Part of our reason for buying 40 acres is so that we can work towards a higher level of self-sufficiency. While I recognise that we will never be fully self-sufficient – and I don’t believe we should be as we are naturally gregarious creatures – we are keen to control what goes into our food and eat healthy, organic food wherever possible as well as to generate a small income from our efforts. While we grow our own veggies at home, we have now taken our first few steps towards self-sufficiency at the farm. In recent weeks we have had the good fortune to find someone who had too many Dexter cattle, so we purchased 5. 3 heifers, 1 cow and a steer. The 4 girls will be used to breed more cattle and the steer will be fattened up for the freezer. Dexters have a reputation for being quite docile and easy to handle, which is good for a city girl turned farm girl like myself. Additionally Dexters can be grown for beef and milk. While we won’t milk them yet, one day we may choose to, so we will have that option available to us should we need or choose it.
The Gorgeous One and I have debated for a long time whether we would grow our own meat and we both concluded that we like eating meat, we are conscious that we could probably do with eating a little less meat, but meat is a part of our diet that we both enjoy. By growing our own, we are boycotting the huge feedlots that grow grain fed beef en-mass in confined spaces. Our meat will be grass fed, organic and have plenty of room to free range. We aim to provide a stress free life for them so that they have as good a life as possible for an ultimate food source. The carbon footprint of our meat will be minimal and we have already started our tree planting plans to offset some of the greenhouse gases produced by the cattle.
Our second investment in the last month has been some Suffolk ewes. Again, a step towards self-sufficient, organic, low carbon footprint meat. But these girls will be kept for breeding and hopefully along the way they will produce some boys who can be Sunday roast or BBQ chops or Shanks … Suffolk lambs have a reputation for having lovely meat and while their wool is not long like merinos, it can be spun and is quite soft with good loft (great for making quilts we are told).
So we have begun our adventure … and now I have the challenge of finding suitable boys for our girls … in fact I don’t even need to rent a bull or a ram – it’s amazing what you can find on the internet! Recently I found some Dexter semen for sale in NZ – only problem was that Australian quarantine laws and bio-security measures won’t allow it into Australia, so back to drawing board for me … It sure beats shopping for shoes or handbags on line!