You and the weather…

20150525_170958_resized_120150525_170641_resized_120150525_170627_resized_120150525_170947_resized_1 20150525_170858_resized_1Yes, it’s been a good season for flowers this year. It sure has. Best yet in the 6 years we’ve been at Il Poggiolo. I ought not complain. But the Weather gives me so much to complain about. It’s hard not to. We are on a schedule of 1 day of sun… sort-of/maybe/kind-of… to 6 of clouds and cold. Yes, cold. This past Saturday, I had to turn-on the electronic kerosene heater to take the chill out of the air in the salotto of La Casa Grande.

20150525_171015_resized_1The Dogs & I are camping there. Dog Central, as You calls it. I think You is embarrassed by this. I don’t know why. Well, I do but it’s embarrassing to write. Shhh… You’s a bit con-ven-tion-al. A flaw. Rarely does he see my bed un-made. However, he did the weekend of his birthday. He let out that typical Italian male grunt of disapproval. It’s a combo of a deep-throated thump and a basso-profundo growl. Unpleasant, to say the least. But then, that’s the point, ain’t it? Behaviour-mod all’italiana. Doesn’t work. It only make him appear stupid. Dogs snicker? Yes, they do. Naturally, I cover for them by being Bright and Cheerful. The Dogs and I steadfastly remain in our respective posti nel salotto regardless of any thumping growls. Those two D’s in their commandeered flea-market wing-backs sleeping or licking their chops and me stretched-out and under the covers on one of the sofa beds reading My Book.

Like the sun, You is hardly around at Il Poggiolo. We get him for one weekend out of every month. There are these darn updates seminars the Italian Health Ministry… a joke. The HM issues only paper-work and not issues of health… obligates You to attend them. He can’t ditch either. There’s a test at the end and if he passes, the HM gives him a Gold * for each and every passing grade at Review Time. When it is an off-weekend, he comes to Il Poggiolo, runs us ragged for 36 hours and then leaves. Much like the crappy weather… it comes, spits rain and then the rain leaves us to shiver with the clouds and in the cold. I need to give some attention to the flowers. How can I when one or the other impedes my task? Gads.

Our summer’s weather…

Not that I am a farmer, far from it, but I do watch & worry about the weather. My favourite grandmother, who WAS one and responsible for acres and acres and acres of agricultural land in the fine State of South Carolina, began each letter to me with a description of the most recent weather. Then, she’d change subjects by encouraging me to get better grades in school. She was an elementary school teacher back in nought-seven. Her messages always concluded with… C-‘s are not acceptable. You CAN do better. Your father was a good student and never got a C- in his life. Oh, well… Can we please go back to talking about the weather?

IMG_4447This past weekend’s weather forecast was not a good one for the arrival of You, a favoured niece and her new boy-friend. These last two were instantly indentured to working in the kitchen to prepare meals. They seemed happy to do so. You proceeded with a new Garden Inspection. Those spiffily dressed Capitani del Meteo at RAI-TV had predicted a 70% chance of rain showers for Friday night and all day Saturday. OK, we’ll move furniture around. What we got instead was last summer’s cap of heavy, sodden clouds, muggy temps and NO RAIN!!! Yet, had we hopped over the hill to Monzone and Gragnola, we would’ve discovered that they and their sister villages all got a soaking. Those same meteorological geniuses had also predicted a splendidly sunny Sunday. At least that. But no. The sun did not splendere until we had exited the autostrada back in Genoa on our return to urban civilisation. It was cold too.

