If not now, when?

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

04 September 2005

The blackberry ladies

Suffice it to say, I've got a LOT of catching up to do on posting, but while I'm thinking about it... I've spent the better part of my weekend unpacking boxes. Music blaring, hauling stuff up and down stairs. The house did not look 'empty' by any stretch.

Mid-afternoon, I heard voices. And they weren't just passing by, they were kind of 'here' (somewhere on the property ... it's big property, and if I'm hearing voices, they're somewhere HERE.)

After a while, I put on the Big Hat (since I look SCARY from a day of moving in the sunshine), and went to investigate. The house is on one side of the road, but the property extends to the other side also (where the blackberry bushes & the fig and olive trees are.)

So I walk down from the house - in flippy shoes and a big hat - to see a car parked in my driveway. (Huh?) And two women (I'd guess mid-60's) on the other side of the road, both in bluejeans and wading boots, picking my blackberries.


So I call out to them ... in Italian ... "Do you need help?"
Answer: "no, no, lady, everything is good!"(as she pops another blackberry into her mouth).

Hmmmm. Yeah, for YOU! Okay, stronger this time: "That's my property".
At which point, she shows a bit of respect, asking me if The Diplomat has already left. Which he obviously has. We exchange a bit of pleasantry about Egypt and The Diplomat. I say that when I heard voices and saw the car, I thought perhaps they needed help.

Okay, I'm in a predicament. I know that I'm not going to harvest the blackberries, but I don't want people just wandering willy nilly around my property, either. It sets a bad precedent if nothing else. And they didn't even ASK! I'm at a distinct disadvantage with the language, but still feel the need somehow to assert myself. and walk over to introduce myself properly and at the very least appear GRACIOUS to be letting them pick. And so I meet Doriana and Silvana: The Little Old Berry Thieves.

So, long story short, they neither wanted or needed or cared about my presence: they still took the blackberries (smaller and less juicy than last season, they tell me; something comforting about the fact that they're repeat offenders), but I'm hoping I at least get a jar of blackberry jam (marmalata di more) out of the deal.

Lesson to self: pick the figs early. Or hope the gals make Fig Newtons??


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