Over the holidays we had the pleasure of staying with Mary and Anna in Swinford, County Mayo (Ireland) for our second round of “life on the farm” lessons. Our mother accompanied us and jumped on board to push herself beyond urban retirement and learn something new. Given that our mum is booked for knee replacement surgery in the coming weeks she was a trooper and an inspiration! Who says a dog of a certain age can’t learn new tricks! False! and we have photographic evidence to prove it!
Our Italian farmhouse came with a barn. It survived the many years without feathery or furry occupants only by the hairs of its chinny-chin chin. It desperately needed emergency surgery and fast! During our last trip we noticed tiles had fallen in on the roof and knew that if we didn’t deal with the situation, it would only get worse and more expensive. And before we could say “now what” – Ralph (our Italian contact and frequent advisor) sorted a temporary situation out that is currently giving us enough time to come up with the best use for the space.
This summer the house renovations involved large rocks, small rocks, loud machinery, bureaucracy, pissing off the neighbours and dust – lots and lots of dust. A full arc of activity and emotions!
As our time in Italy can only be done in quick snippets during vacations, the big decisions need to be done well in advance. Luckily, we have the advice and wisdom of our indispensable director of operations Ralph Chiodo. We would be lost without him! Ralph has taken us under his wings and made so much of this life changing project happen without tears. Maybe a lot of sweat, dirt, endless hours of discussion and emails – but no tears so far. All hail Ralph!