Introducing Kat and Kevin, an American/South African couple who have settled on the outskirts of the Scottish Highlands. Kevin works off-farm in the arts and Kat manages the farm operation and a small craft publishing company from home.
Here is an article taken from Kat and Kevin’s newsletter describing how they came to firm believers in the transformative power of doing!!
We moved to our small farm about 5 years ago, starting off with chickens (the gateway farm animal) and then added dairy goats, sheep, a KuneKune pig, chickens, ducks, geese, cats, and a rather dapper peacock named Major Tom to the mix. Our newest arrival is a beautiful Jersey cow named Petunia who is expected to calve any day. Our days are spent chasing our escapee sheep, growing our own food and running courses, farm tours and events.
Our newsletter is called “A Life in the Making” which sums up our day to day pretty well. Whenever possible, you will find us making stuff – be it food, soap, spoons or just a big ol’ mess. Through our blog, and our online and on farm workshops, we try to share what we’ve learned along the way – the successes AND the failures. However, we have busy lives with three kids on top of the farm to manage (and two ‘off farm’ full time jobs), so it’s crucial everything we do is done in a way that fits into modern life.
Last year, we had a really powerful moment that summed this up so well. Living at the end of a 1.5 mile single track road, we expect to spend some part of the winter cut off and prepare accordingly, keeping a couple of dairy goats and plenty of flour on hand so at the very least we can have bread and cheese (I won’t go into the fact that we’d under prepared without enough coffee and tonic water to get through – rookie mistake, Goldin), but my Facebook timeline was filled with my more urban friends who could make it out of their homes and to the shops, only to find them empty of bread. Scotland had run out.
A few weeks previously, I’d run my first Sourdough Bread making workshop. Our informal class had taught a handful of people the skills necessary to make bread with the most basic ingredients – flour, water, salt – in their own homes. As the majority of my timeline filled with folks mourning their lack of toast, these students were posting pictures of their homemade bread.
I count that as one of my best moments in my working life. Of course, not that the country had come to a standstill or that people couldn’t get out of their homes to get basic necessities, but that somehow in a world where we are so dependent on systems that don’t always serve us, I had given a handful of people the skills to do it themselves and provide for their families.
The times that I have felt most creative and then empowered are those where I have HAD to be creative. Maybe we didn’t have enough money to buy a finished product or couldn’t find something we were looking for and we had to make it ourselves. I started baking because we moved too far out and my love of a baked good wasn’t enough to get me to drive the 20 minutes to the nearest cafe. I had to figure out how to do it myself on a budget that ensured we could continue to pay the rent. And once you get into that mindset, it’s addictive. I look around at all of the things that need to be done in our kitchen or around the farm and I instantly start singing “I Can Do That” from A Chorus Line.
Making from scratch, figuring things out, embedding creativity into the most mundane things, taking back a tiny bit of power in a world that wants us to hand it over with our cash…yep, pretty much the reason I get out of bed every morning. Well, that and coffee.
So that’s what you’ll get around here. DIY with a dose of practicality, a sense of humour and a lot of coffee.
Kat, Kevin and the Team
If you’d like to find out more or arrange a WWOOFing visit with Kat and Kevin their WWOOF UK Member ID# is 96960.