Category Archives: Covid

Covid 19 Phase 2 Day 7️⃣

218,268 positives in Italy. Up 0.5% – 30,395 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,407 positive cases in Umbria. 71 total deaths.

1,300,079 cases in the US – 78,320 deaths.

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Hi everyone! Sorry if you received two post emails yesterday. Operator error!

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One of our favorite activities during this enforced inside time is….

As you know I bought artichokes. I cleaned them for a salad I was going to make. These are local. I’ve never had artichokes like these before. They are MEAN. Look at these stickers! The second pic is after I “processed” them.

Tonight we had a salad made from raw artichokes sliced very thinly, with fava beans, fresh spinach, toasted almonds and soft cooked eggs. It was inspired by the book “Six Seasons”, which I mentioned before, although I made a lot of changes. I served the salad with salmon. It was tasty. I took a picture but, sadly, it was blurry. 😔

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Sunday morning. Beautiful day. The bells are ringing. One day they will, again, call people to Mass. Today I have to pick up our weekly meals on wheels! 🤣 Just kidding. The meals are from Calagrana. This time I won’t get caught by the cops as it is now legal to go over and pick them up. Whew.

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Buona domenica to all! And happy Mother’s Day! Take care of yourselves…and stay safe!
🌈 Andrà tutto bene!

Covid 19 Phase 2 Day 6️⃣

217,185 positives in Italy. Up 0.6% – 30,201 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,406 positive cases in Umbria. 71 total deaths.

1,273,887 cases in the US – 76,475 deaths.
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Hi everyone! Today, I am on my blog pulpit a bit.  If you don’t want to read it scroll to the bottom of this post to read my bellissimo news about our Kilometer Zero Market.

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US News. I can’t resist reprinting this little tidbit.

With polls showing most consumers still afraid to venture out of their homes, the Trump administration has intensified its efforts to soothe some of those fears through a messaging campaign that relies on tightly controlling information about a virus that has proven stubbornly difficult to contain.

So…they are controlling information (i.e., deep sixing the CDC report because it recommends waiting)…this is the information that people NEED to be able to make an informed decision on their OWN health and safety. When they intentionally delude the populace into believing it is OK to resume life, knowing full well that it is NOT safe yet, they are WILLFULLY putting (intentionally misled) people in danger of catching this virus. I am astounded at the very audacity of this! And the cold calculation by trump to allow people to get sick and perhaps die, all because he wants to get re-elected. Words don’t convey…

NY Times….A useful — if chilling — way of thinking about the new phase: It’s the “trial-and-error” phase, in which different countries take different approaches and the world witnesses the results.

Human guinea pigs. Sorry for all those who will suffer and die.

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European News. I just read an interesting article in the Daily KOS about Sweden. I had been wondering how they were doing since they had taken an opposite approach to most everyone else. Herd immunity. No shutdown. It has not worked out well. We must also take into account more than half of Swedes live alone. And they have top-notch universal health care…unlike in the US. Nonetheless…

If nothing else, Sweden’s alternative response to the virus was … a good control group. And what we’re learning now is that failing to shut down hasn’t just led to more deaths, but—surprise surprise!—it also didn’t prevent its economy from tanking. In fact, Sweden is poised for more economic pain than its neighbors. 

Some pretty big differences between stay-at-home strategy and let ‘er rip. And remember…the economy is no better for this choice.

It is good to have a “control group”. Maybe the Swedes would not be happy being classified as such. But there you have it.

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Saturday! Bright and sunny! Exciting day as the Kilometer Zero market is here today. Yesterday I observed they had painted more marks in the piazza. It was confusing to me but I see the vendors figured it out. There are 13 tents. No crafts allowed. Only food. I am so so glad to see most of the farmers have survived. It must have been hard for them. And I note many are a bit sparse in what’s on offer. That is to be expected I suppose, since you can’t hurry the plants. Here is the view from my window. Next are the Polizia Municipale watching. Finally, the posted rules for entry.

