10 Aug 2018

Italy: May 2018: country life

Today I'm looking back at what we were doing a few months ago as at this slow rate with my writing and posting blogs we'll have returned to Italy in the autumn without sharing more of our experiences there in May!


Stormy weather brought rain...


but the next moment there was a glimmer of sunshine
 and there was a rainbow followed by pink clouds..
  

With much to do on the land we had to work around the days when there was likely to be no rain especially when the main job was to cut the long grass.  Everyone was busy doing the same and we had to wait for a day when the man with the tractor and special cutting device could come.




The land in front of our house belongs to relatives and what it's used for changes according to the season.  At one time the local shepherd would bring his flock of sheep to graze there, but sadly he passed away a couple of years ago and we miss him.  He used to stand or sit in the shade with his sheep dogs before moving on to another patch of land. Mr P would chat to him when he was working in the garden.  He was a good age and one day when I was talking to him I realised that he used to come by in all seasons and would watch over our house before taking his flock to the sheep pens further down the lane.  Everyone knows everyone else in the village and many of them are immediate or distant relatives. Family members are generous with their time and goods and it seems to be a slower way of life for the retired generation at least or for those who work on the land in trying to be fairly self-sufficient. In my experience, the younger generation of nephews and nieces, (like everywhere) work hard at school and college before going on to study in Rome with the hope of getting a job and they rely on family to support them until they can live independently.    



When we arrived in May the relatives had ploughed a piece of their ground and had started growing vegetables. There's no running water on our stretch of the lane so they bring barrels of water to fill a water tank that stands below our retaining wall.  Of course, they have other pieces of land elsewhere on which they grow crops or keep livestock.




One fine day just after we had cut our grass and the weather was more settled the couple came by and started to cut the grass by hand.  The lady followed her husband as he worked with his hand mower and with a short handled grass hook began shaking and turning over the newly cut grass. The job took all of the afternoon. 


On another day the couple came with pitchforks and turned the drying grass over again.  I'm sure they did the same on other land that they own nearby. The dried grass would be gathered to feed their livestock.



The birds enjoyed the pickings from the disturbed grass and earth.




Across the lane we know when another neighbour feeds the geese morning and evening because of the noise they make!  He lets them out so that they can roam around freely on another part of his land during the day.



We often go and visit Mr. P's sister and her husband who are also our good friends from the days when they lived near us in England.  On a Sunday we usually have lunch with them and other family members and friends join us.  The subject inevitably turns to land cultivation with a stroll around the land and garden to take a look at what's growing there.











Today in our region of the UK some rain has arrived and it's much cooler.  I'm very thankful for the rain after weeks without and very hot weather.  We're counting the days until we see our family down south in Berkshire, but we shall be at home here in Yorkshire until then.  Meanwhile, all the best. Have a lovely day!

24 comments:

  1. so beautiful, when I stared at the photo of the flock of sheep I could hear them, or thought I could. also I could hear those silly loud geese. you live in a beautiful countryside. that is a lot of work cutting the grass, returning to to turn it, but better than buying feed. some cities here are staking out goats on govt land to clear it

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    1. Country life and work for the older generations goes on as it's always done and it's also a way to make ends meet. It's certainly a different lifestyle from the one I'm used to in the UK, but I do miss it when we're not there.

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  2. Idyllic, hard work but a community working together. The views are a delight.

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    1. The community working together aspect is very important and another thing I miss when not there as my in-laws are also good friends.

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  3. What nice countryside views! I am a farmer's granddaughter and all this is so familiar to me. All the best!

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    1. Thank you Luisella. You'll know from experience what I'm sharing here and the reasons why we love being in the Italian countryside. All the best to you too!

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  4. It is difficult at times to keep up with posting blogs, how time gets away from us! I loved the pics of the stormy clouds, then the rainbow and pink clouds, nature at it's best. Shame about the shepherd but how lovely to have so many relatives in the village looking out for your property. Loved seeing how the grass becomes feed, what hard work! Your SIL's place looks fantastic! Such an interesting post.xxx

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    1. I do like writing my journal as well as sharing and keeping in touch with everyone in blogland so I keep going! Yes, we'll miss the shepherd friend (RIP) as will his sheep dogs. He was the last one that lived in the village although there are others who live and work on the mountain slopes. The South Lazio region is beautiful and dear to my heart. Take care Dina. Thanks for coming by.

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  5. How marvellous! You are lucky to be able to have houses in two contrasting areas. How fascinating and relaxing to watch the grass cutters gradually make their way through the meadow. Also fabulous to know all those buttercups eill be back next year.

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    1. Ah...the continuous cycle of nature and the need to keep up with garden maintenance and the cutting of the grass!

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  6. The life in your Italian village sounds more like it used to be here years ago. Lots of hard work, but also much more interaction between people and helping one another out. I suspect that when your neices and nephews, and other young village people move away to study in Rome then life will probably change - they will be less likely to return and till the land like their parents and previous generations have.
    I was so grateful for some rain yesterday morning, although it wasn't really enough. By lunchtime it was back to normal but the air does now feel fresher.

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    1. That's an interesting point about change. In my experience the young ones continue to live locally after their studies in Rome. The nieces have lived in Rome in a family apartment and have come home at weekends and vacation times. I expect the great nieces and nephews will do the same when they start higher education. Only one niece moved away when she got married. She met her future husband at university and now lives in the north of Italy. The young people work in the family small businesses and help on the land when they can. For the time being the older generation will continue to work on the land using old farming methods as they've always done. Families and friends help one another as close neighbours which seems a good way to live. Here in the UK some rain has been a relief, but we need more. In Italy where it's extremely hot there's the problem of wildfires although the family haven't mentioned any as yet.

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  7. It was a joy to read your post about the Italian country life. A lot to do no doubt. I loved the animals - sheep, geese & chickens. You are so lucky living in two cultures. Have a happy weekend!

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    1. Thank you Riitta. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about life in the countryside in our region of Italy. Wishing you a good weekend too!

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  8. You live in a beautiful countryside and wonderful to have farms surrounding you. Everyone is working hard but they get to enjoy the rewards of their hard work. It is wonderful living in the countryside.

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    1. The countryside is a good environment to live in so long as it's not too isolated and there are some shops and transport facilities. I recently noticed in the listings that a television programme had been broadcast about food in Ipoh. I hope it'll be repeated. I hope your weekend is going well.

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  9. Lovely photos and how wonderful to read about the village community all pulling together to help each other work the land especially at key times. I like the slowness and sureness of the grass cutting, the returning to turn the grass to dry to make sure all the animals are cared for with good food. The flowers in your garden are so pretty:)

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    1. Thank you Rosie. I'm glad you find the blog posts about our times spent in Italy interesting. I feel fortunate to have experienced so much that's good about this way of life in the Italian countryside over many years.

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  10. You have such great opportunities to see a variety of nature.

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    1. Thank you Betty. Thinking of you.

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  11. So good that the community works together.
    I enjoyed this post and seeing your photographs.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan. Al the best to you too.

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  12. What a wonderful community, working and pulling together. It must be interesting to see the different ways the land is worked.

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    1. Being an only child, although we were a close family when I was growing up, it took me a while to get used to the rural lifestyle of this particular Italian village. There are many relatives because Mr P comes from a big family, but there are benefits. Help is available when needed. Getting together especially for life events is important. I've enjoyed recording my experiences over the years especially nature, the self-sufficient methods used on a smallholding and different ways of working the land.

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