I’ve always wanted to live on a farm. Without the distraction of cellphones, email, social media and television. But before I tell you about my undoubtedly incorrect vision of what living on a farm looks like, I’d just like to apologise in advance for my naivete and that I mean no disrespect to those of you who do actually live on a farm. My version of farm life is probably as far removed from reality as one can possibly get without becoming a cartoon wallaby called David. Having said that, I did used to ride horses on a plot in Kyalami and I know what dirt look, smells, feels and tastes like. Anyway, with that caveat out of the way, let me describe what My Typical Day Living on a Farm would look like.
7:46am Stretch toes. Followed by legs. Slowly bring one arm out from under big, fluffy down-duvet (made from feathers collected by my own hand from around our farm) to test the temperature, it being winter. Unravel right eyelid to allow in a little watery sunlight. Determine that it is in fact light and eyeball has survived assault. Open second eye. Employ all muscles in a whole-body stretch. Lie and snooze gently for 10 minutes or so until body becomes accustomed to the idea of being not asleep. Sit up very slowly and feel around for fluffy pink bunny-shaped slippers, slip on warm, definitely-not-anywhere-near-sexy-lingerie gown. Slowly stand up and make way to large, heart-of-the-home farm-style (it being a farm and all) kitchen.
8:00am Pour a strong coffee made from very expensive, delicious and imported from the rain forests of Peru coffee beans in a big coffee machine I would never in real life know how to operate. Sit down at country table with very hot and large coffee, stare thoughtfully out of large, security-barless picture window over rolling hills whilelooking poetic, beautiful and refreshed after good night’s sleep. Contemplate the magnificence of the morning and acknowledge my good fortune in being able to experience the quiet farm-life far away from the rat-race and stress of the city where I once lived. Ponder the close connection I now have with the Earth and my renewed relationship of the life-gving land.
9:00am Pull on my pink and purple faux fur-lined Wellies in the beautifully decorated mudroom, inspired by the lovely ideas I found on Pinterest. Grab my hand-woven (by me of course, I’m Uber-talented) basket and step outside into the soft wintery sunshine to go about my morning chores of: collecting the free-range eggs, feeding the chickens, hand-milking the gorgeous black and white cow called Isabella, and exercising my magnificent horse, Queen’s Ransom.
12:00pm return to my sun-bathed, decor-magazine house with wrap-around porch, small apple orchard, herb-lined kitchen garden and four big dogs of questionable pedigree and intelligence. Step into the wood-burning stove-warmed kitchen and dish up some hearty organic vegetable and lentil stew to be taken with (not eaten – in this picture I’m very Victorian and sometimes speak like I’m from Downton Abbey) home-made cheese and sage bread. End off leisurely lunch with a cup of Chai, sweetened with the honey from my own bees, and a hearty slice of cake drenched in salted caramel (click here for the recipe http://bit.ly/XARDaC). When you live on a farm you have to eat a great deal of delicious, highly calorific food and home made cakes. Because that’s what one does on a farm.
1:00pm settle myself down in the drawing room ( I don’t know what that is but my farmhouse has a lovely one) on my green and toffee-coloured damask wing-back chair for a spot of needlework. Farm ladies always do needlework and I have a sampler to complete. And a jersey to knit. And some socks to crochet. I’m proficient in all types of needlework.
3:30pm whistle for large, brown dogs as I step into the late afternoon weakening sunshine, my hand-woven basket from earlier now replaced by an orantely-carved wooden walking stick – a beautiful trinket given to me as a gift from the blind man in the village after I helped him by mending a pair of his pants. Walk around a portion of my farm as my daily constitutional. I like to survey my land and take the dogs for a run. They enjoy chasing the guinea fowl.
4:30pm Sit down in the library in front of the fireplace to read my Tale of Two Cities First Edition that the lady who owns the general dealer bought for me as a thank you gift when I helped rescue Gherkin, her Persion cat from a tree on my farm.
6:00pm begin cooking dinner for myself and the four friends who’ll be coming to stay with me for a few days for a little country R & R. I’ve decided to do a mushroom and chickpea Wellington made with the wild mushrooms I collected on the farm when I went out with my dogs for my afternoon walk. I’m expecting them to arrive at 7:30pm and they’ll be tired from the drive. I have a delicious Merlot for them to try out with dinner. As I stand at the gas stove frying the mushrooms and nuts and chickpeas, I reflect on my day and think how fortunate I am to have this special farm and the time to do all the things I’ve always wanted to do. Life’s too short not to be doing the things you love. I don’t miss my Blackberry, iPad or laptop days at all. And it’s great to be able to switch off from the world and news and Facebook. Being on this farm, living this lifestyle means I’m living the life I was always meant to live.
If you think you could do with a digital detox too then grab the April issue of Essentials and see how technology might be affecting your life.
Or if you’re looking for an escape to the country Mount Grace will be holding their next market day on Sunday 14 April, to be held under the trees at this magnificent country estate, situated 50 minutes from Pretoria or Johannesburg in the heart of the beautiful Magaliesburg. Visitors will be able to browse stalls to sample and buy fresh produce and there will also be interactive farm stalls set up by the Mount Grace culinary team where you can sample tasting portions of the award-winning hotel’s signature and seasonal dishes. Entrance to the Mount Grace Market is R50 per person. For Mount Grace Country House & Spa enquiries call the Mount Grace Country House & Spa direct on 014 577 5600, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.mountgrace.co.za for more information.