Patience Estrella, left, stirs milk in her family's cheese-making operation in Montesano. Her mom, Kelli, is at right.
"I heard that the part where the baby goats were jumping on the trampolene with Faith and Ruth is not to be missed," Estrella matriarch Kelli Estrella said. (The proud mom also noted that "the show is airing in 80% of America, Israel and Korea."
The Estrella kids are a unique story. Here's an excerpt from a story I wrote about the Estrella's in April:
The sun had been up for 30 minutes. The six Estrella children had already milked the animals and begun the day's cheesemaking and farmstead chores.
"It was part of my vision," Estrella said. "What if we raised kids with a work ethic? How would that be?"
It would be pretty much as it was one morning last month: Ernest, 12, milked goats and cows. Patience, 14, stirred milk in stainless steel vats. Ruth, 16, and Faith, 8, bathed wheels of cheese in beer and wine. Melody, 9, fed animals. Samuel, 13, helped his dad search for a stray pregnant heifer. Home-schooling would begin in a few hours. If this had been Saturday or Sunday instead of Thursday, some of the kids would have been at farmers markets selling cheese.
Estrella answered the question a reporter stumbled to ask.
"They all have black heritage," Estrella said. Three were adopted at birth. Three were adopted two years ago from an orphanage in war-torn Liberia.
"These kids have seen stuff," Estrella said of Ruth, Patience and Ernest. "Ruth wasn't going to get out of the country. They said if she didn't get adopted really soon that she was too old. People don't like to adopt older kids. Ruth was praying for a family. I thought, 'Why not?' Then they said, 'Do you want to adopt two more?' "
Did she ever.
"Sometimes people say, 'Why did you adopt a bunch of black babies?' We just wanted babies," Estrella said. "I remember specifically looking at the dinner table one day and there were all these empty chairs. It was like, 'Something doesn't seem right. How come we have so much and some people have too little?'
"For us, adoption meant we could have children. They all came to us. You find out the heart can stretch further than you know."
So, too, stretches Estrella's dream of being a real farmer.
"If our kids want to run this farm, we don't ever plan to sell it," Estrella said. "We hope that all these years of making these cheeses should not be lost. If nobody wanted to take it over when we die, then the cheeses could be lost. In many parts of the country, a lot of cheeses have been lost because the next generation didn't want to learn it."