Back in Business – part one

I really don’t know how to begin this post, I have so much things to say (silly things, mostly, as usual…) and I guess I owe you some kind of excuse for cutting everyone and everything off for almost two months… My revelation is going to shock some of you but the thing is… I’ve been kidnapped by aliens. Yep.

Guess you don’t believe me, uh? Ok, the truth is I spent the hottest and busiest august ever and I had to leave something behind to survive it. We had almost 40°C every day with no rain at all, Mina had serious health issues, friends and parents and relatives invaded the house for weeks, I discover my garden is not as water wise as I used to think and I had workers around the house, again. Oh yes, and on top of that, I’ve lost my job. But let me explain everything…


The Mina’s thing

This has definitely been the worst moment. I left you in july with a cheerful pregnant carefree dog picture. Some day before the delivery was due she had her womb twisted (I guess there are better medical terms for it but please understand me) without us (and her!) noticing anything, apparently the puppies (they were 3 for instance) missed blood, food and oxygen because of this torsion and they died. I went to the vet as soon as the dog started having dark blood losses. He had to remove her womb and the dead litter. Mina recovery was kind of fast but she risked her life and had surgery for the second time in only 6 months this year. I guess this is a bad year for her.

She is now fine, thanking God, I hope she won’t have any other issues forever now. She told me she doesn’t want to read any ‘poor Minas‘ on your comments though. She’s kind of a tough lady.

The making of the pergola

The Whoo-hoo thing

We finally had the pergola made. I am so happy with it, it looks as I’ve been figuring it for years: a rusty metal cube with timber beams. We still need to have the floor tiled and I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer for that. I bought a nice table and four chairs though and we finally started having dinner out in the evening. I guess I’m going to enjoy more that eating out thing next year as now it started to be kind of chilly in the evening (and I’m so happy with it!). Oh, the reason why my neighbor was driving like mad around her field, that evening, still remains a mystery to everyone… (see above pic on the right).

Structure was made but you need to cover it for some shadow, right? Ready, steady, we call Cinda (read chin-duh, aka Cindy), my mother-in-law. She’s the best in cutting and sewing, she also stayed at ours for a few days, because you know: when the working day’s done, girls, they just wanna have fun…

Cinda at work and the stream curtains for the pergola

She made 7 stream curtains that I weaved amongst the timber beams. They looked very cool that way until the first rain, now they lie straight or they won’t resist the weigh of the rain, shame. Anyway I think this pergola add a very fresh look to the house and links the design of the garden with the house, as well as providing a cool refreshing area that was missing before.

Clockwise from top left: cooking tomato sauce, bothering about aubergines and drying chili

Clockwise from top left: cooking tomato sauce, bothering about aubergines and drying chili

The Desperate Housewife’s thing

I didn’t really lost my job… I quit it. To be quick I was fed up with my previous job (not the job, I guess it was the boss actually) and I received a good job offer in another place. I quit my job and change without thinking too much. Meanwhile the new boss changed working conditions, venue and wage. I’d say tricky, or ironic, or dumbass, anyway I’m still looking for a new job but I’m pretty confident I’m going to find something soon.

When you are used to work mondays to saturdays there are loads of things you’d like to have the time to do. I guess I tried all those things now, and much more, and now I’m a little fed up with this housewife thing! August was the month of tomatoes, aubergines and chili peppers. ‘What would a good housewife do with all that stuff?’ – I wondered. Then I started cooking tomato sauce, sewing peppers to hang dry and I canned aubergines with olive oil. I need to say my sauce and my aubergines taste delightful. I also flavored extra virgin olive oil with chili, garlic and rosemary and another batch with basil and lemon peel. This latter tastes particularly nice, I suggest you try making some.

As we live close to the seaside, some friends crushed here for a while after a birthday party we gave the 15th for a friend of ours. You can’t have people coming over with a messy house, can you? So before they came I polished the house and boosted some jobs left apart for a while now, like painting the spare room and tidying up the guest room. After friends went away I had to clean up everything again because my family was coming over for a while too… That was a nightmare. I guess you happened to watch the Sopranos, so you have a rough idea of an italian family. Well ok, daddy doesn’t kill people and mama doesn’t date the plumber, my sister is not as fat and grannies don’t work in the drug market but I think you get it. Daddy made some other jobs in the house, like door frames and some more shutters outside, which is rather good but I had to clean up after the mess he left…

The Summer-is-over thing

At the end of august we finally had rain. And what a weather we had! The evening sky covered itself with the strangest clouds I’ve ever seen. You should have seen the colours and the shapes they had! It was as if somebody was trying to vacuum the clouds from above… I knew angels don’t have sex, I didn’t know they hoover instead.

