Thursday, June 19, 2008

Garden Gadget Man

For us the strimmer is great tool. But of course, no sooner have you cut the “elephant” grass – well it sure looks like it – it seems to double its effort to grow. This of course means that more cutting is required. Now, we, that is the duchessa (as she is now insisting she be called) and I (l’uomo chi fa or the man who does), agreed that for this year, we would cut and keep maintained the areas under the vines and the trees. You know how sometimes you make a rod for your back? Well, in the duchessa’s eyes at least, I have done such a fantastic job and the trimmed areas look so wonderful, that she now wanted the rest of the “estate” looking as good. We held some discussions on this. It should be stated that the duchessa majors on the talking part of discussions and I major on the listening and head-nodding. As per usual a compromise was reached whereby all the grass has now been cut. However, I will be having a couple of bonfires over the next few days, rain permitting. I might even get a couple of pics to show you. There’s exciting – think Welsh accent here.

Large Green Things

The zucchini and citrioli (courgettes and cucumbers) are, along with every other green thing, growing like billyo. The leaves are massive. From where I am sitting they look like leathery wings of some prehistoric flying animal that we have got caged up. We had quite a big storm the other day and some of the leaf-stems just twisted and bent in the wind. We do not know if this will affect their fruit bearing. Only time will give us this answer.


Despite the wet weather we are doing quite a bit of Enning at the moment. Unfortunately our neighbour seems a bit under the weather (excuse the pun) as we have not seen so much of her in her garden. When we do see her she does seem a little tired and weary. Perhaps she is grieving over the poor performance of the Azurri in the Euro 2008 competition. However they had a good result the other night against France that has set them up against Spain in the next round.
Anyway, she, and her sons in her absence, have been spraying the tomatoes and vines with stuff they call here Ramata. It is actually known in the trade as Bordeaux Mixture which has copper sulphate as its active ingredient. Actually, if you Google Bordeaux Mixture (I hate turning nouns into verbs but this one is now so common) you can find out the origin of the name which is quite an interesting story.
So, naturally, we got some too and sprayed our plants following the mixing instructions carefully in our fairly loose understanding of written Italian. Our plants were covered in a very pleasing pale, pale pastel shade of cornflower blue. This looked nothing like our neighbours, which looked as though she had painted on navy blue paint – a real Stalinist job. Again, we have had a nagging question of does this woman know what she is doing?
Well, as we thought of this, we were brought back to a time a couple of years ago when she presented us with one of her tomatoes. It weighed in at just over 900 grams. It tasted quite wonderful and was so juicy. So, does she know what she is doing? Of course she does, you silly people. We are out with the paintbrushes tomorrow.


I have been reading recently about some people who had a bit of a mishap in the South Pacific and ended up on an island to escape shark-infested waters. The trouble with the island was that, apparently, it was a favourite seaside playground for Kimodo Dragons which are some sort of rather large lizards. Although not poisonous they are big enough to give you a good seeing to with fatal results. I suppose if it was a toss up between a Great White sniffing your toes as an appetizer whilst you splash about in water or taking a chance on dry land, hoping the nasty Kimodos would be too occupied ogling the other Kimodos on the beach (I am assuming here that the nasty ones are male, but that might be a wrong assumption), I would probably take the earth-under-my-feet option. However, the words frying-pan and fire do spring to mind. If you did not read or hear about the story, they were rescued and are quite OK.
We have loads of lizards here, although I am unaware of anyone having been mauled to death by one, but as they range from about 75mm to 200mm that is perhaps not surprising. They are incredibly fast over short distances. If the cats see one they try and chase it, but they are so quick they just dart off.
We have spotty ones, stripy ones and even a few that are day-glo green.
They are quite fun to watch as they try and stay very still waiting for some fly or insect to provide them with a snack. The rain has kept them away and out of sight at the moment but when summer starts at the weekend we are hoping to see lots more of them.

First Pepper!


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