Thursday, December 25, 2014

Twas the Day Before Christmas and...

Wednesday market was for last minute gift shoppers!

This post is about life in the village yesterday, the day before Christmas. It started out badly for Di. While I was walking around the village, our favorite stray dog, Raggedy appeared at our door sick and trembling. Di called me for help, but when she returned to the door, Raggedy was gone. Di worried and we looked and looked around the village but could not find her. All we could do was hope she would be OK.

Meanwhile, I wandered around to see what folks were up to and how things looked.  It was a workday for many, some last minute shopping for others. Overall a relaxed day before midnight mass, Christmas lunches, and not so relaxed waiting for some sign that "our" dog was alright. 

Clivia plant in bloom for Christmas

Babbo Natale and la Madonna
Bringing firewood before winter strikes later this week

Finishing a stone facing job

A quiet garden

Christmas is a weird time for us here weather-wise, but there are still natural joys to be enjoyed without snow. The other day there were about 20 people talking and pointing out to sea. A neighbor told us to look at the 4 islands visible in the distance. I looked again and sure enough there was Stromboli and 2 small islands to the southwest, but also another volcano shape to the east that I’d never seen before. Long story short – what we were looking at was the top of Mt. Etna in Sicily maybe as far as 140 miles away. My reasoning: there are no islands east of Stromboli! Only Stromboli and Etna are cone shaped. That day, my gauges told me the relative humidity had been as low as 8% making for remarkably clear air. When I lined-up a ruler on a map between here and Stromboli, then moved it east – yep, it lined-up with Etna. Amazing. 

28 December update: The photo above was made yesterday evening with similar clear conditions looking at the islands. Di also did a better job of computing distance from a map.  Stromboli is 75 miles/120 km.  Mt Etna (far left) is 145 miles/232 km.  Stromboli was also smoking!

Christmas morning we were happy and relieved that Raggedy the dog appeared at the door hoping for a treat. Her healthy visit was our best gift.


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