Posts by helroswebb

Yup, it’s definitely winter. . . brrr

There comes a time in the winter here that reminds me I’m not so far from England. It’s cold. Not Sweden cold, but cold. We’re due -4 next week. Handily though our place seems to be in a micro climate of its own. Villa-Franca, just down the road, seems to always be 5 degrees colder. Apparently it’s something to do with the river. On my drive down there yesterday my car thermometer neatly told me that it was 0 degrees as I left home and a parky -5 as I arrived in V-F. Nonetheless, it’s cold enough up here and
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.

Late Christmas update

Christmas is over. The chain-saw was put to rest so the local church goers had some peace and I was able to give the back a well earned rest! Thankfully due to the enhancements of satellite T.V. and the fact my Italian squad La Spezia are just down the road there were plenty of mini interruptions over the festive period. This ensured that the whole period is not spent sleeping in front of the log fire.  Ana not being a huge football fan was not looking forward to being dragged to matches but in the festive lead up I proved
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.

Closer to Winter update – Working with a broken back

Some of the readers have met my partner Ana and would openly admit that without her things including my life would be at best, different. The house appears to run itself but that quite clearly isn’t the case.  She gracefully glides around fixing, mending, preparing, cleaning, planting, harvesting and all of that prior to serving a cold-beer and preparing some extravaganza for dinner. There are of course those moments when she tip toes back to her home town for a short stay with her folks. SZJ62 has hardly left the runway when the chaos begins and stays that way until
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.

Almost Winter Update: December 12th

The winter veg went in some time ago and apart from daily slug patrol and the odd escapee chicken things are going in the right direction…up and out! We’ve got broccoli, fennel, cabbage, winter lettuce, kale and Brussels sprouts (especially for my son Jimmy). September was beautiful and for parts of October and November a 5 minute post lunch break has been spent sitting in the sun. This has all helped alongside the inevitable periods of rain. The vines that weren’t so happy due to the mildew had some small snorting visitors at the beginning of October and were seen
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.

September! Where has the summer gone?!

Summer has been crazy busy and beautiful, hence my pause in blogging. There has been so much to do in the garden along with welcoming fantastic guests to the house. From reading the kind notes left behind and emails post departure, many of them would like to come back! Post rental period I have sat and pondered why? Is it for the lovely views, fresh air and welcome pack or watching Ana and I running around like lunatics trying to do the job of 10 people? September has now arrived and we are taking stock of what the summer has
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.

July 23rd: Farming life…almost.

The main focus of the last few days has been to sort out the duck(lings) a pond. Digging in this heat feels like penance for something- seriously scorching. But the ducklings need some respite too so I continue to slog on. Otherwise I fear they may develop identity crises; very comfortably living alongside their chicken friends. On the produce front the garden is doing me proud and I’m beginning to contemplate life as a farmer (half joking). We have peppers,  beetroot, tomatoes of various varieties, beans, courgettes, blackberries, carrots, potatoes and aubergines. With only two predators at-large; the beans are
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.

Sagre, Festas and Panigacci: July 14th

The heat continues and the Sagre and Festas (festivals and parties) are getting under way. Music and food and generally fun leisurely times everywhere. Festival food means something different over here, no overpriced chips and limp burgers, not even a mini doughnut in sight. The Italians, like with most areas of cuisine bring out the big guns at festival time. The finest offering in my opinion has to be panigacci; round unleavened bread baked between testo (metal plates) in stacks. Delicious with ricotta and pesto and very typical of the Ligurian coastline we live not far from. Speaking of the
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.

Hot hot hot; July 2nd

It’s really getting scorching over here now. Which is lovely -growing up in England you learn quite quickly to make to the most of it if it’s not raining- and it’s making the garden steam ahead but it does make it trickier to keep up with it all. The grass is the main point of contention, it seems to grow as soon as my back is turned at a rate that feels insurmountable.  And after our strange bout of hail in June the oidio (mildew) problem is in full force with the vines needing natural sulphur copper solution regularly. The
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.

War cries from the woods: June 19th

The summer heat continues. While I may be struggling the plants are loving it! Veg is steaming a long and very excitingly the olives are in blossom and it looks like it will be a good crop this year. Sadly insect life doesn’t seem at all deterred by the heat and my daily ritual of removing them from everything seems to be a loosing battle. Other wildlife are definitely around. The deer patrol the perimeter of the fence around the vines, ever hopeful that there might be a new gap that they can slip though. Occasionally they look like they
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.

Hot: June 13th

As a Brit, I have learnt to take pleasure when the weather is good. And when I say good I mean not raining. But these past few days I have been challenged by the heat. 35 degrees is not something an Englishman is used to (even after having lived here for some years!) I can’t say I don’t enjoy it sometimes, but the joys of eating outside and not needing a jumper wear thin when you are sweating your guts up trying to mow the grass. It’s not just me who is suffering, the chickens are not happy. I have
Read More

Categories: Latest from Lunigiana.