If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

29 May 2005

A (Sorta) Hearty Country Girl

It's my first weekend on my own in the country. I didn't realize how much energy staying in touch with the office daily would be - there really isn't much time for other stuff during the week, save for the essentials (grocery store, water the plants, feed the cats).

But this weekend, there's time to settle in to the place. I promise to try to take some pictures for you.

The back stone terrace is a half-day job just to sweep clean (I think this is a once-a-season thing... there's all the winter debris to clean off). And it can't be done in the sunshine (even the more gentle morning sun), because you melt. Methinks I need a good garden hat and gloves. Thank goodness I'm going to garden mecca (MN) for work in a few weeks, will come home with some new tools. And I don't want to mislead you - watering plants here is practically a full time gig. There are lots of new 'structure' plantings (6 new olive trees, new laurel shrubs, 6 new fruit trees of assorted varieties, grapevines, wisteria, and ivy) ... that I'd hate to be responsible for killing in my first three weeks. And the rose blooms seem to be crawling with some little black bug with white spots, hmmm.

I know, I know - this is starting to sound suspiciously like one of those little old lady 'let me tell you all about my garden' blogs. So as not to disappoint you, here are some short humorous highlights:

I have not one but THREE blisters on my right hand from yesterday's work. Now, momma didn't raise no wussy girl here, but it's fair to state for the record that I have not historically been one much for massive amounts of physical labor. Partly that's living in a 600 square foot apartment in a city... where 'physical labor' entailed hauling a case of wine home from the store (okay, I admit it - I usually even had the wine delivered!!!) This clearly restates the need for aforementioned gloves. I'd hate for my delicate womanliness to be in danger. (HA! double HA!)

This morning while watering, I felt a funny sharp thing on the back of my left leg. After pulling NUMEROUS ticks off of the cats over the past few days (yeah, I've become a regular Dr. Doolittle), I'm hypersensitive ... tho thought maybe I had just gotten a thorn stuck to my jeans. I played with it for a minute (thinking I could just brush it off) and then realized IT WAS ALIVE! Truly, I'm sure there are folks who would pay to see a video of me whipping my pants down around my ankles (about 5.3 seconds, a world record) in the front yard only to have a bee fly out of them. I'm not quite close enough to the road for this to have been a great show, but funny nonetheless.

This seems the right time to mention that there must be a wasp nest somewhere near the house. All the windows are open during the day (necessary for air circulation) and they zip on through in the flying insect version of NASCAR. A bit unsettling at first, but I'm getting used to it. I can actually tell the difference in buzzing now between a fly, a wasp, and a giant beetle. One of the locals recommended putting a mixture of vinegar, water and sugar in a giant bottle, cutting a hole just above the water line, and then sitting it out. I tried it, but all I caught were about a dozen moths after the first day - flapping frantically and probably scaring off the wasps. Definitely a failed attempt at organic controls!

On a not-so-funny note, I heard a massive yowling outside somewhere around midnight last night - sounded like a giant cat fight. This morning, I can only seem to find one of the two kitties at their breakfast time. Elementary, my dear Watson: this doesn't look good.

Okay, so even WITH the blisters, the vipers, the wasps, the potential that there is a giant cat-eating thing roaming the property at night, it's amazing here. Tomatoes taste like no tomatoes I've ever eaten. The sky in the late afternoon (striking blue with stunning white clouds when the sun hits them just so) looks like you're sitting under some magestic Botticelli or Michelangelo painting. Prosecco - with its delicate bollacini (little bubbles) is about $7 a bottle. I have so much to learn and I know the time will whiz by. Though it wasn't like I was living the 'hard knock life' before, today I feel like Annie at Daddy Warbucks' house: "I think I'm gonna like it here...!"


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