Tuesday, March 22, 2016

So it seems that Maberga can handle only so much wild thymes until, well, danger sets in.  It looked like this today...

We are sitting out in our beautiful garden on this first warm spring evening sharing a glass of wine when David says, looking down the valley, "hmmmm....smoke....oh shit.  That's a fire.  No, it's like 6 fires."

me: "na,  someone is just burning, burning the olive tree pruning, which, by the way, could be LOADS of nice knitting needles.  Let me see...oh, no.  Not burning.  Well, yeah burning!"

note here: had I been thinking, no one would be burning branches at 6pm on a windy evening.

David: "yeah.  Forest fire.  Looks like it's at Mario's house."

So David called Augusto and Lina whose 'weekend house' is just above Mario's.  Then he called the fire department.

I called Mario.

me:  "Hi Mario, I am Lynn from Maberga.  Are you home?"

Mario: "si"

me: "we can see a fire, looks like it's near your house."

Did I mention that Mario is the only person in Italy who has a completely wood house. Ok, slight exaggeration.  Not an exaggeration about Mario's house - it is completely wood, but, maybe it's not the only wood house in the whole of the country.  It is however such an anomaly that no one calls it 'Mario's house' but rather 'the wood house'.

Mario:  "hmm....I smell smoke.  Shit.  Yeah.  Fire.  Thanks! Bye"

45 minutes later we are down the hill by our neighbor friends, helping Augusto FILL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT'S TRUCK WITH WATER from his water stash.  For the record, the fire department did bring enough water but the truck with the majority of of the water, couldn't fit up the road.  So the little truck that could, did....'til it ran out.

Let me just take a minute away from the story now to explain how incredible this is.  When the fire department started running low we heard a yell, "VERTA!" (that's augusto).  "ACQUA".  At which point Augusto sent Lina from where we were at Mario's, up to their 'weekend house' to "hit the switch".  Lina and I went to their house where she went to a box, hit a switch and flood lights lit up the mountain.  And then, next to the light box there was another box where she flicked a switch and pressed a button.  This started a pump from their massive cement water container of water sending it to a hose....a water hose....on their land...down the mountain...near the fire.  Which filled the fire truck. Incredible.  How can anyone be that prepared?

The little truck that could, then went up an even SMALLER road than the road to Maberga (a side street, if you will) to catch the fire from above.

At that point there was nothing for Augusto, Lina, David and me to do....so they invited us up to the house for a plastic cup of wine (Lina brought me a beer....the best hostesses know their guests)

When the fire was under control the firefighters came down from the side street, which took them passed Augusto and Lina's.  And we heard again, "VERTA!"

Augusto yelled out, "drink a glass!"  Lina was prepared, she had more than 3 plastic glasses.

Obviously, it wasn't their first forest fire.

So now I have a TO DO list:

1. install some flood lights
2.  get a huge cement water container.
3. install a pump on this water container.
4. connect this container to hoses around our land
5. get some really-long-ass-hoses
6. stock up on wine and beer
7. get to know all the firefighters in the area.


8. remember to always drink a glass of wine in our beautiful garden in the evening

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wild Thymes in Maberga

So, it occurred to me the other day when I saw this in the cupboard

And this on our land

"hey", I occurred to myself, "we don't need to buy no stinkin' herbes de provence when we can make ERBE DI MABERBA!"

Let's go.

1.  collect a bunch of herbs

2. hang 'em up to dry

3.  collect some onions, peppers and garlic

4. cut them, put them in a tray

5.  dry them in the oven at about 200 degrees for several hours

6.  remember that you are in Europe and your oven is in Celcius

7.  throw that shit away and decide that ERBE DI MABERGA won't have onions and garlic this time

8. finely chop the bunch of dried herbs that you didn't burn and put them in a cute jar

9.  realize that that amount of herb mixture won't even season chicken nugget

10.  go back out to the land to collect more herbs

11.  hang 'em up to dry......

It might be a while before we are eating chicken alla ERBE DI MABERGA.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

It's that time of the year when....

this is ending....

and this is starting.

The people of Taggia get all medievally ....

and the shops start selling chocolate olives for Easter*.

It's knitting needle harvest time....

And, last but definitely least, it's time to get out that odious brown bag that contains everything we need to hold the annual Maberga Road consortium meeting.

I hate that bag.  I love spring.

*If you think about it, does it make any more sense that a giant bunny brings chocolate eggs instead of chocolate olives to celebrate the resurrection of the son of God?