My internet connection seems to be working properly again so I'm going to write up some blog posts about our time in Italy which in some ways followed the usual routine because work on maintaining the land around the house never ceases. However, this time we were there during the hottest months of July and August and our two daughters and two of the grandchildren were with us for twelve days. We had willing helpers and there were plenty of opportunities for play as well as work.
I must admit when I saw the state of the land around the house and remembered how neat and tidy it had been at the end of our last stay in March/April because of my husband's hard work I did feel despondent. Nature continues and never stops so we knew beforehand that we would have to start all over again with the clean-up.
Thankfully the long grass was cut within an hour or two although it's quite a difficult site for the man with the tractor to negotiate where there are fruit trees and sloping ground in the back garden. Nevertheless, the job was soon done leaving Mr P to tidy around the areas where the tractor could not go such as under the pergola that supports the grape vines (using a small scythe). The next job was to cut off many of the vine branches that had grown to a great length so that the air and sunshine could get to the developing fruit. When our grandson arrived he was quite happy to help out by taking wheelbarrows of grass, vine branches and other vegetation to the compost heap.
The grapes were looking good and we were told that ours have done well this year. It's the second year that our relatives' produce has done badly due to hailstorms when the fruit was just beginning to develop and then lack of rain and drought conditions afterwards continuing into August. Apart from the grapes and some apples and pears we found that there was no other fruit to pick this year. We were disappointed that there were no figs especially as the fig tree in our UK garden has been loaded with fruit this year. It's difficult to know the reason unless it's happy in our soil and gets the benefit of rain as well as some sunshine.
early table grapes
wine grapes - they'll be gathered later by relatives
who will put them with theirs to produce the wine.
a different variety of table grape
This year I was able to gather some hazel nuts.
When we're there in September/October most of them
have been eaten by small animals.
As you can see the grass was very dry and vulnerable to being set alight.
This is what was happening in the surrounding area as the wildfires raged and got near to villages and isolated houses. (The above photo and the one of the olive trees were taken by a relative and also we saw the fires for ourselves).
When fire broke out on scrub land next to the superstrada causing dangerous conditions because of the smoke the road was closed and traffic diverted onto another route. A few days later we passed by and saw the damage.
Even though firefighters were out-and-about and helicopters were trying to put out fires from the air there have been consequences especially for those who grow olive trees as the groves are usually on the stony, scrubby land that's suitable for cultivating these trees rather than other types of produce. We've experienced such fires on a sister-in-law's land when we lived permanently in Italy and it's quite scary when it happens in the fields near dwellings and livestock. I remember the whole village was alerted and those folk who were around because it was 'siesta time' in the afternoon came straight away to help put out the fire before it spread.
We're frequently in touch with my husband's family by phone and thankfully the fires have died down and it's also a lot cooler, about 25 degrees in comparison to when we were there. The temperatures then reached 45 degrees despite being high up on the slopes of the mountains rather than down in the valley.
Wishing you a good day and hopefully I'll be back soon,