Hand milking of the cows starts at 16:30, so you will start by joining me as I collect the cows from the field. They are led on halter leads to the stanchion where I will teach you how to hand-milk, and you will be able to test how successful your technique is! We will then take the cows back to the new section of field (they move camp daily in the evenings) where you will see just how happy grass can make a cow! Back in the field, you will be able to meet the sheep (and try your hand at using a shepherds crook to catch a sheep if you are fit!), then we will walk back past the mobile chickshaw, full of my tick patrol Boschvelder Chickens, and you will see their joy as you let them out from their safe night bedroom, to go do their job of eating ticks. You can also hunt for eggs in the nesting bays. We will then return to the farm house for some tea/coffee with some of your fresh milk, and you can sample what is seasonal in the vegetable garden as we chat through the issues related to homesteading and farming systems. You will then go on a tour of the eco-friendly dwellings (solar, rain water, dry composting toilets and mulch pits). Walking on the paths through the thick and beautiful indigenous forest, you may hear the Bushbuck barking or see the shy Duiker.
I am a farmer, a wife and a mom. ( I had an epiphany that a woman could be the farmer and not just the farmer's wife. Previously I was a physiotherapist working in Rural Health.) I love being able to care for my animals and the grasslands, knowing that our small flock of sheep, 2 dairy cows and pasture raised chickens are also restoring the pristine indigenous grasslands on our small farm. Like the Little Red Hen, I love to graze the grass, milk the cows, skim the milk and churn the butter! (See more at Heartwood_homestead_sa on Instagram)
We will have a tea or coffee at the farm house as we chat through what you have seen and learnt (kombucha, rainwater and raw…
Heartwood Homestead is a small scale farm on 4 hectares (10 acres) of apex indigenous grassland, and with a further 15 hectares (39 acres) of beautiful indigenous Eastern Cape forest. The fields have a wide variety of grasses and plants and grassland creatures as well as abundant bird life. The trees will shade you as you walk the trail down to the river while keeping your eyes open for a variety of forest animals.
We will walk through fields that the cows have been in, so closed shoes are best. You can bring a swimming costume if you would like to swim in the river pool, as well as a warm jersey or jacket if the wind is cold on the field.
The milking stanchion is sturdy and the cows are friendly.
Hand milk a cow at off-grid homestead