Beans patch again…

IMG_4581Tonino has been diligently working in his bean patch. Sometimes on two shifts: morning and late-afternoon. I bet he is happy about today’s showers. Irrigating can be so time consuming, especially when there is garden architecture to construct. Those beans sure do grow!!! Gads.

 

One year ago today…

Earthquake in Lunigianaon the 21st of June of last year at 12:33PM the Earth shook. And it steadily shook for the next three months. Over 2,000 after-shocks above 2.0 on the Richter scale, the real & true terrorism of any & all earthquakes.

To belabor a point… you never want to be within even hearing distance of an earthquake, much less own a home a mile away. Trust me.

So, an anniversary. I grabbed a bottle of pro-secco and a bag of potato-chips… and if you are not aware of this: potato-chips are a miracle drug, bar none; the greatest invention of mankind… and I high-tailed it to Our English Friend’s a fare un brindisi alle crepe… or, to make a toast to the cracks! Gads, I felt better.

 

Pizza Party at Il Poggiolo…

IMG_4573Ever see inside a pizza oven? Well, here’s your chance. It’s the day-after… You & I hosted a Pizza Party last Saturday night. A Codiponte friend, who lives in Casciana above, if we must be precise, came & made pizza for us 10 hungry guests in every way, shape & form… focaccia all’erbe, focaccia al formaggio, focaccia al formaggio e speck, focaccia con prosciuto, pizza con rosmarino, pizza con salvia, pizza con tonno e cipolle, pizza con formaggio e wurstel… the quaint Italian & Euro-way of saying hot-dog… pizza con verdure, pizza con carciofi e prosciuto, pizza con mozzarella, pizza con olive e carciofi e prosciuto, pizza con salsiccie e formaggio… which, in my mind is the most visually stunning & tasty pizza there is… and more combos now long since eaten & enjoyed. We sat underneath the gazebo but had to flee after the meal of pizza when a huge thunderstorm struck. We had caffe’ & dessert on the Loggia while the Heavens struck lightening & the hills rumbled with thunder. We are going to do this again… senza la pioggia pero’. And, you are all invited!!! Gads.

A new addition to Our Complex…

There is nothing so dangerous as a store catalogue in You’s hands. The fine folk at IPER-COOP sent the darn thing for their summer kick-off… lawn chairs, sun-bathing chaises, picnic suits of wood tables & chairs… Oh! boy!!!… swimming-pool toys and several gazebos of various shapes & sizes. The 20 page paper flyer was actually address to me but, You stole it out of My Letter Box up in Genoa. Once he set his eye-surgeon eyes on the biggest of the lot, his heart was won. He just had to have it. I thought differently and am suffering mental & psycho-exhaustion for it. I managed to block for two months any idea of driving an hour to Sarzana’s IPER-COOP to buy the thing. Then, during You’s Five-Day Sojourn to Codiponte last weekend, I lamely suggested we might go to Sarzana for some shopping, intimating a possible look-see as the Gazebo of You’s Heart. We made it to the IPER-COOP and, rounding the corner of the Housewares Dept. there stood this cathedral-like gazebo. My heart stopped. Then, it revived and long enough for me to stutter out a No and I left. The next 24 hours were HELL!!! You and his bonnet’s burr made me black & blue from his endless rational for that Milano Duomo gazebo. I won’t bore you with the list. It’s long. I awoke the next day and said… so even The Dogs would understand… Let’s go buy that gazebo. BOOM!!! Dott. You was dressed, perfumed, shoed and had the AUDI”s keys dangling in his hand to hit the road to Sarzana. We are now the proud owners of this new addition to Our Complex… this is now the view our the Kitchen window…
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and, here is your-nose’s in it view…

 

 

 

 

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But my favorite is how well the gazebo functions to dry laundry when it rains. I’m sold!!! Gads.

 

 

 

Local lack of transparency, or…

I’ve lived in Italy for nearly 30 years and I still don’t get it. Not at all. What am I talking about? How Italians operate. There are Rules. I forget them. Rule Numero Uno is: I don’t think like an Italian. My excuse is I am an America. We are a direct, forthright people. We have nothing to hide… yet. The Italians do. That’s Rule Numero Due. They’ve learned to, otherwise, they’d be dead with their throats slit. That was years ago though… many years ago. Today, they get house arrest, nabbed by the tax authority or, worse still, ignored… Rule Numero Tre. However, I may have the numbers of the Rules mixed up because, The Most Important Rule for an Italian is: divulge as little info as possible!!! No matter who the other person is: mamma, papa, fratello, sorella, zii, fidanzati, colleghi al lavoro, persone sull’autobus, bank director… Carabinieri!!! It’s the bi-product of being a conquered peoples from Time Zero, I suppose.

So, what has provoked this tirade? A dog. You see, for the last few weeks, we of Codiponte have suffered the incessant barking of a dog once belonging to a man dead since January. His family… all women who live in another town on the other side of the hills from Codiponte. Paris is psychologically closer… have been entrusted by the man’s premature death in keeping his creature fed, watered & aired. Its constant barking indicates the opposite. The dog’s pen is full face towards the sun, propped against a rock wall which radiates even more the sun’s heat, the temps of late have hovered around 100F at 2PM and no-one has seen a soul go to this dog’s pen in days. The barking was non-stop.

