Saturday, July 30, 2011


That’s the name of the goofy looking cows.  Rancho da Matinha’s cattle are breeding stock and they are obviously handled a lot.  Most of them act on the quiet side of “normal” for cows but some of them are like great big dirty white puppies.  They come up to the fence to look at us and one even snuggled up to have its head, neck and ears scratched.  I had to be careful I didn’t get a big sloppy cow kiss from that one.  There is a limit to what I’ll do for any employer, including Growsafe.

This project came together remarkably quickly because these people are so obviously eager to have the system working and because they clearly see it as a step forward for the ranch.  Sometimes when I get to a job it is apparent that the working hands resent the new equipment.  They may feel threatened but more often I think they view it as just one more thing that they will have to do and one more damn piece of equipment to break down and be repaired.  That is so obviously not the case here.  I’m sure there will be breakdowns and when they happen there will be a cultural and linguistic divide as wide and deep as the continent that separates us from this place.  But for now its all smiles and eager participation to get the project finished.

On the language front I’m finding that I can just about communicate in Portuguese.  My Spanglish is getting me through and fortunately I’ve got an eager guide who officially works for the Brazilian government but who is unofficially my host, tour guide and translator this week.  Sometimes though there’s still a lot of hand waving (and wringing) on my part.  I like people who do real work and who know their stuff and for some reason I always seem to be able to get along with that type of person.  They’re in abundance in this group and the novelty of meeting a Canadian doesn’t hurt either. 

The cultural/language thing is going to heat up considerably next week though.  I’ve been kind of coddled here at Rancho da Matinha with no need to function in the larger Brazilian society outside the bounds of this admittedly large ranch.  Once I leave here I’ll be on my own so the story may change.  Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your blog is even interesting when you are away from the DeFever.

My statement above is colored by the fact that the in laws own and farm four thousand acres in west central Iowa.

My FIL is 85, in bad health, my MIL is dead, and my wife has an unmarried sister who works as a school teacher. I’m the only male and I earn my living as a cnc machine shop owner. My education is a degree in Naval Architecture.

I learn as much as I can every year during planting and harvesting. I’m going to be depending on the hired hands. They have been there for 20 years.

Seed corn, commercial corn, and seed soybeans. Sigh, just last year I learned not to walk between a trailer and a truck at night. Hurt like hell!!

DeFever 40
Palm Coast FL.