Thursday, October 7, 2010

Leaping Lizards!

Known here as lacerta, this emerald lady was sunning on the woodpile. She's over a foot long.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bragging Rights

Besides enough grapes to make wine (200-plus vines), and the 93 olive trees from which we will draw the world's best oil, I have single-handedly, sometimes with one hand tied behind my back (or at least in a sling), cleared and pruned back to health a cornucopia of fruit and nut trees. Here's the list:

22 prune trees
12 peach trees (10 white, 2 yellow)
4 cherry trees (3 bing type, 1 pie type)
3 fig trees (green outside, red inside)
3 walnut trees
2 yellow plum trees
1 pear tree
1 gooseberry bush

All heirloom and all certifiably organic!
"It's paradise!" remarked a visitor from Croatia when he saw Tana Lepre early in the clean-up process. I'd agree without hesitation, except that Adam didn't have to do any work there. On the other hand, Adam never knew the bone-deep, in-your-sleep soddisfazione (satisfaction) of actually accomplishing anything in Eden. And that's a real pity.

Here are some of our prunes. They are an antique domesticated wild variety locals call Coscia di Monaca -- Monaca's Thigh -- because of their shape. They are beyond savory, nothing like store prunes or plums. In fact, everything here is an antique, renaissance heirloom variety.

Here are Monaca's thighs pruning in the sun.

And here is a jar of them transformed into prune marmalata by our friend, Nicola Sgarbi at Laboratorio Buon Gusto.

It can't get more local. This is the barter system at its best. Nicola comes and harvests all the prunes he wants and a few weeks later he hands me a case of prune preserve con chiodi di garofano (with nails of clove). He also makes an incredible apricot and saffron spread. Perfect with toast and coffee!

Monday, October 4, 2010


Actually, Sally is in Positano at the moment, shooting a villa and a swank hotel for the Italian equivalent of House and Garden. I'm left here alone to concoct pesto from what might be the season's last basil and the exceptional walnuts (toasted of course) from our trees.

A friend recently asked why there are so many pictures of me on my blog. The truth is Sally is the photographer and I'm doing most of the work when she takes my picture. And hey, it's my blog about me being me. But here she is for those who miss her, doing one of the many things she does best, photographing the landscape.

Actually, this is high in the Alps. After a long hike in the rain. And the snow. To a glacier. Way the hell up there.

It's not easy finding new ways to photograph a photographer.