21 giugno 2009

The old cherry tree

The old cherry tree just below Cassie’s paddock has a fantastic crop this year. I noticed it as I was clearing the long grass away from the electric fence yesterday, and hopped outside the fence to pick some. Unfortunately the tree’s on a part of the slope where the ground drops away steeply and not only that but even the lowest branches are so high that I had to stretch to reach them. Using a stick, I managed to pull down a couple of branches so that I could pick the cherries, but I couldn’t reach any more after that (and fat stripy green caterpillars were falling on me too). Very frustrating. I ended up with half a kilo, even so. And they’re incredibly delicious — perfectly ripe, big, dark, juicy, sweet, full of flavour. Maybe the best cherries I’ve ever eaten. The birds will get the rest and I don’t begrudge them, but I think I would enjoy them more . . .

17 giugno 2009

And this is another

And this is another new pet. Okay, no, it’s not. It’s a monstrous caterpillar-type thing that I found this evening crawling on the tarpaulin covering the hay. At first I thought its head end was where the antennae are and that the headlike end with the eyelike spots and mouthlike parts was the tail end, serving as a cunning caterpillar bluff to fool predators. But after some close observation I think the mouthlike parts were in fact mouth-parts and the headlike end was in fact the head. Not sure if the spots are the eyes though. Those leglike bits had a tenacious grip — I couldn't shake it off that twig. The photo with my finger in it gives some idea of scale. Am going to send the photos to a naturalist friend and see if he can shed any light. Can’t type any more now, the damn kitten is climbing all over the keyboard.

Last passing thought: if this is a caterpillar, what the hell kind of monster butterfly is it going to turn into?

It's a while

It’s a while since we had a baby animal, so this is our new kitten. Arguments as to his name are still ongoing. He’s about eight weeks old and has been hand-reared as his mother was killed while the kittens were two days old. He’s very friendly and purrs as soon as you go into the room.

12 giugno 2009

Making daisy chains is not as easy

Making daisy chains is not as easy as I remembered it to be. We were up in the mountains today doing some research for a website John’s designing, and went to look at the source of the little river Nera. A beautiful, peaceful spot a little way beyond a very pretty mountain village (Castelsantangelo sul Nera), with a grassy lawn and benches — sounds horribly like a tourist trap but there was just one elderly couple there apart from us. Someone had laid a daisy garland on a big stone in the stream and I told Alessio it was an offering to the god of the spring, so he promptly went and pulled up the nearest buttercup to chuck down into the water. We stopped him and told him to make a proper offering if he wanted to do that. Which led to the effortful daisy chain attempt. We managed to string five or six of them together, but it was a far cry from the substantial and carefully woven garland that the previous offerer (offerant?) had left. Alessio left his there anyway and I told him to make a wish. “What shall I wish for?” “I don’t know — wish for something simple, like a nice summer.” “I wish for a beanbag chair. I really want a beanbag chair, mum.”

Right. Think I'll leave that in the hands of the river god.

6 giugno 2009

Last night we went

Last night we went out for the end of year meal with Alessio’s school class. This is a good class, a friendly, outgoing group, so we’ve been lucky – the other classes don’t do a lot of socializing together, whereas our class is always having get-togethers and meals and trips, which is obviously good for us as incomers. Last night’s meal surpassed all others, I’d say. It was a cena a base di pesce (fish dinner) and we hired a little chalet-type social centre in one of the tiny outlying villages, with space outside for the kids to play and a barbecue grill. Arrived around 7.30pm and finally departed at 1.00am, having eaten a stupendous multi-course fish meal of professional quality and sung and danced and even cleared up afterwards.

And I woke up at 6.00 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, with the consquence that I’m so tired now I can hardly focus to write this. Wanted to write a lot more but it’ll have to wait.

Good night.