Saturday, June 14, 2008

WHERE'S THE SUN?

I’ve said it over and over and over….there is no such thing as “normal” weather anymore. In the states, thousands of people are being flooded out of their homes, while in the eastern United States people are sweltering. Here in Italy the northern part of the country has suffered more rain, flooding and mudslides than we have here in central Italy, but still, it’s been a strange June. Actually it feels more like April….well, like an April from years past, when we expected “April showers to bring May flowers” and temps to be cool with occasional bursts of sunshine.

After a very mild winter, March and April were really COLD….we even had a dusting of snow for Easter! While we were in the states from mid-April to mid-May, our friends reported cool, cloudy and rainy days, and upon our return, it was easy to see the proof: flowers and herbs I’d set out in mid-April were the same size as the day I’d planted them!

A few days after we got back we had three…count ‘em!...three days in a row with beautiful sunshine and thought for sure that summer had finally arrived….but no. Today, the middle of June, I sit here typing in a long sleeved tee shirt…with a sweatshirt over the top! I’m still pulling up the bedspread at night to stay warm, and every day brings a shower at some point. Doing laundry has been challenging! We've turned off the radiators, so my handy 'helper' for drying clothes during the damp winter months isn't available.

We have had a few outdoor activities, but most of them have been cut short by rain, or affected by the cooler temperatures. Our plans to attend a local sagra to hear our friends’ band was were cancelled by a sudden storm. The town picnic was cut short due to rain. The town’s celebration of our local band, and last night’s celebration for St. Anthony were all shortened due to rain. Luckily the school pageant was spared the sprinkles, but the cooler temps had everyone bundled up for the outdoor performance.

Soon many crops will begin to suffer if the rain doesn’t stop and the sun doesn’t start to warm things up. Hay is ready to be cut and baled and other fields still need to be planted. Grapes and olives will be damaged by too much water and not enough sun…..BASTA! At least SKY Italia has decided to carry baseball again this summer, so Art’s been able to keep up with the Cub’s great season.

Not related to the weather…………

A friend recently asked me about canning kettles here in Italy, and I had to tell her that I’ve never seen a kettle specifically for canning. In the states I had a canning kettle that came with a rack to hold the jars. The rack would keep the jars from rattling together during the processing, and keep them off the bottom of the kettle where they might get too hot. I’ve never seen a kettle/rack combo here in Italy, and as far as I know, people use either newspaper or towels in the bottom of and between jars to keep them from breaking. I’ve also never seen a jar-lifter here, so I guess Italian women must have pretty thick-skinned hands to lift those jars out of the boiling water!

For those of you feeling the pinch at the pump, the last time we filled up our tank with diesel, we paid about $8.75 per gallon. Diesel used to be cheaper than gas, but now they’re about the same. Luckily, diesel engines do get better gas mileage, so we’re still a little ahead. Anyway, next time you’re complaining about paying $4.00 for a gallon of gas, remember: yes, it really could be worse!

2 Comments :

At 6/15/2008 04:38:00 AM , Anonymous Judith in Umbria said...

Che rotten weather! Everything is mildewed and I am allergic. I've been coughing, choking, voiceless and lying around like a wart for weeks.

I posted my neighbors canning set up a couple of years ago. Everybody does it outside here. What I saw was that they left the jars in the water to cool.

 
At 6/15/2008 07:43:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see gas at E 1.544 which at a conversion rate (including something for exchange fees) of $1.60 would be $9.46/gal. My exchange rate may be slightly high so at $1.57 it is $9.28/gal. Either way it sucks. The amazing thing is the number of people who still drive SUV's and other large engine vehicles. My landlord (20 apartment building) drives a Jeep Cherokee.

 

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