Tuesday, November 27, 2012


This is my favorite picture of Vincie and me in Italy at the beach at Praia a Mare. We had many to choose from, but this one was taken on the day we experienced our first dose of Italian bureaucracy and Vince experienced his first taste of retrieving sticks out of surf. It soon became a regular romp for him and us--here he is with a stick in Scalea:

This is not a "happy" post. Tears will come. Mine and Guido's anyway. This is also not an entirely sad post. Vincie had a very very long (17 years-119 dog years) very very happy life and he gave us many more laughs than troubles. He was almost never sick albeit a bit accident prone when a pup. He got his jaw kicked by an awful horse and nearly lost some vital parts jumping a fence--but survived to live a life other dogs can only dream about. He died last night while on a walk with his "Dad". His great old heart finally gave out.

Vincie's last photo on his last day on this Earth
He truly loved sitting in all of his cars and trucks
Guido's list of highlights of Vince's life in Italy (He did all of this while a centenarian in dog years):

  • Flew 7,000 miles and across the Atlantic,
  • Stayed in many 4-star hotels from Liguria to Sicily,
  • Tinkled on 800 year old streets,
  • Swam in the Tyrrhenian Sea, and
  • Ran free in the Parco Nazionale del Pollino

When he struck his cross-legged pose, the cameras always came out--Sooo cute!

Vince had already lived a full life before coming to Italy. He spent many hours romping free through the National Forests of Oregon and many other places.
He spent most of his life outdoors on the farm and in the woods but always spent nights inside cozy and warm with his family. He really didn't have very many faults. He was polite and quiet and never barked (except when he treed a porcupine or some other "invader"). He did have the unfortunate habit of never learning when it came to skunks but then nobody's perfect...

Vince also had his responsible side. 
His cats loved him and he put up with them for us.

Vincie looked like our beavers when swimming in the farm ponds

Goodbye to our dear and loving friend.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Seasonal Comparisons

Almost three years of the four stagione (seasons) have passed by since we moved to Italy. We have data for two years now. A “weather year” or “water year” is what scientists and farmers use, and it refers to October 1 to September 31 of each year. Thus, our data covers this past year (2011-12) and a comparison with year 2010-11. Comparisons of data are fun, but we thought we'd also compare lives here as the seasons pass with our life as it was in Oregon. 
But first, the data--
Generally, this year was warmer and dryer. Guido thought it hot and humid all summer and that the heat lasted too long.  Di, of course,  likes it hot although some days got to her too--global warming yahoo!  
This fall has been pleasant, but the data shows the two fall seasons were nearly equal. Just a little more rain last October. The storms of 2012 were wilder, including a storm on 4 April with wind gusts here to 75mph/121kph. The beauty of our area is one day it can rain and the next day, people are sunning on the beach, like Tuesday when we took Vince for a walk there.

Santa Domenica Talao, Italy 2010/11

Santa Domenica Talao, Italy 2011/12

Maupin, Oregon
of  Remembrance

Winter Temps

Dec  Ave Low:   7C/44.5F
Dec Ave Low:   9C/48F
Much colder
       Ave High: 15C/59F
          Lowest: -2C/28F
      Ave High: 16C/60F
         Lowest:  4C/39F
Could get to -15 F

Jan  Ave Low:    8C/46F

Jan Ave Low:   5C/41F
Much more snow - up to a meter on the ground
       Ave High: 17C/62F
          Lowest:  4C/39F

Feb  Ave Low:7C/44.5F
       Ave High:15C/59F
         Lowest: 1C/34F
      Ave High: 15C/59F
         Lowest:  0C/32F

Feb Ave Low:   4C/39F
      Ave High: 12C/53.5F
         Lowest: -1C/30F
And we had a 1/4 mile driveway to keep clear!


