Tag Archives: Pizza Oven

Glitter Shoed Gardening In Umbria

Hanging The Hammock,Rocking Dog

Hanging The Hammock

Good morning from Rocking Dog. I had good intentions of continuing to garden at 5.30 am on my return to the kennel, but alas….! To escape the piercing heat of the Umbrian sun I did indeed choose to garden as dawn arrived in the garden. I was awoken by my own dawn chorus of naughty chattering birds flitting busily on the ancient olive tree outside our bedroom window. I gardened in linen nightie and glittery sandals and as a result my legs are in a scratched and sorry state! The Italian version of Sticky Willy is coarse, barbed and unforgiving.

Umbria has had no rain for a few weeks now and the land is parched. It has been unusual to have such high temperatures so early in the summer season and there are real concerns for this years olive crop. The little olives have had no chance to develop before being hit by temperatures nearing 40 degrees. For those of us who pick olives as a pleasurable hobby a poor crop is sad but not an economic disaster. Meanwhile for those who depend on the crop for their livelihood a poor harvest is a severe body blow. Of course a poor crop trickles down to whole communities (pickers,olive oil pressing facilities, bottle & can suppliers,retailers etc…) Olive oil really is a way of life in Italy.

It is not only olives which have been affected, we witnessed vineyards blackened by fire and food crops struggling in the earth for moisture. A huge field of sunflowers have been planted over the garden fence and we hope that in a months time there will be a blaze of yellow on the horizon. Sunflowers are a rotational crop, so it may be a few years before the cheery yellow field reappears so close by.

Our grass resembles cattle driving prairie land. We hope rain will come soon. It was too hot to plant anything new, so leaf clearing and tidying was the order of the day. Planting will be done in October when we will assess what needs replacing after the sweltering summer.

We hung the hammock, added pretty lights and watered the thirsty geraniums. I found the most exquisite little nest on the path. It was truly an architectural masterpiece with grasses and soft pulpy seed heads. It was so soft, so delicate and tear jerkingly beautiful. I didn’t get to sit in my oak tree’d reading nook, nor use my telescope, the swinging chair remained un-sat in .. but getting close to unfamiliar plants was enjoyable.

And Suddenly it’s Evening by Salvatore Quasimodo

Everyone is alone on the heart of the earth
Pierced by a ray of sun:
and suddenly it’s evening.

It wasn’t all about work in the garden, we managed to fire up the ancient pizza oven after some remedial internal grouting. Of course the pool provided delicious respite from the unrelenting heat, and Michele’s provided the perfect escape for Prosecci and cake!

So, it’s back to verdant woodland management back at the kennel and I think wellies may be rather more sensible than glittery shoes!

Have a good week and at least the rain is on the way here.

Love Rocking Dog x

Watering The Geraniums,Rocking Dog

Watering The Geraniums

Garden Treasure,Rocking Dog

Garden Treasure

Unpromising Crop,Rocking Dog

Unpromising Crop

Lighting to Hang,Rocking Dog

Lighting to Hang

View To The Village,Rocking Dog

View To The Village

Early Morning Dip,Rocking Dog

Early Morning Dip

Escape For Cake,Rocking Dog

Escape For Cake

Fire Up The Oven,Rocking Dog

Fire Up The Oven

Back To Woodland Gardening,Rocking Dog

Back To Woodland Gardening

Our Very Own Olive Trees

Centuries Old Olives, Rocking Dog

Centuries Old Olives

Buongiorno from Rocking Dog! Anyone who knows me will know of the passion Andyman and I have for picking olives. For the last five years we have had the amazing privilege to stay with our gorgeous friends in Umbria and to help them pick their olives. They have generously shared their unctuous green and delicious olive oil, shared their friends, and shared all their favourite places with us. It’s been a truly wonderful way to see in the winter. Thank you Baz & Dee, together with Derek and kitty holding Wendy. xxxx

So….when the rare opportunity arose to buy a little property just across the path from our hosts, it was just simply too tempting! In the last sun setting days of August, Andyman and I found ourselves in the Notary’s office  in Castiglione del Lago to listen to twelve pages of deeds read in Italian, and then translated and read in English. There was even a special deed relating to the ancient pizza oven and the stone built laundry shed! We are now the excited owners of a bijoux  two bedded apartment a few minutes drive from Lake Trasimeno. Set in a small friendly village with one bar and one well stocked shop it’s not for those lusting after a noisy vibrant clubbing scene! The one bar is more likely to be the scene of a group of locals contemplating the first mushroom, the vines or the olive harvest. All these contemplations are done whilst nursing  a singular small beer over a card hand.

Andyman and I adore the peace, the starry skies, the food, local festivals, markets and the local wines. Then there is always the continuing exploration of charming sunbaked medieval hilltop towns.

Rome can be reached by train in 2 hours and Florence 1 1/2 hours. The beautiful cities of Cortona, Sienna, Arezzo and Perugia are even closer. For the athletic there is mountain biking, wake boarding, golf, a host of activities on the lake and even a  small water park for kids or those adults who simply don’t want to grow up!  Lazy days can be spent crossing the lake to one of the islands for lunch or simply staying at “home” by the pool. Gently swinging in a hammock or swing chair contemplating the views is always a blissful prospect after the bustle of a busy market trip.

I think visits to Medieval hilltop towns will have to wait for a little while, there is a large garden to tend, and living space which needs a Rocking Dog stamp put on it! There is also the small matter of the 2016 olive crop to pick, including six old trees of our own.

Andyman and I are so looking forward to sharing Number 5 with friends and family. We hope that we too can treat our guests to freshly brewed coffee and Panettone before they arise, and then to  share with them the numerous delights of Umbria and bordering Tuscany.

We are looking to do holiday lets for our little piece of paradise in 2017, so please contact us if you would like further details. lizferg@btinternet.co.uk

Stansted-Perugia (45 min drive to No 5) Bristol-Pisa (Approx 2 hours drive to No 5). Rome and other  Italian airports are also definite possibilities.

The biggest challenge lies ahead…..to learn Italian. A linguist I am not, but I really can’t get by with Ciao bella and Grazie forever!

....& Ancient Oak, Rocking Dog

….& Ancient Oak

Bijoux Upstairs Pad!, Rocking Dog

Bijoux Upstairs Pad!

Before Renovation, Rocking Dog

Before Renovation

Table For Two, Rocking Dog

Table For Two

Twilight Dip, Rocking Dog

Twilight Dip

Poolside View, Rocking Dog

Poolside View

Room With A View, Rocking Dog

Room With A View

Vintage Laundry, Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

Village Shop....., Rocking Dog

Village Shop…..

& Village Bar, Rocking Dog

& Village Bar

Local Hilltop Town, Rocking Dog

Local Hilltop Town

Lovely Lake, Rocking Dog

Lovely Lake

Local Crop, Rocking Dog

Local Crop

For The Athletic, Rocking Dog

For The Athletic

....& The Passionate Cake Eater!, Rocking Dog

….& The Passionate Cake Eater!