Monday, May 23, 2011

Ghosts for Breakfast

An intriguing thought full of possibilities, isn't it?   I'm afraid the reality is more pedestrian.  I realized that somehow my son is now watching Ghost Lab on the Discovery Channel here in rural Italy, with a panoramic view of the Apennines, while he eats his breakfast every day.  Once he goes back into school in September, he won't because he'll be leaving the house earlier.  But in these relaxed, sweet, homeschooling days, our mornings are more leisurely and that's his "must watch" show.  He likes it because it takes a scientific look at paranormal activities.   He's intrigued by the equipment they use.  But he is suspect of the fact that they ALWAYS find something (an image, a voice, a story).  But, as I explained to him, without that, there's no show!  I'm surprised that in the USA it was on late at night (2 a.m. at one point).  Partly because it didn't have enough viewers I suppose, to warrant a more prime-time slot;  but honestly, it seems more aimed at the young- adult market than at adults with insomnia.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

More gardening...

Another picture, from last summer, since I can't seem to access any of my new ones.

This is an active time of year (thank goodness it will get too hot soon to do all this work outside!) and we've been busy.

 We're preparing a new rose and lilac bed, and we've had to remove so many rocks that we were able to make a fence for it.  We bought "dirt" to put in this bed (since once we removed the rocks there was little left) and it turns out to be composted manure.  I'll need to mix it with regular dirt, so we need to spend more money and wait in order to finish this job.  Eventually I'll plant seven rose bushes which will hang down over the retaining wall, and four lilacs in the back row, doing their thing in early spring and hopefully providing me with some early bouquets.

  The vegetable garden is planted with close to 40 tomatoes (and Pio said he only wanted a handful this year!), lettuce, spinach, arugula, cucumbers, pumpkins, string beans, celery and...that's about it.  We may tuck a few other things into the rose bed as after all this year they'll be some space (zucchini maybe?, melons?)  Now if we can just keep the water flowing (sometimes my pump that's in the rainwater cisterns overheats) we'll be OK.   Over at the other house we have some potatoes in and we'll use these mostly to make gnocchi ,which we'll freeze and eat throughout the year (did you know that Thursdays are gnocchi day over here?  Yup, all the fresh pasta places have them on Thursdays).

We also planted 17 star jasmines, aka Confederate Jasmine (Gelsomino here) earlier this week which will climb up and cover a stone cliff we have in the back yard.  We planted one every 10 feet, so they should join together and really be nice rather quickly.  They're covered with fragrant little star-shaped flowers for months every year, stay green even in the winter, and don't require much water.  Can't ask for more than that!!

Up on that same retaining wall we have some fruit trees and planted a new lemon to replace one that died in the big freeze they had this past winter here (the orange and tangerines survived).  Rather than two lemon trees (there had been two), we put in a pomegranate also.  I love pomegranates!

Today we had three seminarians (student priests) from Rome over for lunch.  They were coming to town for a Confirmation and a meeting with the local priest, all in the afternoon, so they came early and joined us for lunch.  Pio knows them from when he drove them around to bless all  the houses for Easter.  It was a chance to show off the casareccia food we eat here... gnocchi, sauce, lamb, wine, salad, cookies, all homemade (not all in my home however!).  It was delcious, I must say.  The sheep came through to mow the lawn while they were here, and one (priest, not sheep) had a great time playing ping pong on xbox live kinnect with Dante.  They're really young (21, 22, 28), two from the USA and one from Mexico.  Nice fellows.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gardening in my Italian yard...

My absolute favorite flowers in my garden here in Italy (and I do grow quite a few!) are these three beauties, taken last summer.  I love the blue of traditional morning glories, the boldness of the sunflowers (I grow tall and short, yellow and burgundy, multi-flowered and one huge flower above a giant stem...I love 'em all) and roses.  Roses do particularly well here in Italy, they must like the soil or something.  This year I have black spot on some of them--I guess it's been wetter than usual, but the flowers are beautiful just the same.  If I had my camera/ computer connection working, I'd show you the bouquet I picked, pink and white roses!  Such an elegant sight, really, the combination works so well.  My other fav, not pictured here (now where is last year's picture?) are portulacas.  I love portulacas!  They grow with almost no water (they are succulents after all) and have the prettiest little miniature rose-like  flowers in the most beautiful colors...if I can  get my camera/computer connection working, I'll definitely make a post! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Excuses and a little something new...

I've been major-ly frustrated these last couple of weeks as I can't get my photos onto the computer.... on my old e-machine it says there's not enough memory left (it IS almost 10 years old so surely I can delete some things?) and my laptop doesn't even recognize that I'm trying to transfer photos into Picasso.  Dante's laptop is in for repairs (I FINALLY found his original disks, but we couldn't re-install them, so we called in an expert).  I need to devote some time to this soon.  I hate to post without a picture!

However, in the meantime, I've tagged all my previous posts and put the LABELS up top.  Now, it's easy to find all my posts about one particular topic without scrolling through pages and pages.  Minor thing and I'm not that happy that I wrote some of them with a capital letter and some of them lower case (anyone know if there's an easy way to changes tags without going to each post?), but it's a start.  Want to re-commit to writing here (now, we've heard that about 10 times before!) but I need to get this picture thing straightened out.  In the meantime, the garden is growing (I've got some pics!) and I'm still planting, and digging, and homeschooling too (10 more weeks worth of lessons--which we hope to finish in about 6 or 7 weeks with extra hard work, six days a week!).  ...