Friday, March 27, 2015

Crazy for Close-Ups

Now that I've discovered the close-up function on my camera

I am obsessed.

I can't stop wondering what everything looks like close-up.

A tiny world

of immense beauty.
Look out macro, you're next!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Nikon Coolpix L830

This is my first close-up shot taken with my new Nikon Coolpix L830 camera and I'm impressed.  These are almond blossoms from our newly planted almond tree.  Amore's father was over at our house last Sunday helping with Spring pruning and these branches were too lovely not to be enjoyed inside the house.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Lost Paradise Found

This begins the tale of our move from Umbria, just across the border from where we were, to Tuscany where we discovered our Lost Paradise Found.  An old, stone farmhouse that sits in the middle of 11 acres of trees and tranquility.  Pictured above is our driveway with some olive trees and fruit trees in view.

At the top of the driveway is an old ruin that sits in front of the house.  Because the foundation of this structure remains, permits are not required to rebuild on it!

There are lots of olive trees, fruit trees, nut trees and a large variety of flowers including this gorgeous lavender bush.  And there behind, you can see the house!

There is an unfinished apartment on the ground floor with beautiful lead, colored-glass windows on two sides.  Keep in mind, these photos are the "before" shots.  It may take a few months years for the "after" shots to become available.

In addition to the apartment on the ground floor there are also four separate cellars, two of which you can see above slightly hidden behind the pergola or arbor covered with grape vines.  The stairs on the left side of the photo lead up to the porch and the entrance of the house into the kitchen.  There was literally no kitchen when we bought the house, only a tiny stone sink in the corner -- but that's another post entirely. 

There are  cleared fields in the front of the house as well as in the back.  To the left you can see a solar panel which gives us heated water in the warm months of the year.  In the cold months, we have a large, wood-burning stove in one of the cellars which heats our water and also the radiators in the house.

There is a stall on the property which we would like to fix up and welcome a few chickens, or maybe a couple of dwarf goats, or a miniature donkey!

So here's how it went.  We saw a house we liked when my sister and her husband were visiting us in September 2013.  In October we made an offer.  In November we put down a deposit.  In May 2014 we signed papers.  In September 2014 we moved in after putting in a kitchen.  And that, my friends, is how things are done in Italy.  Piano, piano.  Very slowly!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Staying Warm

I haven't gone away, I've just been absent.  Shame on me for not having posted anything in a while.  We moved into a new house in September of 2014 and have been busy ever since.  We relocated across the border from Umbria into Tuscany.  More or less a half an hour drive from where we were before, but it seems like so much farther because we now live on the top of a hill, up a steep and windy road, surrounded by 11 acres of trees.  New house and new life.  Loving it.  Miss you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pickin' Out a Piggy

We're late this year in picking out a piggy to raise.  We did actually travel to the pig farm a few months ago, trailer in tow, but Amore's father and the pig farm owner couldn't agree on a price.  It's the same as when you're bargaining at an open market and the time comes to walk away when your final offer is not accepted.  And so we left, pigless.


This particular pig farmer sells his pigs by weight.  The pigs have grown since we last saw them and now cost more.  Amore and I made the trip without his father and paid the price the pig farmer asked.  It was getting too late in the year to haggle.

It's a long trip to make twice, but at least it's a pretty drive. Right now the fields are golden.

And cornflower blue. 

And sunflower yellow!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Corn Flake Cookies

In a word, these cookies are amazing!  Or would that be four words, "these.cookies.are.amazing"?  Anyway....  light and buttery, crunchy and chocolatey, a little bit of heaven in each bite.  This recipe comes from Ashley at the blog Not Without Salt  passed down from her grandmother.  I wholeheartedly recommend them!


3 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
3 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup corn flakes
1 cup quick oats
1 (12 oz) pkg. chocolate chips

Sift the flour, salt and soda onto wax paper. Beat butter and sugars until well creamed. Combine egg, vanilla, milk and oil in a small bowl. Alternately add the oil mixture and the flour mixture to the creamed sugars. Mix until just combined. Stir in the corn flakes, oats and chocolate. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350* for 12 minutes until golden.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Auto Shopping

We went auto shopping last week in search of a 4-wheel drive truck for our new house.  My bad, I don't think I've posted photos of the new house yet!  For that matter, have I even posted that we have a new house?  Sometimes life can get overwhelming.  I promise I'll tell you all about it in the not too distant future.  Anyway, the road leading to the new house is dirt and rocks and we really need a vehicle that is built for challenging road conditions -- especially when it snows!  Amore was off viewing actual trucks while I found myself wandering around admiring old European cars.  Cool beans.