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.