August 27, 2008
Above: Florencia and Carlos Caro, my in-laws, with our son, Esteban, on the farm
If this weren't in Argentina, the photo above would be almost like "American Gothic"…and I know I'm going to get in trouble for publishing a semi-unflattering photo of my mother-in-law, but I just love this photo–it is just exactly how they are. (Perdoname, Florencia, ya se que me va a regañar por publicar este foto de Uds., pero a mi me encanta!)
In town, my father-in-law is addressed as 'Don' Caro–a formal and very respectful way of addressing someone. He is known for being trustworthy, following through on his word, and being hard-working and fair. I know that he loves the earth and all it provides, that he takes great pride in his farm and the work done there, and that he adores trees and their fruit. He hires the same workers every year, and every year they grow plums, peaches, quince, apples and cherries to sell.
The farm didn't always belong to my father-in-law. He grew up there, and it was his parents farm. Carlos was the youngest of seven. He was the only one who stayed and worked the farm, the other siblings marrying off, starting their own families, sometimes in other provinces. When he married Florencia, she moved there with her mother-in-law, Carlos' mother. And it's where my husband and his brother grew up, too.
They got electricity on the farm when Guillermo was 7–that's in 1979, folks! Prior to that, water was hand-pumped, rather than forced from a generator. That also means no TV, and no indoor plumbing. Rustic! The farm should start getting city water this year.
When Carlos' mother died, all the siblings wanted their share of the farm, and wanted it to be sold. But Carlos, who had worked so hard all those years maintaining the farm and making it his own livelihood, refused. So over the next several years of hard work, he bought out his brothers and sisters. Now the farm is his, free and clear.
All of the above photos are plums sun-drying on cane mats on the farm. Later, the plums are boxed into wooden crates with 'CARLOS CARO' stamped on the side, and sold at market. To me, having this slice of farm life has been priceless, and I am so honored to be able to be a part of it, however small.
Many more beautiful photos of the finca to come!