Thursday, April 28, 2016

recycling

or up-cycling or re-purposing, reusing, reclaiming, recovering, rescuing, salvaging, or taking-some-piece-of-shit-you-find-lying-around-and-doing-something-else-with-it....whatever you want to call it, I LOVE IT.  As was recently pointed out in an article sent to me by my brother-in-law, artists and poor people have been doing this for all of time.  And it's genius.

Now I'm not talking here about getting your empty wine bottles into the right bin.  That also is a good idea, but that's not what turns my crank.  I like this kind of recycling....

Yep, that's an old bed frame made into a fence.  I might have complained about those in the past since our neighbors have them everywhere but now, I get it.  I find them beautiful in their simplicity, practicality, and they're easy on the pocket book.  Isn't that better than, say, this purchased fencing


I think so. 

This re-purposed material fence might have passed that line between brilliant reuse and squalor....


But that's probably the fault of the reuser not the reused.

Some more good salvaging....


those frames that I saved from the neighbor's pyre which David will soon make into raised garden beds. 

I came home the other day to find this on the side of our house....

Yeah, looks like a pile of rocks because that's what it is....NOW.  But just wait.  Guess what we've got going on here


Yep.  David and our friends Franco and Gino are making us a grill from stuff we've got just lying around every where. That's awesome.

Why buy pots when....



you have loads of empty wine boxes?  Yep!  Upcycling.

And the best recovery yet....



GRANDMA'S OREGANO!!!!!  It's sprouted.





Sunday, April 24, 2016

Good Morning from Italy....




It's a long weekend.  Tomorrow is Liberation Day.  I love Liberation Day, it always feels so, well, liberating.

Some blogging friends have organized a virtual craft and reading circle day.  We participants are, well, virtually crafting and reading together (real crafting and real reading, virtually together).  Awesome.  So I will be posting regularly throughout the day as will these folks:

Oh my god.  What am I doing inside right now!


Ahhh, that's better.  More later, friends.


Midday Update....

Seems at though the weather is fully on board with my plans to read and craft today.  Just after this**

came these



and a piss down of rain.  Perfect.  No guilt about staying inside to knit instead of weeding this



Nope. No weeding.  Just dodging rain drops, grabbing some mint, making some tea (grandma's tea cup....nothing but the best for my virtual friends),


and back to the couch to cast on the front....



In case anyone is wondering, I'm working on this sweater.


It comes from one of the first knitting books I ever bought.




I've made this sweater once or twice before....


more later.....

**thanks to David for that photo.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Made in Maberga






 David and Franco are making some potatoes....



Can you imagine how many potatoes will come from that plot?  Me neither.



Q made a new friend....



 The fig tree made butterflies, which of course are really leaves....



 I've made a couple of spring jackets (see!  I do actually knit, and sometimes even mention it here on this knitting blog).....


 Below is a grannysquare jacket I made while sitting with Ruffino in his last couple weeks.  It's just like him -- big and white, cozy and soft, and just a little bit over the top. I love it.

 (this picture also shows the mirror I made our of our front door)

We're making some corn!  Knee high by the 4th of July my ass!  I think we'll be EATING that on Independence Day.


 And some tomatoes.....



The patio made a lot of color.




 The grape vines are making grapes.



David is making bread, just a little.



 I've been making some painting sketches





 And remember the knitting needles I harvested from the olive trees?  Yep...they work like a charm for making a shawl....



These extra large needles are waiting for a project.


And they'll have to wait because tonight I'm making Mila's shawl.  (Thanks, Mila!  I love this pattern and the yarn! I'm not going to bed tonight until it's done!)


Made in Maberga.









Monday, April 04, 2016

Ever have your electric transformer explode?  Yeah, me neither.  Till last week.

It went like this....

DOO DOOO DO DOOO DI (that's my phone getting a text)

new message from David: "is your car covered in oil this morning? mine is" (He was in SanRemo.  We don't usually text each other when we're both in the house.  That's what skype is for)

respond: "no. but I did notice that the electrical pylon in our car park is dripping."

respond: "WHAT? That's totally dangerous!  Call ENEL now!"

I won't go into the frustrating farcical fucking phone calls I wasted a day making to our electric company, resulting in never reaching ONE real person, because it will just get me worked up again.  Let's just say that the automated service didn't like my accent when I was trying to say our account number so it hung up on me.....EVERY TIME.

A day passes in which
1. we have no visit from the electric company.  not a surprise, they don't know we have a problem.
2. no more dripping from the transformer.  It must have run out of this toxic oil it was leaking.
3. David and I call everyone and anyone we know who might know someone who works at ENEL to try to get some help.

Then, the next day, David is driving into town and sees 4 ENEL trucks parked at the bar - FOUR.  How about that for some luck!

That afternoon a couple young guys from the electric company come up to check out the situation.  They assured me that there were no PCBs in that oil that leaked (David had been doing some heavy-duty research on what exactly drips out of a transformer) and they didn't assure me that anyone would be coming up soon to fix it.

me:  "Well, if that oil was in the transformer, which we know it was because it leaked out, can't we assume that was in there for a reason and now it's not in there because it's all over my husband's car?  Is this dangerous to have a transformer that close to the house without oil in it?"

ENEL guys: "naw.  the worst that will happen is that you'll lose electricity."

me: "hmmm?  and then?"

ENEL:  "call us."

At which point the two guys and I had a slight disagreement about the urgency of getting that transformer fixed. They thought sometime within the week would be doable.  I said today is a good day. We all did agree however that the phone service for ENEL sucks and the likelihood of my reaching a person if we lose power, is very slight.

That afternoon this happened (right after we lost power).  They came back the SAME day, and I didn't even have to call!


Down with the old....





And up with the new...

The next day a couple guys came to do contamination control which resulted in them digging up all the dirt where the exploded transformer's oil sprayed. 

This has left me with a couple of questions....


 1. if they are so worried about damage that transformer oil did to our dirt in the place where we park our cars, should we be more worried about David's car which was covered with the stuff?  Or perhaps that big blue plastic container which contains our WATER?


2.  How long do you think this is going to be cordoned off?



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.

AND

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.