Thursday, February 24, 2011

La Fattoria

On my bucket list - created long before that movie came out - was the deep desire to live in Europe for one year. I never achieved that, and probably never will, but my month here was just long enough that things started to feel 'normal.'

Normal and different at the exact same time.

It would have been nice to have sheets on the bed. I got a narrow duvet and that's that.  Every evening when I climb into the sack I think: I could teach you people a thing or two about cuddly comfort...

I've still not met a single person who owns a clothes dryer. And, while it makes for great photos I'll be thrilled to say arrivederci to scratchy, line-dried towels. (Score one for the Americans.)

I do love the fact that they're huge on slippers. (They hand you a pair when you show up at their house and it took all of my willpower not to snitch these little cuties.)

I suppose the biggest eye opener, and inspiration for when I get home, is how very fortunate we are to have... space.

My Italian friend giggles, when asked about her new life. I married the whole package, she says.

And, indeed she did. Her husband's family lives to the south on a self-sustaining, highly productive farm with beautiful, nutrient-rich soil enabling them to grow anything their hearts desire.

Casa di Luciano

Her mother-in-law is the classic, doting, Italian Mom who stuffs us with food and chatters happily the whole time she's cooking up the next delightful course.

I thought this was way cool but hard to photograph.
ABOVE the kitchen sink is ~ what looks like ~ 
a normal cupboard but it's so much better than that.
The bottom shelf is actually a metal grate. 
Place your wet, washed dishes into this cupboard, 
close the door and they're out of sight.
They drip-dry, water falling back into the sink.
This is fantastic if you, like me, 
always offer to dry vs. wash, in thanks for a tasty meal. 
'Cause that meant I got to go watch t.v.

So, back to the whole space thing. Hearing about the farm, and all that they produce, I figured 5... maybe 10 acres.

When I arrived, I was shocked, and a little embarrassed, to see that they accomplish all of this on less land than I own back home.

I wish I could show you pictures to do this place justice.

The farm is dormant in winter. A sleeping garden, dotted with the promise of tiny green shoots preparing for a new season.

I got scolded for turning on the lights during the day. Natural light, only, when the sun is shining.

This has my brain working overtime on all the new things I can squeeze into my own garden space ~ that I thought was stuffed to the gills prior to my visit.

So, I'm devoting my final days in paradise to stealing as many seeds as I can! If I can sneak through customs, I might have gifts for one and all.

This is how Luciano and I filled the wood bins to warm the house. 
He stands outside, passing logs into me, through the kitchen window, where what looks like a second oven is actually the 'furnace.'

* La Fattoria means 'the farm house.' This is the last of my blogging diary from Bressanone, Italy, where I am working for the month of February.


Carol said...

Alas! Your last!! I have so enjoyed your travels Kate! Especially Venice!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy the rest of your stay!

Diana said...

I'm sooo sad that your trip is over! You took me through some of the most wondeful sites with your pictures!

Francis said...

Those vases in the first picture are really amazing!!!

KC said...

Such an artistic eye for your photos. They all look like they could be a painting. Thanks for taking us along for the ride.
I wish you safe and timely travels home.

Melanie J Watts said...

Awe Kate what a wonderful mini tour of La Fattoria. How lucky you are to spend a month there. What a wonderful experience for you. Have a safe trip home.

Alison said...

Oh NO! The last?! That means you'll be back home soon. Surely it hasn't been a month already? I have so enjoyed reading about your adventure.

Shady Gardener said...

I cannot believe what I've missed in the last couple of weeks! I'm needing to go through your posts. Aren't you so fortunate to go to Italy? :-)

jan said...

It is hard to believe the month has passed so quickly. Too bad it is the shortest month! I have seen that type of dish draining shelf on one of the real estate programs on TV. I thought it was a brilliant idea, too! I hope your travel home is smooth. I am sure all the critters will be glad to see you!

Marina said...

What a nice post! I really enjoyed reading it!

D said...

Kate, thank you! for taking us on the trip with you. ;) Love all the photos! and hope we can make it there one day. See you back home.

Liz said...

I loved that cupboard. I might even be convinced to go back do doing hand dishes if I had such a neat drying rack.

Janie said...

Fascinating to experience life in Italy. I'm so glad you shared what you found. Loved the masks from Venice in the previous post.

Rose said...

I've so enjoyed all your photos from Italy, Kate--for a few moments each week I felt as if I was transported to another world. I remember coming home from my short trip to Italy several years ago (mostly spent in Rome) and just enjoying the peace and quiet and wide open spaces. I don't think we Americans appreciate how much space we do have until we've spent some time in narrow streets and on crowded trains:)

Enjoy the rest of your stay and have a safe trip home!

Anonymous said...

So envious! I would love to have access to your email Please advise via reply

Marcela said...

I'm sure this has been the trip of a lifetime!

Carolyn ♥ said...

I have so much enjoyed reading about your trip. I missed a few posts that I will surely go back and read. Your pics were wonderful, but your words most enchanting... Don't we all feel like we were there with you? And welcome home! (I actually read that post first.) Sorry about the snow, we did have a few sunny days while you were gone. :)

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Kate my husband spent 6 months altogether in Italy but at a NATO communications school .. however he traveled as much as he could to take in all of the sights .. we then lived 4 years in Southern Holland "South Limburg" between Germany and Belgium .. for 4 years .. we were lucky to have a large Dutch house but the thing with dryers is true .. the natives don't use them unless totally for emergencies ! LOL .. it is a different way of life and I was amazed as well what they could squeeze in tiny spaces land wise and house wise : )