Friday, May 30, 2008

Quadruplets? Pool update

30 Maggio
Our codirosso family seems to have become quads instead of twins. Do you see another couple of pairs of eyes under the dominant duo or am I just seeing double?
Hillary and Jeff are visiting just now from the states and I have known Hillary for a score of years I think. They are doing a nice long tour through Italy and using our stop as a pause for a deep breath before heading up to Venice today.
I continue to slog away with my hoe and my sausage shaped fingers are not happy, but they are putting up with the need for their assistance.
The cement pond has turned into the rebuilding of the twin towers as delays continue to haunt us. As we are full in the next week, we had to clear the worker's equipment out of room 2 and disinfect and clean that mess. They did pour concrete yesterday, so you can see the final product beginning to take shape.
The olive blossoms are falling, leaving in their place, teeny little olives. Of course, all of them won't make it to big daddy olive size, but fun to see, nonetheless.
I am doing a bit of work in the old vineyard, tying up branches and thinning redundant ones, so the vine can put its energy into the "rami" with the little grapes. That is a work I enjoy much more than hoeing, so I do that job when it is really hot or I need to "warm up" for the hoeing (zappatura)
Our garden is filling up with lettuce, spinach and beautiful zucchini with flowers which I can't wait to eat! Also, the tomatoes are growing a bit and finally, the artichokes are on their last legs; time to plow under the plants. I will miss them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Late Spring at Nascondiglio di Bacco

27 Maggio
I will try to catch up with my pictures now. As I said in the previous post, Bacco and I take a dawn walk of 45 minutes or so each morning to drain him of the energy which leads him to stray far from home. It is a 40 minute round trip walk to the east and about 45-50 minutes west to the main road to town, so we alternate one with the other. Here are some of the scenes we viewed in the last couple of days showing our surrounding countryside with Nascondiglio in the foreground or background and one of a house nearby surrounded by one of our abundant weeds (poppies). Finally, a picture of olive tree blossoms. About 3% of these little flowers will become olives in a good year. Check out the post below for more from today.
OK, I have procrastinated long enough-time to hoe weeds.
We have extra hoes for anyone who wants to join me!


Hi everyone. My luggage finally arrived 5 days behind me and all my cool stuff is here like cables to download my camera pix, recharge my phone, etc. So, here are the photos I promised showing the pool which is BEHIND schedule. Why am I not surprised?
Also, a picture of our new arrivals who were born in the 500 year old wood burning oven on the back stairwell. For those who want to meet the parents, use google image and plug in Codirosso.
Currently, I am hoeing the new vineyard and thinning the redundant branches in the old one. We are waiting on our full house which is booked for 3 june when a convention is coming to Offida.
I am walking every morning at dawn with Bacco to wear him out a bit and yesterday morning the valleys were full of fog with the air full of the scents of the countryside, like freshly mowed hay and the eventual destination of the hay-cattle. Our neighbors put a contraption on the back of their tractor and helped extirpate our weeds between the rows in the new vineyard and I followed behind with the handheld equivalent and cleaned up between the grapevines.
Last night I cooked a fine steak on the grill as well as bread for bruschetta and some of the lettuce from our garden.
More pix later of the open wineries weekend, but to finish my 5, I put a new pic of Bacco, a cat without a home we saw on one of our walks and the progress of the grape bunches in the old vineyard.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lost luggage, Cantine aperte

25 maggio
hi everyone. sorry, no pix, but until i get my camera cable back which happens to be in my luggage which is somewhere between st. louis and Offida, there will be no photos. This is the 2nd time in 6 months I arrived before my baggage. There are a slew of things I want and need inside including some surprises for Raffaele and Bacco as well as essentials such as Celestial Seasonings tea, headphones for Skype, and miscellaneous junk which costs less in America and so I help pay my airfare with my savings.
Bacco is back behaving better, but that may be because we are getting up between 530 and 0600 to walk an hour and get our roles redefined ( i am capobranco-pack leader and Bacco is my devoted follower). We took him to the winery open houses and everyone loves him, even other dogs.
When I returned there were 8 hours of work to get the yard presentable and an equal amount to get the inside ready for what we hope will be a busy period ahead. The swimming pool is behind schedule which is no surprise, but is frustrating as we were hoping for a june 1 grand opening.
Today, after our little walk, Bacco and I worked in the old vineyard and cut away duplicate branches and then I harvested almost the last of the artichokes. I will miss them, but i made a nice artichoke, wild asparagus and tomato quiche for supper.
Cross your fingers tomorrow my luggage will arrive and I can update you with some nice photos of cats on top of light poles, growing little grapes and Bacco.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Advertising---Slow Food ideas

