Dwindling stocks…

Though the Great Summer Heat-wave of 2012 abated, and miraculously right before Our Poggiolo Party 2012 on the 8th of September last, the afternoon temps still hovered at 80 – 85F degrees up until late last week. Night-time was a different, more normal story. The thermometer would actually dip to 50F. It was the only sign that… Yes!!!… there’s a Fall-ish nip to the air. Naturally, at the least provocation of COLD, a fire would be lit in the camino of the Appartamento Azzurro. I would trundle down to the cantina before the Cocktail Hour with a reusable plastic COOP grocery-bag to load up with an evening’s worth of lumber to bruciare… or, Burn baby, burn. The Dogs were My Faithful Companions in this exercise… Nina to get any cats about and Moses optimistic for a morsel of b-r-e-a-d. They greeted disappointment. I did not. The bag would be filled to near ripping with odd-lot pieces of il Poggiolo’s dismantled old roof to periodically stoke a good fire, chased with an excellent sparkling white wine and an interesting book. Shhh… n’er a word to You, please… I let The Dogs cram themselves into the tiny blue arm chairs he insisted on purchasing though I vigorously attempted to convince him that only his princely cullo… or, butt would fit. I was WRONG. A Weimaraner’s can too. Apparently, the lack of proper dimensions is well compensated by the fire-warmed feel of blue velvet. I should’ve known. Warmth is a Key Element to a Weimaraner’s well-being.

What has happened though? Three years ago, this cantina was filled to the hilt with burnable timbers. It took a local man… the husband of Our Cleaning Lady… ten sweaty days with a gas-powered buzz-saw to reduce it all… 5,000 square feet of planks & beams… into burnable sizes and neatly stacked too. Now, look at it. Nearly gone. And will be soon enough with a fire going 24/7, what with rain, cold AND occasional snow flurries in these days.

This Spring I will most definitely have to order loads of chopped wood for delivery in the Fall. This means I must figure out how many quintale di legna… or, ton of wood will get us through the Fall & Winter 2013. Yes, a ton of wood. The scary thing is it might be plural. Tons of wood!!! Besides the question of how many tons of wood can supply a couple fireplaces… or, four, if Our Plans hold fast… will I also have to rebuild the ramp around the Esseccatoio again… and for the fourth time in so many years… once the tractor has dumped its consignment of wood? Gads.

 

DR chairs…

A Before & After in the same moment. How about that?

It’s raining outside. The Protezione Civile has declared an Alarm #1 for flooding. Gosh. It’s even supposed to snow tomorrow!!! But, a rainy Saturday is perfect to stay inside with two utterly bored Weimaraners and paint DR chairs while listening to opera. I gave Haydn’s a try. What fun, no? The chosen paint color is Our Signature Grey to subtly blend in with the Other Grey of the Dining Room/Ping-pong/Other Table. The DR chairs were tugged out of the trash by You-know-who…

Let me say something about dragging stuff out of trash piles…. garbage dumps… refuse heaps and their ilk. I am not in favor of it. Flea-markets, OK. Antique shoppes. Even better. I figure both places have had the things, at least, de-bugged. Not so for a trash pile, etc. And, the particular trash pile where You spotted these finds is one of the more notorious, filthy, disgusting refuse locations in the entire city of Genoa. It’s down by the port. Says it all right there. I tried to verbally FORBID the chairs retrieval but, to no avail. When my pleas were not respected. I had to resort to Physical Action. I drove off. You, drooling, marched the block and a half to Our Garage. He did so twice since, he couldn’t carry the three abandoned chairs in one trip. Odd lot, 3. Another mark against the escapade. Oh! We have two garages. One for You and one for me. Guess in which garage the 3 went into? Gads.

Garden labors…

Four days of back-braking & hip-antagonizing frustration with My Gardening Tasks before the rains hit this coming weekend. The Game Plan was…

to group all the peonies to one shady location under the vimini tree… it’s that denuded fountain of willowy limbs in the photo. The result is that grotesque dark-brown swatch stopped only by The Good Graces of a pathetic Dogwood Tree on the right…

re-locate a Japanese maple from its sun-scorched perch near the legnaia… or, wood-shed… which is next to the back entrance to il Poggiolo by making A New Home for it with an odd assortment of Plant Life… lavender, hydrangeas & a creepy-crawler ground cover whose name I did not catch from Our Nursery Signora. The J-maple is on the right in the photo. Poor thing. I want it to revive only to prove You WRONG. He animatedly tried to discourage its purchase. Currently, the J-maple’s leaves have curled & browned…

and, to plant an Appalachian tulip magnolia You proudly bought from a friend’s nursery in Udine, Italy. Ever hear of that place? I knew about it but was quite unaware of its local industry of exotic nurseries on every corner on every road in the district. The tree’s leaves resemble an oak’s on steroids. It is on the left in the photo.

