Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's a beautiful day!

28 Mar. 2010
I woke up early this morning after our time change and boy were we blessed with a good day today.  A spring storm came by unexpectedly yesterday afternoon and blew out all the haze, so the views of the Appenine mts was beautiful all the way from Gran Sasso to Mt. Vettore.  I took Bacco to the sea and the wildlife reserve and we hiked a bit in the swamp where I almost stepped on a mallard hen and Bacco flushed a female pheasant.  We had the beach to ourselves for about a half hour, so Bacco swam and fetched sticks from the very tranquil Adriatic, while I bird watched.  We then were surprised by a group on horseback which was exciting for Bacco before heading back to Nascondiglio where I spent the day shelling peanuts beneath our pine tree, listening to the wind blowing through the boughs and thinking it sounded like Colorado.  The european goldfinches were courting with their singing and flight displays, the shepherd was calling his sheep in the distance, but otherwise it was just peaceful solitude.
I then made peanut butter, chili, blood orange candy, and homemade chicken soup, so I am ready for the week.
Fernando, our excavator has been working night and day to get the construction started and on schedule and I have posted the photos of his work to date.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week and for the Christian, a wonderful holy week as well.
The pictures are of the southern mts with Nascondiglio di Bacco in the foreground as I left this morning, then a better view of the Gran Sasso chain from our neighboring town of Castorano, a perspective of how far the Sibillini mountains are from the beach at Porto d'Ascoli, horseback riders in the zona Sentina wildlife reserve with a very calm sea, the new hole in the ground waiting for its winery and pear blossoms with a grape vine peaking out.  Vitis vinifera wild grapes used trees to help them find the sunlight.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Still tying, excavation commences

26 Marzo

We are still tying the 30000 vines with about 60 of 160 rows still to go.  We are up to 6 workers now as the time is approaching when the little buds will be popping out and then it will be too late to continue as they are very fragile and if we break the buds, there won't be any new growth (unlikely, but better to get finished beforehand).
Yesterday evening after dark the excavator returned to start digging the hole for the foundation of the winery.  I got tired of waiting so Raffaele and I went out there with a shovel to get the ball rolling and perform the traditional groundbreaking.  The architect and surveyor came by 2 days ago to lay out the building imprint on our little triangle of land above the vineyard and we changed the exposition so the view would be more to our liking; a bit more southeast with a better view of our valley and oak tree.  
Here are pictures of the building layout, the view and  a few rows of nicely tied vines.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring photos from Nascondiglio di Bacco

21 Mar 2010
I finally got the tractor into a dried out vineyard to mow the tall grass which was interfering with our vine tying.  It took two days to finish the job and now we are faced with at least another 12 days of tying to finish the vineyard, if we are lucky and the workers show up every day.  I have been so preoccupied with the other work, I almost missed the blooming hyacinths outside my door.  Today, however, I made amends and took some shots of the plum, apricot and cherry trees in bloom along with the trimmed grass and Bacco rolling around in the newly mowed field.
I am experimenting with the italian health care system and tomorrow will visit the hospital in Ascoli for a pre-op visit at "day surgery", which is what is called also here.  They plan to do an ecg, blood work and who knows what all prior to a little skin lesion removal under local the following week.  A bit of overkill, but I am passed due for a checkup.  My 1st visit was to an ENT in town, who spent a few seconds looking at my ear's skin lesion before scoping my larynx, nose, and ears, doing a complete auditory exam, etc.  I just wanted my little 8mm skin lesion removed.  He was a great guy and very thorough and looks like I must have looked before quitting surgery... stressed out!   Now, I just stress about whether we can get all the vines tied before the new gems erupt, not the same level.
Anyway, I pity those of you back home who are going to have to pay 10 years of taxes for 6 years of health care and after the country is bankrupt after the 1st 2 years the care is offered, what then?  No end of life planning in the bill, no tort reform, no end to the in-state monopoly of the health insurance companies and no end to the bribes and earmarks which it took to get the bill passed (if it passes)
E' la vita!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Skiing under the Matterhorn

12 Marzo 2010
While it is snowing in central Italy and tying vines with blue hands and wet feet is extremely difficult, I have escaped to the Valle d'Aosta region of Italy near the border of Switzerland to ski.  We are near the town of San Vincent and not too far south of Mont Blanc.  The snow is pretty good and yesterday we had most of the slopes to ourselves.  The tree line in Italy is for the most part much lower than in CO, so the groomed slopes are amidst a sea of whiteness.  The pictures are of the upper part of the hill and you notice right away the Alps are much younger and more "pointy than the Colorado and Utah Rockies.  The Matterhorn (or Cervino) as it is known on the italian side is beautiful as are all its neighbors.  Today we are going to ski into Zermatt, Switzerland!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

La legatura, tying up 30K vines and the vote update

10 Marzo
I am off to the Valle d'Aosta region of Italy to ski, my 1st experience with european snow beneath my skis.  Prior to leaving, I thought I would show you some examples of my vine tying.  You would think with my past experience I would be fast at this job, but perfectionism interferes with speed and these "sutures" are much bigger than those I am used to.  Also at 23 degrees wind chill, my hands slow way down.
Current vote totals for the winery name and some comments from others: p.s 12, post scriptum 10, bacco estates 8, manus 3, eris 2 and martius 1.  This doesn't include votes from the italian contingent which are being calibrated by Raffaele.  3 people commented that post scriptum sounds too much like scrotum...boh.. some thought bacco estates would be best for marketing, others think the p. s. and post scriptum are appropriate for historical reasons.  Please feel free to vote while I am away, we still have plenty of time and thanks to Jet for helping with some label designs!  I will get his permission and post them here.
The other 2 pics are of the ancient roman bridge entering Ascoli Piceno from the east and what I think is a badger print which was next to the row of vines you see tied here.  For anyone more knowledgeable than me on animal tracks, let me know what you think.