Camille is learning early the diversity on a small sustainable farm, Quatre is well accustomed to a little bit of goat, a little spell with the sheep and a schedule that varies according to the weather, Gregs inclination and whatever disaster might loom. Both Quatre and Camille have managed to smile their way through the Pacific Northwest gloom and rain, keep smiling as mountains of poop are swept and shovelled and remain smiling as each chore is assigned and re assigned. In a couple of days our young French WOOFER has become a familiar and increasingly confident visitor to the sheep pen. She has laughingly been mobbed by overly friendly ewes and has quickly discovered the benefits of blackmail. Her pockets bulge with carrot chunks and the sheep have not been slow in recognising a new benefactor. Wide eyed she watched in consternation as tiny lambs were banded and tagged and compassionately as a little white lamb with overactive bowls had a dose of Pepto Bismal and a thorough butt wash. Momma is going to have to start doing a better job of child care ! Camille has driven the tractor, rode with experienced ranch foreman WOOFER Quatre and hoody Bran on the quad ( breaking the spead limit and holding onto Brans wavering tail !!) She has learnt to operate the skill saw, helped construct a Cody( goat kid) escape proof zone, sort of learnt to milk the goat ( a little more practice is required) and learnt to make creamy natural yoghurt. She has struggled with which way up the horse’s head collar fixes, wondered at the size of Lady our huge Shire mare and cautiously learnt to use a hoofpick..( are you SURE it doesn’t hurt?) Camille has befriended Molly the milk cow and confidently marches into the calf pen to be butted and buffered by Goliath Samson and Delilah as they suck firstly on their bottle and then on anything that stands still..she has also learnt to make a very quick exit from the same stall !
Language is not proving a problem…what we can’t sort out by sign language and verbal ingenuity can be resolved by a quick flip through the English French dictionary….as long as my glasses are handy! Historically France and England have had “issues” ( the hundred years war comes to mind ) but Camille is a charming ambassador for her country and it has been a reminder to me of how many years ago I sat trying to absorb the French language in a classroom very far away from here. It would also appear that we have all been misinformed…French Fries aren’t French..”frites” are French for fries ( or in England, chips), not all French people drink wine, eat frogs legs or l’escargot ( snails). “Alouetta, chantez Alouetta……” isn’t a melodious childrens rhyme, apparently (and I have it on good advice) it would appear that it’s internationally recognised lyrics pertain to plucking the poor little bird ! I’m sure before Camille leaves we will have negated a lot more myths and will understand and enjoy yet another culture.
Well, time to go, these girls can eat cookies faster than I can bake them so I’d better go and break out the baking trays again.
Before I go, today is big brother John’s birthday. Hopefully this is the beginning of a very special phase of his life and we all wish him a happy, birthday and a very happy future. Oh yes and a speedy return to work !!!!
Take care, keep safe, M