The beautiful vegetables of early spring. I’m pleased I did not miss the peas. They will be in soon a woman told me.

Then the cheese stand with the Pecorino Staggione pictures.  This is aged pecorino. Excellent and sharp flavored. They also had fresher pecorinos of course.

Here is the stand for Blassi, our closest winery. They sell their wines but they are also famed for their porchetta. Here It is!

The people. Everyone is excited. The farmers and the customers. The stated rule is one meter distant from each other. Most were doing that. There were some couples shopping together. Of course we all wore masks. 

I came home with carciofi – artichokes, spinace – spinach, 4 fresh uova – eggs, fava beans, and some of Luthers favorite crackers. I’ve surely missed this market more than anything except maybe freedom to walk. Happy days.

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Signing off for now. Have a great weekend but keep yourselves safe. 🌈 We are the keepers of ourselves. No one else.

Covid 19 Phase 2 Day 5️⃣

215,858 positives in Italy. Up 0.7% – 29,958 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,405 positive cases in Umbria. 70 total deaths.

1,250,805 cases in the US – 75,423 deaths.
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It is Friday. Another beautiful spring day but a little chilly. Luther got out for a jog yesterday. Not much happening around town. Last night we had a nice tagliatelle with norcina sauce. Courtesy of Calagrana. Very good.

I did my homework for my lesson coming up shortly. My teacher assigns a different famous Italian for me to read about and then retell their story in my own words. This week it is Alberto Sordi. A famous actor and director. I have to admit I do not know many of these famous Italians. It is a little embarrassing. Italians know all the American actors and directors.

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So pretty on the terrazza. It has been dry so I must water the plants everyday. They are growing well. Here are a few pictures. We don’t get sun in the morning until high summer. The flowers are in shade. In the afternoon we get nice sun at this time of year.

These are my sage, mint and the grass our cats enjoy.

In our building there are three apartments, each on their own floor. The first floor (2nd in the US) has a man (Pietro) who lives mostly alone. Sometimes a sister stays there. His mother passed away in the apartment just before we moved in. He is said to be mentally slow, which I believe. His apartment owns that floor and also it owns the old arched cantina beneath the building, and a big garden. Normally Pietro works in the garden. He is very good at gardening. All vegetables. But, sadly, not this year. It lays dormant. I do covet the garden.

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Be careful everyone! Stay safe, wear the dreaded mask…🌈

Covid-19 Phase 2, Day 2️⃣

211,938 positives in Italy. Up 0.6% – 29,079 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,394 positive cases in Umbria. 70 total deaths. No new cases!

1,172,670 cases in the US – 68,326 deaths.
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Tonight’s dinner was also courtesy of Calagrana. Wonderful farro salad with seafood and a balsamic drizzle. Oh my god. It was sooooo good. There were tons of shrimps, octopus, mussels, squid. We really enjoyed it! Thanks Calagrana!

LOOK at this! Mmmmm.

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New day! I went for a walk with my friend, Susan. Because I CAN! What freedom. How sweet it is! She met me outside and we walked upriver since she hadn’t been on my side of the river in months. I say my side because both she and I live along the river. The town walls go along the river and houses are built into the walls. We live at kind of the ends of the walls at opposite sides of town.  

So we walked along turning down the path which runs behind my house to the river. There is an apartment with two big sliding glass doors right next to Bar Mary. I had wondered if it was the apartment of the artist who had passed away a couple of years ago. So I asked Susan. It is a lovely looking space. It has  pretty white modern furniture inside, not typical. It is also where the little Jack Russel terrier lives that I see out with a nice looking gray haired man. I know this because I’ve seen him sitting in the windows. The dog is never on leash when outside so he’s noticeable.  And if you see the man, the dog can’t be far away.

Anyway, the window on the left was open to the outside air. The other window was curtained. As we stood there discussing this stuff suddenly the curtains were pushed back and there stood the man in is black bikini underwear!! Oh my! Susan and I quick started walking behind the hedge. I’m sure he was as surprised as we were! Hah!

