30 October 2010

Hugging Trees and Combing Olives

Have you ever combed a tree?  Really. It's the way olives are hand picked here in our little corner of the world. Each branch combed with a plastic comb to pull down the olives but not disturb the leaves.

And did you know that olives are beautiful when they're ripe? Both on the tree:

And up close and personal, even while olives rain on me, and branches brush my hair:

And once harvested, caught in the nets spread under the trees, they are particularly colorful in their earthy beauty:

They're then scooped up and bagged in tall burlap bags:

And taken to community presses to be made into olive oil, some of which we'll receive for our own use:

As it looked today, this was the view from my friend's yard where her 70, 30 year old olive trees live:

Harvesting olives by hand was a first for me. The day was sunny and 67 degrees, clear with the clean, fragrant air characteristic of towns further up into the mountains. 

The outdoors, the presence of friends, both old and new, the delicious, home made food prepared by my friend (the trees caretaker), the light hearted bantering and whole hearted tree hugging was such a rare and lovely way to spend a day. 

Combing a tree branch by branch turned out to be an intimate act of care and love. It made my heart happy. 

Vincent, too - Olive Grove by Vincent Van Gough:

28 October 2010

Running Views

Today dawned brisk (55), beautifully clear and sunny here at home in my little Cittá Sant'Angelo.  My run was exhilarating with views that made my heart soar.  I run the Circonvallazione (ring road) around our town for 45 minutes each Tuesday and Thursday. Later, I took my camera to shoot the route and share a little more of where I live.

I start up a steep walkway, stairway and hill from my apartment to reach the Circonvallazione.

As I come around the first corner, this is what I see. It's the Gran Sasso, highest peak of the Apenine Mts. bright with the first snow of the season which fell last night.

Then to the top of the hill with the mountains in the background and the Circonvallazione over to the right.

Just through one of the four gates into the town, I run by a little local fall color.

Then a smaller hill by the elementary school and one of our many churches.

Down the road, on the side of town opposite Gran Sasso, I come to the park and run the path around it.

And see this view of the Adriatic Sea.

Back on the Circonvallazione, I run by these fields at the back side of town.

To come back to and end with the magnificent Gran Sasso as I head back down the hill to home.

It's not the only reason why I love to run but it sure is a strong reinforcer! I feel deeply grateful to live in and get to enjoy such a beautiful part of the world.

Stay tuned for the photos of Sundays runs.

26 October 2010

Sardinia, 4 (and final)

Did you know that Sardinia produces the greatest number of centenarians in Europe? True.
Those in the mountainous region known as the Barbágia, with it's forested slopes, lush meadows and a scattering of villages, say it's the unique and unspoiled environment that offers their quality of life and longevity. They see themselves as the custodians of a treasure of inestimable value. Theirs are authentic villages with hidden inner beauty. We visited one of these places, Dorgali, the day before we left the Island to discover what they call "the Heart of Sardinia".

They were hosting an annual autumn festival where people open their homes to display traditional local costumes, crafts handed down from parent to child over the centuries, art, music, dance and food prepared and wine made according to ancient recipes. All this happens in various towns of the Barbágia, including Dorgali, from September to December.

I came across this grandmother helping a young woman with her costume:

And these three cuties! Notice their hair fixed like the older woman's:

Just a small sample of the numerous crafts:

The people were proud of their heritage, generous with their food and wine and did indeed offer a unique slice of life to savor. We came away full.

A view on the way back, where the mountains reached the sea:

I felt happy to take in and be taken in by this beautiful place.

Signing off from Sardinia with memories to treasure.

24 October 2010

Sardinia, 3

Of doors, domes and bonsais.

We're staying in Cannigione, a fishing village in the northeast corner of Sardinia. It's near the rich and famous Costa Smeralda (where we're not staying!) and offers unspoiled beaches, uncrowded conditions, 70-72 degree sunny days (still) and delicious seafood, especially their specialty lobster grilled over open fires. Also delightful are the little cafes by the marina, the beach which I showed in my first Sardinia post and the walking path all along the sea. What a way to take a morning run!

Sheep are everywhere and the local cheese is pecorino sardo made from ewe's milk - yummy. Each day we explore local towns (Santa Teresa di Galluria, Porto Cervo, Palau, Alghero, Arzachena and Dorgali), eat local food (think grilled tuna, seafood paella, fish stew, parchment like bread and pastries flavored with lemon, almond and orange) and drink local wine ( I don't know their names but they're reds and whites and very good).  We're having a great time!

It's hard to decide which photos to share so I decided to pick a random assortment of doors:


And 300 year old bonsais:

I hope you enjoy some of what this beautiful corner of the world has to offer. 

21 October 2010

Sardinia, 2

Sardinia is quite diverse in it's geography but the rocks are amazing and ever present. Here are some photos to share.

Hills of rocks are everywhere.

I call this cool rocks.

There are shore rocks.

Jagged peaks on this side of the Island.

And my favorite photo from yesterday (also with jagged peaks in the distance).

I'll give more information in my next post about this wonderful place.

19 October 2010


I'm in Sardinia for a week with my Honey for a relaxing vacation before the hectic schedules we then jump into. We're in the northeast section of the island and finding it so very different from the part of Italy where we live. I wanted to share some photos of what I'm discovering in this lovely place.

This is the view out our back door.

And the beach across the street from our place.

And the photo I liked the best of those I took yesterday.

More to come, so stay tuned.

16 October 2010

Grape Harvest

It's what's happening in my little corner of the world right now:

Vines that were laden with grapes. 

Like these beauties.

Are harvested by tractors rumbling through the fields.

For vintners to turn into our delicious local red wine, Montepulciano D'Abruzzo.

To delight our palates and hearts when shared with friends.

What's happening in your world?

15 October 2010

14 October 2010

Fall Colors Small Scale

So many of the blogs I follow have been posting amazing photos of fall colors all over the USA. I love seeing them and remembering experiences from growing up in and living in New England. We're too warm in our little corner of the world for fall yet but I was yearning for more color. So I made a little change right in my own living room that pleases me. I found a beautiful peacock scarf in my closet that a dear friend gave me in Maine. I've worn it for some special occasions but mostly it sits in the closet. Not any more. I put it on my red couch in front of the coleus plants and che bello!

It makes me happy to see it each day.

10 October 2010

10 on 10/10/10 at 10:10

Yep, I did. In training for my next marathon, I ran 10 kilometers today, 10/10/10 at 10:10.

What were you doing?

08 October 2010

Rumi Reminds Me

Maybe because he's been gone this week and last with only 2 days together in between. Or maybe because I've heard friends saying more than the usual 
number of negative things about their husbands as I'm missing mine. Or maybe because I had an affection spasm when talking with him on Skype last 
night as he was so sweetly supportive about my computer data retrieval problems. Whatever the reason, this part of a Rumi poem made me think of John.

You are the fountain of the sun's light.
I am a willow shadow on the ground.
You make my raggedness silky.

06 October 2010

Six- Word Memoirs

Have you heard of the online Smith Magazine Six-Word Memoir project? I hadn't until recently and I've been reading their incredible collection in categories of all sorts. It, of course, got me thinking about what I would write as my memoir if I was limited to only 6 words. I've had a good time selecting, discarding, rewriting. I'm sure the memoir will change as I go along but it captures what's now.

Here's mine:  Life, my ancestor- in- training course.

What's yours?