La Macoranata…

The local tradition in Codiponte when a roof is rebuilt is to invite everyone involved… builder, geometra, work-guys & neighbors… to raise a flag & serve-up a big pasta meal… La Macaronata!!! And, that is exactly what I did yesterday, Wednesday, the 28th of July, the day the last of the five roofs was topped-off.
The photos in descending order are…
The Italian flag…
Me & two neighbors, Sarah & Davide, serving a pasta I made with pin-wheel pasta & a sauce of pork, carrots & tomatoes…
My Construction Team of… Ennio, Our Builder; Tarcisio, The Renegade Flag Bearer; Marcello, The Magnificent with a bull-dozer: Tino, Il Bello & Our Plumber; Jonathan, il Jolly, who knows more TV tunes than any other person on the Planet; and, Our Geometra, Marco. All great guys!!! Oh! And, The Dog being served too.
And, my neighbors eating up 3 chilos of pasta!!! Gads.


In the groove…

The Medieval campanile of Codiponte… 
its charming set of bells ring in the hour & the half-hour… 24/7. Suddenly, I find myself counting off on my fingers the clangs… or, the clangs & a cling… to know the time. This is a godsend, since I crushed my cellphone… which functioned more as a watch than a telephone… while working in the garden a couple of weeks ago. I was trying to wrestle free one of my ancient boxwoods from the clutches of 30 year old & very rusty chicken wire. I won the game, when the metal finally gave way but, I lost the match, when I landed… PLOP!!!… on my out-size Scottish rear-end, pulverizing the NOKIA into a fragmented Time/Space Continuum. Naturally, I had put the phone in one of my jean’s back pockets. No great loss though. I always had to have my glasses handy to read the microscopic time in the tippity-top right hand corner. Hard to do when juggling a shovel, a hoe & swatting at flies, etc. Fingers & Bells are easier. 
And, the bells also chime the 10 minute alert for Mass. It’s a little ditty, somewhat akin, yet, slightly more sober than those tunes game shows use to cover the time it takes Barbara-Ann Kraminski from Battle Creek, MI to Come on down! and test her skills on The Price is Right. Boy! Am I showing my age.
But, what’s all the noise about at 7AM & 9PM? The Hour/Half-hour’s donging & the Mass’s little melody are substituted by a grand concerto of clinging & clanging & clonging for nearly five minutes. What a racket. Is it to sound out to the Codiponte Community the important Masses at 7 & 9? My grandfather, a rosary twisting faithful to the One True Faith, went to Mass every day at 7 but, never at night. He usually was on his 3rd gin & tonic by 9PM & aiming for his bed. On a visit to see Domenico… my Heavy-gardening Saviour… & his wonderful wife, Anna, they asked how I was getting along in Codiponte in between sips on a late afternoon caffe’. I complained that The Dog & I were having a hard time with the 7AM wake-up call. They chuckled. I said I always notice them from my bathroom window working in their garden-patch along the river around 7AM. It is a great convenience that my bathroom has a panoramic view of Codiponte. I can detect the latest Comings & Goings while otherwise occupied. They chuckled some more. Anna then said the  campanile’s pealings were to get us out of our beds & out into the fields. Make hay while the sun shines, I suppose. And, it’s best to hit the turf early when the thermometer reads 95+ by 10AM. The 9PM one is to get us back in our beds so won’t miss the next morning’s reveille. 
So now, The Dog & I are in the Codiponte groove. Gads.

My hiatus…

Yes, I have been too long absent from this blog. I do apologize. I am back now. However, I do have A Very Good Excuse. Please accept it.  I’ve been really busy with Il Poggiolo! 
And, rather than Bitching & Complaining & Pining-away about the travails of my stone farm-house in the Lunigiana from my air-conditioned roost in Genoa, I now have the luxury… perhaps, The Privilege… to do The BCP right on site.
La Casetta is finished. Well, almost. It is missing two radiators & some paint touch-ups. Che sara’ sara’! The house is quite comfy, a cool refuge from our 100+ degree heat. 
So, let me start to bring you up to date…
Watering, watering & more watering. It takes over two hours of tugging on a 160 foot long garden-hose over the crap the work-guys insist on littering… it will take all my strength not to mention the quantity of cigarette butts & plastic water bottles presently decorating the grounds of My Property… to sustain the 150+ plants, bushes & flowers I have sunk into the local Mother Earth from our globally warmed weather.  This is the Evening Shift. The Morning is blessedly shorter. The poor plants-in-pots cannot make it to 7PM what with The Heat & Humidity blowing.
My new rock walls… I reached the point when I could no longer tackle the jungle of roving vines, idiotic nocciola bushes… just another weed, in my mind… and other verdant paraphernalia running above the sentiero… or, pathway… up to the Castle in the borgo above Il Poggiolo. I was thoroughly disgusted too in confronting several varieties of wire fencing AND odd lots of tractor parts, mattress frames, etc. used to create a barrier… lo’ those many years ago… and mightily hidden in the greenery. I decided to call in the Local Calvary of Luigi & Domenico, two local septuagenarians of Herculean Strength & Ability in the Garden Clearing Department. By the way, it is NEVER Domenico & Luigi. No reason. It’s just the way it is. The two men were quite willing to clear away what disturbed me in the matter of two mornings, always from 7 to Noon. 
What remained was a glaring need for new rock walls. This required the stone mason bravura of a cute & gentle young man by the name of Denis. Yes, not a very Italian name, is it? It has been the fashion for the last 30 years to give English names which work with the Italian Sound System of Vowel & Consonant, such as Denis, Cristian (please, note the lack of an “h”) or Jonathan (why one name with an “h” and not the other is a mistero). Denis was quite willing to do me two walls without the benefit of cement or mortar. Yep. Fatte al naturale!!! He too knocked them out in the space of two mornings. However, he did have HELP. I played Assistant by transporting the stones in my new fangled heavy-duty plastic wheel-barrow. May I say? I will NEVER do that again in My Life!!! I was so worn out at the end of my day, I could barely get a glass of chilly white wine to my mouth, much less sip it. But, are they not beautiful rock walls? By the way, that fig tree in the background is ladden with ripe fruit just asking to be paired with a delicate & sweat prosciuto crudo di Parma. Aren’t I lucky?
have had many other adventures, but they are for future blogs.
In the meantime, feast your eyes on the work-guys attempting to move out of their way one of the massive tree-trunk beams before proceeding with rebuilding the last of the roofs of La Casa Grande. It took six guys and a complex arrangements of scaffolding to move the darn thing to its temporary home.  For this maneuvering, I just watched, thank you. Gads.