Down on the ranch things have been quiet recently. Wet and mild, until a couple of days ago, when we had about a foot of snow dumped on us. It's thawing now but our steep lane is still icy enough to mean that the school bus won't come down to fetch Alessio in the mornings so we have to ferry him up to the main road. The first day of snow, he had to walk up — at 7.00am when the sun wasn't even over the hill yet — he was NOT pleased, and I think would prefer the UK approach to snow — shut down and wait for spring.
Maxim has been in trouble for running off round the countryside in the company of Mario's two little terrier-type dogs, so we've been keeping him on the chain. Which means we have to walk him regularly, something we're not used to doing but I quite like it (as it seems to be me that's principally walking him, so far). I take him for half an hour in the morning after feeding the animals and before my own breakfast. This morning I went round the huge field below the veg patch, still deep in snow, and watched the sun come over the hill and light up the icy trees and fields from the top down. Very pretty. There's a lot of evidence of wild boar activity — the photo shows where they've been digging under an oak tree to get at the acorns. They've been up very near the house, too: under the enormous oak they've snaffled most of the acorns (poor Cass! she likes acorns) and have cleared part of the bank of brambles — I was going to take a picture but it's covered in snow now. Alessio wants to install a webcam to try to catch the wild boar on film!