Transforming our home into an animal friendly environment
What once was a meat and dairy farm is now our home. After living many years in a flat in Menorca we decided to take the plunge and move into an old Menorcan farmhouse. The ideal life; growing our own vegetables, connecting with nature and aiming for a more sustainable and eco lifestyle, something we had always wanted to do.
Like everything and everyone the house has a past. Animals were reared and slaughtered here. Much like many farmhouses in Menorca it was used to elaborate meat and cheese such as Sobrasada, a traditional pork sausage, and the typical menorquin cheese.
When we moved in the garden was littered with the bones of dead carcasses and machinery and tools for the elaboration of sausage meat hoarded. Still remaining and proving very difficult to remove is a humongous hook hanging from the ceiling in an annexe building where the animals were strung for slaughter.
The garden was literally a graveyard for animals left for dead or discarded after being slaughtered. There was also an astonishing amount of rubbish.
The house was in need of lots of love and compassion so it became my mission to shine some light on it by transforming it into a beautiful, vegan, animal friendly space.
We did a cleanse, removing all the remains of its sad past and decided to make our cooking space all vegan. Myself and two of my kids have been vegan for many years so it really wasn’t a difficult change for the whole family to agree to ditch all animal products and only cook vegan food. They had grown up with it and were always very inspired by vegan chefs such as Gaz Oakley (Avant Garde Vegan) My partner took a little longer to convince but he was outnumbered.
Many people that come to visit ask why we don’t have chickens. How can you live in a farmhouse and not have chickens? But over the past few years our friends have learnt not to bother to try and convince us any more, it’s the other way round, we have convinced them. Now they love coming over for vegan paellas, oven baked pizzas and vegan bbqs.
We were confined to the house during 2020, yeah I wasn’t complaining. It was an amazing time where I could connect to nature and enjoy the peace and quiet. It was a very special time for me.
In our garden there are capers, pomegranates, figs, and wild asparagus and on the neighbouring land there are Loquat trees (nispero), carob, almonds, and blackberries all ripe for the picking when in season. Luckily there are no crops nearby, only pasturing land so I’m 100% sure there are no nasty pesticides or chemicals to pollute what grows.
We are surrounded by land that is the home to some 13 brown Menorquin cows, also diminishing in number due to the preferred black and white milking cow.
I’m a familiar face to these beautiful sentient beings as theirs are to me. I greet them whenever I come across them whilst walking my dog and they recognise me. Apparently cows can recognise up to 18 different people. If I don’t greet them, as sometimes I’m walking in a world of my own without realising they are there, they moo to let me know that my presence is acceptable but only if I say hello. I mean I’m trespassing on their home, it’s only polite. As soon as I start talking to them they quietly go back to their grazing or better said to ignoring me.
I can’t have a home without animals though. Sharing my home with animals is something so important to me. We can learn so much from them. Instead of exploiting them for our own self-centered purposes we need to protect and respect them.
I love them all, wooden ones too!