Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Another rainy day

in Maberga.

Good for making chocolates 

Luckily, David harvested grandma’s oregano on the last sunny day.

Yeah, ok. That’s not grandma's oregano. It’s not even oregano, it’s thyme. Here's the oregano....

Yeah, it's still not Grandma’s oregano though.  I’ve blogged before about my grandma’s oregano. My grandma passed on to that kitchen in the sky several years ago but her oregano lives on. Here’s how:

My uncle mike was clever enough to have taken seed (or maybe actual plants?) from her extensive backyard garden back in the day. He now carefully grows shit-loads of the stuff to dry and share with family and friends in jars and in his awesome cooking (something else he was smart enough to take from grandma before she passed). A few years ago he shared some of the seeds with me for our orto. Awesome. Worked like a charm. How romantic the idea of growing my grandma’s herbs here in Italy, her native home. Not to mention this oregano is just really f-ing delicious. Yes, there is a difference in oreganos.

Uncle mike detailed for us exactly what to do so that we can harvest seeds from one year to the next so as to have a constant crop. Flash forward to this October when my parents muled over the 3rd or 4th batch of grandma’s oregano seeds, I’ve lost count. Yeah, we haven’t really been able to get that whole seeding process down yet.

With great enthusiasm my dad and I got right to planting those those seeds he brought from his mother, by way of his brother to his daughter in Italy. Dad dug and hoed and leveled a beautiful spot in the herb garden. We gently sprinkled the seeds and then watered them right way.

So excited and proud of ourselves, we sent photos to uncle mike...who promptly squelched our dreams “you can’t plant that in the autumn. They’ll never survive the winter.” Hmm, we hadn’t really thought of that.  And damn, if he wasn't right.  It didn't grow.  Well, it sprouted, but well, that's about that.  November came and the cold and well, that's why you don't plant shit in the autumn.  

So, Uncle Mike was right. I do hate it when Uncle Mike is right so I've sort of told him that it DID grow.  I even took photos of a new crop of regular ol' Italian oregano that David planted (in March) and told him it was Grandma's. 

Bumper harvest! Thanks, Grandma! Thanks, Dad! (😉 don't tell Uncle Mike)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

How great thou art - happy mother’s day

We were listening to our favorite Sunday morning radio program, the bbc’s “easy like Sunday morning”. It’s a fun and random compilation of easy soft pop/rock/folk songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s- a lot of Chicago and Gordon Lightfoot and George Michael. Just the exact right amount of corny for me, and of course I know all the words to every song. Immediate winner. The program ends with a segment called “in praise of god” which is a live broadcast of part of church service from a different English country church each week. The program goes from cheesey dj-ing radio to preaching without missing a beat, which only enhances the randomness of the show. Fantastic.

 This week’s “in praise” started with a hymn. Yep, actual singing from a congregation of what I can only imagine to be primarily white women of a certain age. You know, sung completely off-key and with a strident sense of duty. It’s odd how something can be so powerful and so unenthusiastic at the same time.

 This brings me to mother’s day. Hearing that hymn transported me to a church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin circa 1978 where I found myself standing between my mom and her mom, my grandma Sally, as they belted out that very song. Golly what I wouldn’t give to be standing in that pew this morning.

 For my mom, thanks for teaching me unenthusiastic power, faith, duty, and how to sing. How great thou art