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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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and passports of foreigners en route to the interior of the land of gold) are, like all travelers, rigorously searched. To avoid this search, we took to the thick, deserted forests, reaching a solitary farm located not far from Paraiba. After we had rested ourselves and obtained all the interesting information from both the owner of the house and some Paraiba Registry mulattoes patrolling with rifles and sabers, we made preparations for the return trip and arrived again, passing through Sumidouro, to Mr. von Langsdorff's farm.

Mandiocca farm

During our stay at Mandioca farm, our kind host was visited by neighbors, who looked with wonder and not without envy at the rapid progress of his endeavors. Since the first attempt with the European plow to cut down and clear the soil of the burned trees was unsuccessful because of the clumsy handling by the workers and the lack of oxen trained for this purpose, it seemed to prove the failure of this European mode of cultivation on Brazilian soil.

Etching #16 Cut forest in province of Rio de Janeiro

Many had never seen a plow; others did not want to believe that the soil acquired fertility with the earth's revolving and chemical action of the atmosphere, saying that virgin forests, whose surface for thousands of years and always the same, offers the most fertile ground; others doubted that the oxen that Mr. von Langsdorff had ordered oxen from Minas that had the proper competence or endurance to sustain the burden of farming, even for a few days; others feared the expense of workers necessary for the service. However, it seems that the use of the plow in these and northern regions, which do not grow cereal grains and have not yet lost their original strength, is less recommended than in the provinces of Sao Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. In general the fruits of the field are not sown, but planted, so it is not necessary to prepare the soil so uniformly; the black man works more efficiently and easily with the hoe than would be possible with the plow, the use of which would be made more difficult among the innumerable roots and unburnt logs left in the field. Although our hospitable farmer at first only had about twenty blacks, he had already ensured that growing corn and cassava was more than enough for household use, so he also dispatched part of the produce to the city. His greatest hope, however, was based on the coffee plantation, which he had recently started.

Etching # 44 Coffee plantation

As evidence of the multiform freedom of his farm, he sometimes served us potatoes that had prospered excellently. In fact, the farmer cannot be blamed for these impediments of poor fertility and poor soil acceptance,

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