Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Woke up this morning to a thin overcast and about ten degrees cooler. While I was out staking up the tomatoes the clouds thickened and there was a bit of rumbling and a crack, and a good little shower. Not enough, but better than nowt, and a huge relief.

It's been a really bad heatwave, highest June temps in Italy for 150 years. And no rain at all since early May. Annamaria told me the local farmers are worried. They will either lose crops or lose the value of them paying for irrigation. But the forecast says we've had the worst of it, and it should rain some today and tomorrow.

Here's some pics of my little orto. Annamaria has the key to the irrigation well, so she comes every morning and afternoon to water it all. It's set up with the plants in a long row down a slight incline so all you have to do is turn on the hose at the top and it makes a little river. She's been coaching me in contadini methods. I was out staking up my tomatoes when it started to rain; felt great!

Behind this pepper plant you can see my row of beans. I was out there collecting them this morning, but none of them made it as far as the house. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I would sit on my grandma's veranda with my book, and eat the beans that were trained up the veranda railing. When she was making lunch one time, she said, "Hilary dear, go out and get me some beans for lunch." I had to tell her I couldn't.

These pumpkins are much larger now, and looking much more pumpkiny.




Osusanna said...

Saying a prayer (to St Fiacre too). Put buckets out to catch it!

DAMC said... I especially like the very end of the video.
Hope your garden keeps growing. It looks good.

Lisa said...

Hilary, please stop breaking your back by planting in rows. Stop worrying about rain, or lack of it. In the name of all that's holy, build a hugelkultur.

Anonymous said...

Was in Rome earlier this month. It was unbearable. I'm never going back to Italy in the Summer again!


Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


I've certainly got all the room needed to do all the experiments and try everything I've wanted to try. We'll see what works best.

Mark said...

How did your trip to the monastery go?

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

The only thing wrong with it, apart from teh novus ordo, was that it was a weekend instead of a month.

Michael Demers said...

God bless the rain.
By the way, what happened to your other blog, What's up with Francis- Church? I get a code 404.

Gerard Brady said...

I was just wondering what happened to your blog whats up with the synod as I am getting a code 404 at the minute?

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

It's off for the remainder of the summer

Anonymous said...

Hilary, I miss your writing which tells me how you are doing. Is everything ok?

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Yes, more or less, thanks. I've just been working very hard on a large writing project that has taken nearly all my attention for three months. Finished it last week and am sort of trying to get my head back into the real world. I feel like I've been in an odd fugue state for all this time, during which all I really remember is that the weather has been bloody awful. I can't stand heat.

And I've got a huge crop of tomatoes and have to figure out what to do with them. Peppers too.

Anonymous said...

Really appreciate the update, Hilary. Good luck
with the veggies! And all else.

Anonymous said...

We made huge pots of tomato soup with our large crop of tomatoes. You can throw your peppers into that too. Once the tomatoes were no longer ripening, my husband made chutney out of them. It was delicious.


Laurel said...

I found this post about building an economical home and I thought of you. This sounds interesting and doable.
"The construction of a house has never looked so simple and fun. French startup Catharhome has developed an ecological and economical wooden brick named Brikawood.

Situated in the Pyrenees, Catharhome has specialised in innovative products for wood construction for 30 years. Brikawood are wooden bricks which can be built like a Lego, without glue neither nails nor screws. This is the idea of engineer Alain Romero and it has taken him three years of research to develop it with the help of Patricia Dutreux. They have invested 330 000 Euros in this project."

The contact info is:
Brikawood website:

I hope your garden is growing. I've been harvesting beans, eggplants, peppers and lettuce. The cucumbers are ready for pickling and the tomatoes are almost ready. Alas, I have no luck with zucchini but Yukon Gold potato vegetation as died pack and we'll be making potato pancakes soon.

Good luck, Hilary and God Bless you for your writing.

NIdahoCatholic said...

What happened to your other blog? I get "404 site not found" I miss your insight.

Helena said...

My method for preserving tomatoes when I have a glut of them is to plunge them into boiling water to remove the skins, stuff them into clean, sterilised jars, fill to the brim, and top up with oil, screw the lids down hard, and place in a deep saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, simmer for 20 minutes. Allow them to stand till cold. Remove from the saucepan, wash them down, and store in a cool place.

The peppers I put into the oven or under the grill to sear the skins, remove the blackened skin, discard the stalk and seeds, put them into jars, preserving the pan juices along with the peppers, fill the jars and cover with oil to seal. Screw on the lids and place in deep saucepan and like the tomatoes bring to the boil and simmer 15 minutes.

Hope you are keeping well and the heat is lessening.
God Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Can I write to you by snail mail, Hilary?

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

I dunno. Who are you and whaddya want?

Actually, no. I don't want to give out my address on the innernet to anyone I don't know very, very well.

But you can email me.