May 5, 2016

Last winter 187 cinghiale (wild boar) were shot in the valley, they are very secretive and seldom seen, but you sometimes see them in the car headlights at night. We are keen wild life fans so drive carefully at night looking at the wildlife and generally see a cinghiale every 3 or 4 days. Usually they move higher up into the woods & mountains to breed during the Summer months. They can be quite destructive, rutting up the grass, so we have now put up a low electric fence to discourage them – this is not on during the summer months.

We watched this large boar snuffling around on the verges on the road towards Gugliano before crossing in front of our car.

In April we saw a pine martin, which are quite aggressive little beasts but they are not easy to spot. Usually they are seen at twilight or at night but there are several of their round nests high in the pine trees. I haven’t seen a porcupine recently. I believe one or two have been shot in the village veg patches. It is illegal to shoot them but they were a delicacy, cooked slowly in a pit in the ground.

At the end of March the swallows arrived and immediately started re-building their nests in the barn with mud from the stream. The hoopoes, turtle doves and golden oriel were pairing up for the summer season. I love the sight of thousands of fire flies in the summer, sometimes the whole valley is lit up with their wonderful beautiful glow.

Tuscany is a very organic province and the locals produce a lot of honey which is sold locally. We have 2 men who have stored some hives 200m up from our house.

In the evening a young boy takes his hawk, Sid out for a fly. You may hear his little bell. He was born in November 2015, so is still learning how to hunt.

In the spring we have lots of flowers, wild garlic & asparagus in the valley, plus oliander, roses & hebicus in the summer.

Most of the young Italians want to live in the cities, resulting in an ageing population in the countryside. We wonder what will happen to the traditions when they move on. Our farmer GianFranco is now 76 and was in hospital during the winter. He hand milks his cows and is always working but who will look after the land when he is too old to continue? It is a worrying thought? When we arrived in 1999, grape vines surrounded the house, but global warming and wet winters caused a blight to the vines, so a few have been removed and replaced with olives.
During the war, locals said the valley was full of wheat fields, so have been changes over the years.

This was posted in: Uncategorized