Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Good-bye Summer!

Summer has ended, which also means that the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables at our house is ending.  I had so many plans for all the beautiful figs we had, but unfortunately only time enough to make a small batch of jam -- which was incredibly delicious I would like to add.

We had our first successful year growing watermelons!  This beauty weighed in at 42 pounds.  We thought it would be mostly rind, but as you can see it's mostly pulp.  And a delightfully sweet and tasty pulp it was; we enjoyed eating it sliced on many occasions, gave away a large piece, and also made two different cocktail recipes.  We could have fed a village with this watermelon.  Actually, that's pretty much what we did!

This ginormous tomato is another monster vegetable from Babbo's garden, not ours.  But we did have a lot of NOT giant tomatoes this year of all varieties!  We ate lots of sliced fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, bruschetta with tomatoes and basil, pasta with tomatoes and yes, even a small batch of tomato jam!

And onions!  Amore loves to grow onions every year.  Next year we'll be planting garlic as well!

Also leaving us with the season are the caterpillars.  Amore told me this one glows in the dark.  Unfortunately it didn't hang around long enough for me to verify his story.  But speaking of glowing in the dark, we did have quite a few sightings of fireflies this summer! 

And this guy.  Who lives here.  And is not afraid of anyone.  We both leave each other alone.
 I wonder if we'll see him again next year.  Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful summer.  I know we sure did!


Monday, September 14, 2015

Roof Repair - or - Caveat Emptor

This was the view from our upstairs window last month.  We were having our roof repaired.  It leaked.  Saying the roof 'leaked' is being kind.  We just celebrated our one year anniversary in the house and as Amore recalls, it rained more inside the house than it did outside the house that evening.

Having the roof repaired was a large expense, one we were not prepared to make right away, and one we were not happy about making since the owner had assured us there were no problems with the roof.  Caveat Emptor as they say, let the buyer beware.

This was our second experience with a large home project.  I think it's probably a bit like childbirth.  You forget the pain until the contractions begin with the next birth.  The noise heard inside the house was much what I imagine Chinese water torture to be like.  Pounding and banging and stomping, driving one slowly to the brink of insanity.

Outside the house the yard was filled with buckets and wheelbarrows, ropes and cement bags, and scaffolding blocking entrances and windows.  Inside the house there was lots of dust, bits of wet cement, and leaves and rubbish which came off the roof that the wind kindly blew into the house.  These were three digit degree days and dirt be damned if I was staying inside a noisy house with the windows shut tight!

This is the old insulation.  Picture us panicking every time it rained, running around with bowls and pots trying to arrange them according to where the water was dripping which depended on the ever-changing direction of the wind.

This is the new insulation.  Not only are we thrilled to no longer have to politely ask guests to place their belongings in areas we knew were safe from leaks, but what a difference it has made with the summer heat!  We are also thrilled with how much cooler the house is inside now.  A definite additional benefit!

Well, the work has finished and we are slowly returning to normal life here on the hill.  At least for now, for a few brief months before we begin our next large project.  You see, we need a little time to forget about the pain.