Tuesday 19 December 2017

Snow days, slow days

(This blog post covers the period 4-17 December 2017.)

The last fortnight here in Tuscany has been cold, frosty and snowy... as well as mild, very wet and windy. Pretty much all bases covered on the weather front.

With a few occasional exceptions, it has also been pretty quiet. Stuart has been suffering with what he describes as a "thyroidy" episode, we've both been getting over colds, and with the weather outside being either very cold or very wet, we haven't had the chance or the inclination to get much done.

This post is therefore just a roundup of some of the weather, and the few activities we have managed over the last couple of weeks.

Starting off with a hard frost on the terraces.

We spent a couple of half-days in Donatella's olive grove helping her with her harvest - and being rewarded with two utterly delicious meals as well as great company for our efforts.

A decent harvest!

When the sun was shining, Stuart and I went down into the woods to one of the old quarries on our land and attempted to start to tidy up some of the many fallen trees that were blocking it.

We amassed plenty of firewood for future winters.

The quarry looked slightly tidier when we'd finished...

... but there's a more pleasing view from above where we could really notice the difference our work had made.

More frosty mornings.

No, not doggy dandruff, but snow!

It was the first heavy snowfall we'd had at our house since our first year here. We think we had slightly more this time, even though it only stuck around for a few hours - it was enough to turn the Tuscan landscape into a beautiful winter wonderland.

Despite being born in Puglia we think Reggie is now half-Tuscan, half-English, He certainly seems to enjoy the snow! (If you listen carefully you will hear "Shelby", our cockerel, passing comment on the weather.)

At the start of the following week, when the weather had turned wet and wild, we were invited for lunch at our neighbours' house. There being "code red" weather alerts in our area for flooding and landslides, all the schools in the province were closed for the day, leaving our neighbour Rossanna with time on her hands to invite the Inglesi round for lunch. Stuart has Alia on his lap.

After the snow, and the rain, our local river turned into a raging torrent.

... and for once we got some decent water pressure at the house!

The river flows straight past our neighbour's house and garden - they said that by the time this photo was taken the water level had already dropped.

The raging River Pescia  - it's usually little more than a dribble at this point.

The view from the _other_ side of the valley! (Spot our house?)

With December marching on, we decided it was time we got a bit festive.

Tree #1...

...and tree #2!

It's the first time we've had a Christmas tree since we moved here. I hadn't realised how much I'd missed having one until we put this one up - safely out of the way of doggy-four-paws of course!
And finally... At least one of our eight hens has started to lay - at long last!