The window was open and he went for it. You can’t blame him. Any one of us would have done the same thing, given the circumstances.

This story could be a take-off on the ever popular Beatles song, or, about a devious thief in the night, or . . . just a simple reminder not to leave the windows open—it’s just not prudent! (This is a little joke, since Prudence was the one who supposedly came in through the Beatles’ window.) In this particular case, however, it happens to be a short story about a gray cat named Grigio (Italian for gray), who made a few decisions of his own lately. Let’s take a look at what he’s been up to. (more…)

Well, autumn is just around the corner and it’s mating season here in Italy for the Caprioli, Roe Deer. We hear them in the dusky hours every evening and in the misty dawn, making their unusual call of the wild. What a sound! It’s unbelievable. Seriously, the Roe coughs out a disgusting guttural grunt/scream noise that would put a halt to any possibilities. The first few times we heard it, we thought there must be some monster of the woods—some creature both dreadful and loathsome. We wanted no part of it. The only deer references we had were 1.) the sweet, docile and perpetually hungry ones that live in Indiana and Ohio; and 2.) Bambi. (more…)

A cherry-plum tree is right outside our bedroom window—so close, you can almost reach out and touch it. On Wednesday morning when we looked out, on the delicate branches that are contrasted with beautiful deep purple leaves, we spied a bright green caterpillar. If they came in sizes, this would have been an extra-large. Curious, we looked around the tree and sure enough there was its twin just a little higher up on another branch. Having discovered a matched set, we felt like it was our lucky day. Cheryl named them Catia and Claudio—after all, they are Italian. (more…)

Fear is an ugly emotion!

In fact, you could say that it’s perhaps the most insidious of all human emotions. It would surely win hands down in an old-fashioned repulsive emotions contest, if there ever was such a thing. You may even recall the famous quote from our revered President, FDR who said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He made that comment in his inaugural address some 80 years ago, but we still don’t quite understand. Maybe it’s time to reconsider. (more…)

Simone and Alessia arrived around mezzogiorno, noon the other day for lunch with us in the country. The sun was bright and the air was clear with that unmistakable fall crispness. We hadn’t seen them for over a year, so it was especially fun for us to have that time together to sit and talk awhile. And even though we enjoyed our conversation, there was a bit of a distraction that occupied most of our attention. As you might have guessed from their pictures, they were not alone! (more…)

Wild animals are one of the most interesting aspects of living in the Italian countryside. When we first arrived here 10 years ago, we were mostly alone up on this hill. Surrounded by nature, we saw and heard it all: cinghiali, wild boar; fagiani, pheasant; lupi, wolves; volpi, fox; caprioli, deer; cornigli, rabbits; istrici, porcupines; lucertoli, lizards and many serpenti, snakes. Of course, the ucelli, birds are everywhere—a constant chorus of canzoni del bosco, wood-songs. (more…)