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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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opened between the closed grassy swamps, we were delighted with the appearance of the virgin meadows, which were distinguished from all other fields by the close equality of the grassy carpet, the delicacy of the tender graminea glabra, as we had never encountered before.

Gynerium

Local folk call them mimosa fields, and they are used for pasture of their numerous cattle. Here we first entered the livestock district, which in some ways is considered to be Switzerland in Brazil. Everywhere we stayed overnight, from then on, we were offered fat and tasty milk. The milk here has, during the humid season, the best qualities, which in the southern regions are found almost all year round; only in very prolonged droughts does it become viscous, thin and bluish. A cow gives from three to four liters of milk, and is milked only once in the morning. Very tasty butter is prepared, only during the first months of rain, in the “green weather”, as it is called.

Consumption of beef is the occupation of the sertanjos in this region and to the north it has a surprising effect on their energy and temperament. The merry, cheerful, happy spirit manifests in the features of these well-nourished, strong, hard-working people. The task of herding the numerous cattle, protecting them from the beasts, or leading them to the enclosures, demands stamina and physical strength, that in the warm tropical country must be admired like the robustness and the industriousness of the Nordic men.

Undoubtedly, in the uniformity of such jobs, many talents and tendencies of the spirit are undeveloped, and Piaui is uniquely distinguished by its naivete, without the boasting and prosaic spirit of the airy, polite and poetical man of Minas Gerais. After we had made an excellent meal in Terra Nova, on a farm of the Commander of Juazeiro, who welcomed us with much attention, in view of the isolation of the country, we still rode some leagues beyond, to the Bom Jardim Farm, where we stayed overnight near a large lagoon. A number of cooper frogs filled the room with their strange hammering sounds.

These thunderbolts seem not to fear the light, for at night they came in a bunch up to our fire, so that we could not sleep all night, with the task of shooing away such disgusting guests, and, furthermore, beset by thousands of virulent mosquitoes. The following three days of march, passing through the Farms: Amargosa, Cruz de Valerio, Mari, Anjical, Santo Antonio, Alegre, Anjico, offered nothing of note. In the early days we still found several small streams, which should flow into the Pontal Stream, but which, during the drought, run out, so like the latter. Ahead, the terrain was drier, alternating meadows with high

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