Friday, March 26, 2010

110 pots of honey

I can walk into a bookstore and hand over my credit card and they don't know who the hell I am. Maybe that says something about bookstore clerks.
- E. L. Doctorow

Two days after publishing my previous blog post, Lone and I were visited by our dear friends Luciano Bonachelo and Vivian Tornero, and their young son, Gabriel. A delightful visit, which we hope will be repeated soon. If Gabriel has anything to say about it, and I expect that he does, a repeat visit is both in the cards and will occur sooner rather than later, that is as long as I continue to be the proud owner of a red Lego tractor. It would be an understatement to say that Gabriel was fond of the Agrale 4100.4.

Two days after our guests had departed, my mother arrived from Los Angeles via New York bearing the better part of two suitcases full of goodies from the land of milk and honey.

And two days after my mother's arrival, Lone and I departed Alfheim on a one-day, 19 hour odyssey to São Paulo, bookended by eight hours of driving, during which we managed to fit in, and I use the term euphemistically, a delivery of piglets to one of our restaurant customers, a sales call to another prospective restaurant and Ellen Bromfield Geld's book signing at Livraria da Vila. As the nearest I had ever been to a book signing involved my standing in line with Johannes at midnight in Oslo, Norway, to purchase Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the real thing was a good bit of fun -and actually knowing the author made it that much more special.

On the way to São Paulo, we used our newly-imported Canon PowerShot SD960 IS, to photograph the 16 blights on the 7.5 km of dirt road from Fazenda Alfheim to Vargem Grande in anticipation of our meeting at the Ministerio Público in Paraibuna on March 23rd, where, incidentally, one cannot enter wearing bermudas etc (thankfully we found a jeitinho). The camera proved more than up to the task, which is more than I can say for the dirt road; if only it could be Photoshopped. As for the results of our meeting with Excelentíssima Senhora Dra. Renata Bertoni Vita, I am cautiously optimistic.

The book signing also gave me another opportunity to speak with Carson, Ellen's husband, about purchasing pasture grass seedlings for pasture 3. Our original group of 20 hogs did such a fine job preparing pasture 2 for reseeding, plowing only the more brush-heavy areas rather than those with brachiaria. It's almost as though they were plowing by numbers…uncanny. After their superlative work, it took Clair, Dirlei and João less than two days to reseed pasture 2. Prior to reseeding, we moved these Masters of the Plow to pasture 3, where they will remain until they have done away with all things green on our weakest pasture. We will then plant the pasture grass seedlings we purchase from Carson and Ellen. Not surprisingly, our 20 environmentally-friendly, perpetual-motion plows are already making solid progress cleaning a pasture that until now has provided little for the bovine residents at Fazenda Alfheim.

We took advantage of the moving of the hogs to pasture 3 to release three of the most pregnant sows. These three sows will subsequently roam the grounds freely for some days while they choose a birthing site and prepare for life as second-time mothers.

In addition to moving hogs, we also prepared 110 pots of honey mead, where Lone and Rosana would later place the first ten of what we hope will be many bee boxes (each bee box contains 80,000 bees). With absolutely nothing other than her Danish gumption, Lone has brought our second revenue stream from analysis to preparation to production in record time. If all goes well, the ladies will be harvesting Fazenda Alfheim's first honey in less than three months, with each bee box producing approx. 20 kg of honey per year.

Finally, our pure-bred Gir bull has been named: Mausolus...and the fazenda has acquired a new mouse trap.


Luciano Bonachela said...

Hello Rance and Lone,
It was great spending some time with you at Alfheim!
Gabriel is still asking about Pixie!
Hope to see you both soon.

Esben said...

GREAT BlOG. I am very jealous of all the people coming to visit the farm! Hope Hopee has a good time! :-)



Michelle said...

Hi Lone and Rance

It looks so good and productive. Not much progress on my Khaya though.
Wishing you both a lovely Easter!

Lots of love


Freddie A said...

What gorgeous photos!