We headed up the river and before long came to a long row of fishermen. I’m sure they were happy to be out fishing for the first time, and I’m sure their wives were equally as happy to have them finally out of the house! We turned into the fields away from the long poles blocking our way — away from the river.

This took us out among the farms. I snapped a couple of pictures of the typical farms.  These farms are comprised of big fields, newly planted in corn, wheat, sunflowers or tobacco. The farmhouses sit among the fields and are surrounded by fenced in growing areas with a few grapevines, usually enough to make wine to get the family through the seasons until the new harvest. Also small orchards of fruit trees, large gardens of vegetables for eating and canning for the winter,  chicken coops with lots of types of poultry. Of course pens of sad hunting dogs living their lives in, what I consider, horrible conditions. A friend says it is all they’ve ever known so they live and die in the pens. In the fall they are let out to hunt. Until they are too old or don’t do their job well and are disposed of. It is a sad fact of life here — the old ways don’t change. Of course there are also the pet dogs, and many, many cats and kittens in the yards. These yards are immaculately groomed with ornamental bushes, trees, paths, eating pavilions, etc. Anyway, these two pictures are of the typical farms outside of Umbertide. We can see them from our apartment in the distance.

This house was really enormous.
Vegetable garden in the foreground. Vineyard behind.

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Tomorrow is our newly revived, if abbreviated, mercato.  It will be a bit of new excitement for Umbertidese. I will be reporting on it tomorrow…

Stay safe everyone…🌈

Covid-19 Phase 2, Day 1️⃣

210,717 positives in Italy. Up 0.7%- 28,884 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,394 positive cases in Umbria. 68 total deaths.

1,154,621  cases in the US – 67,451 deaths.
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You may have noticed I’ve changed the title of my post this time to a new marker point. The first day of Phase 2 of the lockdown. We will have a good number of new freedoms. One is we can leave our Comune (Umbertide)… But we must stay in our region (Umbria). It feels like the whole world to me! Wow.

We got our weekly delivery from Calagrana. Ely added a couple of cute little loaf cakes. I tasted in and it tasted JUST like a Fig Newton cookie! I shared the other one with Joseph and Paul, dropping it on their steps. Also got a whole bunch of veggies, the sweetest strawberries, oranges, I see a fruit salad in my future! While delivering the cake, I stopped to take a few pictures around town. Beautiful day!

I’ve always wondered. This church steeple houses the four bells that ring our time out all day, and for our masses. It seems to not be a part of a church. It is above some stores. I don’t know the story.
Our 15th century Colligiata. Our main church, largely unused during the crisis. But I note the door is open…
I just happened to notice this cool little window down near where we park…
I guess I missed the black laundry day memo.

I thought this evening of having a spritz on the Piazza with Luther. A springtime ritual…and tears came to my eyes at how much we have lost 🥺 I guess in time, we will be able to do this again. Spero di si.
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Dinner last night. It was a new Calagrana plan. Pre-packaged ingredients to cook your own dinner. Instructions provided. We had tagliata with arugula, tomatoes with cheese shavings along with roasted potatoes. Very yum. The quality of the ingredients is key! These were excellent.

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You’ve probably notice I write my blogs on two days. I start right after I publish one post, and then continue with my thoughts during that day, and the next day I add anything new thoughts about the new day.

So now I am in a new day. The first day of actual Phase 2. Monday, May 4. This morning I woke to the noise of the construction equipment building some building behind us along the river. It has been silenced for these 2 months. I must say, they certainly wasted no time starting again! During the night I could hear the increased traffic on the nearby super strata. This morning, I stood on the terrace and realized how much I would miss the complete silence and the birdsong. 

There are many people out in the Piazza. We spotted joggers by the river. And walkers. The two bars in the piazza have reopened I’m told. I haven’t been down yet. Luther said it’s not allowed but I’m told it is up to the Comune to decide. So I guess ours said it’s Ok. There is a limit of number of people coming in. 

