Covid 19 – Phase 2.1 – Day 8

229,858 positives in Italy. Up 0.2% – 32,785 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,430 positive cases in Umbria. 75 total deaths.

1,643,499 cases in the US – 97,722 deaths.
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Lunedì –  Memorial Day in the USA. It is a beautiful day here in Umbria. No clouds in sight. A bit cool but I like that. 
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In honor of today, here is a picture of the Florence American Cemetery. Covering 70 acres on the outskirts of Florence, there are 4,401 military dead buried on the grounds. Most of them died in the fighting after the capture of Rome in June 1944. According to the Cemetery and Memorial’s website, those buried here make up an astonishing 39 percent of the fallen Fifth Army members originally buried between Rome and the Alps. In addition to the tombstones, visitors can also contemplate the 1,409 names inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing. Whenever a solider is recovered or identified, a bronze rosette is added to their name. I must add this to my list of “must visit” in Italy.

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Last night I decided on a real American springtime dinner. I fried chicken (!) and I had some beautiful small new potatoes and our first spring peas. Simple and perfect. The potatoes had hardly any skin, it was so thin as to be non existent. Luther shelled the peas. I just made both the potatoes and the peas simply served with butter. I love spring with these super fresh local veggies .
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From my “cousin” Tom and Carole’s beautiful Feriano.

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Enjoy Memorial Day. Remembering today.🌈

Covid 29 – Phase 2.1 – Day 7

229,327 positives in Italy. Up 0.3% – 32,735 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,430 positive cases in Umbria. 74 total deaths.

1,613,476 cases in the US – 96,662 deaths.
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Domenica – pretty-ish day today. A little overcast. We will drive out to Calagrana In a few minutes to pick up our meals. 
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While out and about yesterday it felt like old times. Only real difference is the masks. At least everyone wears them. And the one-at-a-time rule for stores and businesses. We are happy to see the businesses back. Last night the youngsters were partying like there was no tomorrow. Hope this doesn’t cause too big of a spike. 

As of June 3 Italy is open again to cross border travel from other EU countries. Not the US though. We, who are here, can travel freely within Italy. There is plenty to see that we haven’t yet seen.  I was talking to a friend who mentioned she hadn’t realized how much of her time was spent traveling, researching and planning travel, anticipating travel, etc. For myself, I am trying to make some day trip plans. But I am having trouble getting started. Why? This is my question…I don’t know. I just can’t seem to take that first step. Luther has a significant birthday in July I need to plan something for that. He wants to go to the beach town with 2 really good restaurants. Not sure I’m up for that yet.

We had our big trip planned for Germany end of July and first part of August. We had found pet/house sitters for this trip from Nova Scotia. They had taken a year off and were traveling Europe. A mix of Airbnbs, working holidays, house sitting etc. Started in Portugal. Then went to, and through Spain. Got locked down in the Dordogne in France. Finally just got loose. They are supposed to head to another part of France and then Italy. I don’t know whether our trip will happen so we will have to let them know as soon as we do. I’m sure they can find a place to stay in Italy cheaply. But they had also hinted they wouldn’t be coming anyway, so we will see.
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As promised yesterday…photos…Here is Rocky. Studying the water…

Rocky. Toe in the water.

Finally, drinking the water.

The olives are amazing this year! This means a huge harvest may be coming this November. I will be ready to go the distance and help. Look at the flowers! Now, I’m told only 3 or 4 olives come from each cluster, but this still means a LOT of olives.

Poppies along the road to Calagrana. 🥰

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Buona domenica a tutti! 🌈 Stay safe!

Covid 19 – Phase 2.1 – Day 6

228,658 positives in Italy. Up 0.3% – 32,616 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,429 positive cases in Umbria. 74 total deaths.

1,590,349 cases in the US – 95,495 deaths.
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Sabato – Another bright sunny day. And it’s market day!

But I get ahead of myself. We got out for our first Spritz yesterday at Bar Mary. They have big new tables. Really big. Lots of space between people. The piazza was hopping. Almost like old times except for the masks. After our drinks we had our Friday night pizzas and later in the evening I took a picture outside. I could hear a babble of voices. Many young people. Some staying apart, most (but not all) wore masks.

So, back to Market day. I made a point of getting out at about 8:30, after the vendors 8am set up. Specifically to get eggs. Rats. Missed out. Only one stand has them. I guess I need to go out even earlier! But I did buy fresh asparagus, the first new peas!! And some pretty red onions, some new carrots and a cucumber, also the first of summer. It cost 7€. 

