Friday, May 28, 2004


THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2004

Although we’ve been back only six days, once again we instantly feel at home, as if we have been here forever. What a wonderful feeling! Neighbors greet us with “Ben Tornata!” which means “welcome back”, more or less. At first I thought they were saying “you’re back”, and I would answer “Si!”. Luckily Art heard me do this, and told me what they were saying….now I can answer “grazie!”

We went to the garden center to get the rest of our plants, but the last shrub we need is temporarily out of stock. More will arrive next week, along with the last of the ground cover. I only needed one more bag of mulch, and a few more bags of dirt. I bought a torch that will burn citronella oil…I have a feeling that our yard might be buggy…the “park” behind us is already looking rather wild, and I don’t know whether anyone will cut the weeds. If we could get a long enough extension cord, we’d be tempted to buy a weed eater and cut it ourselves.

When we visited with Pia and Marko in Ospedaletto, we fell in love with the tile-topped iron table that they had in their sunroom. We have looked several times at Rinaldini, trying to agree on a size and a design. Art wants bigger and square or rectangular. I want smaller and round. I think with a round table we can seat four comfortable, but can squeeze in two more without much problem. With a larger square or rectangular table, it takes up so much room all of the time. Our patio is only 10 X 10, and a table and four chairs is about all there’s room for. We’re going to put a barbeque at the far corner, and I think the corner nearest to the door may be suitable for my “orto”, or kitchen garden.

Regarding the table. Wendy asked if we had looked at “Emu”, which is a factory in Marsciano. We had seen the signs, but of course had no idea what they made or sold. We followed the signs, and found it tucked away, WAY off the road. It was a huge place, and it took us a few minutes to find the front door. Once we found the entrance, we were told that this was only the factory and that we would have to go to the showroom near Magione…where we had just been the day before! We did take a catalog, and as I paged through it, I discovered that they didn’t have ANY tables with tile tops. So, that was that. But then….I started to think about some of the tables Maybe the table with the mesh top would work. The mesh top would help that patio look more open, wouldn’t it?

So, in fairness, we decided to look at Emu. Well, I decided and Art agreed to look. I promised to keep an open mind. At the showroom we saw in person what we had seen in the brochure…and liked it. We tried several chairs, and were amazed to learn that the chair we liked was actually ON SALE!!! If you don’t live in Italy, you have no idea how rare this is! Art said that he really did like this table, and we both liked the fact that it came in a dark brown color that we think will look really good with our patio stones. The only disappointment was that they won’t be able to deliver the set until after we return from Prague. Since we’re only here for five more days, I guess it’s not really so bad.

When we first bought the house I was so disappointed that our back yard was shady and I wouldn’t be able to have tomatoes or roses. Now that we are here in the summer, we’re seeing exactly where the sun does get through, and for how long. As long as I have enough basil to make pesto, I think I’ll be okay…it seems possible that tomatoes will be plentiful and cheap. So I’ve started four pots of basil, a pot of oregano and a pot of rosemary. Armando next door has all the parsley we could want, so I think I’m set…as long as the basil likes this spot. It gets a good dose of afternoon sun, so I’m hopeful.

On the same side of the patio I’ve also put in verbena, which also requires a good deal of sun. The back side of the patio got impatiens, since it’s always in the shade. Since for now I’m following Antonella’s garden plan, I’ve also added three large pots with “ortensie”…which is hydrangea. This variety is supposed to be winter hardy, even in a pot….another experiment. I sunk the post an inch or so just to give them stability, and to help them blend into the garden.

For the barbeque we had first looked at a factory outlet near Gran Casa, called Caminetti. We found the size that we liked, but the price was way more than we wanted to pay. As we would later find out, these frills have an advantage over the ones sold by Gran Casa and Obi…the have a metal grate on the surface where the wood or charcoal sits, which allows the fire to burn hotter. The barbeques we saw also had a metal grate attached to the back where wood is supposed to go. We saw pictures showing a fire blazing away within this grated holder…I’m still not sure how it works. The fire is basically BEHIND the area of the grate…maybe you burn the wood in the grate, then as the coals drop off, you’re supposed to drag the coals forward to be under the grate.

