We never set out to live as we do. It just happened. Each day presents its own opportunities for discovery and experience, exploration and adventure. Some we grasp eagerly and others slip by unnoticed.
Today my family is immersed in the music and lyrics of Sweeney Todd, a musical we saw when on holiday in Cape Town. The songs are playing, full volume, while dinner preparation is underway.
Yesterday I hand spun dog hair on the spindle that Decadent Dad turned on the lathe a while back. I spun it on a whim, just to see if I could. The Siberian Husky hair makes a delightfully soft yarn.
Since living on this farm in the Free State I have learned to:
make yoghurt, butter, cheese, and to milk a cow
ride a horse
raise heirloom vegetables from seed
grow enough vegetables to feed my family for a year
crochet well enough to make blankets for my children
raise orphan lambs
spin my hand-raised sheep, Lucy's wool
spin alpaca fibre into luxurious yarn
quilt with the help of a delightful quilt group
raise chickens, calves, pigs and sheep
help a cow with a difficult calf delivery
administer injections to our animals
make apple cider and apple cider vinegar
make delicious guinea fowl pie
make do without clean water in our taps for extended periods
gather beeswax for soap making
preserve almost every kind of local fruit and vegetable
grow and grind our own maize for porridge, bread and tortillas
sing worship songs in seSotho
brew herbal teas
dry fruit from the summer harvest
Each new skill presented itself as a natural response to a need, opportunity or responsibility. My teachers have been books, wonderful people, my animals and the internet. Some lessons grew out of my dislike of waste and the satisfaction I feel from using my resources to their capacity. I am eager to learn so much more.
I would love to:
begin exploring the art of using natural dyes for fleece
try a little more felting
learn to embroider beautifully
weave some of my handspan yarn
learn to weave the thatching grasses into broom, baskets and hats
learn to speak seSotho so that I can engage with the farm women and children
teach the little ones some arts and crafts
ride better than I do
grow disease-free tomatoes successfully
plant a prettier garden
make fruit wine
and so much more....