Anyway we had a lot of water for the garden, together with chilly winds, they harvested corn, days had shortened a lot now: Summer is over. Long life to Fall!

Garden Updates:

September brought some grey days and some sunny days, some more rain and still some warm afternoons. I feel reborn and the garden does too:

From top left, clockwise: the dahlia project still bothers me. All the dahlias I’ve planted earlier this year have been producing flowers since july, I can’t say they’ve been thriving though but this was a very very drought and hot summer as I said, so I guess they deserve another try. The one pictured here is Café Latte or maybe Cappuccino or something with coffee and milk anyway. I like the colour and the flower shape. I will talk later about the aster that come along. I never owned anything prickly, if you don’t take account of the dogs, but mama came with this opuntia she stole a cutting of (a leaf actually) during a trip in the South, she said I should recover it in winter and that is a very easy going plant. In fact I put it in a bigger terra-cotta pot and it started producing new leaves like mad. I’ve just moved it twice because it tends to slaps my bum when I pass by, and I can assure you it’s not nice. I should keep my pepper spray with me when I’m around the opuntia… The garden looks like it was May again, some roses went back to flower again and I enjoy them more now than in Spring! The one in the foreground is Irene Watts.

Since I planted them bare root last Winter I didn’t see many roses in Spring. The scent seems to be stronger now too. Clockwise from top left: rosa rugosa Scabrosa, Austin’s rose Grace and Etoile de Lyon, a Tea rose.

One of my first choice rose, anyway, continues to be rosa chinensis Odorata. I like the smell, the leaves, the new shoots colour, the bushy habit and the steady reblooming. Mine is planted next to mischantus sinensis Gnome which is a good counterpoint to her daintiness:

rosa chinensis Odorata

I can stop here for now, part two will come soon, sooner than two months at least… 😉


36 thoughts on “Back in Business – part one

    • Hi Sharon! Yes, Mina is a Jack Russell, they say ‘broken’ because she’s halfway between a long fur and a short fur. (I hope you understand what I mean!). And yes, they are as hard as rock: only muscles, teeth and rough fur 🙂

  1. I’m so happy you’re back Alberto, I was worried about you. This summer has been dreadful, obviously it was even hotter here than with you and worse still there was a hot wind almost every day and the temperatures at night were like usual summer daytime temperatures. My garden suffered, I suffered. Even many of my supposedly drought tolerant plants just went into summer hibernation and looked dead, some are dead! I’m so happy we have rain, every time it trains, like this afternoon, I feel like singing and dancing (not really like me at all); most of all I’m so happy it’s cooler, I felt like my brain was being cooked for 3 months. Anyway the bits of your garden you showed look great now, that’s the important thing. Christina

    • Never worry about me, I always survive! 😉 Weeds never die.
      I must admit the garden looks rather good indeed, flowering period had been shortened and except for roses there is no way to see anything reblooming this fall (echinaceas for istance), never mind, the garden got over summer rather good.
      I bet your summer has been even worse than mine, we had daytime temperature during night too, a nightmare!

  2. Hi Alberto,

    Glad to see you back 🙂 I do hope you’re here to stay!

    I would mention that I wish we’d had your summer, but actually I think I’d rather have the terrible one we had. At least it wasn’t too hot here – nothing worse than being too hot. At least if it’s cold you can get warmer!

    Good luck with the job hunting – and congrats on the new job! haha, even if you are still looking for another… I just started a new one a month ago and already applied for something else! But this other is in planning, which is where I want to be, whereas the new job I started is to tide me by. So, fingers crossed!

    Your garden looks great, and the roses are looking surprisingly lush considering your hard summer!

