Wednesday, March 07, 2007

this one is for sal...

Okay... so I decided to do this post specifically for Sal... because it just happens to go hand in hand with his blog entry for today.

The villa I stayed at in Milan was, well, very Italian. Not just for the style of the architecture, but for the the way they used the space and the creativity involved in it.

First... they have a solar shower. No, it's not a real solar panel on top, it is an old window with a hard black plastic tube wound in it. The water comes from the well, fills the black plastic tubing under the window glass and heats up... with reserve water sitting in a black holding container, which heats it up, but not to the degree as the water in the tubing. And when somebody uses the shower, they get the hot water from the tubing and the cold from the well... and it mixes perfectly.

Next... this is not just your typical gutter/storm drain found on any ol' house. The difference is that these were (1) made by hand by the father (2) it's more esthetically pleasing than your normal extruded aluminum gutters found in the US and (3) the drainage system. In the US, the only purpose for gutters is to take the water away from the house... here, it is a little different. This particular drain carries the water to the grape vines near the driveway. Another one carries the water to the olive trees in the side yard. And each drain serves as an irrigation system throughout the yard.

And finally, the vegetable garden. Yes, many of us have veggie gardens, but few function like this. Every year one side of the garden houses the tomatoes, zucchini, squashes and things of that nature, and the other side houses the lettuces, cabbage, and things like that. Then they switch every year, so not to over work the soil. Next, you can see the pipe armature over the top, this is to protect the plants from harsh weather (as you can see, it is open today because it was BEAUTIFUL outside!) The fabric on the top is not your normal plastic that you find over a greenhouse (as you can see to the right of the photo) but a special fabric that allows sun rays to come in, keeps the cold out, and lets the water flow through when it is raining. Also, those armature pipes are also part of an irrigation system (that the father built) that carries the water from the well into the sprinkler system. And to finish it off... there is the small greenhouse to the side, where he starts all of his delicious veggies... and uses no chemicals on any of the plants!

In front of the garden is where the fruit trees are (apple, peach, pears, chestnuts, etc) and the grape vines. Unfortunately, about 4 years ago a virus came through and killed all of his grapes. The father tried everything (non chemical) to save them, but had to burn all of them to the ground. So he is starting over again (because they have a wine cellar, where they make the homemade wine) with seedlings from the US. They are stronger than grape vines from Europe (having to deal with harsher climate changes) then in a year or so, he will graft in grapes from Italy and France.

But there is one last thing I need to touch upon, and it is the fact that every European I have spoken to has said the same thing... why doesn't your country do anything about what is happening to the environment? It usually comes up when talking about how strange the weather has been (we were discussing how big his lettuce and cabbage was already... we ate salad every day from the garden, and it's only the beginning of March!) And it is always the same answer... I don't know.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page