Thursday, May 14, 2009

Everything in the garden is …………green

Well almost. The veggies are going gangbusters - this is an expression my brother who lives in the USA uses. I find it very expressive.

I swear the potatoes wait until your back is turned and then suddenly put on a growth spurt and next time you look round they are a couple of centimetres taller. Quite extraordinary.

We have already had some fave – broad beans. They are so sweet and fresh, absolutely lovely. In fact tonight I am doing a fave risotto at La D’s request. Yummy.

Last week I did a asparighi – asparagus – risotto with our own asparighi and it doesn’t get much better than that. One minuet they were in the ground, about 30 minutes later they were being served up in a wonderful, creamy risotto.

Ooh, ahh, Cantona. It was that good.

This morning we were planting the first of our citrioli – cucumber – and zucchini in rather a special way. In fact news of our innovative and groundbreaking method must have been leaked, I am not sure who by but Bertie has suddenly found it very difficult to hold eye contact when you are talking to him. Kew Gardens have sent not one, but three of their vegetable experts to talk to us about our methods.

Actusally it’s quite simple really. We don’t use the vegetable patch as both these plants spread like wildfire and take up an enormous amount of space. No, in the ground that surrounds one of the vegetable patches, we cut out a turf about a spade width size and a spit deep. We fill it with a mixture of soil, bought compost and our own kitchen compost. Sow the seeds and cover with a couple of centimetres of soil and then, this is where the innovation comes in, cover with half a plastic milk bottle which acts as a mini cloche. Brilliant.

Of course it’s in its developmental stage and we won’t know how well the system works for a few weeks. So far – after two hours – everything seems ok, except for one small, or rather large thing. Can you guess? Yes, that’s right, Bertrum.

La D and I covered the area with some old fencing to deter the beast, just until the seeds started to really get going. Did that deter him? Did it hell.

When we had finished I went to have a bonfire of some vine trimmings that needed burning (that’s my excuse for the bonfire and I am sticking to it) and la D went to do some seeding. After about 15 minutes the air was suddenly filled with some excellent, good old fashioned Anglo-Saxon words. It’s good that the sky was so blue.

I rushed over to where the noise was coming from, I think I guessed it when I heard the shouting.

Bertie the Bastard (one of several alternative names he has) had only gone and dug up half of the seeds we had just planted. He had pushed away the old wire fencing and got stuck in.

To give him a little credit, I think he knew he had done wrong after the verbal pasting he got. He slunk off and sat under the outside table looking morosely at us. After we re-planted our 45 minute old seeds again and put a further protective layer over them, La D called him over. He came to La D almost crawling on his belly. Soon La D had a lovely smile for him. I looked on and smiled too..

“What are you smiling at L’uomo chi fa? Is something burning? Don’t you think you had better go and tend to the bonfire before this part of Le Marche is put to the torch?” La D said. Clearly, I was being dismissed.

Birds in the Wall

Over the past few days. we have been watching the adult blue tits flying into the wall where their nest is. There is so much noise coming from the nest, which of course we are unable to see at all. The poor adults have been flying in with flies and caterpillars and presumably other bugs to try and satiate their offspring’s’ appetite. Then yesterday we were sitting outside having a cup of coffee when I said to La D. “La D, listen”

“What? I don’t hear anything” she said.

“Exactly. The tits have gone. They have flown the nest. So that’s good, but we do miss their daily activity. Perhaps they will be back next year.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Home

This week we have been down to a town called Comunanza to finalise the importation of our car. It is a very long, protracted and expensive undertaking, but necessary.

On the way home we were just coming round a bend and there in the middle of the road was a very large bird beside a stick. At first I thought it was one of the large grey backed crows of which there are loads here. But then it flapped its wings and rose into the air with the stick in its talons. But it wasn’t a stick, it was a black snake. It was quite something to see. The bird was a Sparrow hawk and the snake was, I think, just a black grass snake. But the snake was writhing in the birds talon as it lifted right over the trees at the side of the road right above us. La D was mesmerised.

“It was a good thing we didn’t have the sunroof open” she said “Imagine if the bird had dropped it and it had fallen into the car. I would have died”

I think it would have given rise to some fairly erratic driving for a few seconds, that’s for sure.

This is just what it looked like, except the snake was black.

Lingua, Lingua, Lingua

La D got an opportunity to do some research for a novel she is writing on set in WWII. Near us in Severigilano there is fairly well known old Prisoner of War (POW) camp. One of our friends over here is a very keen historian and knows quite a bit about the camp. There was a talk being given last Friday at the town hall and he said for us to come along. From what he said we thought it would be about the camp.

Well, there was a little about the camp but it was actually about the “Resistance” movement in Germany itself and in particular about a group of very young Germans called the White Rose of Monaco who helped several Jewish people to escape the persecution.

Now, the problem for us was, that the main speaker spoke in German and then had a translator translating after every sentence. As you know we are not proficient in Italian, and we know no German at all so we were pretty flummoxed. When the speakers spoke in Italian we could certainly follow the gist if not the detail, but with the stop start in German and then Italian with the translator clarifying things all the time with the speaker, it was pretty difficult.

But there you go, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

If you want to find out some details about the camp have a look at:

Ciao. Mantenere la fede

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