the morning spent layering cardboard and hay in the garden and shooing off the rather persistent chickens, who cheerfully swallow the worms we dig up. A long, beautiful lunch dominated by amazing porcini bruscetta, and wine that puts a new spin on the many games of ping pong that follow. Christiane is addicted, already trying to deduce a way to bring the table back with us.
There is a certain harmonious elegance to country life that beggars it’s urban counterpart; after a long, luxurious stroll to Minas Tirith (granted the Italians have renamed it Poggio and dirtied up the breastworks some to avoid attracting the attention of maurauding Orcs, cunningly diguised as begroceried little grannies, obviously) we return, and I prepare a lunch of pasta al funghi con porchetta, using the delectable pork and mushrooms native to this region; the pork grows in the garden right next to the carrots. I shave in large swaths of pecorino, a cheese that lives somewhere in between the embattled regions of Parmesan and cheddar, though neither are as war torn as Swiss, throw in an egg i gathered this morning from the recalcitrant hens, and dip the bread we made from scratch yesterday into a bowl of balsamic and olive oil, the oil pressed from olives sourced on the premises. The solitary wine christiane bought at the local vinery… Is on the sideboard, because we’re saving it for a picnic at Carsulae, but I stare at the bottle and it’s label that says Umbria as the Lord Nelson tea splashes frivolously, which by the way, it can only do when drunk outside of its native England.
for some esoteric reason, i decide today is the day, the perfect day, to shovel all the chicken shit out of the coop. It takes a mere 2 hours, during which I manage to catch an ordure rebound to the face at least twice, paving the way for that special home-cooked botulism I’ve so coveted. A trip to the Narni grocery store takes us past a beautiful medieval church on it’s own finger promontory, surrounded by dozing olive groves. Each hamlet we pass has at least one of these intimate churches, and each has it’s own mass. There are priests that lead services for as many as 12 neighboring churches each week. For the purpose of this narrative, I’d like to imagine them on scooters. An old, solitary bent man on an even more unstraight ladder prunes an olive tree, while his dog barks at imaginary priests on scooters. I can only assume, being that there are several dozen trees remaining, that he must finish on the leaves of the last just in time to begin again on the first.We bake bread in the afternoon, and as the team leaders venture off for the evening, ours consists of sponge bath, sex, and warmth being that we can abscond with the epic kerosine heater. We end the evening with battlestar galactica season 1 finale and sleep.
Walked around grove, being that it was a spottily pretty day and took a few pics of the farmhouse. The veggie garden got a new pathway courtesy of christiane and a bunch of tiles i dug out of the grass.. And thanks to some google research, it was a day of great and mighty fire. We finished with the sun by loafing in the hammock, and I took a few sneaky pics of the girl while she drew.
rain, rain, pervasive wet and a buzzkill. After chores we huddle before our little fire and watch back to back episodes of battlestar galactica. The rustic appeal is beginning to wear a bit thin; 5 days without a shower because the water is so unbearably cold, and an ongoing sniffle augments the damp. Our laundry refuses to dry. And I get no bars. I’m switching to Cingular. Actually my phone doesn’t function, I tried to use it as an internal heat source by rubbing it against my cardigan and then dousing it in lamp oil…
every morning I wake up at 7am, and the water in the toilet is so chilly that a gout of pee steam envelopes me, which is less lovely than you would think…but today is beautiful and no goddamned rain at least, and we are headed to carnivale in Poggio for the day! A long wounded hour in the car with Romano race car driving has christiane a mite billious, but we round the bend past an abandoned hermitage and suddenly…people! The first real aggregation of people since leaving Rome. Even young ones. The costume du jour seems to swing between renaissance goth and oh holy Jesus, though there was an enormous group dressed as dalmations; disposable painter coveralls with spray painted black spots and socks sewed onto the ears. Some were even in a band that played mandolin Kiss covers. I buy a tie with a monster sewed onto it. We eat ice cream, wine served in plastic water bottles and porchetta sandwiches. I have decided (after some wine) that I shall document the event by inserting my lense into the nostrils of the best dressed passerbys. There is a giant combustible puppet with a hairy ass, but we leave before it’s fate seals. My favorite moment was looking up at an apartment window with the faces of 2-3 Italian grans pressed against it like ficus leaves, looking down aghast upon the throng of the merry. And an Italian who looked just like a dusky stephen fry. And a drunken old man dressed as a clown hitting people in the face with confetti. We return in time for a wonderful barbecue and rest contented and thoroughly full in every respect.