Tuscany – Day 18

Morning mist. Photo by Nora.

First, for those of you wondering why we don’t/hoping we will walk down to see what Chain Saw Man is building, an explanation.

We’re on a hilltop here, overlooking the valley with more forested hills to the east and west. CSM is somewhere—best we can tell—on a ridge to the west, within one of the dense forests. We can’t see him, only hear.

No way to walk down anywhere from here as the first step would be a doozy!—which is why we have stone walls to prevent tumbling off the hill. Plus he’s not `down’ there, he’s over on another hill somewhere. I can see a vineyard on the top of the hill to our right—the west—and what looks like a dirt road going down, but even with all the sounds of building, we never see any movement.

Don’t know where he is, and there’s a lot going on over there this pretty Sunday morning. Sawing, hammering, and the first time I hear the sound of a vehicle. A tractor, maybe? A small bulldozer? Not sure, as it’s just not visible. I just heard a tree go down, and I was looking in that general direction, but didn’t see one fall.

Anyway.

Command Center request for an actual photo of the huge rosemary plant mentioned back on the first day at the villa fulfilled! Nora provides scale. Photo by Nora’s iPad.

After work out, I join the family for a pleasant time in what’s sort of our sitting room/Griffin’s play room. The cleaning crew’s doing what must be their Saturday ritual, and that’s thorough, so we’re staying out of their way as much as possible. Kayla appears late morning as she’s spent some Face Time with her guy as he and his family are leaving for a cruise and they won’t be able to talk for about a week.

Busy boy. Photo by Kat.

We think to visit the shop in the village, then make a quick hit on the market for fresh strawberries and what Kat needs to make cookies.

Daddy stays back with Griffin, and off we go.

Sadly the shops are closed. I guess Saturday isn’t a big hunt through shops day in Barbarino. So with Kat as our driver and tour guide we head to the big COOP—like chicken coop. There are two—one big, one small—we want the big one as there’s a better chance they’ll have Kayla’s oat milk.

We also score, to our satisfaction, chocolate chips, and to my pleasure, two bottles of Veuve.

Unlike the shops in Barbarino, the COOP is a madhouse. It’s interesting looking for specifics, identifying flour, brown sugar and so on when it’s not in the packaging you’re used to and in another language. Like a hunt, and we become skilled hunters.

Home we go, me to make frozen margaritas, Kat to make cookies.

The reason for margaritas needs no explanation, but the cookies?

Griffin is fond of Chips Ahoy—only the chewy ones, red package. He’s used to being offered a cookie or two daily, so his parents brought along what they thought would last through our Italian adventures. However, there are more of us offering those cookies (often as bribes, of which I am a firm proponent).

He’s running out. We have substituted what he calls cookie cake—some sort of Twinkie looking thing without the filling but with tiny chocolate chips. This was Kayla score, but she shares. Kat’s decided to try to reproduce cookies that meet Griffin’s Chewy Chips Ahoy taste bar.

I’m going to make strawberry margaritas for Kayla and Jason, and for me, a purist, regular. BW can have either. I need cookie-baking Kat’s guidance on the machine to start. But soon I’m juicing and measuring (mostly eyeballing as measuring tools are scarce) slicing and blending. And produce pretty strawberry margs while Kat makes the world’s smallest batch of cookies (it’s a test batch, after all).

Then what I consider a real frozen marg. And I fear I’ll never use margarita mix for anything but marinating chicken and fish again. Fresh is so much better.

Hummus plate for Kayla courtesy of Kat. Photo by BW.

In her cook’s mode, Kat makes hummus for Kayla and presents a lovely tray. BW, Kayla and I sit out, BW and I with our second margaritas and some cheese and crackers, Kayla with her hummus tray, and enjoy the view and the sunshine.

Inside, the kitchen smells like fresh cookies, and a few sit out cooling—bigger than the standard Chips Ahoy. Back in the sitting room we learn Griffin took one from Daddy, had a bite, made a disillusioned face and handed it to his mom.