I’m a pessimist and I fear the worst for Our Summer 2015. I think the weather wants to tug back to last year’s boring bouts of short-spells of s-u-n and HOT, HOT, HOT weather and LONG, LONG, LONG stretches of cloudy, muggy days with NO RAIN!!! The wonderful lady in Codiponte, who helps me in il Poggiolo’s garden… she specialises in roses while her husband prunes the fruit & olive trees… complained to me of fungus, as we tied new bamboo to the rose pergola on the ramp beside the Esseccatoio. Her complaining included comments on last year’s grape & olive vendemmie. They were non-existent, thanks to the fungus invasion brought on by pollution mixed with humidity and not enough s-u-n. Her summation was to point to a nearby hedge of pitosfero… a waxy leaf plant with a small creamy white flower packing a power-scent of honeysuckle… to demonstrate the fresh tell-tale signs of fungus. Yep. Yellowed leaves with tiny brown spots. Fungus. I HATE it. Means I’ll have to spray and soon. Gads.

Storming weather…

…or, that’s what You calls rainy weather. The Italians, as a race and You is at the forefront, HATE rain. Even a drop of 02 from the Heavens Above threatens their benessere to a degree not seen in other peoples. Perhaps its their biblical fear of another 40 days/40 nights of flooding. Chissa? You is ALWAYS in a foul humour when any kind of precipitation is predicted or manifested. He demonstrated this just this morning, when I called to wish him a Buon Giorno. It was raining outside his hospital as we spoke. Frankly, I was surprised that he was even near a window. Eye doctors work in the dark. Well anyway, I talked, the other groaned. No storming here in Codiponte. Little sun, lots of water filled clouds racing by a 20 mph and that amazing blue sky of late, clouds etched with white, the black of the chestnut hills…

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Your just does not know what he is missing with his little fear of getting wet. Gads.

Black & rainy Monday…

Last Monday… and may the 10th of February 2014 be forever chiseled in History… incessant & heavy rains struck Genoa. Alerts were also sounded throughout Northern Italy, the Lunigiana included. OK. The Dogs & I could stay in. I must paint, write blogs, nap. Well, I could until those 2 Weimar-dogs refused to tolerate being cooped-up inside any longer and started to hound me. Their dual enthusiasm for going outside died as soon as they Sniffed & Saw what was truly waiting for them beyond the big doors to the apartment building. They bolted for the elevator and home, somewhere above. And, may I say to defend myself? Lined nylon rain-jackets are of little consequence to a Weimaraner, when it rains. What runs through their brains is… Rain is rain and is to be avoided. And, so be it.
While munching on a quickly made tuna-fish salad sandwich, I called several of Our Codiponte Friends to have first-hand accounts of The Big Rain Day 2014…
I punched… remember the days when you dialed a telephone number?… Our Dutch Friend’s cellphone… remember when the only phones were plugged to a wall socket?… and she answered while standing in an absolute deluge on a precipice overlooking rushing rain-water where once was the short-cut trail to her house from the state road below. I told her in a rather urgent, even dictatorial, tone of voice to head for drier territory, i.e. the safety of her home and rang off.
I next called Our English Friends. I had not yet caught them at home to confirm Our Attendance at a Sunday Luncheon with them on the 23rd of February. Calling at lunch-time and during a rain alert heightened the probability of finding them at home. They were.
The Friend who answered gave a very worrisome report. The rain was so intense, there was a background roar on the line, making it hard for either of us to understand the other. The Friend persisted, excusing for the noise from the rain pounding the roof & stone pavements outside the room’s only window, adding that she could not see a thing beyond the sill. She continued… earlier in the morning, she had gone out in her FIAT to buy some missing provisions, but turned around out of fear from the ruckus of the rain hammering the roof of her car… I couldn’t even think to drive!… and much less to see the road, with so much water pouring off the escarpments onto the state road. Just before I had called, a neighbor had braved the foul weather to come to tell Our English Friends of landslides blocking the state road in both directions thus, nearly completely isolating Codiponte. I said I had gotten the watery picture and rang off with hopeful words for better weather on the 23rd.
I then made the tactical error of calling a relative of one of You’s hospital colleagues, who also happens to live in Our Village of Codiponte at the foot… or would it be feet?… of the grotesque Commie House. Dire, dire, dire! Torrential & unceasing rains since the day before, the Aullela River cresting its banks, mud-slides everywhere isolating the village, rivers of water pouring down streets… all the way to describing how her garbage dumpsters were now nearly completely submerged with rain-water. Pretty agitated after the 10 minute spiel of Woe Is Me & The Sky is Falling… in buckets… I rang off whispering Thanks Be To God I was not down at Il Poggiolo.
The rains eventually ceased in Genoa towards what would have been the 10 o’clock News Hour, if I lived in the Midwest of the US. I don’t. And, I am very glad I don’t. Way too much COLD & SNOW for me. In the quiet and what was to us the dead of night, my cellphone rang. Who’s calling so late? It was the Colleague’s Relative calling to inform me there was also an earthquake tremor at what was the Italian News Hour of 8 o’clock PM. 2.9 on the Richter Scale. And with that, I said My Prayers and bid the world A Good Night. Gads.

