Tag Archives: Telescope

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

Blowing Away The Cobwebs Inside & Out

Blowing Away The Cobwebs, Rocking Dog

Blowing Away The Cobwebs

Whoosh! It was a week that blew in and blew out! There were opportunities to blow away the cobwebs and to appreciate some crisp winter days. One or two days brought beautiful frosts and clear blue skies. Whilst walking Real Live Rocking Dog early one morning I witnessed two Great spotted woodpeckers in the throes of a merry and noisy courtship dance close to the kennel. It was a real privilege. The same day my late afternoon walk took me to the field behind the kennel. The sky was truly spectacular. For half an hour I marvelled in its changing hues as the sun set. For some reason I started singing Bowie’s Life on Mars?,  very badly i’m quite certain. The cloud formations and colours really were the stuff of amazing Italianate ceiling artists. Glorious. ‘Dog and I walked back in the dark, and for the second time that day I felt nature- privileged.

With the clear nights I really should unbox my new telescope (thank you Andyman), and start fathoming the starry universe. I want to go beyond recognising The Plough and Orion’s Belt!

Whilst the cobwebs have been blown away outside, inside, Christmas stragglers are still surfacing! Stray baubles have been boxed in cosseting paper pulp egg boxes and attic re-entry will be required. I am not overly concerned because a dash of Christmas will be returning to the kennel in February…. don’t ask!

Spring cleaning and reorganisation is being attempted after the crud of Christmas has left. I particularly like my new makeup vessel! I bought a galvanised tin and glass seed propagator from John Lewis (£20 reduced from £40). For years I have had my makeup in a series of makeup bags on my dressing table, all rather juvenile. Now the series of tin pots hold my lippy’s and the like in a very organised fashion. I like thinking outside the box regarding storage, excuse the pun.

Thankfully, the fridge is beginning to gain its composure after the festivities. As ever its the time to try and eat a little more healthily now that the cheese has finally left the building! Sunday lunch was Ottolenghi’s Lamb Shawarma with a chopped salad, raw white cabbage with pickled green chilli’s and harissa pita. Yotam you are truly yum yum! Dessert was mulled poached pears (thank you for the inspiration Sally).

I hope the New Year is allowing you to blow away the cobwebs. Have a lovely week, love Rocking Dog x

A Sky To Paint, Rocking Dog

A Sky To Paint

Sale Purchase,Rocking Dog

Sale Purchase

Greenhouse Storage,Rocking Dog

Greenhouse Storage

Christmas Stragglers,Rocking Dog

Christmas Stragglers

Sunday Lunch,Rocking Dog

Sunday Lunch

What No Roasties?,Rocking Dog

What No Roasties?