But then went back, took Daddy’s cookie, had some more. I’m too full of margaritas and cheese for cookies, but BW had one. Kat has another culinary success.

Lovely day. Photo by j a-b.

It’s game time. Kat v Kayla on the ever-popular Mario Cart. Danger Guy is dangering on the sofa below the screen. I take the other sofa and a bat nap.

We plan to try the other restaurant in the village—recommended for its pizza. It doesn’t open until 7:30, so we head out about 7:15. Griffin plays a game with me and Kayla, closes the gate behind us, guards it. We pretend to beg to come in. He opens it a crack, peeks out. This keeps us entertained.

Peeking through. Photo by Kayla.

We also discover the old door across the road sort of built into the wall of the hill isn’t locked. Inside a kind of small cave are big old wine jugs and baskets. I don’t know why.

Door. Photo by Kayla.
Old bottle recepticle. Photo by Kayla.

Shops still closed in the village, and we learn our intended destination is fully booked for Saturday night. We go next door where we had dinner Friday, elect the street patio area.

Kayla and I are going to split a salad to start—what I thought would be a smallish Isalada Mista, that turns out to be huge with tons of roasted veggies. We make a spare plate of tons of roasted veggies to take home for tomorrow’s Sunday morning omelettes (by Kat).

Then there’s pizza, pasta, wine. We don’t lack for conversation. Kayla remembers I can find a song containing almost any word you can throw out. My father could do it. So words are tossed, and Kat says I’m faster than Google. But, I admit, chocolate stumped me. Jason Googles and finds many. None of which I recognized.

Cappuccino, lemoncello—and then they bring us a complimentary dolci, a pretty crepe with many forks.

Dessert with forks. Photo by Kayla.

On the waddle back, we make a reservation at the other place for Tuesday night, so we’ll now compare food and service.

The view of the sky, that thumbnail moon, the red glow at the horizon, from the parking lot is just awesome. Which may be why they have a platform you can go up to to enhance that view.

Home for a last sit out and bask for me, then bed.

Rosy horizon. Photo by BW.
Evening family shot. Photo by BW.
Day is done. Photo by j a-b.
Kayla-approved shot by her Nana.

We plan a Sunday dinner at home tonight. I’m going to make roasted, herbed-up potatoes—a crowd fave. We have salad makings, broccoli, cheese, bread, left-overs.

I may write awhile after my work out, or sit and read—or watch what I assume will be more Mario Cart competition.

What I think was a big gray cat just dashed up and away. At least I hope it was a cat as I only got a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. We’ve seen a little black and white one in the bushes outside the gate, so I’m going with another cat.

Chain Saw Man continues his work, and I think everyone else is still sleeping.

I predict another fine day in Tuscany.

Nora


And in today’s #randomkatness (cooking division):

A boy with his fishing pole in front of the moon. Food art by Kat, photo by j a-b.

5 thoughts on “Tuscany – Day 18”

  1. Thank you for the update on CSM….I’m going on the premise that he’s clearing land to build a house?!?! it could make for a good storyline….

    I wish there was a way to love each picture individually especially the ones of Griffin….he’s such an awesome photo subject with his quirkiness and expressions…you just want to hug him….

    Can’t wait to hear your take on the food in your new restaurant on Tuesday! Ciao

  2. Your pics are always amazing, but for me the Morning Mist photo by Nora is spectacular. It’s beautiful!

    And I love the food art by Kat, she’s an amazing woman in so many ways.

    Wishing you lots of enjoyment on this fine day in Tuscany.

  3. The food is always impressive. I’m also impressed with the inventiveness of the use of leftovers to create a meal. It always sounds delicious. 🙂

  4. Great photos all around! The scenery shots are gorgeous and Kat’s food art is beautifully done. Perhaps CSM is on his summer holiday and is building an addition to his house? I had a couple of male relatives who’s idea of a ‘relaxing’ vacation was building additions to their homes. On one of your previous visits to Italy there was a huge rosemary bush and just as amazing as this one. I’m lucky if our temps allow mine to grow even a little. Thank you for the fun day!

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