Freezing views…

1C degree today. Yesterday, -4C degrees. And the day before yesterday, -2C degrees. The Apuane Mtns. under a mantel of snow from last weekend. It’ll be washed away soon. A frozen Fish Pond which saves me from feeding those critters now in heavy winter sleep. But who should care when Mr. Sole shines like he has a monopoly on those sunny rays.





IMG_4044This Big Freeze of November 2013 forced me to lug-in all my potted-plants into non-sub-zero safety. These gardenias, nearly exterminated last winter when their semi-transparent coverings flew off during a series of snows-storms, are in the Stanza dei Tini. Huddling to be warm. Sun-light does filter in through a small window. Other plants are in You’s Kingdom… that’ll be appreciated!!!… or, in the Kitchen, where the shutterless Front Door acts like a green-house, more or less. This confuses The Dogs no end. They look at me to ask why Their Eating Area is cluttered so with greenery. I’d explain but, it’s easier to feed them & then flee on a W-a-l-k. Gads.


Last week’s sky…

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From Sunday, the 17th of November until today, Monday, the 25th of the month, a medley of last week’s skies over Il Poggiolo. A predominance of grey, I would say. Gads.

Snow in them there hills 2…

I wanted to shoot these sights while out with The Dogs yesterday on Our W-a-l-k around Codiponte. We have several tours. The Dogs tell me which one they want to do. Naturally, their decision is based upon where the most stinky smells are. 9 out of 10 times, its one of several groups of dumpsters around Our Community. I had left the camera at home. And, once home, it started to rain hard… sleet some… and snow a little bit so, I postponed the attempt. Today, a light drizzle so, no problem. The digital camera was buried deep in a jacket pocket. And, ecco!… I took these photos. I happen to like what the snow clouds do to the colors of Our Neck of the Lunigiana woods. Meanwhile, back at Dog Centrale at L’Appartamento Azzurro, The Dogs staid cozy warm next to the home fires. It would be








helpful to stoke those fires by themselves. They aren’t just for me, you know. I keep them roaring for them too. Gads.

P.S. Behind that lumpy & frosted peak in the right-hand photo is the Mediterranean Sea!!!

