There are times I have to fight cynicism. Government, the economy, global warming, work ethics; the list of disappointments goes on. I got a real boost yesterday, a glimpse of hope. Perhaps the solution for recovery is not a major overhaul (I doubt the country could reach a consensus anyhow), but in the efforts and dedication of some young people who do not want to change the whole world, just their world. I've mentioned Kellan and William, who work so hard in their garden and at selling their produce, spreading the word about local and fresh like evangelists. Yesterday I met two more kids (no offense intended; everyone under fifty is a kid to me) who are looking for a new lifestyle and willing to work to get it.
Tim delivered Ryan and Tanisha promptly at seven. Knowing it would take time to set a curd, the first thing we did was add rennet to a couple of gallons of milk. Tim stayed to have breakfast while I got acquainted with the kids. They are from New Hampshire; not an "M" state, but close. This is their first trip to California and they took advantage by flying in to San Francisco and driving down toward San Diego before reporting for their apprenticeship with Tim.
My girls did pretty well with the strangers in the barn. Unfortunately, they did not cooperate with the planned hoof trimming. Rather than risk injury to man, woman, or beast, I called it off. Tanisha and Ryan took turns with the milking and once they got the rhythm and the grip, did very well. When Esther and Ruth (nonmilkers) were on the stand, the kids cleaned the stalls and I took a break. As with any training session, it always takes longer to accomplish the chores, so it was time to fix lunch when we got back to the house.
In order to give a more complete cheese experience, we decided to make feta. There is more to the process than chevre. Cheese making is more an art than a science, and it is easier to see and feel the change in the curd than to explain it. Hanging the curd to drain the whey, we worked on lunch. Hot pasta with a cold sauce of Kellan and William's tiny, sweet grape tomatoes, and garlic, basil, parsley, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil whirled in the processor filled up their "empty spot," and didn't require standing over a hot stove to prepare.
The meal over, the curd was cut and salted, and we sat and relaxed while waiting for Tim to come back for their ride home. Ryan and Tanisha took their experience and a package of feta away, and left me with a vision of what might be. I now know two couples who want to make a difference with honest hard work and a return to basic values. That's a start.