    • I totally agree with you about heat, I prefer wearing jumpers than shorts! I think you had quite the reverse of my summer in UK, I hope for something better next year, I really need to come back to England ASAP!
      So you’re an architect? You should be a photographer! Change your job again….

      • Hi Alberto,

        You’re not the only one hoping for better weather here next year! 🙂
        Although, in Scotland they had a better summer than normal with less than average rainfall, and I hear islands off Scotland also had long droughts (as we did up until April!).

        Architect – no, sadly not. But I understand that in many countries in europe it’s more typical for Architects to move into town planning. Here planning is its own sector – mainly because here we don’t have written constitution so each development application has to considered in its own right. I actually want to be an ‘Urban designer’ and aim to sell myself as such; but I also have the planning knowledge of economics, planning law, and whatever else 🙂
        Photography is a hobby to me and I aim to keep it that way… Long story 😉

  3. Wow you have been busy. Best of luck with the job search. I’m glad Mina is okay –maybe she can now be a wild and exotic female without awkward consequences. Be careful with that prickly pear cactus, they are opportunists. I’m glad you have the outdoor eating area together. I like the woven fabric roof and hope you can still use it in summer. How do you know so much about the private lives of angels?

    • I guess you’ll find it hard to believe but I’ve been an angel once… I remember hoovering… (yes, with double O, you know-all Siri!). Then I discovered sex and I gave up my wings and the Hoover.

      Any suggestion for the cactus? Pepper spray doesn’t work with it…

      We had a chitty chat about sexual transmission diseases, Mina and I, she can’t be that much exotic… Hopefully Rudy is still on the DIY phase, he’s a teenager, you know.

  4. Well, I love the pergola! And I love the way the curtains weave through it. I bet it gives just the right amount of shade to enjoy sitting there. Sorry to hear about your job. I hope you find another one soon. I suppose the second boss was not any better than the first boss! Your roses are gorgeous. I think I like the autumn blooms better, too. Not as expected as in the spring, so each bloom is special. I know Mina doesn’t want sympathy, but oh, poor Mina! The good thing is that will never happen to her again. She can just live a carefree life from now on.

    • Actually I’m still a little concerned about breast cancer but hey, the dog has been slaughtered already this year, she had enough for her entire life I think.
      The pergola provides the right amount of shade indeed, then I’m going to remove the curtains in winter and the structure will add a fresh look to the house anyway I think.

  5. Ciao Alberto, nonostante debba usare google traduttore che traduce come gli pare, ho apprezzato molto questo tuo post. Mi dispiace per la disavventura di Mina, ma spero che ora stia bene ( l’hai fatta sterilizzare?).
    La tua casa ed il tuo giardino mi piacciono molto, sarei voluta venire al raduno della CdG domenica scorsa, ma
    un pò la distanza ( vicino a Cesena), e molti i lavori da fare, non ne ho fatto nulla.
    Cme casalinga disperata mi sembra che hai fatto parecchie cose buone, molto belli e decorativi i tuoi peperoni
    appesi. Aspetto la seconda parte.

    • Ciao Loretta! L’anno prossimo magari organizzati con Ross e Gabriella.C, sono della tua zona, sia mai che riusciate a venire su! Ho conosciuto Ross in agosto che era di passaggio e mi ha fatto tanto piacere! Il raduno in effetti è stato molto piacevole, vorrei organizzarne uno anche a primavera o magari inizio estate per l’anno prossimo…

      A Mina è stato rimosso l’utero e ho chiesto al vet che togliesse anche le ovaie a quel punto, ormai non le rimane più nulla poverina… Beh almeno non dovrò spedire Rudy dai miei per quasi due mesiml’anno in futuro!

  6. Wow, what a summer, we’ve missed you! Your pergola is fantastic, giving just the right amount of shade for all your delicious meals. The garden is looking very good in spite of all your exhausting heat, will look forward to seeing more of it in your next post. Hope you soon find the job that you are looking for with a good boss! So glad Mina is now ok, animals seem to be tougher than humans don’t they? You have had such a busy summer, hope it all now slows down for you so that you can enjoy your garden!

    • Well I can’t complain I didn’t spend any time in the garden this year, in fact I almost have enough of it, I spend a lot of time weeding and with the hose in hand!
      Mina is tough and yes animal are tougher than humans but even though I can’t say Mina’s been asking for my compassion she wanted me beside her just after the surgery, she needed to feel safe and sure I guess.