After my early morning foray we had errands to run. First the, ever needed, cat liter. Seems we need it more than we should but we have this one cat, Rocky, who has fixated on the bathroom sink. We have to run the water for him and he sits very still and studies it until it stills. He is completely engrossed by it. After a bit, he steps in it, it is shallow. And swishes it around. Then drinks copiously. Which in turn, makes him pee…copiously…which in turn means we need a LOT of litter. A day in the life! I will have to get a photo of him at the sink.

After the pet store we went to the Green Thumb…Pollice Verde…which has all manner of stuff. We were looking for plants. A tip from my friend Angela told me they had an array of hot pepper plants. And sure enough! They did! So we don’t have to drive all the way to Citta di Castello anymore. We got two, a jalapeño, and a habanero.  We improbably ran into friends from Montone there, buying big terracotta planter boxes. 

We passed by the Eurospin market and were amazed that the line went across the parking lot. Hoping against hope our Coop grocery wouldn’t have a line, we stopped. We saw parking places, and even two carts! So we went in. No line. First time we’ve shopped together in almost 3 months. I will say, they are definitely NOT social distancing in there. They are letting too many in at a time. Everyone had to wear a mask though, thank goodness. We saw Gary, and our Montone friends again! Hah! So, we managed to get the shopping done and headed home. 

While out we drove past the new Carrefour market. We are all so excited about it opening…on Wednesday! They are stocking it now. Sign is up outside. Can’t wait to check it out. 
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One pretty picture for you…

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Happy Memorial Day weekend. Please observe it safely. We have a holiday on (a week from this Tuesday) too, Day of the Republic, June 2. 🌈

Covid 19 – Phase 2.1 – Day 5

228,006 positives in Italy. Up 0.3% – 32,486 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,429 positive cases in Umbria. 74 total deaths.

1,562,714 cases in the US – 93,863 deaths.
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Friday – Another bright sunny day. We just finished our Italian lessons. Last night we didn’t go for Aperitivo. I would have said Aperitivi (plural of Aperitivo) but I was corrected by my teacher. If four people go out for drinks, it is Aperitivo. As in we go out for lunch (Pranzo). Not lunches. Or dinner (cena). Not dinners. I just automatically assumed four drinks are plural…duh…what do I know. So tonight for sure!🍹🍹
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From The GuardianNine top scientists who advised Barack Obama in the White House are warning that the US has just three months to rebuild its national stockpile of emergency medical supplies or risk further drastic shortages of testing kits and protective gear should coronavirus strike again in the fall.

OK then. Plenty of time if people get on it right away. It would be very good to avoid the mistakes made previously at the beginning of the Pandemic. No excuses.
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I have had a pepper plant fatality. It must have happened during the rain storm. Broke right off at the base. Now I need two more since I had not gotten my Jalapeño yet. Let’s turn our attention to the upcoming weekend. It is supposed to be beautiful. We have errands to do. Groceries and cat litter. Maybe peppers to buy. And two new small pots. Oh, and dirt! 
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Todays soup. Chicken with pozole and cilantro. 

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Be safe everyone and have a nice weekend! 🌈

Covid 19 – Phase 2.1 – Day 4

227,364 positives in Italy. Up 0.3% – 32,330 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,427 positive cases in Umbria. 74 total deaths.

1,541,110 cases in the US – 92,712 deaths.
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Thursday – Brilliant, blue sky after the cleansing rain of yesterday.  Cool and breezy. Vera is here cleaning our apartment. I made a pot of duck stock this morning. I will use it to make a soup. I have just noticed the cilantro is trying to bloom. I need to use it or lose it, and since it is so rare here I don’t want to waste it. So I think a chicken and lime with hominy soup would be tasty. Nice and spicy! I have one last bag of hominy left.😢

Not a lot going on, we got an email for our (maybe) upcoming cruise in late November. They say it is going to happen. I will wait until the last minute to commit to it. Which will be in August.

This evening I think we will go down for our first spritz. How fun! I will take a picture.

Everywhere the poppies are blooming. They are one of my favorite flowers and there is nothing prettier than Umbria in May when whole fields are abloom with red.

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Stay safe ! 🌈

Covid 19 – Phase 2.1 – Day 3

225,435 positives in Italy. Up 0.3% – 31,908 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,424 positive cases in Umbria. 73 total deaths. Two new cases, zero additional deaths.

