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…)

There’s nothing quite like a smarty-pants e-mail.

What I mean by that is: when somebody sends you a message that seems innocent enough at a glance, but beyond the surface niceties, there’s an underlying smarty-pants attitude that can’t be denied. The reason I even bring this topic up is because I got one of those SP messages the other day. It was from our dear friend Scott who happens to be one of the best cooks I know. Yet, that doesn’t give him the right to parade his gifts in front of those of us less fortunate! (more…)

It was some sort of modern day eco party that was pretty spectacular. Evidently thousands were invited unbeknownst to us. There was more than enough room for everyone to either sit down or flit around—their choice. Drinks were plentiful and unlimited while there also seemed to be an endless supply of goodies to eat. No fights broke out as the day of drinking wore on. (more…)

We had a plan. But things in Italy often times don’t go according to plan.

The idea was fairly straightforward: Grab a panino, sandwich then catch the 5:30 movie. Then after the movie, we planned to get a primo, first course dish, such as pasta just before making the rounds to all of Florence’s great museums since it was “Art Tuesday,” from 7-11 pm. The three of us were excited and couldn’t wait to see how the evening would unfold! (more…)

My Italian lawnmower and I have a long and rich history together. But, I have to admit that I was ready to part ways when it’s tattered grass-catcher-bag snagged the top of the sprinkler head, shearing it off and subsequently chopping it into hundreds of tiny unrecognizable pieces scattered across the lawn. I was really angry with my favorite little IBEA push-mower and was forced to take a “time-out” to cool down a little. (more…)

We’ve taken up “stamp collecting” in Italy.

No, I’m not talking about keeping a dusty book full of various century-old Italian stamps. Instead, it’s about the very contemporary art of “stamping” in Italy. Now that’s worthwhile and is of utmost concern . . . and it’s a lot more fun! This is an interactive blog entry. Help us decide what could possibly be behind the thunderously noisy and exacting art of stamping. Who are these maniacal officials and can we find a way to stamp out stampers? (more…)

As you know from an earlier post, I’ve had my share of problems with Italian flyswatters. If you didn’t already read it, you might want to check out the April story called “Fly Me to the Moon—Please,” as a suggested prerequisite to this follow-up story. Since many of you felt my pain in trying to use the wimpy traditional Italian swatters, I thought it was only fair to share some good news as well. Our luck in the domain of flies took a turn for the better on Tuesday morning when we went to Molin del Piano. Let me explain. (more…)