Written to BBC Sessions by Stephen Dale Petit
Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
- Henry David Thoreau
At the tail end of February approaches, I realize that my most recent blog posts have all synched with major holidays, specifically Thanksgiving 2011, Christmas and New Year 2011, and now Carnaval 2012, where I spent five plus days decompressing at Fazenda Alfheim.
January was dominated by Lone's departure on her Gap@50 adventure and Fazenda Alfheim's first-of-2012 honey harvest…without question our most successful ever. Back on January 29th, I posted on Facebook that we harvested more than 100 kg. The final result was approx. 100 jars or more than 60 kg. But however much I erred on the volume, I did not exaggerate one iota when I wrote that:
If this honey were a wine from Bordeaux, it would be a Chateau Latour (1961) or a Chateau Cheval Blanc (1947). Mere words do not suffice.
Honestly, I have never tasted anything like it; the aroma is so powerful that it overwhelms you with its enticing richness even before you open the jar. And best of all, we had a lot of fun harvesting it.
In other farm news:
- The swine maternity ward is nearing completion…João Jipe is truly constructing a masterpiece, complete with earthen floors. By his latest estimate, half the ten stalls will be ready for occupancy within two weeks.
- We have decided to sell Mausolus. Despite attempting various treatments, we have been unable to cure his infection. As sad as we will be to part with our gentle, majestic giant, it is for the best. Fortunately, we were able to find a local buyer.
- Clair sold the remainder of our frangos caipiras…at R$15.00 (€6.52 or $8.77) live, they are becoming a bit of a hit locally. I will purchase another 200 pintinhos ASAP.
And speaking of farm food hits, Sara Story Geld graciously wrote me the other day with the following kind words:
Rance yesterday we had some 35 people over for mad hatters lunch. Mostly crazy Geld family and a few other brave souls. We finally made your piglet. It was so good. I did it in oven 2 hrs and 15 min covered with oil and marinated w/beer and alecrim (rosemary) salt and garlic and lemon (lots of salt). Then we put it on spits over charcoal for an hour and a half. It. Was out of this world!!! Carson and Ellen were mad for it! Any how thank you both so much! I think I got you a customer base built yesterday!
The good news: we will soon have a whole host of new piglets…Clair has been fattening them up with lots of Jersey milk…they already look delicious. Another couple of weeks and they will be truly amazing.
Back on February 15th, 2009, I wrote in The color purple:
The truly enduring impression of the week, however, is the blooming of the manacá-da-serra (Tibouchina mutabilis). The forest is ablaze with purple and white. From every corner of Alfheim ones eyes are delightfully assaulted by the tapestry of purple and white flowers pouring forth from the carpet of green hues. Nothing short of spectacular.
Thankfully, we are treated to this same marvel every February.
Inspired by our visit to my college rowing crew mate Davis Bales III's pousada over New year, where he has placed his Concept2 rowing machine prominently in his garden, I dusted off mine and placed it in the barbecue where I have been hitting it pretty hard of late, three straight days of over 4,000 meters over Carnaval. The rowing has been part of a 90 day fitness challenge that Johannes, Esben and I agreed to back in early January. Not to boast, but the two young men are having trouble keeping up with their old fart of a father.
Well worth reading Moral Hazard: A Tempest-Tossed Idea by Shaila Dewan of The New York Times and The myth of the eight-hour sleep by Stephanie Hegarty of BBC World Service.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not toot my own horn once more and mention that the Fazenda Alfheim blog recently surpassed 10,000 pageviews…10,609 at last count, an average of 102 page views per blog post over the three plus years I have been writing it.