FROM OUR DIRECTOR… I’ve found myself over these last years more and more drawn to a natural lifestyle. City girl goes to the country… I’d love to welcome you to our little piece of paradise! This is where I recharge, and where our recipes and materials are created. It’s also where we can throw some seeds out the window and with the hand of nature we *poof* end up with a fruit tree (like the papaya tree in this picture of me just back from the garden!!!).
Our situation with the mini-farm here in the countryside of Sao Paulo, Brazil is pretty unique! We share several acres of property with two other families who visit only rarely and use it for vacationing.
But we live here full-time for the moment and sure are enjoying it! Our caretaker + master gardener (and his family) also live on the property and are such a gift! Jair’s my gardening buddy, his wife Angela has become a dear friend (These days I’m helping teach her how to drive a car!), and her daughter Amanda is like a big sister to Lilla.
OUR FULL COMPOSTING CREW
Anything we don’t eat, we save for the goats or for Donato, and any scraps they don’t eat we return to the earth to keep fertile ground.
OUR FULL COMPOSTING CREW includes…
* Donato. He’s a wild horse, and he loves carrot slices and watermelon peel so much that he gets very excited when I’m nearby.
* Perpetua aka “Miss Priss”. She’s momma goat to Xuxa and Angelica (born October 2013), and she’s the pickiest and daintiest goat I’ve ever seen!
* Tieta. She’s momma goat to Tiririca [pictured at left!] and pregnant with two more goats who will arrive any day! She can be feisty at times, but she’s calmed lately in her pregnancy.
* Zefede aka “Stinky”. He’s papa goat to Xuxa, Angelica AND the two incoming goats (yup, stinky as he is, he’s impregnated BOTH of the lady goats!). He will also eat pretty much anything!
* 13 momma hens, 12 babyish chickens (they’re growing into adults!), 2 roosters, 2 geese, and 1 duck who all seem to adore weeds, greens with yellow spots, the banana leaves we prune, and pretty much anything green we don’t eat from the garden!
“TROUBLE” AND FRIENDS
One moment in time, I counted 12 wild (and super noisy!) parrots in two trees! A crazy amount of birds have made this place their home, and all day they sing their variety of bird songs. It’s such a treat!
“TROUBLE” AND FRIENDS includes…
* 3 dogs who I’m pretty sure have never been on a leash (Scooby aka “Trouble” is pictured here in case you wonder we why call him Trouble! ha!, Menina, and Toby)
* Nina the cat
* 2 wild kettle kettle birds, 4 gorgeous owls who welcome us between the gate and our drive to the living area of the property, too many wild parrots and other colorful little birds too count
The intention of this place was never to have all the animals and the vegetable gardens. It was built to be sort of like a shared resort, but 8 years has passed since we bought it and we’re all very happy with the way it’s moving along!
* a gorgeous swimming pool complete with palm trees all around
* a hand-crafted play area with two swing sets, several benches, a table and see-saw. All made by Jair in the span of a couple days and using scrap wood from the property!!
* a big, open clubhouse made from recycled wood with a separate kitchen and bathrooms, and lovely hand-crafted furniture throughout. I did a visual count in my head, and it has proper seating for about 40 guests!
* a lovely butterfly garden
* a defunct volleyball court (I wonder what ever happened to the net?!)
We certainly don’t do things like a big, industrial farm would. We have fun with it and grow what we know we’ll eat with plenty to share too. Some areas are in proper rows and even weeded, while other areas are just running wild growing naturally but with the tastiest veggies around! We do not ever use chemicals to treat or fertilize, but sometimes we do mix Donato’s manure with the soil so technically it’s not “vegan”.
FRESH FOOD! includes…
* a constantly changing vegetable garden, with a wide mix of garden veggies, herbs, and grasses for brewing tea (and things like our watermelon patch – growing just because we threw the seeds on the ground!!)
* cultivated fruit trees, including my FAVORITE (Pitanga!) which is only in season around October-November
* young, wild fruit trees, which just… grew… because the seeds were discarded or tossed in the area
* mature fruit trees which have been here for decades
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE…
* the lovely stream that wraps around the property
* acres of grass, which I’d gladly replace with veggies but we’re enjoy for yoga, frisbee, and fetch.
* and a looooong winding drive to get here
PARADISE DOES NOT INCLUDE…
We’re just enough “off the grid” to be unable to get a land line and DSL, but hey! We’ve got water and electricity! Certainly that’s helpful at times, although we are careful to tread lightly and use only what really seems to improve our lives.