The past week of strimming, raking, weeding, pitch forking, organizing, pushing dead cars to more appropriate resting places, cleaning and extra-long work days has been a path of persistence, focus on detail and non-stopness leading up to this moment:
The group of American guests on their gastronomical holiday (including tours of local butcher shops and jamón curing houses, a day of making artisan cheese and other hands-on education about the traditional foods of Andalusia) have arrived. Simon and Donna’s booking agent from London is also here for the week with the intention of becoming acquainted firsthand with the operation at Los Gázquez. The group arrived yesterday afternoon and we had all anticipated that they would be jet lagged, exhausted and generally subdued from their long day of flying. But oh, were we wrong about that.
The group includes a solo Brazilian woman, four lovely Jewish ladies from New York City (in fact, they are all familiar with Austin’s somewhat small, obscure hometown in New York, and it is a funny thing to be in Spain discussing the Hudson River Valley with strangers) and another from Los Angeles – the latter five longtime friends. Immediately they proved to be loud, boisterous, hilarious and likable in the way that only New York Jewish ladies can be. Our first dinner together last night was colorful and entertaining and they all seem very sweet. The cast at Los Gázquez agree that we are in for a fun week.
Our household has grown by one, and now includes Donna and Simon’s friend and business partner, Gonzaga (to pronounce his name correctly, say the “z” as if it was a “th”). Gonzaga is in his late twenties and lives in the northern city of Bilbao. He collaborates with our hosts on some of the art/ecology projects that take place here. Gonzaga will be helping out with many duties while the guests are here and will be acting as a translator during their trips into villages.
In other news, Donna generously gifted us a 5-liter jug of raw (meaning unpasteurized, non-homogenized, straight from the udder) local goat milk. She will be using this type of milk for her cheese-making course later in the week (though she will unfortunately be pasteurizing it to meet food safety requirements), but due to lack of refrigerator space she needed to unload this jug and we have happily accepted it. We will refrigerate it in the great outdoors and add it to our coffee in large quantities. We are considering making some yogurt with it, too. Yum!