  7. Welcome back Alberto and hello to Mina…she is amazing! I love that pergola and the woven fabric for shading. Hot and very unusually dry here too so my garden did not produce much and now fall has come last weekend…those clouds are amazing and I love seeing unusual storm clouds…your garden is just gorgeous and you should be so proud given the summer you had….the right job will be finding you soon and you will be so much happier having had the summer to take a break 🙂

    • Hi Donna! So you think the job will find me? I should stop the hunting then… As far as I’m the prey! …? 🙂

      Apparently the unusual is becoming more and more usual… Unusual storms, unusual drought, unusual summer… Really I’m not a catastrophist but I can’t hide I’m worried…

  8. I’ve wondered what you were up to…missed your posts! I will not say “poor mina”…I’ll just say how sweet she looks 😉 Sounds like you’ve had your plate full, for sure! LOVE the pergola…it really does make a statement…and adds so much to your house! How wonderful to have a shady place to sit and admire the garden. Those clouds are amazing…reminds me of the crazy clouds & storms we would get back when I lived in the Midwest.

    • Hi Scott! I’m really glad you like the pergola! I think those clouds were made even weirder by the sunset light. You should have seen the colour they had, pictures doesn’t make it right…

  9. Wow. I’m exhausted just reading this. I’m hoping things are quieting down for you and that you will soon find employment. The pergola looks amazing, and I’m thrilled to hear that Mina is on the mend. Hang in there!

    • Hi Kevin! Thanks for your comment, I know your dog had some health issues too, so I think you got what I’ve been feeling. I’m glad you like the pergola! 🙂

  10. Ebbene sì, perfino da Londra ti scrivo…ehhe, devo ammettere che leggere i tuoi post mi fa sempre sorridere ;-))! In bocca al lupo x il lavoro e tutto il resto, bella la pergola…dai quando vieni da ste parti? Take care!

    • Ciao Giacomo! Allora sei andato a finire a Londra, non in Germania! Beh decisamente molto più stimolante e aperta, ottima scelta! E poi li avevi già un appoggio mi pare giusto? Non sai che voglia ho di tornare in Inghilterra, ma temo che per almeno un anno non se ne parli proprio… 😦

  11. Hi Alberto – Are you eventually going to drape a vine over the pergola? All my fondest memories of Italy involve sitting under shady vines….
    I’m astonished your roses survived the heat in what was their first year on bare roots. You must have watered frantically..

    • Hi Mr. K! All the roses had spent the whole summer drinking only twice from the hose. They went in summer hibernation though, until now indeed they started growing and flowering better than Spring! I’ve lost some roses in January, when just planted, because of frost.
      Actually I might drape a vine or a rose on the pergola, the curtains revealed to be a total failure with rain, they retain water and become rather dreadful to walk under… I had more than a cold shower… 😦

  12. Hello Alberto, Glad to see you back I was beginning to wonder what had become of you. Poor Mina, there I said it, so glad she is on the mend. Perhaps your neighbour was making a crop circle, have a look, on second thoughts if its like a recent one I saw, better not. Good luck with the job situation. Oh! cleaning up after father did all the work! my, my what a hardship. Talk soon.

    • Hi Al! I did not think about the crop circle… Maybe you’re right! Well we aren’t as mad as in Oregon, here… 😉 even though we could be mad enough… Oh my! I’m better going upstairs and have a look from above!
      You clearly don’t know my dad… And the mess he leaves behind…

  13. Well it was a long time coming but worth waiting for! What a time you have had and how good to see you blogging again. Pity about the material for shade. It looked fabulous. Now keep on blogging, do you hear?

  14. OK then, just give the lady a tickle behind the ear fo rme !
    Good to catch up on your life and garden. The pergola is looking stunning, superbly designed and set in place, I’m sure over the years it will provide many a happy moment
    Loving the chillies hanging to dry and the rose – just beautiful.
    And as ever the photography is a WOW ! Good to see you around in blogland again 🙂

    • Thanks! 🙂 You just reminded me that the fatty chilies are ripen and waiting to be picked and dried, apparently that cultivar produces very late in the season…

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