November 27, 2010
As I’m writing this post, I’m eating leftover stuffing with Maggie and Seth’s mango-cranberry sauce and a farm fresh egg. Mmm. Last night, though it was the day after thanksgiving, we celebrated Thanksgiving by cooking up a delicious meal; this was our menu:
Small, but local, fresh and delicious turkey
Stuffing with walnuts, pancetta and whole grain bread from the local bakery in Ubatuba
Our farm’s green beans with hazelnuts, basil and garlic
Mango-cranberry sauce (idea from Seth, executed by Mags)
Gravy (of course)
Roasted veggies from the farm
Salad with lettuce, cheese and roasted red peppers from the farm
Jeff’s spectacular apple pie
I’d say that counts for a full-fledge Thanksgiving meal, wouldn’t you? The only thing missing was pumpkin – though we have a pumpkin from the garden sitting on the counter there was just too much food already (and besides, we’ll will use it this week for something to allow the thanksgiving spirit to linger along with turkey soup). The meal was excellent, and sitting next to the bonfire eating apple pie was exceptional, but the best part was having Maggie (my sister) and Seth (her fiancé) with us. We also shared the event with the artist-in-residence, Pasha. It was incredibly special and has turned out to be one of the best Thanksgiving holidays ever, especially since we were able to skype with our families on Thursday. THANKS MAGS AND SETH!!!
And now for a quick recap of our wonderful week with Mags and Seth. They arrived Monday into Paraty on a bus from Rio. We had a fun walk around town, a snack of tapioca and headed to Picinguaba. That night we grilled some sausages and Jeff made us our first of many caipirinhas together.
Tuesday we walked to and along Praia Fazenda and made it back just in time for the rain to start. More caipirinhas and a great meal at the hotel of shark moqueca. Wednesday we braved the seas for a two-hour kayak to Ilha dos Coves where we lounged on a small, secluded beach for a few hours. Well, Seth and Jeff found some rocks to jump off and bamboo stalks to throw and Mags and I did the lounging. Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, we hiked to a waterfall in the rainforest, talked to family and then headed out to the Fazenda. Along the way we stopped for some açai na tigela in Ubatuba.
Thursday night we managed to pull off a great churrasco (brazilian bbq) even though it was raining. Friday we woke up to start our Thanksgiving celebration day – we had some breakfast and hopped on the horses for a 2.5 hour ride up and around the property. Since we were unexpectedly not able to get into the kitchen until 4pm as the girls were cooking lunch for 40 bombeiros (firefighters) doing a course for our farmers on wildfire prevention, we took our time picking vegetables from the garden and mentally prepping for the meal.
Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Maggie and Seth this morning as they were off with a ride to the airport (mashed potato sandwiches in hand). Jeff and I will hunker down for the week with lots of work to do both at the Fazenda and the Pousada!
November 24, 2010
Posted by Suzanna under Brazil
, Travel 1 Comment
Last Friday, we made a last-minute decision to take advantage of Saturday’s forecasted sun with a hike up Corcovado, a 1,165 meter peak above Ubatuba in the state of São Paulo. Jeff, Manu, Esben and I joined João (our guide) and 5 other Brazilians for the 18 kilometer trek into the Serra do Mar – Santa Virginia (a state park). It was spectacular – mostly through the rainforest, with a steep climb towards the end into the sunshine with stunning 360 degree views.
The end of the hike was not fit for those afraid of heights – though it’s hard to see this from the pictures, at the top of the mountain we were standing only centimeters aways from sheer 300+ meter drop-offs.
Enjoy the pictures of our hike and we’ll be sure to tell you some stories about our time with my sister soon!
November 17, 2010
Today I am guest-appearing on a friend’s blog. Kate started What Up Wanderers this year in an effort to provide advice to youth travelers as she’ll soon be launching a “gap year” company. She appreciates any advice, links, articles and stories from travelers, so get involved!
And my guest post,
November 13, 2010
After a very busy and fully focused work effort for over two weeks now, we declared a break for 24 hours. Last Saturday afternoon we finally returned to our “home” in Picinguaba after 11 days away. We promptly had some coffee and then Jeff made us delicious caipirinhas (it was 5:00 by then if you’re wondering). Sunday we took a trip about 20 km up the coast to Trindade – a small, fun little village with a spectacular beach. We enjoyed our peaceful time in the sun as the pictures below show . . .
I also managed to get a little cooking in on our day off – homemade crackers! (I call these Lone’s crackers as we first had them at Fazenda Alfheim.) We tested them with guava jam, homemade pineapple jam (my first attempt was good, but I need a little practice to get the consistency down), and salami; all were delicious accoutrements and I’m thrilled to have a simple recipe for what is surely a healthier option than the store-bought choices.
The past few weeks have been busy and hectic, but fun and interesting nonetheless. Since Manu, the on-the-ground lead at the Fazenda, has been in Europe for a few weeks, we’ve been stepping in to manage the construction of the hotel rooms and renovations on the 1850s main house. Walls are being torn down, steps built, bathrooms added, new kitchen space created, and more! It’s quite comical as we’re doing our best to speak and understand Portuguese while incorporating a lot of hand gestures to instruct the construction guys. We’re getting by and the team does their best to work with us. The work on the hotel rooms is another story – it’s going slow, slow, slow – this is Brazil after all, but we’re getting nervous for the anticipated January opening. My biggest concern over the delays in finishing the construction is the inability to fully dive into landscaping until they’re finished with their machines and heavy materials surrounding the houses. We need trees and grass – SOON!
In the midst of all that is happening at the Fazenda we also spent a few heavy work days in São Paulo to forge ahead on some financial and marketing work. We’re hoping to have a high profile architect step in to design the future villas at the Fazenda, so my big effort for the week was to put together an inspiring, seductive presentation for Emmanuel to use as the basis of his talk with this architect. We’re hoping to engage the architect primarily on a profit sharing basis. So, for those in the professional services industry, you know how tricky this can be – but with a big upside it works. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. Jeff continues his work to keep the businesses afloat with good looks, good sense and incredible excel skills.
This week we were back at the Fazenda, holding down the fort. It was another busy week and we look forward to getting back to Picinguaba for a more stable existence with Manu’s return from Spain on Friday. General life goals such as painting and exercise have been somewhat on hold lately, so I’m hoping to fix that soon. I have, however, been enjoying life on the farm – the vegetable gardens are in full swing with fresh cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, peppers, herbs, zucchini, squash and beautiful beets all coming in by the baskets. These vegetables are gorgeous and taste spectacular. I’m especially appreciative since I just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and have now started Nina Planck’s Real Food (fresh milk, cheese, meet and lots of veggies does a body good). With the lack of kitchen in the main house due to construction, we’ve started taking advantage of the “churrasco” (bbq), which you can imagine has made Jeff quite happy as well.
November 7, 2010
Posted by Jeff under Uncategorized 1 Comment
Project Bem-Vindo complete. Words don’t do it justice. Take a look for yourself.
Who wouldn’t want to be welcomed into a home with a sign like that? Ninguém, that’s who.
In reality, the sign has been done since around the time I posted the first wood carving post. However, things have been incredibly hectic and we haven’t been “home” in Picinguaba since then. We have spent most of our time on the fazenda, but also fit in a working sprint through São Paulo for a few days. In general, our days have consisted of some construction oversight at the fazenda (the new buildings are nearly completed and renovations are under way on the main house) intermingled with sales & marketing and financial work on the computer. Today was our first full non-work day in over two weeks. Suzanna will share more on all of the above, but we fit in a perfect beach day and took some time to catch up with family via skype.