Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Has it been that long?

I didn’t realise that it has been three weeks since I last updated this masterful piece of work. Please accept my humble apologies dear readers.

Well what has been happening in the world of Casagrotta?

Gattini update.

One of the kittens, Dora The Explorer, has gone to a lovely new home with some people who already have a couple of cats. She seems to have settled in very well, and we are going to see her next week. In fact the people are so enamoured with her “regalness” they have had to give her a more appropriate name and she is now called Mia. Lovely.

We did say to the new owners that they could have another one, like a BOGOF but in this case it would have been a TOHOF (Take One, Have One Free), but surprisingly, they declined the offer. Oh well. So we have three of the little tykes still here. The silver tabby, Tigger, we will probably keep as he is a rather handsome chap.

They are getting cheekier with Bertie now they are growing and I think they might lead him a merry old dance soon. Mind you, it does look as though he loves every minute.

Here's a picture of Tigger and Daisy in Bertie's empty water bowl.

The Three Degrees

Doing well. Eggs are now considerably bigger than they were when they first started laying. But, we have a problem. The first and second degree have started to lay whilst they are on the roost at night. So when we come to let them out in the morning invariably there is always one egg that is broken and more often than not there are two. Not sure what we can do here. We have put some paper below the perch and that has helped a bit, but we need to break this stupid habit they have got into. The third degree lays her eggs properly in the beautiful bespoke nesting box I made for them.

We have started to let them out into the top half of the garden and they do seem to like their freedom. So much so, that the day after we let them roam, first and second degree flew over the gate, not bothering for us to open it for them. I am\ hoping we have not set ourselves up here. I am going to have to do something to increase the height of the gate methinks. ( had put “I think” here but La D thought “methinks” was better as it indicated a sort of furry beard moment. I did point out that I think she meant a “strokey beard moment”. Ho hum.)

They are funny to watch as they dart around trying to get hold of the myriad cricket-like insects that hop all over the place. Also their gentle clucking is pretty calming. We were sitting outside yesterday afternoon working through some papers in the gorgeously warm early Autumnal sunshine. They were only a few feet away scratching for things to eat making their soft noises. Very peaceful.

The Bert

Last week we looked after Bertie’s sister Jess and her friend Rustic, as their people had gone on holiday to the Sorrento peninsula. Usual mayhem. Loads of barking with one setting off the others.

Hope we didn’t annoy the neighbours too much, although one neighbour seems to have no sense at all and delights in goading Bertie and the other dogs with the result that Bertie comes across as a bit aggressive. Not sure what to do about this. His nuts might be coming off. But we haven’t told him yet. We are waiting for an appropriate moment to inform him of his pending emasculation.

Got some good walks in down by the river with the bigger dogs. They were thoroughly worn out, well, we were.

But on Sunday, it was Bertie’s and his siblings first birthday.

Jess’s people had organised a Pups’ Birthday Bash. All the dogs and owners were invited to Lago San Ruffino. Owners brought a bit of food and liquid refreshment was obtained from the restaurant by the lake.

Four of the six dogs turned up, Bertie, Jess, Alfie and Harry. We brought Jess (and Rustic) with us to return them to their holidaying owners.

There was a bit of posturing shall I say, by the dogs, but generally they got on pretty well with each other. It was a shame that Maya could not be there as she is the only one who has a shaggy coat like Bertie, and she’s bigger by all accounts. We’ve not seen since she was five weeks old lying in a box with her brother Bertie.

When we arrived there were loads of Italian families enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Strangely enough, a short while after we arrived with baying and howling dogs, we had the place pretty much to ourselves.

The dogs ran around chasing each other and went swimming in the lake and then came out and shook themselves all over us. Great fun!

On Monday, Bertie had a day of rest. Having had Jess for about nine days and then the pups party, he was just happy to have a lie down with us either in the office or in the orto.

Bertie with Harry and the four of them.

Season of mellow fruitfulness

We have had a much better grape growth than last year. I would say that we have had a four fold increase or more. Unfortunately we haven’t got the equipment necessary to do the grapes into wine thing. We have looked at taking them to the local community cantina and adding them to others, but we would have to supply details of what we have sprayed and when through the growing season, so we will probably end up making a bit of grape juice from some of them. This is very good. One of the people on Sunday brought some she had made from her grapes and it was great.

We will have to see about next year.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

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