Usually about 12 inches
 Nov wettest 
 October wettest

Summer Temps

 July Ave High: 28C/82F
 July  Ave High: 29C/84F 
Could get up to 38C/100F

         Highest: 34C/93F
           Highest: 36C/97F
But with cool nights
and low humidity
 Aug Ave High: 28C/82F
 Aug  Ave High: 31C/88F
but many more
          Highest: 31C/88F
          Highest: 38C/100F

Days of Sunshine

264.5 days total
295 days total
No contest

Much less sun in winter

Most Gloomy Month

January-only 13.5 
sunny days
April-only 17.5
sunny days
Nov Dec Jan

How does our life in l'estate compare with our life in Oregon? We spend much more time in our swimwear and Di's swimwear has gotten more European (i.e. 2 piece). Parties and get-togethers are much more frequent--partly because of the time freed up by retirement and partly because for lots of our friends, it's a way of life in the summer. We are still working on staying up late as it's just not in our genes. Our Italian really is getting better so we are able to contemplate socializing without sign language. Don't miss anything about Oregon summers except friends we left behind... 
Who wouldn't miss people willing to pose looking like this?
This was taken in our front yard at Rainshadow
We have a friend who loves to have barbecues at his villa
I love his grilled peppers
We loved fall in Oregon and l'autunno in Italy is very similar. Clear air, beautiful foliage colors in the mountains plus fewer tourists make it great time for traveling around. I miss Thankgiving at our friend's house. It was magical. You can see below that I wanted to create some of that romance at our Italian Thanksgiving in 2010..but unlike Merrianne, we didn't think we could manage it every year.

Did we ever light the candles? I don't remember now
I'm gonna say right now that I miss cross-country skiing right out our "back door". We can do it here, but haven't gotten organized yet. It may be a great goal for this winter--the skis look lonely in the basement. Our winters in Italy are very different. They are more mild and we go to the sea, not the mountains. We meet people at our favorite bar and spend time on household things we don't have time for during traveling and socializing season. Besides skiing, this year we plan to get our community involvement plan organized.


This little skiff of snow made for an unusual Calabrian Christmas

Along with fall, la primavera is similar to our Oregon spring. Our life is a bit different--we still seek to hike in the mountains, but we aren't trying to get an acre of vegetables going and otherwise working our butts off outdoors, so we tend to try to stay outside. We get the same effect without the dirt and fatigue. We also start to sit in the sun much earlier. The terrace is great in the early spring, every morning feels fresh, the way spring is supposed to be.

Monte Caccia on the most perfect of days--Vincie's last big hike
The Columbia River Highway in the Beautiful Columbia River Gorge

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Tactical Error, A Fine Result

Leaving the Sun to Enjoy the Day?
There is still good weather to be had this time of year in Calabria. Last weekend we decided to enjoy it and explore a new area. We headed for Lago Sirino on the recommendation of friends. We envisioned lunch at the lake, you know the drill. Doug realized early on that we may have made a tactical error for achieving the goal of enjoying our sunny weather. Clouds dead ahead. Check out the captions on the following photos to see how it turned out. 

Speaking of turning out, Election 2012 was of great interest here in Italy. Calabria is a conservative area, but Obama was their guy---and they assumed he was our guy--which he is--he's our Pres. We wish him and US the very best in the next round of "fun" ahead.

The town of Rivello basking in the sun enticed us on a side trip
Because we live in a hilltown, we laughed at these daunting steps. In fact, they were child's play for our seasoned calves. The treads were an even six inches or so, not from 6 inches to a foot and a half like ours.

In general, Rivello was small and quiet like our town, but I did talk to many inhabitants who seemed to speak Italian easily. We also met some Italian tourists once we finished the climb to the Piazza.
An interesting restored public courtyard. Liked the paving stones. Found the fossil of a fern--(see below)

Rivello's Piazza
The view from the Rivello Piazza with Lauria in distance
Lake Sirino
When we finally made it to Lake Sirino, it was cold and blowing, the restaurant was open but not serving yet, they didn't offer to seat us the way most places do when you are early, so we took the hint and decided to eat near Lauria at one of our favorite restaurants in Pecorone. The friendly proprietor made us feel good about our choice and our day. It was a good day of speaking Italian to new people, seeing new sights, and having a satisfying Italian meal. What more to ask of a day?

We turned back towards the glow in the western sky...


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