Well, if you’ve been following of late, you’ll know, we have a new born in Hearthill, our third little boy, Anthony. This week to our family, we added a kitten named Finn and a lovely French girl, Adelaide, who has come to help us out and learn English for the summer. Heaven sent, the lovely Adelaide that is, although the cat may turn out to be indispensable too. Our new French friend stands at my shoulder asking me if like in the Kerrygold ad of old ‘if zere’s zomezing I can help?’ What’s more, she has come from a dairy farm in France and so we have a lot to learn from her too.
There is, however, something that has me slightly embarrassed at the moment (besides the general craziness of the household en ce moment), that is our lack of self sufficiency. Before I begin, let it be known that the answer to all her questions is generally ‘Eh, have you seen the three week old baby in the corner?’ lovingly translated of course. So here’s the ongoing list of questions that leaves me feeling slightly inadequate and likewise feeling a little bit, well lazy, shall we say? Here goes; Why don’t we grow our own strawberries? If we have our milk, why do we buy (or indeed not sell) our own butter, cheese, yoghurt, icecream etc. etc.? Where are the chickens? Whose taking the horse to France (sorry, love that ad!)?
In France, farming households are, as a rule, very much self sufficient. Granted they have the beautiful weather for growing fruit, vegetables, vines et al so it is easy for small farm holdings to be the general order of the day. So as to impress our lovely French friend, we went along to visit the Listowel Farmer’s market yesterday and, my, did the market do us proud. It was good enough to rival any French village market. Reasonably priced, packed with lovely produce, we left richer than on arrival with a basket full of fish, cheese, cherries and chowder. The local sellers, not withstanding the rain that was falling softly on them, were full of cheer and banter for passing tourists and locals and so our trip (my first with all three sons) turned out to be a jolly old jaunt, thus making a good first impression on our Adelaide.
Yes people, I see chicken houses, homemade icecream, an overflowing vegetable patch and apple trees in our future! Indeed, as is apparent, I’ll have no shortage of workers with my army of sons to tend to my menagerie and garden of much abundance. All I’m short now is a shovel and full nights sleep….. Any day now.
Do you have hens? I was asked that in an interview about 6 months ago and at the time we were henless – his reaction showed that he didn’t think I was much of a farmwife as I didn’t have hens! We have 4 now and it’s plenty – keeps us going with eggs. If daughter shows an urge to set up an honesty box for eggs at the gate, we’ll get more but at the moment, she is nervous of their flapping wings!
Apparently farms in Vermont US sell a lot of their produce from their gates too – but there are so many regulations here it really hampers people thinking about trying. There’s been a huge increase in the number of Irish farmhouse cheeses for sale though.
Such a great enterprise for your daughter! I think the nature of farming is changing so much annually Lorna that it means every farmer can redefine what farming is and can be for their land/ farm. The sky’s the limit! We live very much in interesting times! Would love our own cheese but the hens are very much on the list, once I get these boys up and running around after them. Thanks Lorna! Hope ye’re enjoying the summer up there 😉 Anne
Mmmmm let me know if the cheeses thing takes off. Lovely article Anne, what super neighbours we have, so lucky!! xx
Lucky neighbours? As are we, as are we! I’ll put you down for a block of Hearthill cheese so 🙂