18 Maggio
Buon compleanno Rebecca!
Here are a few places I visited in Colorado.
Ciao a tutti
It is time to plug some great folks I have met on this trip to Colorado, a state much in tune with the tenets of Slow Food.
My 1st stop and one I always make when I am in Boulder was at The Kitchen, a cool restaurant on Pearl Street which utilizes as much as possible local growers and purveyors of sustainable, oft times organic foods. The kitchen even obtains their energy needs from wind power. I tried some incredible muscles from Maine and paired it with a wonderfully eclectic wine from Austria, not something you find in restaurants every day and hand picked as are all the selections by the sommelier.
Also in Boulder, I visited Celestial Seasonings tea company which makes a number of wonderful teas, both caffeinated and herbal all using ingredients from sustainable farming from all over the world. The business started in 1969, the summer of love and I first used their Morning Thunder tea (old motto was “When your get um up won’t, morning thunder will”) as a stimulant for studying for finals. And all legal and natural! The tour is well worth a little detour when you are in the area and is free. Don’t miss the mint room if you have a cold as afterwards your eyes will be watering and your nose clear!
For those with a hankering for beef raised right and happy, check out my new friend Scott Gyurman’s wonderful selection of meats at
No antibiotics, hormones, OGM and lots of land to roam and graze on with no tight pens or stalls for these animals which are normally slaughtered between 14 and 20 months. I am taking a couple of beautifully marbled steaks to my brother’s house and will try them tonight. This family is passionate about humane treatment of their animals and if you don’t think there is a difference in taste between free range and cloistered force fed animals, do a blind taste test with Scott’s beef.
Lastly, for those who like sausages of all types and flavors, but feel guilty when you look at those store labels which show 50% fat, check out Cliff and Jason’s Rocky Mt. meat company at
Their sausages have just 18% fat!! Unheard of !
I told them the Italians wouldn’t go for that, but we americans who are conscious of good food choices can’t go wrong here. I bought the whiskey fennel flavor, but they offer over 25 other choices and can ship anywhere, although it would be better to order a bunch since they have to ship using 2 day and dry ice packaging to ensure freshness.
Finally, for my Kansas City buddies, count your blessings that you have Jasper leading up your Slow Food convivium and for goodness sakes, join up and find out what healthy eating and good, clean and fair eating is all about! You can start with and make your way through the site ending up with the kansas city slow food link.
Finally, a couple of more pix from Colorado and the Rome rose garden.
Buon domenica!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

More Colorado scenery

17 May Denver
1st, be sure to check out the Nascondiglio di Bacco blog as Raffaele has posted the latest swimming pool photos and you can see how things will look when all is finished. There is a link from here or try
Here are some more photos from my little snowshoeing expedition. For those who haven't snowshoed before, it is a blast and doesn't require much more energy than regular hiking and you can go up waterfalls and stuff (if they are covered with snow and not ice). It is really peaceful and a great escape from the crowds.
Also, I am throwing in another Roman rose to add a bit of color. Raffaele says I massacred my roses with my custom antibeetle bio spray, but the beetles have hightailed it, at least. I will return to survey the damage in a few days.
Today, it is off to St. Louis to visit the family and see my piu piccola nipote graduate from high school. Michelle, my oldest niece is the smartest of the family as she moved to Colorado at 26, so we got to catch up last night over some oysters and wine in her cute little part of Denver. Also, I got to see one of my old bible study buddies Don who flew in for an orthodontics convention and we rehashed our misspent youth especially revelling in remembrances of Susie, who was the assistant in our orthodontist's office when we were both teenagers. She was quite unforgettable for a 14 yo and according to Don, his assistants do not "position themselves" in the same proximity to the patients as Susie did. I can't wait to question my brother, who had his braces on for over 4 years and hear his memories as well. Anyway, we definitely got a few smiles out of our recollections!
Today, a little walk around Washington Park to start the day before heading out to the airport.
The pictures are of the Loch and Mill's Lake and parts of the trail.

Friday, May 16, 2008

wildlife fotos

16 maggio
Here are the pictures of the wildlife I saw and include a mountain chickadee, a coyote licking his chops, the wild turkeys, a ptarmigan who has almost completely lost his winter white feathers and last a little bit of scenery from my snowshoe hike. Today, i am off to Denver again and will see my oldest niece who was smarter than me and moved to the mountains in her mid 20's.
Back at Nascondiglio, we have completed the excavation of the back yard, so it will be a big surprise to see that when i return. also we have ordered our zoysia grass to make our "English lawn".
My poor hands are either really p.,sed off or resistant to the aleve i am taking. Still another few days to get back in form
Tomorrow, I will put some more scenery photos on the blog for those who love the mountains.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rocky Mt. high, flora, fauna of RMNP

15 Maggio
Here i am enjoying a little R and R in Colorado, hoping my fingers heal while I am here. Today, I took a 7 mile hike with snow shoes to a couple of lakes in Rocky Mt. National Park, one of the nation's best places! I left the house just before 0600 and was the 1st in the park and the 1st on the trailhead. In fact, in 4 hours, I didn't see anyone! I did hear 2 people, ma va bene.
On the drive in I saw wild turkeys on the road and the male was displaying! Never imagined turkeys in the mountains of Colorado. On my shortcut back from the lakes, I saw a ptarmigan changing into summer colors, also a rarity.
I have finished The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of 4 books, which I highly recommend to those with a sense of humor tending toward British style and am on to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Total escapism!
The pictures are of everything from the bark of a Ponderosa pine tree which smells like vanilla to mountain scenes, dawn from my house, lichen on a rock and a herd of elk. Tomorrow, more wildlife including turkeys, coyotes, ptarmigans,etc
a dopo