1,528,661 cases in the US – 91,938 deaths.
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Wednesday, Market day — pouring rain all night and all day. I didn’t need any produce or fish so I didn’t brave the nasty weather. I suppose this rain is good for all the crops. On Sunday, on our way to Calagrana, we observed workers planting the tiny tobacco seedlings. They are maybe an inch tall. And it has to be completely hand done. So labor intensive. I guess this rain is good for the baby tobaccos.

Otherwise all is tranquile in Umbertide. We missed out on the first spritz outing with friends on Monday. It was my choice. Too many of us. Made me uncomfortable. And truth be told, I am loyal to my good friends at Bar Mary so going to the “other” bar would have been strange. Especially our first time. Not that I have any issue with the “other” bar, just a loyalty thing… We plan to go out as soon as the weather gets nicer. And we will invite our friends to join us. I know they feel kind of the way we do about “their” Cafe Centrale. It is a funny little phenom. 
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Roses continue in Jill’s garden…💕 With notes from Jill beneath the pictures.

Rosa Complicata ( a simple flower very uncomplicata in my opinion)
Molineux
Roseria d’Hay – not only spectacular, the scent is fabulous

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Signing off for now… as always, be careful. 🌈

Covid 19 – Phase 2.1 – Day 2

225,435 positives in Italy. Up 0.3% – 31,908 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,424 positive cases in Umbria. 73 total deaths. Two new cases, zero additional deaths.

1,496,509 cases in the US – 89,874 deaths.
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I enjoyed this article from The NY Times...I excerpted it…

Life in NYC felt pretty normal in early March…in hindsight, we know that the coronavirus was then sweeping across the city. Deaths peaked in early April. And the typical time from contraction to death is from three to five weeks — which suggests early March was near the peak for transmission.

Over the next couple of weeks, it’s going to be important to keep this recent history in mind. Without mass testing — and the United States is not doing mass testing — there is a lag before a virus outbreak becomes apparent. Most people who develop symptoms don’t do so for at least five days, and sometimes longer. The worst symptoms usually take almost three weeks to appear.

With more parts of the U.S. starting to reopen, many people will be tempted to look at the data this week and start proclaiming victory over the virus. But this week’s data won’t tell us much. It will instead reflect the reality from early May and late April, when much of the country was still on lockdown.

The data are always two or three weeks old,” Ezekiel Emanuel of the University of Pennsylvania told me. “And we have a hard time understanding that things are different from what we’re looking at.” Crystal Watson of Johns Hopkins University told The Associated Press that we wouldn’t really know how reopening had affected the virus’s spread for five to six weeks.

It’s possible that the reopenings won’t cause the outbreaks that many epidemiologists fear — because many people will still stay home, or because they will venture out cautiously, or because the virus may spread more slowly in warmer air. But it’s also possible that the country will find itself suffering through a new wave of outbreaks in June.

Either way, I’d encourage you not to leap to premature conclusions.

And all of the above will pertain to all countries trying to reopen, including Italy. Caution and care is advised.
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This morning I took a walk early along the river. Cool morning air, few people out.

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Enjoy your day! 🌈

Covid 19 Phase 2.1 — Day 1

225,435 positives in Italy. Up 0.3% – 31,908 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,424 positive cases in Umbria. 73 total deaths. Two new cases, zero additional deaths.

1,480,873 cases in the US – 89,318 deaths.
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Monday — gray day with sprinkles. We have started a new Phase today. I am calling it Phase 2.1 — Our numbers in Italy are impressively small, only 145 deaths. 675 new cases. I just hope opening up doesn’t ruin all our hard work. But I am happy for the merchants, bars, and restaurants. It was extremely hard for them all.

We went out with the intention of taking the Porsche out for a much needed drive. It’s been sitting for over three months. But on our way through town we ran into the Books for Dogs team. When they closed up for the shutdown, it was wintertime. But now, it’s spring. All the clothes they have in the shop are winter clothes. So they’ve got to sort out the merchandise and change over. As we strolled along we noted all the shops have opened. Lots of bustle going on. A stop in the farmacia, then we crossed the river to the garage. 

We keep the Porsche on a constant trickle charge since it isn’t drive all that much. But, for some reason, it didn’t seem to keep the battery charged this time. Luther thinks it wasn’t plugged in right. So, no ride for us and we have to sort out how to get it started. Also it needs its annual servicing so it needs to go to the dealer in Perugia.

So much for our Monday outing. Other than that we had nothing planned for today.

I did get up this morning and made a nice big soup for our lunches this week. So, on that note I will close for today. 

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Jill’s garden is here to brighten up our gray day! The Irises have given way to the roses! So beautiful.

