.

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Hi Lori, my friend is an amazing woman and I feel so blessed to know her. We often think (and have over the last 18 yrs) about making a move to a farm, but even though we have looked and even made offers on land at the end we haven't done it as one thing or another comes up. The food we ate was from the earth, origins known and whole...the way it IS meant to be, you are quite right.