As you may have guessed from looking at the last pictures I posted, the exciting day I mentioned in my last post involved herding vacche [cows] on horseback! Realistically, it probably took longer than it would have on foot [because these cows are used to being “called,” not herded]… but it was a lot of fun for me and for Nera, the mare I’ve been working with here. I had the “Man From Snowy River” soundtrack playing in my head the entire time [some of you will know what I’m talking about].
The most exciting news I have to report is that I spent the last week with my mom, grandmother, aunt and uncle! It was the best birthday present imaginable [other than the Cheez-its, thanks again Dad!]. Spannocchia is a bit Grand Canyon-esque in that no picture or description [or various combinations of the two] can truly do it justice— it was a lot of fun for me to show them what I've been doing for the last 3 months. I realized, too, just how much I’ve been learning. I think they were on information overload all week from my ramblings about Cinta Senese breed standards, how to make pecorino, why Tuscan bread is terrible, and who San Galgano was. They were also lucky to be here just as every field in the region burst into bloom with wildflowers, most notably the famous Tuscan poppies.
This is our last week of work, and next Monday I will be on a train headed for France. It’s impossible to believe that the experience is nearly over. For now, I am trying to soak in every last experience, smell, taste, texture... Right now there are roses in bloom all over the farm, each of them a different color and with different petal shapes and patterns. Unlike the roses in the States, every one smells lovely, and they all smell different. But, hell, even the way the clothes hang on the lines to dry here is beautiful. I hope I never forget.