Friday, March 27, 2009

really good friday

While drinking my morning cappuccino, David asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride by the sea today. Spring is really just about here resulting in beautifully sunny and warm days.

At about 9 we set out down the hill to the sea, heading to the new bike path. Once on it we went east, the direction less travelled which just about left us the whole thing to ourselves. Lovely. The sea was a bit rough so it was waving in the greatest shades of blues and greens. We passed through a mountain tunnel causing me to shiver and remember that spring might still be a few weeks out. On the other side of the tunnel was the town of San Lorenzo ... we stopped at a sea side bar to have a little glass of prosecco (italian champagne, aka: the breakfast of champions).

Back on the bikes, going back toward the car, we stumbled on the weekly street market in Santo Stefano al Mare. I love street markets. I will never tire of street markets. Never.

At about 11.30, feeling tanned, windblown, contented, and hungry we went home.

And what did we find as curved the last curve that drops you in front of our house?

The fabbro.

And the fabbro's assistant.

And....are you ready?....

A fence.

I can't tell you how happy I am with this fence. There's never been another fence in the world that has made me so happy. Never. Well, ok, maybe that 6 foot privacy fence we had in the backyard of our house in the heart of the Denver 'hood. The one that kept the foot traffic to the liquor store across the alley out of our backyard. That fence made me happy, too but well, a different kind of happy. This fence...well, I just can't tell you how much happier my life will be having it. Mostly I can't tell you because it's been raining ever since the fabbro completed his work so we haven't been able to enjoy our new fence at all. BUT, I'm sure it WILL make me happy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yesterday Augusto came by to put in the gate for our new fence.

Now his work is done and we wait for the fabro. I don't know what a fabro is called in english. He is the man who works with metal - you know, cutting it, sticking it together with fire, etc. "Ironman" doesn't sound quite right. Is "Blacksmith" a word still in active duty or was it retired when our mode of transportation stopped wearing shoes? Anyway...

We're not exactly sure when the Fabro is coming. He said the end of the week. But then he also promised that the whole fence would have been done two weeks ago. I'm not really in a huge rush. I mean, what the hell, we've lived here now 5 years without a fence. What's another week or two (or three...let's be realistic about this)?

Truth be told, it'd never occurred to me to even put in a fence. I mean, come on, given the scope of the other projects that need doing here at Casa Cornwell, well, a fence? Yeah, not really in the top 10. That is until David and I took on two new roommates who have a propensity for chasing Pandas.

Just for the record...there are wild boar in Maberga but no panda bears...I was referring to the beautiful Fiat car called Panda - which all our neighbors own.

Shortly after these roommates got comfortable in Maberga, discovering their love of lemons and small, easy to catch cars, David got a job which takes him away from home for big stretches of time. (was that timing coincidental?) The combo prompted the new entry to the list of things that need to get done to our little house on the mountain. It is, in case anyone was wondering, the only item on the list that involves keeping things IN rather than OUT.

So, as I was saying, I'm not in a huge rush for this fence, as long as it's done before David starts traveling again.

Besides, I need a little time to figure out this mental disconnect that happens every time I approach the house now. It goes like this:

walk up to house.

see gate.

reach out to open gate.

look around to see if anyone just saw me try to go through a free standing gate.

walk around gate.

What can we understand about a person who, coming upon a gate, has a natural reflex to walk through it, even when it is completely unnecessary? Is this part of human nature in the 21st century or would it peg me (and other gate seekers) into a specific Myers-Briggs type?

I'll keep you posted on my insights into this...I'm guessing I'll have a little time to think about it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FOs and UFOs

Friends, the 2009 F.O.'s are just falling off the needles! Check these bad boys out (don't ask me why I've just given socks a gender but sock definitely are masculine - they aren't essential but really quite useful, they keep your feet warm in cold weather, they can be boring, jazzy, thick, thin, plain or colorful, they need a drawer of their own, and they get smelly quite easily - socks are boys)...

I really wish that the F.O.'s were falling off the fence makers blow torch.

Those verticals have been waiting for some horizontals, and some more verticals for a while now. UFO

Friday, March 13, 2009


I am just pleased as all get out to show you the upgrade I've just purchased for my clothes dryer.

It makes loading and unloading SO much easier. Technology is AMAZING.

(sorry about that photo...I really wanted to John-Madden-ize it by drawing arrows that point to the clothes LINE and scribble words and explanations all over it but I don't know how to do that on my new Mac...any mac users that can help me?)

I like it so much that I had it engraved.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

There's something strangely empowering about heating your house and cooking your dinner with wood that you've collected yourself. It's efficient, simple, free, and you can literally FEEL the results of your labor.

As you may recall from the little run in I had with the neighbor last week, one of his gripes was that our property is a mess...a fire hazard, to be specific. We are certainly far (I'd like to think) from the white-trashiness of some of our other neighbors. We don't, for example have any discarded appliances on our property. Nor do we have a collection of kitchen and bathroom sinks lying about waiting for ... I don't know exactly what those sinks are waiting for. No, this sort of mess we don't have. Oddly enough, that would be ok with this neighbor since HE had all of those things on the property when we first bought the house from him. What ISN'T ok with the neighbor is the natural trash we have around.

Remember the olive harvest disaster? Yeah, well all those branches that David cut down in an effort to be efficient in our picking of the olives kind of, sort of, might have ended up on the stretch of nomad land that happens to be between our house and the neighbor's. As has some branches David's cut down in the never ending search for the perfect clothes dryer (aka: clothes LINE). Given that we are ABOVE him on the mountain, some of these might have, may have, sort of, kind of, landed ON his "house", um, "structure" is probably a more suitable term.

Here's a photo of said land...

Ok, you can't really tell from that photo what I'm talking about....try this one...

Ok, that photo sucks, too. You'll just have to trust me - we've got some cleaning to do.

Neighbor has a point. The aesthetics of it don't bother him, it's dangerous. He's right. Luckily we've had monsoon-like weather since about October so the likelihood of a wild fire is small but once summer comes and things start drying out, well...

So, in an effort to be neighborly (and SAFE), I've begun cleaning our land. It's actually been a rather lovely experience. I put on my work boots, overalls, and gloves (the right outfit is essential) and hit the land. Ruffino has been a great help as I drag these poor oliveless olive branches up the side of the hill. I pass them to him and he drags them to the patio. Q doesn't like working so much.

Having understood long ago that power tools, like the kind that could cut though my leg like butter, are not really for me, I've been using powerLESS tools. It seems even more obvious that I should avoid sharp objects moving with the aide of a motor when I'm on the mountain alone. Ruff is a big help but he hasn't yet learned to apply pressure to a spirting, open vein nor has he learned to drive to the emergency room if necessary. So I've been using hand trimmers to break these big branches into stove-size bites. Yes, Yes, I know. I said earlier that this whole thing was efficient. Actually what I do is far from efficient given that I spent several hours collecting and hand trimming bits of wood that burned in about 2 seconds.

HOWEVER...I've also been combing the mountain side looking for slightly larger bits of wood and have managed to maintain a fire for the whole of today ONLY with wood I've collected (and cut) myself. Just because it completes the photo, completes this blog and completes my day...I tossed some water, onions, lentils, zucchinis, peppers, garlic in a pot along with some rosemary, mint, and oregano from "the land" and ... warm house and dinner.

Seriously satisfying.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the gas on my stove is about to run out...