Who knew? I had heard the word (thought it was "woof") but it had no meaning for me until I met Jule yesterday. I had the pronunciation of her name right but the spelling wrong. It seems that WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farming, is an organization that connects volunteers and host farms and assists with travel arrangements, etc., to promote organic farming. Jule is taking advantage of a break before her third year of college to travel inexpensively and learn. In her case, the goal is to speak better English and see the United States. She lives in Berlin, Germany, and working on farms provides the secondary gain of exercise and a far different lifestyle that that of her city life at home. From Tim's goat ranch, she will be going to a vineyard in a small town on the coast above San Francisco and then to a lettuce farm on the island of Hawaii. What a wealth of experience this young woman is acquiring.
Jule took to goat milking like a pro, and helped with cleaning the barn. She had to see one before she would believe that some of my chickens (the Araucanas) lay green eggs. We had started the process of making feta cheese before leaving the house so the curd would be set when we were done with the animals. We finished the second part and put the solid curd to hang and drain the whey while we had lunch, then cut and salted the feta. It will need a few days to cure and mellow the raw salt flavor, so I sent a packet with Jule to enjoy later.
I had thought to teach Jule how to spin yarn on a drop spindle to enlarge on her farm experience, but we became so engrossed in conversation that the opportunity passed. It was so enlightening to get a perspective on America from another country's viewpoint. We share an admiration for the great chefs of the world, and one of her life highlights was dining at Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen in London. I have a strong German heritage on my mother's side and Jule translated my grandparents' wedding certificate which, although they were married in Illinois, was printed in German. It was too nice a day to stay inside, and we were still chattering out on the deck when Tim arrived to pick her up. I was so pleased to be invited to early dinner on Sunday when Jule is going to cook ethnic dishes like spaetzle as a thank-you for her host family before going on to her next adventure.
It was a good day.