Ola walked, took seven steps this morning! She did this several times. William took a break from stacking wooden blocks on a play wood trailer hitched to a play wood truck and watched. Sophie stopped doing her math. Kirsten paused from tending the pigeon stock, and Thorpe who was working up firewood with Valerio ran out of gas in the chainsaw at just the right time. There was wood in the woodstove, lentil soup on the oven. Our clean laundry hung on the line in the rain. Later, in the early afternoon, we drove to Sansepolcro, about fifteen minutes from the farm, and visited the Aboca Museum, a place devoted to “Herbs and Health Throughout the Ages” and housed in a humbly elegant palace. There were ancient herbals and collections of mortars, utensils, ceramics, glassware, and many other items of use in old medicine from all over the world. The place made tangible the care and craft of all stages of ancient healing practices, from gathering and preserving, to preparations, apothecary, and the phytochemistry of early pharmacies – distilleries and maze-like beakers. From glass breast pumps to graters the size of a coffee table. There was even a poison cell(for viewing only-no entry)! We had the museum to ourselves. The babies napped in their carriers as we took our time in there and then emerged outside to find the rain finished, the sun firing what clouds lingered over the hills, everything fresh with leaves wet on the stone streets and rich fall smells. We walked the old alleys and streets of the city center windowshopping and peoplewatching and buildingogling and stopping for gelato and expressos and meats and fruits and veggies and cheeses. In Anghiari at dinner later we had a simple meal in a crowded little bar and fun conversations with locals as well as with a man from Belgium named Pascal. He’s refurbishing an old tower dwelling here for a couple of months before returning to his sailboat in Kodiak, Alaska. We might have lunch with him this weekend, but our time is short here and there’s work to finish on the farm and a few sights we still want to see and yet another festival. We are leaving for a three night stay in Venice on Tuesday of next week. No plans nailed down after that. Likely we will head to Florence for a few nights and then Siena for the same. Maybe we’ll stay in Venice for another little while. It’s supposed to be mild next week. Anyhow, it will be very different not having a base, though we’re looking into our next base – for December — and will keep you posted about that. Maybe we’ll come back here and see what these hills look like with snow. There might be an opportunity either here or villa-sitting at Brent’s first farm called Priello, which he now rents weekly in warm months. Last winter, as some of you know, when the Moeckels got lucky with the NEA and sabbatical and started thinking about traveling, knowing they better do a big trip before the twins require their own seats on the plane, we met Brent through a work-exchange website www.helpx.net. Brent, who is probably a saint in disguise, has let us use a very nice two bedroom-two bath house a few feet from his for six weeks now in exchange for helping out around his farm a few miles from Anghiari, which is an hour from Siena and an hour and couple from Florence. It seems we could spend many years here and not exhaust all the little treasures – places and people, plants and animals and foods – that are revealed with the delicious slowness that characterizes so much in these parts. We’ll see…and so can you: here’s an assortment of pictures from various days and adventures in the last couple of weeks, taken by Sophie – not Sophie the frog but Sophie the wonderful — with her camera.
Thorpe shared 23 online files with you and they’re saved on SkyDrive. These files will be available until 01/27/2012. To view these files, just click the links above.
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