She insisted that we smell the wild, unwashed wool, an odor that apparently she liked.
The rhythm of life around the world was thrown off beat when COVID-19 appeared. The virus shattered all normalcy of living for many people. But the rhythm of life within our community maintained a melody. The singing of birds, quacking of ducks and beating of goats and sheep resounds in their early morning songs and late evening humming. As pleasing as the melody sounded, we felt it lacked some mooing.
Pomegranate and Lily Join Us
One evening before lockdown restricted travel, the squeak of a trailer rolling through the bottom gate caught our attention. We had been working all day to clear ground on which to build a milking shed.
At the sound of the approaching vehicle and trailer, excitement spread from person to person. Suddenly, all rakes, spades, hoes, forks, axes and chainsaws were abandoned as we rushed to meet our new residents. Pomegranate and Lily, our new dairy cows, had arrived!
The cows were scarcely unloaded before we were ready with buckets. Many of us took our first try at milking. Within minutes, we were straining and measuring the first two liters of milk to be produced on our land. It was an exciting beginning to milk production! (Pomegranate and Lily have also added their mooing to the melody.)
Bakery Business Booms
During lockdown, Heritage Bakery offered a food delivery service for our surrounding area. The service really helped to propel the success of the bakery. The success continued after lockdown restrictions eased. Customers could then enter the premises to enjoy a cup of coffee or a tasty meal. Soon we found ourselves busier than ever. Every week brings an increase of hungry patrons.
Customers have noticed the increase, also. One of our regulars told us, “After weeks of coming here, I was able to park my car where I wanted; I could sit at which table I chose. I arrived this morning and had to hunt to find a parking space! I can’t believe that so many businesses are shutting down or really struggling because of COVID- 19, but here is your little shop thriving!”
Another customer mentioned that “I am so excited to have found this hidden gem! I want to bring all of my friends here to show them.”
Many patrons exclaim within the first few minutes of entering the bakery how grateful they are to have discovered us. One lady explained that she had heard of us during her visit to Homestead Heritage in Waco, Texas, just a few weeks prior.
Increasingly, the bakery is serving to showcase the lively wholeness of our community life.
An Unexpected Gift of Wool
A number of weeks ago, a woman arrived at the bakery with a huge sack of wool from pure Karoo sheep. She informed us that it had been given to her a couple of years ago. She insisted that we smell the wild, unwashed wool, an odor that apparently she liked. (We did, but to us it just smelled old and dirty!) The lady graciously gave us the whole sack.
The full excitement of what we had received came after we washed the wool and it was almost dry. One of our younger sisters picked up a piece and said, “Look, it is fluffy like wool is supposed to be!”
We carded our first batch last week, which ended up looking like rusty-orange felt, tatty and old.
“Hey, Mom, take a look at this,” Brother Josh said, holding the woolly creation against his chin as if it were a long beard.
“Well, all I can say is do not despise the day of small beginnings,” Sister Gaylin said, laughing.
Our enthusiasm for working with the wool increased as we washed and carded our second amount. This batch produced wool worthy of the spinning wheel!
Glamping Tents Get New Locations
During the past two weeks, the brothers have been working to relocate two of our glamping tents. We needed to move the tents to an area where they are less susceptible to weather damage and farther from traffic noise. While the brothers were busy with construction, most of the sisters cleared paths and parking areas around the tents.
South Africa is easing lockdown by moving to Level 2 restrictions, which allow us to offer our rentals again. Our main project at the moment is to relocate and set up the glamping tents.