The last day in April will mark the end of our sixth year on this Free State farm. We have all grown and changed in this environment. Now we are slowly preparing to move back to the Cape in a few months time. The challenge for me, Elastic Mom, is to hold onto the lessons that I have learned, and they are many. I hope to apply some of them, albeit modified, to a completely different coastal lifestyle.
For now, the task at hand is to continue to stretch my resources and keep to my use-it-don’t-lose-it principles, and all the other thrifty tools I have up my sleeve as we wrap up our farm life. Our four dogs and two cats will be the only animals making the move with us.
This week we sold our last two Jersey cows, Hope and Rosie. They went to join Joy at our friends’ farm. It is so hard letting go of my precious girls, but I know they will be loved and well cared for in their new home. This means the end of farmers markets for us for now, as we no longer have copious amounts of cheese and butter. Had I known that we would be leaving, I would have stored up butter and cream rather than selling it in croissants and pannacottas.
We are left with one bullock that was intended for beef; grass fed, organic prime beef at its best. He will be making the trip to the local butcher quite a bit earlier than planned, but will provide us with beef that we can transport frozen and also sell to a few lucky people.
Winifred, our pig is pregnant and we will sell the piglets when they are weaned, rather than raising them ourselves. Sausage, her brother, has lived up to his name. We will sell Winifred and her future mate, the dashing spotty Houdini once the piglets are weaned as well.
Our chickens will likewise be sold off, and some unlucky young roosters will become coq au vin. We have also promised some chickens to our staff.
Lucy Lamb is going to live with my vegetarian friend where I know she will be safe and loved along with the three other hanslammetjie sheep that already live there. Once her fleece is long enough, it will be shorn and kept for me so that I can spin it.
Meals will be planned around the fresh produce and open jars in the fridge. The last of the harvest in our bountiful vegetable tunnel will be picked before the frost and cooked fresh rather than pickled or frozen for winter. I will dry surplus tomatoes rather than freeze them. There is not all that much left in the tunnel. I won’t plant out the seedlings that I had planned for our winter garden. Once all the fresh produce is used up I will focus on cooking from the contents of our freezer. Jams, pickles and preserves can travel with us to our new destination so I probably won’t open any new jars.
My head is spinning a little with new tasks and a change of focus, but I am confident that we can do this hard thing.