A next door neighbor hunted me down the other evening… I made the mistake to be in the garden on the side closest to her glaring-yellow abode… to tell me we must do something, implying I must do something. Why me? I’m the foreigner. I shared her concern about the dog’s well-being, for I too have thought this animal is grievously neglected. The neighbor went on and on about her anxiety. That was all I was given to know. I asked why she just didn’t go straight to the women… she’s known them for ever & ever… and ask what’s being done for this dog. O! No, non potrei, non potrei a fatto. Lei deve farci questa favore. OK. I promised to speak to one, if not all, of the women.

I corralled the daughter of the dead man in her FORD before she sped off. I made my little speech about how concerned I was… and others too in the village… about the dog’s well-being, worried the barking was a sign of little or no care and asked how & when the family provided the dog with food, water & attention. The daughter assured me the dog was being given all which was necessary. The girl’s look told me she was lying. And that I had also crossed a line, mixed myself up in something which was none of my darn business. But, the dog?

I kept thinking why the neighbor hadn’t spoken directly to the family, if she was so torn-up about the dog. I had to resort to the Math. I thought back over the last five years of Our Residence in Codiponte, living between the neighbor and the family of women now minus-one-man. It dawned on me… from previous & odd-lots of info mentioned by others… that the neighbor already had a few bones of contention with this family about the unkempt land around the her house & yard: weeds 5 feet tall, threat of snakes, ugly to look at and domineering her anal-retentive perfection of a garden below all that mess. More math. They’ve been arguing years over water rights from the over-spill of the water supply we pay tons of money. The neighbor denied the family of women any right of passage to supply their land with water because, they had refused to sell her their piece of property. Spite, I suppose. These and a few additional reasons is why the neighbor refuse to talk to the women. She would have found herself embroiled in controversies she’d rather not have wished to confront… again. So, I unknowingly did her dirty work. And I looked the fool too. I should have just said… Si, si, si, si, si… and let the matter rest. But that dog? Yet, had she spoken plainly to me about the situation between the interested parties, of her not wishing to brew more ill-feelings, etc. I might have found a way to intercede over the dog without looking like an idiot stepping over an imaginary line I cannot see. But no. The neighbor respected her Italian roots, telling me as little as possible, A)… and B) getting me to do the dirty work. So now, I am the bad guy. Next time… it’ll be different. In the meantime, the dog’s barking has abated, maybe because, You helped prepare a week’s worth of dog-chow with the head of the family of women-minus-one-man. Gads.

 

 

Beans, beans…

Tonino, the little always smiling man in Codiponte is working on his bean patch and over a month late!!! He comes every morning at 8 AM, arriving in his vintage grey FIAT Panda…

a near perfect AND indestructible box-like car, which continues in production though 500-ed by head-honcho Marchione into a more fashionable conveyance. Drives like a truck too…

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to dig a morning’s worth of furrows, plant them with bean seeds, water them and then, head for home and out of Our Current 90F+ Heat. As seen in this photo, what has been planted is now sprouting… towards the lower left corner. Later, as those & other plants grow, Tonino will erect tall pylons… a gorgeous form of architecture made of cane & willow ties. The canes are stacked to Tonino’s extreme right. He’ll use one of them too!!! Though not quite up to the sky, like Jack and his bean stalks, the structure will be well high enough to change the landscape of the bean patch. So, stay tuned…

 

Indecent…

If any work needs to be done, it has to get done before Noon. Otherwise, it’s too darn hot. Yes, finally, the ambiguous weather of April/May has relented to an approaching Summer. One local Codipontesi told me that if the heat doesn’t hit fast, the vegetables will just grow roots and no vegetables. Gosh.

Most of my morning was dedicated to a quick run to the most perfect grocery store in the world, the one down Pallerone way.  Got back to Codiponte with an hour and a half remaining before the church’s 12 o’clock gong. I set to work immediately… changed the hose from one thirsty tree to another, moved the collected debris to the collected debris pile next to the legnaia. The following warrants mentioning…

You hates the legnaia. He wants to knock it down and build something more imposing. Fine, but he won’t be able to. I continually dump the collected debris next to it. I might be building a pyramid. Lots of collected debris.

…watered more thirsty plants in pots and, the biggest fun of the morning… bar none… was to BLOW with the blower the walkway… or, do I mean pathway?… from L’Appartamento Azzurro down to the aia… or, courtyard, where there was a major need to clean… down to the junction of the ramps to/from Il Poggiolo and the stone path which climbs up & around the house’s garden to the castle. The thing makes a lot of racket. And, if one could’ve spied on me, they would have seen a person… or, delinquent, it’s your choice… unable to control the POWAH OF THE BLOWAH!!! I was pretty dirty & sweaty as a result. Then…

I heard my name!!! From below arrived a three-some: a woman slightly resembling Meryl Streep… the Meryl from Out of Africa, by the delightful sound of her accent… a man slightly resembling Max von Sydow… has Max ever appeared in a comedy or short-pants?… and a young man resembling a happy & secure Tibetan. All sported lovely Swedish smiles. The woman introduced herself as a fan of this blog. But, look at me… I am a dirty, sweaty mess!!! And, a horrid thought occurred to me in my panic… When was the last time I had taken a shower? Lord, help me. She bravely high-fived me. This sort of incident has happened to me before with fans, discovered in a state of dishabille, while attending to My Duties. Once, just once, I would like to encounter a fan in a state appropriate to being il padrone di una bellissima casa nella Lunigiana and not looking like just another hired-hand. I miei indumenti sotto. Gads.

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