|A full cup of rain water, one day's worth, about 8 cm or just over 3 inches.|
Brasilia, the nation’s capital since 1960, has drawn people from all around the country, who brought with them their own regional traditions, foods, and festivals. On a Monday afternoon we joined the colorful parade, a wild medley of costumes, political statements, people of all ages including families with children, following the various musical groups, some marching, others truck-borne, dancing, shuffling, laughing, drinking water, soda, beer, singing along with the well-known Carnaval lyrics.
|Guy's camera lens is splattered with beer sprayed by revelers.|
|Part of the fun for the men is wearing bras and big butts.|
In the evening Jaqi opted to stay in while Grace, Guy and I walked a few miles down the major central freeway, closed to traffic for the revelers, and joined thousands of young people in a louder, harder rocking version of the Carnaval parade. We were something of an anomaly, Grace taller than almost anyone else, and Guy and I older by thirty years. We kept getting requests for photographs, young people gathering around us to pose with their grandparents. One young man asked me to stick out my tongue for a photo and I said I wouldn’t. “Why not?!” Everybody does it! “It’s a generational thing,” I said with a smile. “Oh,” he nodded and that was that. Good cheer all around, lots of beer and laughter, young bodies seeking each other out, dancing, kissing, running after each other, colors, costumes, masks, the darkening night.
|Grace, Guy and Greta ready to hit the street.|
Back on the farm Grace was building a fence for the second small garden we’d used in the past but now was open to the chickens we started to raise last year. The chickens eat the insects that plague the garden but they also eat the young vegetables.
We took a day off to go to the Salto do Corumba waterfall, formed by the Corumba River that flows past Cocalzinho. We pass this fall all the time, on our way to Anapolis, Pirenopolis, and the little city of Corumba, but we’ve not been particularly interested in the recreation and camping area at the foot of the falls. We expected it to be unacttractive, unkempt and noisy, with trash left behind by weekend campers. But when we asked around in town people told us it was definitely worth a visit.
So after lunch in town we drove about ten miles to the entrance to the recreation area, paid our R$ 20 entrance fee (US$ 5.50 – half price for seniors), and wandered in to a delightful place, clean and nicely laid out and landscaped. Our main goal was the mile hike up to the base of the falls, along a well-developed but steep and rocky path. You’ll see from the photos that it was well worth the effort.
|Grace and Jaqi rest along the river below the falls.|
|Guy takes in the full view of the falls.|
February brought a crisis on the goat front: for weeks a lump had been growing on Nina’s flank, and we’d asked several neighbors to opine on it, receiving reassurance each time that it was no problem, it would come to a head and burst and then we should clean and treat it. When it finally opened, thick pus, hard, almost an inch in diameter, pushed out slowly.
|The access on Nina's flank comes open, releasing the thick cheesy pus.|
Guy checked our goat manuals and discovered the dire diagnosis: Caseous lymphadenitis (CLA), an uncurable, highly contagious disease that plagues goats and sheep, causing considerable damage to larger herds. We isolated Nina, called the city vet, and were somewhat reassured by his recommendations: keep her isolated, clean the pus out thoroughly, treat with antiseptics, give her a broadspectrum antibiotic, and sterilize the pen where she’d been with the other three goats. The short of the story is that soon our second goat developed symptoms and we isolated her as well. Our neighbor, experienced with sheep, took over their care, and several weeks later we are tentatively moving ahead with the understanding that we have infected goats, perhaps an infected herd (of 4), that can probably live a fairly normal life, with new goats and milk, as long as we take all the necessary precautions. An analogy I came across in our books, that living with caseous lynphadenitis is like living with tuberculosis, helps me to understand what we’re dealing with.
|These young trees still need to be watered during the dry season. Most of them are two or three years old.|
It ended up raining very little in February, but hopefully there were still the rains in March and April to reach the 150 cm we need to carry us over – the water table, the trees and pastures, the reservoirs that supply the cities and provide electricity – until the rains come again in September or October.