FL came home for lunch looking like a chimney sweep. He wouldn't let me photograph his sweet, soot-sodden face, but I snuck a snap of his hand. On days like this his work is tough, and there's nothing nicer than to be able to make him a delicious, filling plate of pasta (oggi: aglio, olio e pepperoncini) and a fresh salad. My efforts are very much appreciated, and I feel so lovely-Italian-wifey as I give him a kiss goodbye for the afternoon, skoot him out the door, then return to whatever the hell it was I was up to before the clock struck noon, which today was...unbedazzling the pear tree.
I felt bad about that poor old pear tree out back, like I had dressed him up as an aging queen, with strings of sparkly blue tinsel hung all about his bows and limbs. The look just wasn't working for either of us. He looked mortified and droopy, so I decided to move the glitz inside and give the old man a chance to regain his dignity as a truly masculine tree, bearer of great, green pears.
So now my staircase is covered in tinsel. This house gets more and more festive with every passing hour.
I have relocated into the bathroom today, using the spacious area in front of the sink as my office. The weather is just spectacular, and from this vantage point, perched high on the second floor of my Italian farm house, I can see the castle and church tower over on Mt. Quarin, hills full of rolling, lush vineyards and the tiny people working tirelessly to harvest the grapes, and a yard full of kitty cats down below.
What more could a girl ask for in a work space? The mind just blossoms with creativity and graciousness. My spirit itself feels bedazzled today.
Am a bit cranky with self, however re: have not done my yoga in 3 days time, nor have I taken advantage of this suddenly fresh, cool weather that has washed in to Friuli over these past couple of days. Yesterday I was so very ill and exhausted after last week (re: last week of La Baia, Porchis pool, meaning FL and I each averaged about 1,000 spritz a night) that I had to force myself to LIE DOWN. My throat was closed and tight, my muscles aching, my temples pounding, my nose running. I forbade myself chores, jogging, plundering about the garden and tending to weak, ailing kittens (furbi, these kittens! They always know how to get a morsel out of me). I permitted myself a hot bath and a novel and, once evening came, an hour or two on my feet in the kitchen. I made Tuscan peas with sage (not nearly as good as mama's) and a spicy chipotle chicken soup. The protein and peppers did the trick, and, after 10 hours sleep, I awoke bright, fresh, good as new.
FL and I are on this wonderful program right now entitled: Operation 50 Euro Budget Till September 10th. We've had to cancel all of our social engagements (we actually had a lot this week...no one ever asks us to do anything until we are too poor to say yes) and face the fact that we will be living on peas and rice (yum!) and figs from the garden and will have to dine al fresco to save electricity and forgo wine (thank God, something had to intervene, and it might as well be our bank accounts) and pricy cured meats (FL's parents house and refrigerator are always open, though, so no worries) and will have to spend all week holed up at Bosc di Sot playing Briscola and taking walks and doing other sorts of things that require no cash.
I am, honestly, thrilled. My homebody-ish-ness has reached an all-time high but I've stopped trying to make myself feel weird about it (civilization, what? Human contact? Why?). Instead am embracing having such an incredible little corner of the Earth all to myself (ourselves) to do as I please and be at peace. This is, as Marion puts it, "the boondocks" and I am reveling in it. Gardening is such a joy when done in lingerie!
Saturday we spent the day remodeling and buying odds and ends for the house (ergot the empty bank accounts). The guest room needed some serious pizzaz if it was gonna be good enough for la mammina all next month. We shopped about at some local boutiques and house good stores, and eventually made out way to the Ikea, where we got a great lamp and a new rug (20 euro!). Pretty canvas curtains were hung and some photos were framed and voila! The cutest guest room ever.
And, yes, I did draw that "frame" with chalk...
I think the copper light looks smashing! T'was a risk, but I followed my gut and said, "no, Ikea...faux copper fixtures are not only for the kitchen."
Sunday FL and I took Marion and Kallah up to our favorite little hideaway on the Natisone river. We drove in their James Bond convertible, the wind whipping all two inches of my hair this way and that. The air was significantly cooler this week than last, leaving the water icy long after we'd stopped being able to feel our legs. After a short dip and a period spent reclining on the rocks like lizzards we set out to find a place for lunch. FL and I knew a spot a ways up the road, on the bank of the Natisone. We had eaten their once before, last autumn, and knew it to be delicious, charming and beautifully located. The weather was nice enough for us to sit outside on the porch, overlooking the rushing river below. We ordered plates of pumpkin gnocchi, tossed in a sage butter sauce and topped with nutmeg and smoked ricotta.
*fun fact: ri-cotta means "twice cooked"
For our main course we ordered whole fresh trout, slow cooked over a fire and swimming in it's own juices. The waitress explained that they were seasoned only with parsley, garlic and a little salt. The taste was beyond words, as those babies must have been plucked strait from the river just hours before, their little bodies still full of fresh, frigid Slovenian water.
Each trout cost just 7 euro. 7 euro for a whole, perfectly cooked, exquisitely fresh fish! Friuli the Bountiful, case and point.
Our perfect day rounded out with an afternoon spent at La Baia, Porchis pool, the last of the season. It was packed, and the crowd was happy, sun-kissed and high on...white wine spritzers. Marion, Kallah, FL and I played a few hands of Briscola under the shade of the patio, watching the sun die down into the pool. Night fell, and the stars came out, and the lucky citizens of Cormons waved goodbye to another amazing summer gone by alla Baia.
This place is a paradise in it's own right, and until next season, we will miss it.
Till then, however...there's always Porchis!