Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Flowers!

There's so many flowers around at the moment, I'm considering doing Friday Flowers twice a week. Is there anyone who objects to two Fridays a week? We could have Monday, Friday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Everyone loves Friday.

I'm also missing out on so many magnificent flowers that bloom around this time. The magnolias! The mimosa!
Today I've picked a mixed bunch of wild grass flowers. I particularly like the yellow star crocuses (my name for them, invented) though they don't last long cut.
Today's flowers are dedicated to everyone who has suffered through a long winter and needs a little sunshine.

We even have a theme song for the week.  Glam rock version.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A perfect tree

We've got lovely blue skies, flowers everywhere and the swallows have returned!

There's nothing better to be doing in weather like this than to be out pruning olives.
It's wonderful getting to know each tree individually, finding the secret bird's nests and the deep crevices in the old wood. Some of these olives are over a hundred years old, but most date from the freeze of '86 when almost all the olives in the area were lost.

I found this one tree that was just perfect. It's an old tree, with wide, moss covered limbs, a good cover of leaves and a perfect seat, way up in the canopy where no-one can see you.

Its a perfect place to read a book, and a place I would have loved as a child. I'm not too old to be reading books up trees am I?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Officially spring and olive pruning!

I know I've been going on about it for weeks,but the rest of Italy has finally caught up and it's officially spring! There's flowers all over the place and the sun is shining and we've started the annual olive pruning.
Olive pruning consists mostly of removing all growth from the inside of the tree and anything thats growing straight up; thereby keeping the tree low and letting the light in.
Here are some of my compatriots, Giglio, on lunchbreak,

and Dome, up a tree.

Up an olive tree is seriously one of my favourite places to be. Other places  are behind the breakers at a Sydney beach, and in front of a sewing machine. Coasting downhill on a bicycle. Riding around in my old car with the top down. It's a rather fun list to make. Where are your favourite places?

A quote from a favourite book/movie by EM Forster, A Room with a View (This film is actually a principal reason why I first came to Florence)
'There's no perfect view, except the sky over our heads'

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Flowers!

It seems lately the sun is always coming out on Fridays. Which suits me fine as thats the day I pick flowers (amoung other things).

I don't want to try to say anything too poignant, just that Japan has been in my thoughts all week with the horrible situation they have faced/ are facing/ will face in weeks and months and years to come.

The media here has been very alarmist (surprise) talking of apocalypse and worldwide destruction. I was heartened to find at least one article debunking a lot of the alarmist talk, at of all places.

Anyway, today's flowers I photographed with Japan in mind, as the cherry and almond blossom is a strong national symbol for Japan. The drive down to town is now spotted with these pink and white explosions of blossom, another herald of the Spring.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Thats right, we're going to have another addition to our household, and its not my longed for cat or dog. Still, they'll have to substitute for a year, right up until they become sausage. We're getting piggies!
They're the cutest little things, born just two days ago. They'll be fun and friendly and smart and playful and gorgeous and delicious.

Just in case you think I'm heartless talking about the finished product already, its part of a psychological campaign I'm waging against myself to prepare for the day when piggie turns to pork. It's very hard to kill and eat something living. Its even harder when that something knows who you are.

So I figure if I keep it present, the knowledge that this pet will one day be on my fork, it'll help me deal with it when the time comes. Yeah lets see how that goes. 
Heres the babies with their momma, she and two of the piglets are the cinta sienese breed, highly prized in this area for their delicious prosciutto and salamis. The pictures a bit blurry because I didn't want to stress the sow with the flash.

and some of their big brothers, born 5 months ago.
So how long till i swear vegetarianism (again) and vow to defend these guys and their right to live? Probably until someone starts frying bacon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Flowers and sunsets!

I'm sick in bed today, but Beppe looks after me so well he even brought me flowers, so that I dont need to miss a Friday. I've been so good at keeping regular with my blogging. Yay me.

Today's flowers are a real delicacy, as their beautiful scent was entirely new to me when I came to Italy. They're violets, and while my Mum had violets in Australia, they were white/ pink ones that had no purfume. These are a beautiful deep purple, and the scent is exactly like some confected violet purfume.

When I was a kid I covered mums white violets with egg white and castor sugar, but until I tasted a real violet I didn't quite get the point of candy flowers. They taste just like they smell! And when they're not in season,
I can always indulge in Leone candies, for Spring lovers, naturally:
Aren't they beautiful? I took the picture of the violets bathed in the light from the equally beautiful sunset.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Half a kiss.

I can finally say that spring is officially here as we just had ur first caper & Co excursion!

Yesterday Beppe and I accompanied Australian Ben and the lovely Birte to taste some fabulous Chianti wines and some Tuscan delicacies courtesy of the mad butcher of Panzano, Checchini.

Ben, Birte and Beppe near Panzano

We had brought back an Australian wine for our friends at Fontodi, a wine that had just pipped them in the Wine Spectator top 10 list of 2010. In return they shared some of their finest wines with us, including the Flaccinello which has won so many awards, and a 1992 Chianti Riserva that they had lying around. Delicious!

Our host at lunch, Dario, plied us with more wine saying, 'half a glass is like half a kiss, a good wine, like a woman needs to be kissed fully!' Dario was off to London today to host a special dinner for Jamie Oliver. I hope jamie knows what he's in for!

Too right. When are you coming to visit Tusany with us?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekend perfect!

Wow, its been such a wonderful weekend I don't quite know where to start.

We've still got very little happening on the work front, with the start of tourist season warming up at the moment, so we're enjoying the first rays of springtime around the house.

Yesterday Beppe got to making his first batch of homemade cheese, making two different forms of soft cheese. They were a great success and he's already planning mass production. 

Cheeses hanging to dry

Debate around the house has been focused in recent days on the pros and cons of buying a piglet, and it seems the pros have won, twice over, as we are now in the process of aquiring two. This is going to involve constructing a stall and fenced area for them, and finding local fruit and veggie shops that will give us their left overs each day. Its a big commitment, but then when processed, we'll have meat to last a year.
This morning I went with Sandra to Imprunetta, where they were holding a festival of chocolate and regional products from around Italy. Free Chocolate Tasting. Three great words!

When we came back, the boys had taken the geese for a walk to a nearby lake, where they enjoyed themselves no end, before waddling back home all by themselves.

They're starting to look cute again but at least one has a death warrant, as we found out that we have two males and one female, instead of two females. Next week I'll be posting: 1 roast goose, 1 down pillow. 

Goose walking through the woods.
I'll see if I can get Beppe to write down his instructions for cheese making. It's perhaps more palatable than shapening the knives for a goose dinner.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Flowers!

Today, after a week of nevischio, (which is snow that melts right before it hits you) we finally had one of those spring days i live for. I've been stuck indoors, and have gotten a lot of sewing done, but today the sun came out, birds were singing, and I was able to collect some flowers for Friday Flowers.

My friend Hillary came for tea and flower picking, and these were our rewards:

The lovely blue flowers have just appeared this week. They're a bulb, a wild type of hyacinth with a really vivid purfume. I've been told before not to put flowers like this in a bedroom as the purfume is too strong it will give you bad dreams.

Today's flowers are dedicated to all the foreign girls living in Florence, and the locals who befriend us!