Snow on them there hills…

IMG_4027Well, to repeat myself, it’s back to The Weather… Sardinia was knocked low by a cyclone. I don’t think the folk here apply the word hurricane to the Mediterranean Sea. Using the word cyclone though sounds so…? So…? Well… so Homer’s Iliad! The storm system hit the mythic isle during the night between Tuesday & Wednesday. By Noon, the NE corner of Sardinia was a wash-out. It’s Friday today and it is still raining on that not-so-dry island. As You would say… Beeeg devastations. Yep. Enormous. Then, the cyclone down-graded itself by a notch & moved on over to the Italian mainland. Can a boot-like peninsula be taken for a mainland? The forecasts on the Internet said rain… wind… sleet… and snow. They failed to explain with their cute little symbols just how much force, intensity, damage all those cute little climatic expressions would be. Let me present an example, here at Il Poggiolo in Codiponte (MS) Tuscany, Italy….during a pause with the various forms of precipitation last night, I thought it might be appropriate to exit L’Appartamento Azzurro for a much retarded Pee-pee Run. This decision was made by the light of candles. Yep. Chronic power outages. Thank God, You had insisted we stock lots of IKEA candles. The lack of electricity sent My Internet Connection all to Hell. Anyway, escaping on a full-fledged W-a-l-k might have pushed it. Out, pee-pee, in. Well, The Dogs REFUSED to leave their poltrone!!! Spoiled animals. Feeling that Our Window of Opportunity might be short-lived, I grabbed Nina & directed her fanny out the apartment’s door… and BLAASSSST!!!… off she flew. It was a brusk landing for Our Little Girl. She tumbled towards the glass damigelle. I immediately went to fetch her and got kicked off My Still-Awkward-Sense-of-Balance by the gale, thanks to My Recuperating Bum Right Leg. I was bashed against the rock wall where all those hydrangeas were withering in the cattivo tempo. I was twirled around, fell… onto the Good Leg, Bless the Responsible… managed to pick myself up, rescue the be-thunked Dog and return to the safety of Our Home. That did it. Not until we had passed a rough night of waves & waves & waves of thunderstorms furious with rain, hail & winds, did we three even think to go outside… into a semi-bright day on this Friday’s morning. It’s only a break. More R-W-S-S is envisioned until Sunday Noon. Can we resist until then? Gads.

New bent on G-Warming…

I’ve been thinking. What else can I do? Well, I MIGHT try to wreck my hip… and back too… by mowing Il Poggiolo’s grassy terraces, i.e. Our Lawn. But then, there would be an Italian Hell to Pay with You. He’s a Catholic, you see, and a Great-uncle was a pope. So, I am weary to trudge upon delicate territory. Still, it is tempting and the grass is nearly at the mower’s Max Height… or, Syndrome. The calendar says we are heading rapidly for the middle of November and the grass is growing like it’s the middle of June!!! While dealing the Temptation of Sin, I’ve been watching The Weather & thinking about Global Warming. Here below is a brief photographic medley of today’s sky above My Beloved Il Poggiolo…











and so on and so forth. Do you get My Drift? Completamente squillibrato il tempo!!! Un prodotto di caldo e umidita’. And this cavalcade of clouds with dashes of blue has been The Weather Story since My Birthday back on the 7th of September. It is English Weather. Perhaps, Russian too. It is NOT Italian. Or, at least, NOT what I was lead to believe was Italian Weather in all those solare Sofia Loren movies… I love the one with Clark Gable. Adorable and there was unending sun… I took in before boarding a TWA B-767 for sunny So, fairly quickly today, My Thought Process arrived at this notion…

what if The Weather Norm IS a prolonged Indian Summer, right on through to March-April? Remember, You & I ate out on the Dining Loggia on New Year’s Eve 2012 with Our Guests. All of us were in shirt-sleeves and had been since Christmas!!!… and really! While I am at it: why disparage those fine native folk as the responsible persons for climatic exceptions? All they did was chase buffalos & dance for rain which, apparently, worked by all indications in the many John Wayne movies I also took in during My Formative Years. Great invention the 4 O’clock Movie on TV. Watch a flick then, it’s time to eat!!!… or, a Beeeg Freezing in March, flood waters & mud-slides in May, three snow-falls in the one month of January 2013, etc. and that we’ve just been spoiled… lulled… duped into believing that, as an example, today, Saturday, November 9, 2013, a high of 76F is grotesquely off-kilter for… Hey! It’s Fall? Where’s the cold, man? I have The Sneaking Feeling The Weather these days is thoroughly tutto regolare… tutto normale. Nuts is the Norm. What do we do? Prepare for more climatic fun, I suppose. Gads.

P.S. I mowed. Hip is OK. My back is not. Such odds no-one wins. Am united with pills.