Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another dawn, Bacco steals a sheep dog and pruning results

This week saw another 5 days of pruning with our 2 contadini helpers.  We have finished all but about 1.7 hectares or about 2/3 of the work.  I put up some photos of what it looks like before and after we have gone through.  I took Friday afternoon, Sat. and Sunday off as I needed to heal my left middle and ring fingers which decided they liked to be twice normal size.   Bacco borrowed the local shepherd's dog for some wrestling play today and as you can see that from the morning photo, it was beautiful here.
I am seeing rain and snow in the forecast, but with a little luck we will finish the pruning in 6-7 days.
Last night, I attended a Tex/Mex dinner at the town of Carassai at the Route 66 pub/pizzeria, which was sponsored by a fellow american Elizabeth Perkins.  She and her beau have an organic lavender farm and a B&B just north of us.
Carnival is less than 3 weeks away and we are offering a special weekend rate with a special welcome and you can combine it with Valentine's day and score big points with the significant other.   Check out the nascondiglio di bacco blog link at right for more information.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dawn of the potatura

16 gennaio
This week we started pruning the 30+ thousand grapevines, finishing as of today, maybe 20%.  As this job is just too much for 2 people, we have 2 helpers who I must say are excellent workers.  What a pleasant change from those we have had in the past.

After this potatura comes the legatura or tying of the vines and each one gets 5-6 individual ties to train them on the lowest wire.  After this year, it will be easy sailing, right?
Other important news from the week: Raffaele survived another year and Bacco had a blast playing with his son today.
Carnival season and Valentine's day quasi co-exist this year, so if you want to participate in a romantic weekend and run with the fake Offida bull,  reserve now.
I have been remiss in blog posts, but I make up for it with facebook posts under my name and Italy.  I am seriously pooped after slogging in our muddy field for 7 hours a day, so simple wins out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Surfing Bacco and seagull hieroglyphs

11 January
Bacco and I headed to the beach of zona Sentina yesterday and found the surf definitely up.  My water loving dog couldn't resist body surfing a bit in the big waves.  A little stream separating Porta d'Ascoli and the reserve of zona Sentina was wide and strong, discouraging those who practice unsafe activities there, but I did run into my neighbor and his girlfriend riding their horses on the beach.   Bacco got clean and burned off some extra energy chasing seagulls ( who wrote the message above in ancient type ) and retrieving sticks from the sea I tossed out for him.
I am off to prune the day away and have two older contadinos helping out and hoping they cut the plants the way I told them and not the way they have done it for 50 years.  Fingers are crossed as cuts are pretty final and the plants need to be trained as perfectly as possible.
I am feeling for my friends back home who must think global warming is on holiday....patience, I see the temp climbing back to just freezing today.   Here it gets up to the low 50's and the lows in the mid to upper 30's at worst.
I get to try out the new power pruner today,  hopefully I will return with all digits intact!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

New music video from nascondiglio di bacco

9 gennaio

Here is our party video for the film Bacco perbacco with a cameo by the real bacco.  The production values are mediocre, but the spirit of the project shines through.. It is a tour of the b and b with everyone lipsynching the words of the song.. some better than others (spoiler: i was not outstanding)
We are trying to prune, but the rains keep falling and the mud is a bummer.  It will be a long, slow slog of a job!



Tuesday, January 05, 2010

America and back again

5 Jan
Happy New Year, Buon anno to everyone!  I have been gone from the blog so long, it forgot who I was.  I have been travelling the US with a complicated flight from Rome to Zurich to Chicago, connection at O'Hare with AA to KC and then rental car to my friends' house in Olathe.  The days in my old city were full and fun with lunches with my old friends Damon and Sara one day and Bill and Mark the previous.   A little business was performed as Mark is a wine distributor in MO and was impressed by some of our local wines here.  Hopefully, we can use his business also for our wines.   I experienced  a wonderful dinner at Jasper's with 26 in attendance and perhaps the highlight was Jasper making his mozzarella right in front of us and it was tasty as only fresh moz. can be!  Of course, even homemade mozazrella is up against stiff competition with his lobster cappuccino!  Everyone got to try our olive oil and passito as I lugged 8 liters of our 2009 oil to the US and one 750ml bottle of passito.
The next night, a smaller group experienced a once in my lifetime tasting of 11 years of Rubicon by Niebaum Coppola accompanied by the fine cooking of KR and!   I still can't explain the headache I had the day after, but I think I slept funny.
Then it was off to CO where I got to explore Estes Park a few hours and then treat Leslie to dinner in Denver, where there prized lamb dish didn't exactly match up to the lamb we have here in Italy...the company was good.
Never pausing in one place too long, I headed back to DIA to pick up Larry and we headed off to his condo in Beaver Creek where the skiing was great fun as always.  I tried to make Jasper's timballo, which was such a success my 1st try, but failed to take into account the difference in altitude which also affected my bread baking.   I have now learned.   Back to Denver in an ice and snow storm to drop Larry off again at the airport, while I experienced the Cherry Creek mall, super target and petco, stocking up on things not available here or at least difficult to find.
The next day I flew to St. Louis to spend natale with my brother and his whole family.   Good food, fun times and lots of presents and a bit more shopping of the after xmas variety as well as a bit of churching.
Flying back to Rome, I discovered some new little niggling changes in BA's policies, like charging for the 2nd piece of checked luggage.   The flight from Chicago left 2 hours late as the plane was late arriving, due to increased screening at Heathrow.   I arrived with a bit less than 55 minutes to reclaim and recheck my luggage at Heathrow 5, go back through security and catch my flight to Rome.   (normally that is not necessary, but they had scheduled me into heathrow and out of gatwick, which my charming begging and pleading changed)  
The trip ended without incident, if you don't count the cold I caught somewhere along the line.
Back at Nascondiglio di Bacco, we were full of young Romans on holiday for New Year's Eve and had a special visit from my old roommate Michele's sister and her beau on the 1st.
Our next project is pruning and tying 38000 grapevines before May: we'll need some help.  Our ever helpful agronomist gave us a bid of 26000 dollars if we use his workers and we are going to have a little "talk" this week with his boss to explain for the umpteenth time about our priorities and finances.

Here it is rainy and cold, but cold is relative as it has dipped just slightly below freezing whereas my buddies back home are suffering through below zero temps.   Warming is just around the corner and hopefully a bit of dryness.