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Sunday on the Beach

Sunday on the farm is a work-free day, and although we don’t find out about this day of rest until the day before, Ursula is quick to suggest we spend the day on Cecina beach and we choose to do just that. We “sleep in” on Sunday morning, but still get up for breakfast at […]

Under The Tuscan Sun

As I knew I would be traveling to Tuscany to work on a vineyard, I felt it was appropriate to read Frances Mayes’ book “Under The Tuscan Sun.” Mayes, between her descriptions of buying, renovating, and living in an abandoned house, describes her experiences of working in the garden and dealing with the locals. Most […]

10 Germans, 10 Cats

“Here we are in the middle of Tuscany, surrounded by forest, having sausages, salads, and wine with ten Germans and ten cats.” About halfway through the evening, Gabe turns to Katherine and me and recites the above quotation. It may have been the wine or the many mosquitoes or maybe some allergic reaction caused by […]

Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Cranford”

Ursula loves to read and her library illustrates this well. Within minutes of arriving on the farm she is excited to have Katherine read her favorite book, “Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell. Although Katherine does not make it too far into the book, we are intrigued by the first couple pages of the book and how […]

Frederica and The Tuscan Pool

While sitting around the dinner table, I spot some white umbrellas on a nearby hill and optimistically think that these umbrellas must mean that there is a degustation. I convince Gabe and Katherine to take our next day’s afternoon excursion past said umbrellas, and although it appears to be more of a private home than […]

The Road to Riparbella

Although we enjoy the quark, potatoes, bread, and tomatoes so readily available during meals on the farm, Gabe and I decide we should consider venturing to the nearby town of Riparbella to supplement our diet with some more fruit and vegetables. We hear that we can make it to town via bicycle, so we naturally […]

Scala Quaranta

Scala Quaranta is our card game of choice while on the farm. Taught to us by Gabe, this is an Italian card game that was popular in the 1920’s and is similar to Rummy. The game is played with two decks of 54 (include the jokers), each player receiving 13 to start the game, and […]

The Vineyard Schedule

5:45am – Wake-up 6:00am – Breakfast of muesli, corn flakes, whole milk, tea, coffee, and bananas 6:30am – Work in the vineyard. Everyday, the three of us spend four hours in the vineyard performing two tasks. 1) We wrap vines back along their supporting wires and posts, and 2) we prune around the grapes so […]

Ursula and Sigismund’s Story

This story begins in Mannheim, a town about 50 miles south of Frankfurt, Germany. Ursula and Sigismund, a happy couple with stable jobs, are discussing the best environment to raise their three boys. If they stay where they are, the boys will end up attending boarding school from the age of ten, and although they […]