Tuesday, September 27, 2011

La Quinta Luna

I was driving to the local bottle supplier the other day and was surprised to see olive picking nets laid under the trees. Very early I thought and then remembered that one of the local producers produces an oil which made from olives picked on the 5th new moon after the olives have flowered. They call it "La Quinta Luna".

This is today - 27th September.

I have tasted the oil before and because practically all the olives are still green the oil is very aggressive, green with a big acidic hit. Not to my mind very pleasant but I do like the idea.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thunderstorm and pickles

Had a good market yesterday morning and then after getting bored of the Grand Prix went outside to cut some more grass.

Shortly afterwards a thunderstorm developed and so was forced inside. Decided to pickle the onions I had purchased at the market. These will be great with some porchetta after a month in the cupboard. Can't wait.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Last market before....

Tomorrow will be the last market before olio nuovo arrives.

This is when you reflect that the year has flown by. Also, as the daytime temperatures are still in their late 20's cannot quite believe we will be picking in a couple+ weeks time.

Was speaking to another stall holder who was interested in selling my oil at other markets. Hopefully he liked my oil and we will try something.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Rain, rain, and more rain. We have moved from late summer to early autumn.

The olives are starting to swell nicely.

The grove attendants getting reminders of log cabin fever when stuck inside Casa Margherita for too long watching it rain.

Timely reminder the wood pile is not piled high enough.

Grass still being cut!!

But things are swell.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pescara - part 2

Whilst we driving to stay with our friends you could not fail to notice the charred groves. Victims of wild fires which seem to very prevalent in Abruzzo.

Our friends called only the other day to say they had been without phone/internet for a number of days the result of yet another wild fire.

It was sad to see the damage they cause and how frightening they would be as they say fire can spread faster than you can run.

Here in Umbria they seem to occur very infrequently. I don't know the reasons for this but maybe Abruzzo is just that little bit warmer, the countryside that little but drier......

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Parched and shrivelled

Until this afternoon it had not rained since early July. Not terribly unusual but the olives amoungst other things were starting to suffer a little. They had become shrivelled.

This afternoon the heavens opened and we had a welcome thunderstorm and the accompanying rain which lasted for an hour or so.

This should be sufficient to swell the olives - just in time for their harvest.

Friday, September 9, 2011

As the sun disappears over the hills

A cool glass of white is had to ease the sweating brow. Or some such excuse anyway.

Although the temperature has dropped to the low 30's the earth is now very dry and so the heat is dry and sapping. These are days to be savoured as soon it will be autumn.

We are also having some cracking sunsets.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

State of Independence

One of the measures the Italian government is introducing to reduce the national debt is to reduce what most observers agree is a bloated public sector.

One of the measures is to move local administration from very small villages (less than 500 population) to larger villages nearby.

One village, Filettino, have balked at the move and have declared themselves independent. They have printed their own currency with the head of the mayor on (shy type that he must be).

Incidently, the village that will run the adminstration for Filettino is called Trevi but this is another one in Lazio.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pescara - part 1

We went down to see some friends who live near Pescara over the weekend to celebrate an 60th birthday.

Unbeknown to us a stray dog had taken up residence outside their house and was sleeping under their car. They were feeding it but we not able to look after it permanently themselves having already a fairly large menagerie of pets.

They had checked with neighbours etc and had notified the council who were going to come and take him away at some point.

He was white, young and very very cute. Trying his very hardest to get adopted. And so he has. Here is the new addition to Casa Margherita life - Ugo.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Basal growth

Some olives produce a profusion of basal growth. This needs removing so that the trees energies or directed to new growth in the canopy and the development of the fruit it is carrying.

The basal growth is removed with a small hand held axe and can then be bundled together and left to dry over the following summer and you will have a ready supply of kindling for the following winter.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sad news

Today our lovely cat Louis died.

He was 18 and had been unwell for the last month or so.

He is buried near one of our giant olive trees.

He was a very individual cat not given to playing or sitting on your lap or demanding great affection. He was self contained and a contrarian.

One of the oddest things he ever did, was one day to follow us as we walked the dog around the grove. Obviously we slowed down and he had the occasional break but he did it. Strange and amazing.

We salute you Mister Lou.