How do you switch a city girl into a true farmer? Let me tell you…
In the year that we turned 50, both our children left home. We had nothing that tied us to the city anymore. So, we decided to buy a farm where we could retire. After months of farm-hunting, we finally found a beautiful smallholding. We fell in love with the farm on the internet. There was a self-catering guesthouse, three trout dams and a few animals on the farm. It just seemed perfect.
We decided to move on Thursday, 19th September 2007. It was not easy. We had a house, two offices, a studio, and a workshop to pack. The movers arrived about an hour early (can you believe that?). We still had to fill about twenty boxes! It was sweltering hot when we left Pretoria with our cat and three dogs in the Isuzu bakkie. It was bitterly cold and dark when we arrived on the farm three hours later. Our cat promptly left us and never returned.
The whole house was full of boxes, boxes, and more boxes. So, we decided to sleep in the guest house. However, after a weekend of hard work, we woke up on Monday – ready to farm. We had 12 cattle, about 70 sheep, three chicks and our dogs. We also had five workers waiting for us to tell them what to do. Neither of us grew up on a farm. So, we didn’t have a clue.
About three weeks earlier, a runaway fire found its way through our farm. It burned away all the fences. Within two days, we learned that sheep, especially our Dorpers, had no regard for borders. They found the fenceless farm – and the defenceless farmers – very entertaining. Every afternoon, it took us two hours to gather them from all the neighbours and put them in our stone kraal.