Ferdinand Pichard 
Eglantyne

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Enjoy your week, whatever you do. Just be careful. 🌈

Covid 19 Phase 2 Day 14

224,760 positives in Italy. Up 0.4% – 31,763 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,422 positive cases in Umbria. 73 total deaths. Zero new cases, zero additional deaths.

1,456,841 cases in the US – 88,230 deaths.
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It is springtime. Early summer almost. And that is the time for taking the duvets off the beds. It is getting too warm to sleep under them. So I occupied myself with that today (Saturday). Removing the covers and washing them. On Monday we will bundle up the down duvets and take them to our lavanderia. We found out a year after we got here that they will clean the duvets and then store them for the summer! Everyone takes theirs and leaves them. They are bulky and most people don’t have much storage, including us. So a springtime chore…
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It was a rainy day. All day. We stayed in for the most part. After visiting the market this morning.

Last night we finished an excellent series on Netflix last night. Il Processo or The Trial, in English. It was a window into the differences between the US justice system, and the Italian one. Takes place in Mantova (Mantua). In Italian with English subtitles. If you like Italian stuff you may enjoy this. Tonight we begin Orthodox. I am really looking forward to this one.
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Sunday — what a glorious day! Wow. No clouds and nice and warm. Predicted to hit 30C today. That’s 86F. Almost hot. It would be perfect for a lunch outside at a nice restaurant. Sigh. Not yet! But, speaking of restaurants, we are taking a little ride to Calagrana to pickup our food. I will take some pictures!

Approaching Calagrana. Tobacco newly planted in the foreground. The agriturismo and restaurant is where the rows of cypresses are.
Albi, AKA Chef Alberto. Weed whacking. In a trash bag!🙄🤣
View from Calagrana.
View from Calagrana of neighboring properties.
Amohorae.
Ely. Garden tour.
Gigantico lettuce!
New peas, not ready yet.
Peppers.
Zucchini trained in a cage.

It was such a lovely, but short trip. OK. I admit it. We hugged. Oh, but how wonderful it was. Susan, Gary and Luca came too. It’s been literally MONTHS since we’ve seen anyone we know or love, so it was lovely and tear provoking. 

Albi kept his distance but it was nice to see him. He’s the “old man of the mountain” with his bushy beard! Ely showed off her garden. Sigh.

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From our walk a couple days ago. Look at the fish in the Tiber!

And last, but not least, the answer to my question about tables in the Piazza…Mirko is busily setting up for tomorrow! Very exciting! Spritzes are in our future!! Spiffy new tables too!

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Buona domenica to all. Stay safe, wherever you are …🌈

Covid 19 Phase 2 Day 13

223,885 positives in Italy. Up 0.4% – 31,610 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,422 positive cases in Umbria. Up two. 73 total deaths.

1,443,397 cases in the US – 87,568 deaths.
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Bar Mary is open now but just for pickup. You go inside to order, Mary or Irene brings the coffees out in disposable cups and puts them on the lone table out front, no chairs to be seen. As Italians do, the coffee is knocked back within seconds and they are on their way. Coffee culture is strong here but completely different from in the US where people linger for hours in a coffee shop over a huge coffee.

But back to my point, as of Monday, Restaurants and Bars can open with greatly reduced tables. Widely spaced. Does this mean Bar Mary will return the tables and chairs to the Piazza? We don’t know but I will let you know, come Monday.

In summer we normally have a great influx of British into the area. Bar Mary is the bar of choice for them. They have large groups that gather on market days (mostly) and they take up most of the tables, beginning the cocktail hour well before lunchtime. This year they won’t be coming. Their second homes in the hills all around will be empty. And we will miss their raucous gatherings. Perhaps next year…I hope so. I’m sure they all do too.

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Friday night is pizza night, you may remember. But I wasn’t in the mood for a pizza so I ordered the insalatone. Literally the big salad. It had tuna, eggs, mozzarella cheese, another, harder cheese, various greens. I dressed it with the amazing Umbrian olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. It was excellent!

The evening was beautiful. Pretty soft sunset. The wind had died down. Perfect to eat outside. This, we will do more often as it stays warmer through the evenings.

Saturday — kilometer zero market. Gray and light rain. I went out about 10am and bought things for another soup. The pickings were slim. Only one stand sells eggs and I wanted some, but someone had beat me to it. Next week I will have to go out earlier!
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I promised two more iris pictures. They make me think of fancy ladies in frilly dresses!

Autumn Circus.
Celebration Time

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Enjoy your Saturday…safely! 🌈