Monday, March 16, 2009

Signs of Spring, new toys, seeding the yard, etc

16 Marzo.
Happy St, Patrick's Day and Buon Compleanno to Allison tomorrow. We have been busy here with the usual "stuff": removing weeds from the vineyard, mowing the lawn and seeding the long forgotten part of the lawn adjacent to the b and b which was massacred by the pool construction. As you remember, the pool wasn't finished until July, when it was too hot to seed and since the estimates for 400 square meters of sod placement were all well above 12,000 dollars, we waited and now will see if the american knows what he's talking about. I keep telling Raffaele there is no one in the area who knows more about lawn care than me, raised in the USA with all our irrigation, chemicals, Miracle-Gro etc. Unfortunately, I seeded like the old time contadinos by hand with a moderate wind, so who knows if, when all is said and done, the yard looks like my brother's head of hair (thick) or mine (sparse).
We have two rooms of guests, all related to one another, with one couple visiting from Austria and another from Greece. It has been wonderful hosting them and my new austrian friend insisted on helping in the vineyard yesterday as we attached the metal tutors to the cables to secure them.
The new tractor will come in handy with the weeding as it has a special attachment which "hoes" in between the grapevines. The attachment has a leading arm which, when it hits a tutor, causes the hoe to retract and thus leave our barbatelle unscathed. Despite this, I wiped out 3 on my 1st pass which caused 3 moments of silence as I mourned a year's worth of growth passing back into compost. As with everthing, there is a learning curve which I hope is not too steep. A caveat: the seller of the equipment and Raffaele were walking behind the tractor as I "knocked off" my children and didn't warn me or notice anything awry until it was too late.
Bacco and I visited the beach yesterday and he got to chase sticks into the sea and clean off a bit. He also made new friends wherever he went (both human and canine)
This week I will try to have the z4 inspected again after the expensive change of head and taillights. It is down to the wire for my visa stuff from Ascoli and I hope for the best as I receive my nulla osta Thursday and head off Sunday, little time for error.
I have a grand tour planned for the US with 4 flights to get my errands finished. Unfortunately, there won't be time to visit KC. I hope to finally get in a bit of skiing, however, with my friend Larry. 2 old guys vs. all the spring breakers.
Finally, go MU, Big 12 conference tourney champs. It has been great to follow a team which is coached well. I just hope he doesn't get stolen away by Georgia next year.
The pictures are of apricot flowers, ladybugs (hope they are helpful), my new assistant and the tractor with Raffaele letting his brother take a test drive.

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