May 5, 2009

Meanwhile Back on the Farm

Some days are just perfect.


The air is crisp and the dry leaves smell a little dusty and the mid-afternoon shadows are long and the light falls just so.

Overhead, the João Graveteiro has finished his nest.


The sticks he used still have green leaves clinging to them. Clever fellow, he knows how to build, but doesn’t seem to know when to stop. Lucky for him all those extra rooms confuse would-be thieves while he stays nicely hidden.

The neighbor’s horse heard me walking on the road and came galumphing down the hill looking for sweets or possibly a hairbrush.


Poor baby. Somebody really ought to tell him to stay away from the sticker burrs.


Dharma gets a wild look about her on afternoons as pretty as these.


And who can blame her, when air is so thick with the sweet smell of the Bella Cruz.


Sunday was the Festa de Santa Cruz – the Feast of the Holy Cross – and the Bella Cruz takes its name from this day because it blooms at the beginning of May. The hills are covered in it.

I love how many of the plants in the countryside get their folk names from the Catholic holidays. Every medicinal herb is seems to be named after a saint. And then there are the plants that bloom in season with the liturgical events, like Bella Cruz and the Quaresma tree.


Quaresma means Lent, and the trees, flush with royal purple blooms, dot the forests in the months of March and April. Lent is over, but I guess the trees on our farm are still feeling particularly repentant…

And then there is this plant. Vicente pointed it out to me.


It’s called Conta de Lagrimas. (The Rosary of Tears). On the roça they use the seeds to make rosaries. In English its called Job’s Tears or Chinese Barley even though it isn’t related to barley at all.

Sometimes I wonder if the early missionaries didn’t come to Brazil and see all of its wild, fecund abundance and perhaps feel a stirring in their chaste loins, and think:


“Oh Brazil, you shameless hussy! You unbridled temptress! We have to give all your plants proper Christian names to quell your wanton ways!”

And the butterflies laughed and said, “Whatever man. You go your way, we'll go ours.”



Evelyn said...

Loved the last lines: “Oh Brazil, you shameless hussy! You unbridled temptress! We have to give all your plants proper Christian names to quell your wanton ways!”

And the butterflies laughed and said, “Whatever man. You go your way, we'll go ours.”

Love the Brazil you share!

Janet (in Seattle) said...

Isn't that a poinsettia tree, or maybe bush, in the next-to-last photo? In the brief time I lived in Goiania, I saw a hedge row of gigantic poinsettias (they were really trees, with about 6 inch trunks).

Marcela said...

Thank you so much for sharing the photos! It helped me feel closer to home... :)

Ray Adkins said...


Your farm does sound like a dream come true!!

Emily said...

Awesome photos! I LOVE the last one!!!

Anonymous said...

wow beauuutiful photo story! what's your camera setup?

Betty said...

What a wonderful blue sky, in that last pic! I loved them all, thanks for sharing!

lovelydharma said...

Hey, thanks for the great coments everybody!
I know, that last pic came out as a surprise. Ahhhh the wonders of a telephoto lens.

Oh, Elena to answer your question, it's a DSLR for dummies... a Nikon D40. I bought the lowest end body because then I could afford lenses that I can keep if I trade up. I'm totally happy with it.

Janet, I think you're right, it is a poinsettia. I bet the Christmas variety we get in the states would grow that big in the ground too. Should do nicely in Seattle too. We get winters into the 30's up there at the sitio, so they can tolerate some cold.

Ballerina Girl said...

Such beautiful pictures!
and it is so true...right now the weather is amazing, so many plants/flowers in is a beautiful time to be in Brazil!


Anonymous said...

I f*cking LOVE your blog! So perfectly perfect!
I hope you keep enjoying Brazil and finding beautiful things in your path!

Beijos, you're fuuun!


Anonymous said...

HAHAHA!!! I just read a recent post about the 80's song annoying got me LOL here...I really like the oh-think-twice-song!!! I love Phill Collins
Oh Jesus LOL!


Nadja Kari said...

A great blog you have here, i just loved it !!! Congratulations!!!
I'll stop by more often :)

Lori - Blondie in Brazil said...

These photos are so beautiful. I just love the one of the horse through the fence. I feel so bad for him with that mess on his head. :(
Thanks for sharing all the beauty around you!

Anita said...

Hi there !
I am Brazilian and live in the Netherlands for more than a decade. I discovered your blog a short time ago and I am loooving it.You received today an "Awe-sum Award", I am serious ! Please visit my blog. Obrigada!

Rachel said...

cade an update? ps i published the post about "size matters" on friday if you want to check it out.

GingerV said...

I loved this post - an example of why I keep comming back for more.

Janet (in Seattle) said...

What happened to you? Last post was on May 5th.

Hope everything is ok.

Geotacs said...

great shots of the trip

thanks for sharing


Anonymous said...

I adore the Minas Gerais region. I have beeen tothe Ibitipoca Park in 2006 and i lvoed it. We will go to Airuoca next weekend, do you know that place? I think it is close to where you are, near Baependi.

The Golden Papaya said...

Hi Lovely Dharma. I discovered your blog a couple of months ago before I moved to Bahia, and it's actually one of my favorites that I've found. (I'm interested to see an update, actually!)
My husband and I are here with our three little kids. We are both working at an international school in Salvador.
Now that I'm here, I have my own blog:
I'd love it if you'd check it out. I'm adding your url to my blogroll, and would be honored if you decide to return the favor.
Will keep checking for new posts, too!

Ballerina Girl said...

hey Lovely Dharma...
where are you? I am hoping that everything and everyone is alright there up in Minas?!!!


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Elena B. said...

What a wonderful post! This is my first time coming across your blog and I love it already :) Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos!

Anonymous said...

Very nice blog. I love the close up of the horse. lol!