I admit it makes me nervous. Very nervous. Is it a new day dawning? Or can we just look forward to new lockdowns with a new wave? Only time will tell.
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Stay safe my friends! 🌈

Day 60 – Covid-19

205,463 positives in Italy. Up 0.9%- 27,967 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,392 positive cases in Umbria. 67 total deaths. Better today. Only up one case and one death.

1,094,640 cases in the US – 64,324 deaths.
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So, is this a milestone? I mean 60 days since I started writing these daily journals! Wow. Who would have thought.

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Yesterday morning I dumped the trash and did a few errands. Last stop was Angelo’s alementari. He’s a nice man. I was greeted with “Buongiorno Bella Donna!” Now how could any woman not love to be greeted that way? And I love how the Italians say it. It’s not bella donna all mooshed together. No. It is a pretty sing-song BEL-la DON-na! Italians pronounce all their letters so the two Ls and the two Ns are precisely said. Anyway. Sweet Angelo.💕
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I’ve been reading about the growing protests in the US about government interference. It seems people think the government is infringing on their rights but in reality the government is trying to save lives in the only way they know at this time. And that is to keep people home. It’s not about “rights” it’s about your health, and your friends and families health which, in the end is more important than your job. Or your “right” to congregate. And have fun. If you persist in this inane activity you may well see a sign at the hospital when you or your family member needs care for the virus like this…

Oh, I am so sorry! The hospital is full.
There is no room for you.
Maybe you should have stayed home?

Trump tweeted Friday that “these are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely!” 😳 I’m sure they want their lives back. I do too. But if they do it this way they may not live long to enjoy their lives.

I guess we just wait and see if the states persist.
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This made me sad…

In the early weeks of Italy’s outbreak there was a sense of hope and optimism.

Italians gathered in their windows and balconies to sing together and say “Andrà tutto bene” – everything will be alright.

But as the number of dying continued to escalate, hope faded.

The singing stopped, shutters stayed closed.

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Our Sunday is beautiful if a bit windy. Luther did the Calagrana pickup duty. What a haul! I also used up the rest of last weeks veggies to make a nice vegetable curry. I’d never made one before. Makes a good lunch. I just wished I’d had some yogurt.
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This is the prettiest Iris I’ve ever seen. Such a deep purple. Thanks Jill.
More Lilacs from Tom!

So this is day 1️⃣. Last day of phase one. Wow. There is much activity all around. All the bars and restaurants are gearing up for some kind of opening. It must be take-out. Not sure how that will work for a bar. FOXX is going to start doing take-out. And Nonna Gelsa, a nearby restaurant will do both take out and delivery. Bar Centrale is getting ready and so is Bar Mary! I just love the commotion. Tomorrow we will see what has happened! Exciting!

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No matter what happens in your state, neighborhood, town or country. Use your head and be careful! 🌈

Day 59 – Covid-19

205,463 positives in Italy. Up 0.9%- 27,967 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,392 positive cases in Umbria. 67 total deaths. Better today. Only up one case and one death.

1,094,640 cases in the US – 64,324 deaths.
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Here is some news that makes me very sad. People can’t decide, to stay home, for their own safety without risking losing their jobs, insurance and LIVES. It is so wrong. The message to workers is ‘endanger your life or starve.’
For example…Headline —
Republican-led states signal they could strip workers’ unemployment benefits if they don’t return to work, sparking fresh safety fears.

I read an article about Louisiana and how people didn’t understand the seriousness. And I say… NO. You cannot have backyard cookouts with your friends! How do you think this thing spreads!?😳

Sorry to get on my soapbox again. I can’t help it.