We couldn’t look at Gran Casa since we looked on Monday morning. Normally, most stores are closed on Monday mornings. We did ride down to Obi, knowing that their barbeques we set up outside where we could see them even if they were closed. When we arrived at Obi, we were surprised to find they were open. We looked at the selection, and didn’t like the fact that their grills didn’t have the metal grate under the fire area.

When we went back to Gran Casa later in the week, we saw that their grills were made the same as the ones at Obi. This is when we decided that the metal grate was the sign of a more expensive barbeque. We decided to go ahead and buy the one we liked at Gran Casa, only to discover that the one we wanted was sold out. We asked about buying the display modes. But since it was already assembled, they told us no, because it was too dangerous to transport, and too heavy to move. We would later find out just how true this was.

We drove back to Obi and saw the same grill that we liked at Gran Casa, and it was nine euro cheaper, AND it included a bucket of paint. Luckily for us, they had one in stock. We had been surprised when Gran Casa was sold out, but we remembered what Wendy had told us about trying to buy a fan last summer. We had already purchased two of those in preparation for the hot weather. For this reason, we decided that we’d better buy the grill now. When we were checking out, our cashier spoke English, and he told us that they would try their best to get the barbeque delivered today, but that it might not be until tomorrow. I don’t know if the shocked look showed on our faces, but this was an amazing thing!!! Delivery possibly TODAY, and if not today then the NEXT day!?! Wow! We’re used to waiting AT LEAST a week, and usually more for deliveries.

FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2004

The barbeque did NOT arrive until the next day, but it did come in the morning. Art and I were only able to carry a few pieces into the back yard….wow, is it ever heavy!!! We called Wendy to see if she and Giuseppe would like to come for dinner in return for Giuseppe’s help in moving and assembling the barbeque. We decided that we could go ahead and sink the concrete blocks that would from the footers for the grill, and to set the first piece in place. Getting all this level would be time consuming, but once that was done, the rest should be relatively easy. As luck would have it, Enrico and Wilma stopped by later in the week and Art and Enrico were able to move the last two pieces into the back yard. Not that we were worried about them sitting in front of the house…it’s not like anyone was going to run off with them!

Enrico and Wilma had come by to talk with us in person. Art had called Enrico on the phone to tell him about the sister cities festival that was going to be held in Perugia this weekend. Jill and Larry are selling pictures on American Indians, and we thought Enrico might be interested. Enrico thought it would be easier to talk face to face, so he and Wilma stopped by this morning. We were glad they did, since this gave us the opportunity to give them the Texas Longhorn belt buckles that Art had found while we were in the states.

Enrico started to tell us about his newest project…he wants to bring Americans to Italy to see his ranch, and for us to show them around. He told us that he would pay us for this service. He plans to put Old West style buildings on his ranch…I’m thinking of all the Western movies he’s seen with the typical Old West town…wonder if he’ll have a saloon with the swinging doors? Anyway, his main objective is to bring Americans to Italy, and to make it affordable by eliminating the travel agency. We gave him Wendy’s number…she speaks not only English and Italian, but also Spanish…which is also spoken by many people in the Southwest. Since she is a translator by trade, this could be a perfect second job for her…not that she needs a second job she already has AT LEAST two other jobs that I know of, but if she has the time and desire, this could be a little extra income.

Before Enrico and Wilma left, we showed them the progress on our garden, and also asked Enrico who we could ask about the park behind us. He said he would make some calls, and then offered to help Art move the remaining tow pieces of the barbeque. We made arrangements to meet on Sunday so that we can go to the festa in Perugia together, and I suggested that we all go to the fest in Ripavella later. Enrico had originally invited us for dinner on Sunday, and I thought this would be a good was of keeping Wilma out of the kitchen. I specifically said that we could eat at the festa, and they seemed to like this idea.

I need to take a few pictures of the barbeque in pieces so that I can post some pictures. The one we bought is about the smallest size, and it is possible to buy them without the chimney. Because of the trees, we thought the chimney would be safer, and it also adds some interest to the garden. The barbeques are available in many other sizes, and it’s even possible to get one that has not only the grill area, but also an oven…wouldn’t I just love to have enough room for my very own wood-fired pizza and bread oven!!!


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