My record royalties right now are four times stronger than when I was the Madonna of my day, ... Now it's over the top. I mean the records, they all hold up through the years.
- Tony Bennett
Wanting to avoid both the specter and the reality of rising at 01:30 and hitting the dirt road by 02:00 in order to arrive at São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport in time to pick up Lone at 05:45 on Saturday morning, I chose instead to spend Friday night at Caesar Business Guarulhos. Fortunately, Lone's plane landed early, and, after a short wait, a moderately droopy-eyed Lone, sporting new Harry Potter glasses to match my own, emerged from the behind the glass international arrivals doors looking remarkably spry.
Four hours later, after a quick grocery run in São Luiz do Paraitinga, we arrived at Alfheim, floating in on our newly manicured entrance road. A combination of the leveler from Natividade da Serra and 34 truckloads of cascalha have transformed our previously-intimidating-for-non-four-wheel drive vehicles, 1.8 km entrance road into a buttery-smooth expressway. Total cost for this transformation: R$2,500 (€971 or $1,434). Best of all, we did not have to lift a finger.
On Monday we traveled to São Paulo for die grosse Überraschung (Lone's BIG surprise): an evening with Tony Bennett. Simply unforgettable. We should all be so lucky to be grooving like Anthony Dominick Benedetto when we are 83. What charisma…the consummate performer. It is easy to understand why Frank Sinatra named him “the best singer in the business.”
The next day I flew to Ribeirão Preto to finish up some business, while Lone returned to Alfheim with our new, German intern, Alena Profit, who will spend a month at our fazenda in order to gain experience with biodynamic agriculture before beginning her degree course in psychology at Leibniz Universität Hannover. Unfortunately, as it has been raining cats and dogs (> 120 ml), Lone was not comfortable crossing the partially washed-out bridge in front of the entrance to our fazenda, so she and Alena turned the car around and spent the night in Vargem Grande, at the home of Fatima, the night-school teacher and owner of the local Internet cafe. Emboldened by the light of day, they returned this morning and crossed the bridge without incident, though Lone decided against tempting fate by crossing the stone bridge on our property as the water was knee-deep.
Today Lone took pictures of our two groups of piglets: the older ones, which seem to be suffering from an as-yet-unidentified illness (a bacteria?), and the newborns, which look marvelous, so that we can send them to a couple of our veterinarian contacts for diagnosis.
My tasks for the week include purchasing the tractor and ordering more organic hog feed (a not altogether simple task as IBD does not distinguish between producers who produce and consume their crops and those who produce and sell their crops).
Finally, two giant shout-outs:
- to Emmanuel Rengade and Filipa, whose second child, Tomas Georges, was born on October 24th;
- and to Brazil's handsomest lawyer-cowboy, Márcio Cabral Magano, who celebrated his birthday on October 27th, and is now a day older, a day wiser and none the worse for the wear.