First published on February 28, 2014, I thought my life on the farm was worth re-visiting today. Pronto Marcella was born on that trip and I’m still in awe that this is now a big part of my life!
I am now at the olive farm in Poggio alle Croce but it feels more spa-like than farm. Elettra takes very good care of me and my cold has vanished. Every night I sleep with a hot brick that was been heated all day in a wood stove. It gets chilly in the Tuscan hills at night and these old houses are impossible to heat. I sleep in a cosy cell- like room that shares a wall with the old church.
Records go back to 1000 AD when the church was constructed. Electra and Andreas bought the preacher’s house and the fields more than 25 years ago but the church was not included in the deal. They have been trying to get the Catholic Church to deconsecrate the church for years, to no avail. It needs restoration but the process is stuck in the Italian bureaucracy that is as famous as Michelangelo’s sculptures.
There is a plaque in front of the church honoring the twenty-two partisans who were shot by the Nazi’s in the nearby village of Pian D’Albero.
This morning I visit the goats who lose interest in me very fast after they determine I have no treats in my pockets. I am a stranger to the chickens so they flee when I try to photograph them.
The early morning fog spreads its cigar-like fingers through the valley but after it burns off, we may have sunshine.
Elettra and I take Zampa on a trek through the woods to Malo’s house and then we walk down to Le Celle. I think it is the most beautiful spot in the world! The grounds are still lovingly tended by Angelo, who must be well into his eighties by now.
Malo serves us a simple but delicious lunch of finocchio and orange salad, cauliflower and cheese casserole and then some special sausages from Calabria. Of course, we drink some good wine and sample Malo’s special olive oil. Malo shows us some of her new baskets that incorporate metal among the reeds. She is off to Milan in the morning to participate in an artisan’s show that will feature her baskets and olive oil.
We return to the farm, through the town so we can buy some bread. We have walked 5 km. Later when I sit down to read, I fall asleep. Meanwhile, Elettra has prepared a feast for dinner: baccala, mashed potatoes and pumpkin soup.
Our spontaneous guests are all women- Malo, Rita and her daughter Bianca, (both of Italian ancestry, recently immigrated from Australia) and Elettra’s daughter, Giulia who is visiting from Switzerland. We eat and drink and talk until midnight. That is very late on a farm where work begins at 6:00 am! I feel a strong connection with these women, even though I haven’t seen them in four years. I will not let years pass again without being more present in their lives. I am where I belong in the world.