Thursday, January 31, 2008

And they still came back....

Remember these two?

Ok, I could't find the old photos of them and we didn't make any new ones this year. If you can't tell, I drew that one on the Paint program on this computer. That program sucks. Or maybe it's me...anyway...They are the San Diegan pals, Denise and Wayne.

Third year running, they've returned to the palatial accommodations of Maberga. You might remember their first visit...the coldest week during our tenure here and the country ran out of pellets, which are rather important for our only heat source, the PELLET stove. That year the four of us congregated at the oven in the mornings where we would all try to warm our hands on the gas fire making the coffee.

At that time we also had no stairs in our house so they slept in two twin beds (pushed together, not so they could do what lovers do but rather so they could share body heat - maybe they did both) in what is now our pantry behind the bathroom - a room of about 6' x 6'. You might be wondering what kind of crappy hosts we were in not offering them the bedroom. We did. That was our bedroom that year. David and I spent that week in the upstairs...which wasn't really an upstairs since we had no stairs, and the bedroom hadn't been plastered. You can say that David and I have intimate knowledge of a Maberga winter after that experience. There was a good reason we had been sleeping in the 6x6 pantry behind the bathroom....and it wasn't because we didn't like the pee bucket.

I don't remember what went wrong with Casa Maberga on their visit last year, but I'm sure it was something because as I was reflecting on their visit this year, I noted that they were the first house guests to be here when nothing was broken or broke or wasn't working. There was that one morning when we all woke up and desperately needed showers (some of us more than others) and there was no hot water. For some unknown reason I had turned the water heater off and so by the time we needed to hit the road, the water was only tepid. That's human error, it doesn't count.

So, with nothing broken (or better said, everything working, well, for Maberga) we had a terrific time with these fun people. We ate, drank and were merry for four days straight...well, Denise and I were. David and Wayne unfortunately had a couple of sick days.

Since they've stuck with us this far, I sure hope they will be back for next year's chapter of "And they still came back!".

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Spring in January

I am ever so pleased to announce that the rain has stopped. It's that time of the year when you go outside in short sleeves and then brag about it to your family and friends who live in the midwest (or Denmark...except those friends happen to be in Italy for this great weather, which makes bragging to them a little ridiculous)

The dogs, having about a months worth of pent up lemon chasing in them have whined, barked and cried me and my short sleeved self outside more than well I would choose to do on my own. I decided that you all needed to come with me on walk number 1000 for today.

January Spring in Maberga. The time of the year when you can find these:

I'll admit to you...I took that photo before I picked them. They just smelled so damn great that I had to have them in my studio. Since you are actually only virtually on this walk with me and smell for yourself, you'll just have to trust'd have done the same thing.

It's also the time of the year when friends come out of hibernation and start having dinners and lunches. We had four such engagements last weekend. Unfortunately for you I only had my camera for one. Neighbors Franco and Lisa had us over for a lunch of random pig parts which were, respectively, 1. feet, 2. skin, 3. tongue. It's also the time of the year when these folks make a little sausage:

Oh wait, I forgot...we were walking...

It's also the time of the year when you find these on your land:

Don't ask. I don't know what it is, or was. Wild boar would be my guess but I can't be too sure.

That was kind of bad writing to have that skull discovery come right after the description of our terrific lunch. Sorry about that. There was no connection between the two...I'm sure of it.

It's also the time of the year when we are just a wee bit nervous about our road.

That would be the dogs swimming in the road. It gets, step back with me a little...

the arrow there is where the land below the road is washing away. Some kindly and thoughtful neighbors put that line of rocks there so you know where not to drive.

Ok, that's enough of this walk. I'm tired. Let's go back and look at my knitting.

It also happens to be that time of the year, here in Maberga anyway, when I need to finish these socks or they will get tossed into that bottomless abyss known as the unfinished projects bin. We haven't had a bet here on Olive Knitting for a while...who wants to place a wager on any or all of these three pairs of socks getting finished? Specially that middle pair - the knee high, blaze orange doolies with the lace and ribbing up the back.

Ok. The tour is over now.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Sorry for my absence. I've been building an ark.

Ok, it has really been raining for 40 days and 40 nights but it sure as heck feels like it.

And the two by two animals are getting restless. And I'm getting a little sick of muddy towels around the place, not to mention the puddles in my studio (the latter is not the dogs fault but rather the roof's). Oh yeah, the added bonus of weeks of rain for us is that we can't do laundry. Well, we can but then we have to be selective because the "indoor dryer" (the two by two chairs strategically placed in front of each stove) has limited capacity and takes a long time to complete a cycle.

Does it sound like I'm complaining. Yeah, well, that's because I am. I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune in the spring when everything comes up so beautiful and green and lush because we are finally getting the rain we've needed for the past 4 years. But for now...

Gotta go wipe down some dogs.

In case any of you are wondering what happened to the knitting part of this knitting blog...well, just hold your horses! I gotta go wipe down some dogs...and rotate the dryer.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I'm not sure, is this up to code?

That's our new home electrical system. Not bad, huh? We didn't do that bit of handy work ourselves. We had an actual electrician come up to Maberga to do that. I love this country. Only in a country were litigation is next to impossible would someone do something as "creative" as that. And this house call on a Saturday during the holidays only cost us 10 euro. I love this country.

I'm pretty sure that our old home electrical system wasn't up to code either or else we wouldn't have done this

In the old system, all the electricity for the house passed through that tiny little bit of now fried plastic. The system worked pretty well until yesterday when I took a bath and had some breakfast. That doesn't sound so dangerous, does it? I didn't think so then I remember where I was when I heard a big POP and black smoke started spewing out of the wall.

Taking a bath and making breakfast in Maberga requires the following:

1. electric water heater AND
2. electric heater for ice cold bathroom where
3. electric pellet stove heat doesn't reach AND
4. electric fridge to chill the butter for

the big topper... the straw that set the house on fire..

5. the electric toaster


So our creative electrician rigged this little bit of wizardry

1. that's where the current comes into the house. Yep, through a window. That's not new, it's always been that way.

2. this is the genius part. The electrician extrodinaire spliced that wire to

3. an extension cord and

4. the wire that carries the current to the rest of the house.

Brilliant. Freakin brilliant. And so aesthetically pleasing, too.

Just in case any of you are worried for our physical safety or reputation as official white-trash, our new favorite electrician will be back soon to do something a little less, um, temporary.