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Suddenly, I have an overwhelming desire to go out to lunch at a favorite restaurant. 😢 Sometimes, it just overwhelms me. I cry for our losses of freedom. And our people. Will I ever be able to dine casually among friends again in my lifetime? I don’t want to face the possibility that I won’t. It is/was one of life’s pleasures.
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I got an email promotion from United Airlines. We have been frequent fliers with them for years because their hub is Dulles Airport in DC from which we normally flew. It also has the only direct non-stop flight from Dulles to Rome. Just in the summer months. Anyway, the promotion offers flights that can be changed or canceled without a fee. And you can reschedule for anytime in the next 12 months. I would have to check the fine print on what that last bit means. So, the question is, am I an optimist or a pessimist? 😏 I thought of booking a flight to the US next spring. Which, I hope, could be extended up to a year. I could also move it forward if things were better for travel. I’ve got until May 31 to decide. Tough one!

I really, in my heart of hearts, don’t think travel will be better in 2021.  People on the Facebook groups I follow (Living in Italy and Americans Living in Italy) are always asking for other people’s opinions on when they can come to Italy. These groups, contrary to their names, have many members who DON’T live here. But are wannabes and dreamers. Or part-time residents with second homes. I want travel to open soon too. 25% of Italy’s economy is tourism. So the sooner the better. But they/we must be very cautious.
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Its a gray Saturday. But it is supposed to get sunny and temperatures up to 24C which is quite warm. We have to take the trash out (again). It never stops! There is a bag of biodegradable waste down in the hall that is stinking up the whole building! Plus a trip to the farmacia and the ATM machine are necessary. All of his is just downstairs so not a problem. Luther is still counting down the days. Today is day 2️⃣ until Phase 2 begins! Jogging here he comes! 
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Now for some pictures from the properties of two friends. Tom and Carol and Jill and Stuart. They live in opposite parts of our nearby area on two different mountaintops. And they have gorgeous properties. I picked a few that I liked. I hope you do too 😌

Lilac has always been one of my favorites. I love the aroma and the blooms. Feriamo is the property name.
Look at this sky at Tom and Carols place! Wow.
From Jill. It is called Tradescantia. Such striking small flowers with fantastic rich colours.The plant gets is name from the British plant collector of the 17th century John Tradescant.
From Jill. She says it is a scarce swallowtail. They are actually quite common!

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Enjoy your weekend as best you can, safely. Have a cookout on your deck, patio or yard…and enjoy a glass of vino! 🌈🍷

Day 58 – Covid-19

205,463 positives in Italy. Up 0.9%- 27,967 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,392 positive cases in Umbria. 67 total deaths. Better today. Only up one case and one death.

1,056,402 cases in the US – 61,867 deaths.
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It is a really pretty day with brisk breezes and alternately angry skies with blue ones. And the sunlight dapples in patches which makes the brightly lit greens pop from the shadowy dusky greens. I took a picture and you can see what I mean. It is out of our big picture window in the living room. We have such a bucolic view out the back. Very pastoral. It is one of the things I love about how this apartment is situated. City and country views. Busy (normally) or tranquil. These farm fields are where Luther jogs, and I used to walk. After Monday, we will be free to do that again. Luther has gotten a bit observant of the seasons, while passing the busy farmers at their duties, as he jogs. 🙂

The low hill in the middle ground of the picture has a castle on top. Just behind that hill, and in front of the higher hills, is the mouth of the Niccone valley which is one of the prettiest around. The Tiber River is curving along that far line of trees just in front of the small hill/mountain.

Our small auxiliary cat, Simba decided he would show off his only asset. His cute factor. Here he is on his heated pillow. He is one happy cat in this lockdown. His staff is home 24/7. He has no problems at all!

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Stay safe everyone! 🌈

Day 57 – Covid-19

203,591 positives in Italy. Up 1%- 27,682 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.
There are 1,391 positive cases in Umbria. 66 total deaths. I am moderately worried about these numbers. The number of cases went up 9 yesterday and 11 today. This is NOT good people!