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bacco in swimming classes, Roses in Roma

13 maggio
i am back in the states for a few days looking forward to healing my hands which have been bothering me a lot after 5 weeks straight of hoeing the vineyard. My fingers today actually felt better when I woke up today at 0430 (jet lag) than they have in a week.
I will be off to snowy Estes Park later in the day and just spend some quiet time enjoying the peace and quiet of the mountains and reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which I picked up for a bit of light reading in Heathrow.
The 1st pictures show Bacco in his swimming lesson, his 1st time to actually paddle a bit. He is in big trouble right now as his pack leader has been too busy tending the field to exercise and train him, so he has been ranging ever farther afield to play with the neighborhood dogs and is not coming when called. That will be a priority when I return-retraining the dog!
In Rome right now, the community rose garden is in full bloom up from the Circo Massimo metro stop and I will put a few of those pix on the blog for you. I found 3 favorites which I will try and look for: New Imagine, Jules Verne and Jubilee of the Prince of Monaco.
Have a great week everyone!
PS the roses I liked are not the ones in the pictures

Friday, May 09, 2008

different year, fun at the questura, ready to head back to the USA

9 Maggio
Buon compleanno a Giorgio domani, Stef il 12 e Rebecca 18!!! Tanti auguri a tutti vuoi.
Lots of may birthdays and i will be gone for all of them as I take off for Rome to visit the rose garden tomorrow, then to find a Methodist church for Sunday. Flying out Monday to rest up my fingers and wrists in colorado. We hired 7 helpers to hoe and yesterday they broke more vines in 1 day than Raffa and I in a month of hoeing. Che Sfiga!
I may have found the solution for the beetles, but we will have to see how my latest round with them goes.
Our 2 americans are leaving tomorrow and Nascondiglio di Bacco will be empty for a while. Feel free to come and fill it up while i am away; I don't want Raffaele to get bored.
You see here a foto of Raffa watering the flowers, which this year is legal as we have no watering restrictions.
Here you also see an orange tree i planted in a pot on our patio and the blossoms are wonderfully fragrant!
The pool is now one step closer to completion as the room where the pumps and filters will go is finished.
Nice and sunny and warm here, so in the future, for those who want to visit the Marche a bit ahead of the crowds but with nice weather, May is a recommendation.
I am hoping to see some of my KC friends later this month as they visit us in late May.
More pictures to come as they become available. I will try to post some of Bacco's maiden swimming voyage soon.

Monday, May 05, 2008

visiting camera woman, #@*! rose eating beetles, Buon compleanno a Fabio Diu

5 maggio
Happy Cinco di Mayo everyone. We have had a full weekend with guests from all over. After the americans came italians from the north, 2 Dutch who now live in France and today 2 more americans. A different kind of work for a change.
We were happy to see our old friend Rebecca even for a short time and as an expert behind the camera, she took some candids of life around Nascondiglio di Bacco. Not all are necessarily complimentary, but...
The pictures show Raffaele with Chloe, his lovebird (a gift from his love-Elisa), #3-a yawning me collecting flowers for our breakfast tables, and the 2nd is of Raffaele, our local sage farmer and the new kid on the block explaining how things should be done :-). Next is Raffaele with the laundry heading to the delivery truck and finally i took a foto of one of the bastards who is eating my rose blooms.
I have blasted these pests with some natural product I found at the coop and then a soap spray as suggested by friend Larry Houston, my KC rose expert. So far, mixed results; it is difficult to tell if they are still causing damage as I have cut off all the susceptible rose blossoms.
Back to Rebecca; we hadn't seen her since graduation from UNISG, so it was way past time to catch up with our friend from Venezia. She has a job that must have been designed in the USA as she rarely gets any vacation time. She is working with a firm which helps coordinate the docking of the really big, expensive yachts into Venice and then helps with all the arrangements for the folks disembarking. I see other grand things for her in the future in the realm of enogastronomic tourism, but for now, she is gaining great contacts and experience.
We had our land tilled to try to get ahead of the army of the weeds which was growing faster than one hoeing american could extirpate. Hopefully, tomorrow an army of Pakistanis will come to help us get caught up. As an example, yesterday hoeing just one row of our Pecorino in the valley took over 2 hours and we have a couple of hundred rows, although not as bad as that one.
Pool construction begins again today and hopefully tomorrow the final excavation and grading will be finished and all will look a lot different! Of course the 3 weeks until finishing which we heard 10 days ago has not changed. Still 3 weeks!
I am off to Rome for next weekend prior to catching my plane for Denver and hope to see their rose garden. I may ask their experts as well how to kill this nasty beetle using biological products.
PS check out the nascondiglio di bacco blog for a cute pic of my and the growing giant baby, now 10 months old. There is a link from my blog above to the NdB blog.