I never usually know what ‘international day’ it is but happened to see that today it’s in honour of rural women, so thought I’d share with you this rare photo of my great-grandmother taken of her alone.
For much of her life she worked on their fruit farm at Applethorpe, also keeping it going for a time with her young children after her husband suddenly died aged 54. I believe the only holiday she ever really had was on the ship journey she took from Italy to Australia in 1934. She was a hard worker, determined, a loyal wife and raised three children. Sadly, she was also to die young at just 50, only a couple of years after her husband.
I love that in this picture it appears like a shaft of light is falling across her. I also love that this is the only one of her in bare feet. xxx
Our two birdbaths and various ground dishes about the place are being visited and almost emptied every day by both day and night visitors to the garden. 😊🐦🐝🐞🐾
And the fig update is… the tree net has certainly worked with several of these beauties about ready for picking. We have tank water and are using it sparingly so it’s incredible how generous nature can still be despite the heat, the dry, the smoke and hot winds. Please send us all a decent drop of rain soon… but not floods!! 🌿
(Previous fig tree post.)
Doing things like an Italian you’d never have thought you would when growing up…
“Putting on the tree net to protect the figs.”
Yes, I did this last weekend and those familiar with Mezza Italiana will know there was a time I would never have imagined myself doing so. (Not sure my modest tree and net is any match for Nonno Anni’s past efforts! Although I think Roger’s makeshift stake of a star picket and old piece of hose is in keeping with honouring making do and not letting anything go to waste – no matter how it looks!) 😁😊💛
It’s Nonno Anni’s birthday in a few days so there was once a time when all the family would be getting together this weekend at my grandparents’ house. Several tables would be pushed together, Nanna Francesca would cook huge bowls of pasta and either polpette or cotolette, and of course there’d be cake, champagne and maybe Franjelico, or Sambuca with a coffee bean lit on top.
Although Nonno Anni has been gone some while now, I still miss him terribly but I’m so grateful for the times we had and so on October 21st will raise a glass, or a polpette, to Annibale (Joe) who continues to inspire me. xxx
(For the record, that air-conditioner behind Nonno Anni in this photo is the one I wrote about that Nanna Francesca refused to let me turn on even on the hottest days because it created a ‘cold draught’!!) 😊
Buon compleanno, Nonno, con amore sempre. Tante cose belle. Zoë xx
Granny Maddalena harvesting from her vegie garden before going inside to cook for all the family. Sometimes it’s the simplest things…
The “good” cabinet – filled with items only to be used for special guests, certainly never for family. These were Nanna Francesca’s modest, glass-fronted cabinets of hi-ball glasses, espresso cups, coffee pots and bonbonniere of figurines and sugared almonds (left) in the late 60s and (right) in the early 70s with me, Mum and Nanna Francesca (same Christmas tree).
By then, my grandparents had an additional “good” cabinet and covered the VJ walls of their Queenslander house in fibro sheets painted with white, high-gloss for a “fresh, clean look” (p.6 Mezza Italiana).
And yes, this was the era of the plastic hallway runner over the carpet. What I’d give to be able to see it all again! The cabinets themselves were lost in Brisbane’s 2011 flood but below right are some items from them I managed to salvage beforehand (they don’t look Italian at all?!!) haha. And the same clock now sits in my living room. Something nice about seeing it each day knowing it was in my grandparents’ living room all those years.