Sunday, March 21, 2004


MARCH 21, 2004

Although I needed to update the blog, I was planning on doing it tonight, since today was still nice, although cooler. We have been painting the small iron fences on the front porch, and today all that needed to be finished was the large gate to the back yard. While I did some touch-ups on yesterday’s work, Art started on the gate. Yesterday he was positive that masking tape would stick to the stucco, although I had my doubts. Today he decided it would be much easier to just use a wide putty knife and hold it against the wall. It really did work like a charm. After he had finished edging the front side, I started to fill in, while he edged the back side. Then it happened….I got paint on the wall…and Art was NOT happy. So, now I’m blogging and he’s painting. He really prefers it this way, and although I was really enjoying the two of us working together, I don’t take criticism very well, and he is a much better painter than I am, and much more demanding. So, here’s what’s been happening with us….

I forgot to mention that when we were cleaning up the garden last weekend, I found…and killed…two scorpions. They were both under the large patio stones, and were about an inch and a half long, I guess. I knew there were scorpions here, and we have been told that they are not deadly. I hope that’s right! Anyway, I knew enough not to work in the garden without gloves, or even in the big pile of firewood that’s in the garage…I saw my first scorpion last fall in the garage, but it was already dead.

Other dead animal news is that we ran over a snake in the road yesterday. I think it was already dead too. And did I write about the bird that few into our windshield one day? We think it was an owl, and even though we saw it coming, we both jumped when it hit. It hit the car so hard that we were both amazed that the windshield didn’t crack. I’m surprised that we haven’t seen more animals on the road, but I’m sure as the weather warms up, it will be more and more of a problem.

Other, more pleasant news is that we have met another couple who have a house in Ospedaletto. They’re from Finland, and we initially “met” them through the SlowTalk message board when they posted to ask if anyone could recommend workers for some projects they have planned. Since Ospedaletto is only 10kms up the road, we were sure that Mauro would be able to help them, so we sent them his name and number.

As it turns out, they were planning to come for a week in order to get the house set up…they plan to live here during the summer with their four children. We told them to give us a call if they some free time, and last Wednesday we went to the house of Pia and Marco for coffee.

The house is magnificent….a beautiful stone house with beamed ceilings, terra cotta floors, a HUGE fireplace, and fantastic views! Pia and Marco plan to use this house for summer vacations, maybe Christmas vacations, and will also share the house with Marco’s parents. The parents were here in November for several weeks, and brought some furniture with them. They came by car….which Pia and Marco will also do this summer. This involves taking a ferry from Finland, which is a 24 hour journey, then driving from Germany to Umbria, which I think takes about 16 hours! What a trip! Anyway, when they come in the summer, this will allow them to have their own car, and save the expense of a rental.

We really enjoyed meeting them, and arranged to have dinner with them that night at Ternana’s in Marsciano. Although they are a few years younger than us, and still raising a family, we seemed to agree on many things, especially music…Marco is a major music buff, and likes all kinds of music. We discovered that we like many of the same artists, and will probably do some CD swapping once they arrive for the summer.

They also told us about a great place to shop for furniture, iron, and ceramics, and for that we are eternally grateful! How we missed this place, we don’t know, but now we’ve been told! Pia and Marco have a beautiful iron table with a tile top that we just fell in love with, and they told us they had bought it at a place that looked like a junkyard, and was just past GranCasa. Since Art had suggested that we put a small bench just outside the front door, we thought this would be the perfect place to find it.

Once we pulled in to the parking lot, we were enthralled! Terra cotta planters of every size and shape imaginable. Urns…all sizes and finishes, from the very simple to the extremely ornate. Fountains to hang on a garden wall…out of many different materials. And iron…chairs, beds, tables of all shapes and sizes, tops for the tables in ceramics and mosaics…and on and on. Inside was an assortment of furniture and knick-knacks. And the best news was that everything seemed to be very reasonably priced. Where to begin?

We started with the tables, but soon decided that this would be the last thing we would buy, not the first. We still have to plant the garden and put in a new patio…and we don’t even have a plan for either one yet! We did get some idea of the prices, though, and now I’m not sure that I want to spend quite that much on a table for the garden. We’ll see. We then asked about a simple bench…we had seen one on our stroll though the lot…it looked like a simple park bench, with no arms. The price? 100 euro. Did we want it in black, or maybe in green? Once we saw that the green was very similar to the color we wanted to use on the fence, it was a no-brainer…green, please.

Next we looked at some terra cotta pots, and bought a large rectangular one and a large round one for by the front door. This way, once we are finished painting, we can move them into place and plant something! I’m dying to start planting!

Inside, I had seen a small shelf unit that I liked, and I took the measurements for further thought. I bought a copper tea kettle and a lighter weight bedspread for the summer. We knew we would have to return on Monday or Tuesday after the bench was painted, but that was enough for now!

We stopped by Obi and bought the anti-rust paint for the fence, a wire brush to scrape the rusty spots, and a cheap paint brush. We had our project ready to go!

Today we installed three glass shelves to display Art's coffee mug collection. They were on top of the kitchen cabinet we had built, but you couldn't really see most of the cups, and I just didn't like it. Then I got this inspiration.....we think it turned out pretty good...the fact that the three shelves lined up perfectly was a miracle!