Farview Farm is beginning to develop an international flair. My latest WWOOF guest, Stephanie, was from France. Before coming to Tim's goat ranch, she had been on a farm above Yuba City in the valley, where her job had been to help with canning. At Bell Ranch, I believe the primary responsibility is to clean the huge barn and give Kathryn a break. My offering to the program is participation in milking goats and making cheese. The first step in the cheese process is to set the curd and, with explanations, I got that started while we become acquainted before heading to the coops and barn. Stephanie drew the rainy-day card, but the livestock must be tended regardless. I'll admit to worrying as she stepped into the slippery chicken pen. I didn't want an international incident if her feet were to slide out from under, but we passed that hurdle just fine. I get such a kick out of the childlike smiles of success when beginners get that first squirt of milk to come out; it's not as easy as it looks.
Stephanie actually took notes while we moved on in the making of feta, cutting, heating, and stirring the curd, and then hanging it to drain the whey. It felt a little gutsy to offer a Frenchwoman broccoli quiche for lunch, but hoped to make her feel at home. I think the bigger success was the warm cheese bread I'd made. She exclaimed it was exactly like French brioche.
I'm getting a routine and timing down pretty good by now, so we'd had a day of (to me) stimulating conversation, enjoyed a meal together, and had a finished package of cheese by the time Tim came to pick her up. Who would have thought that, up here in the back of beyond, I would have the opportunity to meet such nice people from other countries who share my interests and bring different perspectives to my life. This is "armchair travel" at its best! I wish Stephanie bon voyage.