It’s not all sun, sand and spaghetti here in Tuscany you know, especially here in the mountains.
This weekend is set to be FREEZING and anyone who know me, knows that I like the sun and warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like lying all day in the sun but I like the warmth, the blue sky and the feeling of energy that it gives me.
Today we have high winds and snow blowing in from higher ground. Over the next few days we have possible temperatures of up to -12 degrees centigrade, yes that’s minus 12. Brrrrr.
By the way, have I ever mentioned that living up in the mountains of northern Tuscany creates difficulties with services? For example, here in our village, there are no gas pipes. Any gas is delivered to us in canister or “bombola”.
I have one for the cooker which lasts typically 6 weeks and smaller ones for any portable calor gas heaters which we certainly need over the winter months.
These “bombolas” are delivered on the back of a narrow truck which can get near to the houses in medieval villages such as ours and are brought to the door by a delivery man. It’s payment on delivery (cash only!) or you can accept the delivery and pass by the office in the next town but only if your’re a regular and trusted customer.
I’m staying firmly by our log fire this evening even though I’ve been invited out to dinner. I have a 2.7 km drive down the mountain into town but, and as I’ve experienced in the past, the snow can sometimes come down very heavily and stick within minutes making my way home seem like a battle in the arctic. Thank goodness for snow tyres. Here in my zone, you have to have either snow tyres or carry snow chains on board from 15 November to 15 April by law.
Most people here burn wood on log fires or wood burning stoves. I have one of these in my art and craft studio and it makes a lovely atmosphere on Christmas day when we eat our lunch there.
Wood is delivered on request usually from September on wards when people get round to thinking about winter and I typically use 5 tons of it over the cold months. I did research the ecological friendliness of this and as woodland is managed, it turned out to be the best for the environment.
The wood comes in faggio (beech) and forte (harder woods such as oak and chestnut). The faggio burns easily and is great for getting a fire started and the forte burns for a longer time but is more difficult to get started.
They say here that the wood warms you twice. The first time when you are putting it into your cellar. A job which needs to be done quickly, usually the delivery day since if your wood gets wet it isn’t any good. The second warming from the wood comes when you burn it.
There’s no better sight in November than a cellar full to the ceiling of firewood. It looks as though it would go on for ever. If this weekend’s forecast is anything to go by however, my wood pile will be much smaller than before.!