Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Porco! And the loggers.

This is just a quick post today. Last weekend our lovely neighbours, Joao and Eugenia (who have fed us with lavish generosity at least one meal every day for the last 4weeks plus coffees and cakes and and and...), killed their 2 pigs early on a Sunday morning. It was difficult for us city folks with our vegetarian tendencies to deal with the proximity of the death of the animals we'd actually known, even if only for a little bit. But equally it was a remarkable occurrence to witness, because of the energy and life that the death of the pigs released to the family and wider community in the process. The meat will feed their family for a long time so it was a big deal. It was also both an impressive and exhausting biannual ritual for our neighbours. For the next 3 days, from morning til night, 6 or 7 people were in their house cutting and chopping and stuffing to make an enormous quantity of various kinds of chorrizo sausages, some with onions, some with bread, some just with the meat.

They are an outstanding family who we feel honoured to be getting to know. Joao has worked on this land his whole life and Eugenia knows all the medicinal qualities of the local plants here. They are teaching us so much every day, including, with immense patience how to actually speak Portuguese. They are a godsend in so many ways. Anyway, this is the video of Eugenia's incredible mother, Albertina, just minutes after gutting both pigs, shown in this clip with her 17 year old grandson Filipe. This little piece made all of us giggle, as I tried in vain to encourage Albertina to say a few words after the slaughter of the pigs. As you will see, she stoically resisted, saying nothing until the last moment when, with all her might, still waving a pretty sharp knife, she exclaimed just a single word. "Porco!" Or Pig, in Portuguese. Spectacular timing. Watch that knife. I was moving backwards the whole time, trust me.

And here's a brief skit from the kids too. Sorry for the swearing involved in this clip. Blame the home education for the exuberant levels of confidence beginning to be exhibited.

One final clip we had to take, as we drove on the winding road to Oleiros last week, we noticed these 2 huge machines chewing their way through the Eucalyptus forests. It was sad to see the trees destroyed so easily like this, but also somewhat amazing to see what machines in the hands of skilled operators can do. As you can tell we are learning heaps about rural life.

Next posts, I promise to update you with pictures of Sara and To's wedding and our 25th April Revolution weekend celebrations with Raquel and Francisco on his 91 cow, 250 hectare farm in Alintejo. Also met 2 new remarkable and delightful English neighbours yesterday just over the mountain top towards the Rio Zezere valley, Iain and Merle, who are planning to set up a tipi retreat there over the next few years. Will tell you more about all these adventures next time.

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