Tuscano! Introduction

​I ventured to Italy in October 2016. For those who don’t know, I self publish a quarterly newsletter that started as a means to teach my clientele how to do what they hired me to do – take care of their gardens. Through the years the journal morphed to include the latest in my lavender farming business,  and later my escapades in subduing a 20 acre plot of land in the Mission Valley of Western Montana  I purchased with money left to me by my mother on her death. I call the place Rosalie Ranch in her honor and currently live there in a tiny (77 square foot) off grid house. 

I wrote a series of emails to some 90 friends who don’t do facebook and weren’t able to follow my trip. 

Let me know your thoughts, I appreciate your feedback. 

Many of you are subscribers to my quarterly newsletter Earth Nurture. I have always enjoyed writing it and  sharing it with you but this past year/volume 21 

(21 years I’ve been writing it) came across much like any 21 year old; unfettered, careless, irresponsible…in fact it didn’t even show up when and where it was supposed to be. Had she shown up it wild have been with stringy hair and tattered clothes. 
I know many of you have paid money for a yearly subscription and I have not forgotten that. 
I realized when I sat down to write the Spring edition in February that I could contribute nothing other than more of my same tales of woe, despair, and hardship. Frankly, you deserve better. 
Since the devastating years of ’09/’10 when my 17 year marriage failed, I moved out of my home, and 90% of my lavender crop died from an early fall freak storm my life has been upside down and my writing has reflected that. Thank you for hanging in there with me. 
So much failure after such carefully crafted decades (my 30’s and 40’s) infected me with an uncharacteristic fear of commitment to most everything these last 5 years. 
This past year ’15/’16 has been as difficult if not more so. 
In August 2015 a dear longtime friend died. She invited me to be part of that process (not having had the privilege of being present for either of my parent’s deaths, this was an honor.) 
I suffered a break up with a perfectly lovely man that same month. This set me in an inward spiraling tailspin wondering if with all my past relational failures, perhaps I was truly unlovable, incompetent, or just not cut out for relating. 
I moved into my tiny off grid shot gun shack full time because it is what I have.

My financial situation became dire shortly thereafter, money non-existent, nothing coming in, no prospects. 
I began to jettison some of my things in order to put a little cash in my pockets, pay car insurance, phone (lifeline) connection, buy more duct tape to put on the windows and door to keep the snow from blowing in, buy another 25 lb bag of rice and some oats.

My VW bus, which I bought in Spokane back in 1990 and had always planned to restore/make into the lavender delivery bus sat rotting in the field here at the Rosalie Ranch, mice moving into every crevice, rust wearing thin the races. It had to go. I would never afford the restoration. 
I knew shortly after driving it all the way home to Salt Lake that it was valuable when a man offered me 3 times the $500 I paid for it. I declined that offer (I was just about to park and live out of it in back of my dad’s house – I mean, where would I live man…?)
Many people have offered to buy it since then, even as it sat un-drivable with a leaky rear seal out front of our house. I knew it was worth more than I was being offered. I kept up on its value.

On February 3rd my dog died which left me lonely as any proverbial hermit high in a mountain cave. 17 years is a long time to have a constant companion feeding me daily doses of unconditional love for him suddenly not to be there. Jeddie’s last years were high maintenance with diapers, and special diet of soft food so he could chew with his rotting teeth but I was devoted to that angel who so often pulled me from the dregs of my despair, saved my life (by giving me something to live for) countless times. We both suffered severe separation anxiety, I could not leave him in his dotage. Couldn’t leave him with anybody. This really grated on relationships with men. It was difficult to take the dog on a motorcycle with one and equally difficult leaving him in a hot vehicle or too long at the house unattended while I’d go on long summer hikes with another. 
     
Friend Jim Beyer had been working on selling the bus since October having listed it on Samba.com where he had experience selling other VWs. My asking price; $10,000. And no, it didn’t run. 
We were getting many calls from Holland, all over the Netherlands and no quibbling on price.

Not long after the dog died a young lad at West Point said ‘the check is in the mail.’ Sold! We helped him arrange getting it shipped out to him on his dollar. 
Jim asked what I’d do with the money. 
I decided to put half of it into my cabin as during one blizzard, watching the snow pile up on the inside sill was truly a low point. I’m happy to report on 3 new windows (I installed myself), 2 new sky lights, and a new door! I probably won’t have to burn much firewood at all but I’m stocked up on that too. I’ll be snug as a bug.

With no serious relationship of neither man nor beast I figure this is my chance, I gotta make a break for it…I’ve put the other half on a trip to Italy.

My father was Italian, and I’m sure he still is, even in his death. I recall asking my grandmother, Marguerite Ravanello how to say things in Italian when I was 4 years old. I think I’ve been planning this trip since I was just a wee tyke. 
In the planning of it I see how this is a recon voyage and there are at least 4 other trips to Italy in my lifetime. This trip I will be in Tuscano, the Chianti region, and Cinque Terre. I fly in and out of Firenze. 
In fact, I’m just getting off the plane now.

If you would indulge me by reading some stories as I travel. I’ll try to make up for some lost time and woe begotten newsletters…

I’ll be thinking of you all as I drink luscious Italian wines and eat enough food to bulk up for the long Montana winter.

Scrivero a presto! 
(I’ll write soon!)

Lori

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