The first

I love lists, and this has been on my to-do list since Easter. I am now a week and a half into my summer break, and working my way through lots of projects and odds and ends that have hanging over my head for awhile, like doctor’s appointments. So I am experimenting, learning my way around this idea of blogging, and challenging myself to turn my journalling into something different.

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This is the view from our kitchen/livingroom. The balcony is long and skinny, stretching the whole length of the apartment, and each of the three rooms opens onto it. The street below is NOISY, except at midday when most folks are eating, and after about 11 pm. The sun beats down all afternoon, and last year the apartment was more like an oven than a place you would want to come home to at the end of the day. With this in mind, we spent a bunch of money installing awnings this Spring, and they have made all the difference:

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Behind my awsome, tall laundry-hanging thing, you can see the fig tree popping up- it made one fig this Spring, and is busy with a dozen more right now. The dark thing in the front is the peach tree, which is stubbornly holding on to several hard, green peaches for more than two months now. More successful have been the blueberries:

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They just keep going and going… I would like to have even more of them next year, as well as strawberries, which I saw growing like crazy in pots at a friend’s house. She gave me one, which has already spread out to create two new ones. Speaking of fruit, my father-in-law brought me tons of sour plums the other day, and unknowingly set off a jam-making frenzy.

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I made two batches of plum, and then went out and bought apricots after despairing of anymore freebies. I got recipes and guidance from <a href=”http://uga.edu/nchfp/index.html”>the National Center for Home Food Preservation</a> and <a href=”http://www.inmamaskitchen.com”>in_mamas_kitchen</a&gt;. I have loved making jams since I started when I was 19, at the farm in Wisconsin. I always think of my paternal grandmother, who made tons every year. This si the first time I have successfully made jam without added pectin- I followed the guidleines I found, talking to my sister on the phone while stirring the endlessly boiling jam, or reading a book, and all four batches came out perfectly! Despite Ilario’s anxiety about our rapidly diminishing storage space and ability to consume all, I have plans already for the ripening blackberries along the dirt road behind our building.

Also in the kitchen, I have been baking a lot: plum tart, blueberry tart, blueberry muffins, and this chocolate zuchini cake:

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Recipe can be found here at <a href=”http://chocolateandzucchini.com”>this website</a>, and I found out about it <a href=”http://chocolateachuva.blogspot.com”>on this blog</a>.

But my biggest project so far is this quilt, here spread out on the bed, waiting to be sewn together yesterday:

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I have NEVER done anything quite like this before, and it is super cool. The pattern is real traditional- in the book I found at the library its called “Ohio Star.” The Italians think patchwork is totally American, and the book was filled with talk about the pioneers and their thrifty spirit and creative spirit… cheesy, but I dig that stuff when I am here and I lapped it up. Of course, there is not much thrifty about my quilt- I bought the fabrics from stores around here. The pickings are slim, slim, slim- barely any cotton and no cool prints at all. I can tell I am in the Italian boondocks when I go to the fabric store, let me tell you.

That’s all for now- I am pooped, with all this new technology and my slow learning curve. I have to go recouperate now…

P.S. I know my links aren’t working and I don’t know why.

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