1,030,487 cases in the US – 60,207 deaths. Over a million cases 😢
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Day 4️⃣ of our countdown to May 4 – phase 2 begins. Today begins our third month…yes THIRD month, of total lockdown and self isolation.
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US news…
I read there was an executive order issued to get people back to work and out buying stuff, like before…But I am thankful to read this…

“Plans for a swift reopening of malls, factories and other businesses accelerated Tuesday, but they quickly collided with the reality that persuading workers and consumers to overlook their coronavirus fears and resume their roles in powering the U.S. economy may prove difficult.”

People need to listen to their heads and hearts speaking to them. If you are afraid to go back out, then you feel that way for a reason. Don’t let anyone pressure you. It affects not only you, but anyone you come in contact with to include your friends and loved ones. And it can be life or death. It’s no small thing!

I for one, who have been tightly, much more tightly than the US, locked-down for over 2 months, will be exercising real caution if I go out.. And when they say I can freely roam, I will be very wary. I will be extremely careful. I still will not go out unless I, one, feel safe, and two, feel there’s a good reason.  Make no mistake. This virus is coming back. And when it does they say it will be worse than the first time.
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Our House Martins returned in March to begin raising their families. They have expanded their condominium above our office window. I believe the previous year offspring build their houses next to Mom and Dad. I love to watch them swoop in, in a graceful arc, and then, almost immediately swoop away. They are a little messy, but I love them. And they are super beneficial. They eat tons of insects and there are thousands of them. These old building have deep eaves and beams that stick out, perfect house sites for them 🙂

Two nests made from mud.

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A friend posted this English lesson. “All the faith he had had had had no affect on the outcome of his life.” Try to explain that to a non-English speaker. I note, it is important to inflect for meaning and also pause in the right place. And I thought Italian was bad! Hah!
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Big news! I glanced out our window to the Piazza today and noticed they have marked off areas in white paint. Corners are marked off for six spaces. Each has a number. There are two large spaces and four smaller ones with what look like about 2 meter aisles between. It can only mean that next week we will have a reduced market. Happy days! It will be very different from the vibrant, crowded market we used to have 😢 But it is a baby step forward. I told Luther, I don’t care so much for the Wednesday market to return. I’m more interested in the Saturday local one. I fervently hope they will return Saturday after next. 🤞

Market coming back maybe….

More beauty from Jill’s giardino. 😍

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Stay safe everyone! Don’t jump the gun and negate all your hard work! 🌈

Day 56 – Covid-19

201,505 positives in Italy. Up 1.1%- 27,359 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak. These numbers are so encouraging!
There are 1,379 positive cases in Umbria. 65 total deaths.

1,004,908 cases in the US – 57,812 deaths. Over a million cases 😢
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For dinner yesterday we had a lovely farro salad with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes with a pesto drizzle. Very good…and…I forgot to take a picture again!
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A mundane post since not much is happening…today is day 5️⃣ of the countdown to May 4 and some few more freedoms. It also a rainy day but we have a few patches of blue sky. It is chilly enough that we are using the stufa to warm the living room. It’s cozy. 

We also did some cleaning around here. We are accumulating an enormous pile of trash so we will need to deal with that. Also I talked to our friend Vera. She is missing us, and we, her. She’s tired of being cooped up with her family! She had an anniversary and made a big seafood dinner for the whole family. She said it had been two months since she’d had fish! It looked scrumptious. For lack of any photo of my own, here is her dinner.

She also “said” she is coming on May 6 to see us and clean our house. Yay if she can. Technically she can’t come here because she lives in Tuscany. There is this small piece of Tuscany that sticks out into Umbria in the Niccone valley. It would be hard for them to stay in their own Comune (Cortona) because they are separated by rugged mountains. It is far more reasonable for them to come here. Now, if she can convince the police she has to come for work…maybe. But I’m doubtful. I hope she’s careful!

Jill says the white antirrhinum is a favorite of hers and it flowers ALL summer, what a bonus.
The peonies going from strength to strength …so showy.

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5️⃣ days…have a nice day and stay safe…and home! 🌈