Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Natural Enclave

Tonight I heard the owl. He was back in the neighborhood for a visit? His home has been long taken over by the Italians, the sweet and gentle bees that have outgrown the owl house my son put up in the tree in our front yard. But the bees do so much good for this little island of nature, my yard, or rather, the yard that I have been entrusted with to care take it and offer nature a respite from the willy-nillyness of a world that is barreling down the crazy highway at the speed of sound.

All weekend it has rained welcome rain. The summer harvests of eggplant and cucuzza squash piled up on the kitchen counters, along with tomatoes and farm eggs and chickens that lived their life on the ground in the open air. This weekend we would feast from the harvest.

My little island, l'isola da Cevola, is my retreat back to a piece of nature where there is no poison. The local government, spraying this week for West Nile virus, worried me. My Hoja Santa crop is ready to harvest a load this week. But the trucks spraying God knows what concerned me. Three days of rain have lessened my apprehension.

This has been a fine summer for my little enclave of nature, this isola with a little lago and all the bees and frogs and owls and sparrow hawks convene over and in this welcome spot of peace and simplicity. Even the lost parrots, who go quite insane in the winter when the climate dips below their threshold of acceptability, right now are flying overhead with none of the worries of the below zero weather some day to come.

The rosemary, when it was planted in the ground, did nothing. Too wet. So I put it in a planter and it turned into a tree. It has branched out into the swan planter, someday to be moved and improved to the other side of the garden.

The figs, long gone, as are the mockingbirds that feasted for weeks, will soon lose its leaves. My Sardinian fig tree.

This has not been a great year for jalapeno peppers in the garden. A small handful of them came this year. Maybe they missed not having the pequins as next door neighbors.

As usual, the basilico thrived, and often we took tender leaves for the dinner table.

Last night we had the cucuzza with the chicken and some tomatoes, pasta and basilico in a dish that was unbelievably delicious.

The winter garden is transitioning from fennel and the bitter lettuce to arugula. In October, I will add more winter lettuce and radicchio to the plot.

The garlic this year was tiny but potent. It had a flavor that I have never had from any garlic. The terroir of l’isola da Cevola. Who knows? Maybe it was the full moon at midnight harvesting.

The compost bin is full, and after the last of the Hoja Santa is harvested for Paula and Mitchell at the Mozzarella Company, we will start preparing that part of the garden with more organic compost.

Two days of living in my little world of nature does wonders for me. With the world raging toward incivility outside of this little enclave, it is a spot of heaven that renews my will to go out into the world and wage my daily battles.

And how about you, dear reader? How do you connect to the natural world all around you? Are you in the country? A big city? On an island? In Italy? Or India? What in your world is going on right now?







6 comments:

Alfonso Cevola said...

here are a couple of links that will lead you to an outline of the Cucuzza recipe

http://eatsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2007/06/dallas-farmers-market-saturday.html

http://eatsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/09/john-lucido-is-back-with-cucuz.html

hankster said...

Hi ACE,
We're finally back from Asia. I met more Italian Travelers this trip than ever before. Including a City Councilman from bologna. Three month without a glass of wine is too long. I hope to make up for lost time.

Alfonso Cevola said...

good to see you back, Hank. what time is it in your head/body right now, seeing as you just got back from India

[BTW- this is where Hank has been these last three months
http://bit.ly/12OznF ]

Marco Sapienza said...

AC, we are lucky to live next to a deeply wooded area, one of the last undeveloped large tracts in town. I take walks through the giant oaks and maples. You can see what I'm talking about on Google earth. But it's within my 10'x20' garden that I feel most connected with nature. There I dirty my hands and muddy my boots.

Do Bianchi said...

now, come on, Alfonso, show me the weeds that you REALLY got growing back there... ;-)

Peter @ italyMONDO! said...

Wow.... what type of Spider is that? I'm not sure if I could have continued working in the garden after seeing that!

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