My Objective was to create a je-ne-sais-qua melange of trees & flowers along La Casa Grande’s Eastern facade. But, I hate that dark-brown swatch of the peonies. I would’ve left the grass and just made holes to sink the peonies into but, neither You nor I were particularly diligent this past Summer Season with scissors to clip around many of Our Flowering Plants. Oh, I have tried to be careful with the weed-whacker & lawn-mower, however, My Record is marked with a long tally of mechanical decapitations… the peonies suffering near extinction. And, Life is too short to be constantly nominated by You as The Culprit.

Perhaps with Time, My Hoped for Melange will come to be as things grow & mature… and thrive?

Yet, I am so discouraged and so much so after pushing… UP A BLOODY HILL, no less!!!… ten wheel-borrow loads of debris which resides a mere 20 inches below the tufts of grass where I was digging on La Spianata… or, Our Scenic Overlook of a lawn… Shhh!!!… to A Secret Dumping Location off site. I am at the end of My Tether with confronting this aspect of Gardening at il Poggiolo. I rather like taking shovel to earth to make a nice deep hole to place one of Mother Nature’s flora. I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE unearthing terra-cotta shards, pieces of marble pavers, plastic, metal, iron, wire, pieces of tarp though its reason d’etre is a necessary fact of hydraulic engineering. If there wasn’t that detrius the Scenic Overlook would have washed away two years ago with all that rain we had. Porosity is the key to erosion. Did you know that? I found out and it nearly breaks my back dealing with it. Gads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goblets…

Cleaning up after a weekend of guests… yes, the very ones who had brought that engeniously successful ping-pong set… I found myself re-arranging stuff in the mega-large armoire in La Sala da Pranzo della Casa Grande. I stopped folding cotton napkins… actually, dish-rags bought at IKEA for 50 cents ea…. to admire one of the Best Birthday Gifts a fellow could get…

a German girl-friend AND Invaluable Kitchen Assistant for il Poggiolo Party 2012 last September… brought & presented me a mix of 60 crystal goblets. She’d picked them up for a few cents ea. at a flea-market near her home in Mannheim. What a find!!!

My admiration turned to delight thinking about how nifty the goblets were for Our Party. Practically none are the same so, no prob for Our Guests to remember whose goblet was whose. And, thanks to the minimum investment on the part of My German Girl-friend, c’est la vie when one shattered on the stone pavers of the aia. We lost only 5!!! A miracle.

Later, I enjoyed deliberating upon which 1 of the 60 to fill for an end-of-the-day white wine. Lucky. There’s a goblet to satisfy any mood OR inclination. What a wonder. Gads.

 

Ping-pong dinner…

Some old friends from Milan came to visit us at il Poggiolo this past weekend. Their entourage included two teenagers. Anticipating possible bouts of boredom during the 24 hour stay, the Mom saw fit to pack a ping-pong set… adapted-to-any-table net, paddles & balls. The only table available for play was the dining room table in La Casa Grande. We had a lovely Saturday afternoon pranzo…

which was followed by The Codiponte International Ping-pong Tournament. The Adults blew away the Teenagers!!! Gads.

Workroom…

What’s going on here? A day’s work…

laundry drying in the afternoon sun. Sheets & towels after My Brother’s & Sister-in-law’s visit earlier in the week and the Sardinian wool rug from the Appartamento Azzurro, the victim of Moses’ post-strychnine nocturnal incontinence. These days, it takes most of the morning for the sun to shine upon the aia, it’s mid-October trajectory is so low in the Fall sky. The consequence is the Borgo del Castello above il Poggiolo gets in its way.

