Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's a war

No. Not a war at all. Just a battle, of sorts.

So that one day that I was chatting with pals Augusto and Lina about my orto/giardino, you know the day, when Augusto called me to task about planting a vegetable garden. Yeah, that day. Well, I happened to mention in that same conversation that I didn't know how I would water the vegetables if I did put them in the ground on our land.

Just a note case you are confused. Our land is not contiguous to the land our house is on. It's a strange reality of properties being inherited by children and children of children and children's children's children that one day an american couple comes to italy to buy a house on a mountain and gets some land with it that is several generations removed from the land the house is standing on.

So I mentioned to Augusto and Lina that other day that there is water on the land, in fact, the water that comes into the house is stored in our vasca...which sits on our land...not contiguous to our house. Stay with me here.

Augusto and Lina have a difficult time understanding what I was saying, as I'm sure you are now. "there's no water up there?" they ask.

Me: "yeah of course there's water up there. I just told you that our vasca is right there."

A and L: "e allora?????" (I love those two words. They mean, "and so...". There's a certain, "so what the f$%^ is the problem?!" in one's tone when they use those words)

Me: "Well, I don't know how to get the water out of the vasca and onto any prospective vegetables I might plant. Short of climbing up to the vasca with a bucket, that is."

A and L: "just connect a tube."

Me: "yeah...e allora?????" (it also means..."and then what?!". These are very useful words)

A: "I'll come up some day and see if I can help you."

So yesterday, always good to his word, Augusto came up to look at the potential orto land. Then he explained to me how to put a hose into the open pool of the vasca, suck on the end of the tube that is not in the water, thus, creating a siphon. That technique, of course, being the exact same one I taught my kindergartners when I showed them how to empty the water table. Same same. I sometimes seem to have a problem transferring knowledge.

Then Aususto looked at the land...

And said, very slowly and softly, "you're going to have to clean that a little".

Maybe you all are wondering, at this point, where that battle is that I mentioned in the opening sentence. Well, here it starts...

To say thanks to Augusto for taking the time to come up to the house to give me his advice about siphoning and cleaning the land, I bought him a case of beer. I dropped it off at his campagna yesterday afternoon, he told me I was crazy and that I didn't have to give him anything, and that was that.

This morning at 8am I was out walking the dogs when neighbor Giuseppe yelled down to me, "OOOOH! Lina! Augusto is here."

I don't always understand Giuseppe when he speaks, so I yelled back, "yes, Augusto came up to see me yesterday."

"NO! He's here now."

Sure enough. Augusto was standing by the house with his three wheeled truck loaded with his weed whacker and the motozappa (I'm sorry, I have no idea what a motozappa is called in the dictionary it's called a "powered cultivator" but I don't think that's right. It looks like a big push lawnmower but with a horizontal screw shaped blade. It digs and churns the earth.)

Yep. Paybacks for the case of beer.

First he weed whacked his way from the road, through other people's land,

up to ours. Then he whacked ours.

Then he got the motozappa...

And worked that bit of land until it surrendered to the big-push-mower-with-the-horizontal-screw-blade. And let me tell you, that was some HARD HARD earth to break. It took Augusto 3 hours, a little blood, a lot of sweat, and 3 beers.

Then he planted some onions for me.

I watered them myself...with two liter bottles of water I carried up to the land from the house because I was too busy this afternoon to buy a hose. Instead of buying the hose I need, which is where this whole bloody story started, I was buying Augusto a lemon tree.


  1. Hi!

    I absolutely LOVE reading your adventures. :)) I can identify with the language differences/barriers because of my honey's international work and our travel related to that work.

    It is interesting advice to use your mouth to start that siphon hose! I can just picture him trying to get enough pressure to do it that way. Of course, all that is needed is to fill the siphon hose with another hose hooked to a water supply, then release it when full for the siphon action can begin. I do this to clean the gold fish pond in our back yard a couple of times a year.

    Thanks again for this great story. :)

    Very best,

  2. Do you think Augusto would take a field trip to Washington? We've got some mighty fine beer here. Cindy

  3. I think the motozappa is a roto-tiller. They can really shake up your body. You own him big time, a tree is a nice start though.
    Good luck with the garden, I hope the cingalas stay away.

  4. Wow! That's going to be an amazing orto :)

  5. Anonymous7:02 AM

    OMG! Amazing, success with the Orto and vegatables too! You are becomming amazing with all of the projects and knitting!