Wednesday, December 7, 2016

There is a nip in the air, but not really like New England.  The harvest is in full swing in the mountains.
The apples have been picked and stored.  The vegetables likewize, except for things that hold well in the ground till wintertime. Kale, Jerusalem Artichokes(a rarity), root vegetables etc, will be harvested over the next few weeks, though they have been available for a long time.  Mushrooms and truffles are in great supply now.  The nip in the air is just that, still, but the frosts will follow I expect.  The highlands are susceptibe to cold, snow and freezing weather just as in New England though only in the highlands does it get as cold as there.  People get together for large family meals with friends and distant cousins from the cities.  The pigs will soon be butchered.and it will be time to make sausage and cured meats to hang to dry and cure in salt.  Olives will come starting now.  Some altitudes have already harvested, and they will continue for a few more weeks, though much of the pressing is already finished there.
The colors are not as they are in Maine and New Hampshire, but the leaves will eventually fall.  The oaks hang on for so long, and there is much pine. It seems more like September than November. Mountain tops are white and not with powdered sugar.  The season's activities seem to progress, not from real necessity, but more just because it is time. The ancient schedule must be maintained.
 Italy seems blessed with it's mild climate, but there is a great deal of variety.  The coast of the northeast will be very mild most of the time...Flowers will be out there all winter in many areas.  It seems odd that the north stays so warm, while parts of Sicily, facing north can get very cold and windy.  People are already graduating to puffy winter coats, while I still want to wear t shirts most of the time, especially in the sunny spots.
Gunshots can be heard in the forest.  Pigs run for cover! Venison appears at the table. I have never loved venison, and it would be a waste in heavy sauces, though if you shoot a deer, I suppose it has to be eaten in whatever you are cooking.  Sausage is done with both wild boar and with venison, and people do not have freezers or refrigeration as in the US.
I am pretty warm in my little house.  The gas heater does a pretty good job, but since it is a space heater, it requires constant attendance when it is on.  There is no problem with fresh air in this drafty building, but leaving the heat on can result in a sauna like atmosphere in the house.  It seems that the floors never warm up, but in time they will heat up and be easier to maintain a comfortable temperature.
I am spending more time clearing my plot of land than working on the house.  Projects need money, and that is hard to come by.  I have broken my camera, or lets just say that it has given up the ghost after years of service...another money issue. I can squeeze a picture out of it if I am takes a lot of tinkering to get a picture...not usually worth it.
 I want to learn all the food secrets.  This area's food is not the American idea of typical Italian.  It verges on all the Northern practices with hints of the south thrown in.  Some basics, tomato sauce etc. are always around but very different in character. and truffles are everywhere if one has the money for them.  Unfortunately I do not have oaks on my land, or I might have some truffles too.  I would probably sell them if I did, as to me, they are more like dirty old athletic socks in scent than a culinary delight.  Harry may not be ready to search for the search for them.  Also,If you are not into scrambled eggs or cream sauces, they do not have many uses. They would be a terrible waste in sauce. I have, in fact, paid for pasta with truffles before.  What a waste of money!
It is the preserving and curing I hunger to understand.  How many sausages will I make before I make a batch that is safe to keep for a while!?  The problem is that I do not have surfaces yet that can be made really sterile.  But, give me time!  Stainless steel counters with steel legs and shelves my be just the thing for the budget, though wooden cabinets would suit me more...maybe marble counters.
As far as posting is concerned, I will probably do one post a month or so.  I have to put away every penny for projects, fuel, little trips, etc. so spending money on internet is a luxury that is not justifiable.  This post is nearly a month old,(it is now December) typed up at home then added to, over time, and uploaded to the blog when I go into town, which is not often.  I am still working on posts for my old blogs, using pictures I took a year ago.  I feel I have to keep them all going as they lose readership  and there is a chance they may be deleted if I do not.

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