The lawn-mower, removed from its hiding place inside the Esseccatoio, is thawing out. Moisture accumulated in its humid abode has to evaporate before the machine thinks of starting. Later, it did and I cut the 9″ tall grass from my two week hiatus from Garden Chore #1. Always an immense Sense of Satisfaction to see l’erba tagliata. Gives the impression someone actually lives at il Poggiolo.

A blue & green grocery sack is resting against a former roof beam waiting for me to fill it up with other pieces from the old roof for a roaring fire later in the evening. You says I spent all the money I did on il Poggiolo so I could have a fire going 24/7. He’s right. I did. I do.

And, finally, an old door propped on saw horses as an external work surface for painting. The many white pieces of plywood will soon be landscapes… studies for larger pieces of artwork.

I can work in Peace on the aia. No You to complain about the Disorder & Confusion. Gads.

 

Season for marmalade…

There are many things to appreciate about Fall… a certain nip in the morning air calling for a jacket & scarf; sparkling nights skies filled with so many stars, how can you pick out your favorite constellations? dogs curled-up & snoring on their individual mattresses, while I read a thick historical tome in front of a roaring fire; and, the honied colors of Fall’s fruit… the persimmon… ornaments of Nature’s abundance until… walking up to open the door to the Appartamento Azzurro with a load of groceries & two dogs on leashes…

KAAHH-WHAMPH… SCHPLAT!!! A near-miss from a falling persimmon.

The fruity projectile just couldn’t help itself. The fruit matures to an encapsulated & juicy mush ready to either EXPLODE or DROP, by the way…

the Italians love to eat them, You to the Vanguard. They’re called cachi. Peculiar name. Too close to another which is plain gross & disgusting & akin to how I feel about the persimmon. The pulp tastes like soap too. You hates the face I make when I have to eat one. If I can help it, this event occurs only once a year, usually, at some festive table of a persimmon-loving Italian host obligating me to take a bite. Euw, yuck!

until they do.

Once splatted-down onto Mother Earth, the persimmon jells into a dangerous runny marmalade, if not picked-up AND thrown immediately into the trash bin. All it takes is a lonely & dark night… Who forgot to leave an outside light on, You?… to a… WHOOOAAH!!!… Slip & Slide & Fall to a dignity-ruining & shin-bruising head-on with a conveniently located stone wall.

Then, come the fruit flies. Clouds of them. Drawn from kilometers away to savor the pulpy buffet. More marks against the persimmon.

The previous owner’s solution was a plastic corrugated awning supported by wooden stilts. Sounds quaint but, it wasn’t. The ripe fruits rolled off the awning into a pile at the stilt’s feet. I tore the impromptu structure down three years ago. One of the first things I did too. Way ugly to move forward with. One fine day, on an Inspection Tour with You, I chattily suggested cutting the persimmon tree down and planting a more benign member of the deciduous family for shade & garden decor. You reacted as if I intended to deport the Madonna to a retirement home in the Philippines. He countered with netting on poles to catch the deluge of persimmons. The menace grows as I write. Knowing full well the weight of a basket of persimmons, the net & poles might require the services of an engineer and a loan from the European Union and, this is NOT the Time to ask for money from anyone these days. So, tomorrow, I will lug ladder to the site and handily cut down all the fruit I can reach with a pair of cutters, making The World… or, at least Mine… clean of marmalade. Gads.

Recent flora acquisitions…

You went plant shopping last weekend and far, far away from either of Our Homes, in Genoa OR Codiponte. Ever hear of a place called Udine? Eeets abowv Venezia! OK. Yes. Fine. Nearly in Austria, if up on Your Geography. There You ran into and bought from the excursion three plants. Odd AND exciting choices too. One is an oak-leaf Japanese Tulip tree. You told me it is indigenous to Indiana. What? Indiana barely has grass!!! And, two of the same example of a hydrangea I have never laid eyes upon with such leaves… green bordered in a creamy white. Curious to see the flowers to erupt from such stalks. May I say? You was very proud. It is now My Task to find an Earthly Home for these. Thanks to yesterday’s long rain… cannot say it was hard but, the clouds just didn’t spit O2 drops or two… I should have no prob digging. Before Sunday, I would’ve needed a jack-hammer. Must still play Gardner with peony & iris bulbs and to displace to a cooler home after a long hot summer a suffering Japanese Maple AND to sink into Mother Earth three Canadian climbing vines along La Casa Grande’s Eastern Facade. I can already feel the blisters. Gads.