November 5, 2018
I'm sorry it took so long for me to write and thank you for your hospitality while I stayed in your guest house. I loved waking up every morning to your barking at the door and waiting for me to come outside to play. I would run to the door and jump up and down until Maree opened it and let me out. That was one of the best weeks of my life so far, and I miss you. I hope I didn't leave too much white fur on your carpet.
When we left your Sonoma home, we went back to Benicia for a while, but now I am in Italy. I know, where is Italy you are asking yourself? Well, I can tell you it is far away from California, and there is a very different life here. They don't even speak the same language. We live in an old stone farm house out in the country, and the pace of life is much slower here. The one exception is that people talk so fast your brain just can't keep up with what they are saying.
Last night we had quite a downpour. I have never seen it rain so hard, and the noise on the roof was deafening. I went out in the yard and ran around as fast as I could trying to avoid the rain drops. Needless to say, I came in pretty wet. But the best part of that is getting dried by the towel. Towels are one of my favorite toys. You can play tug of war with them and they are pretty tasty too. I think they have different flavors depending on the color. The towel last night was blue. It tasted like blueberries. I liked it's flavor more than the purple pansies I ate in the afternoon. But it was not as good as the zucchini flowers. Next to green beans, I think I like them best.
This morning the sun has finally come out and it is the most beautiful morning we have had since we arrived here about two weeks ago. Now I can really see and appreciate the beauty of this place. But today I have to watch out for all of the bees and yellow jackets flying around though. I hear that our neighbor, Fabrizio, has bee hives. Jim's allergic to bee stings, so I am not sure about living next to bee hives. I just hope I never get stung, but I am always putting my nose in the wrong place and trying to pick up crawly things in my mouth. So, I keep Maree pretty busy telling me No. Sometimes I wonder if that is why she named me Dino because it has her favorite word in the name.
After the storms we had this past week, my yard is carpeted with mulberry leaves giving the entire place a golden hue. I like running through the leaves, picking them up and tossing them in the air. I like the sound of them as I run through them, and I like the taste of them too. When I run, they reel crinkly under my feet.
Outside of my yard all of the hills are very green except where the farmers have plowed their fields and then there is a patchwork of browns and greens. While the olive trees still have all of their leaves, the grape vines are starting to lose theirs and many of the trees are already naked including the bitter almond tree across the street. Its bare branches reach toward the sky and I wonder if it is praying for a mild winter. I hear that last winter was pretty brutal. As a matter of fact, on the forty olive trees on our property, there is not one olive. And that is pretty typical of our area this year. Apparently, a storm in March killed off all of little buds that make the olives. But from what I hear, last winter was not as bad as the first winter Jim and Maree lived here. I hear them telling tales of a Siberian winter where it snowed every day for three weeks. I am a California dog, so I am not sure what snow is, but I am pretty sure that I don't want it to snow that much. Maybe I will need to buy a coat and boots soon. I think I saw a little frost on the grass this morning, so winter is definitely coming and I don't mean on HBO.
From my yard, I can see several hill towns, but the closest is Rosora where some of Maree and Jim's friends live and where we go to dinner a lot at Vittoria Il Graditempo. Alessia, the owner, is very nice, and she speaks English so I can understand her. It is a windy road to get to her restaurant, and I don't like being out on that road at night. I think I don't like all of that nothingness that surrounds us as we drive along streets with very few houses and no street lights. I am always wondering what is out there hiding in the dark and thinking a wild boar is going to run out in front of us any minute. There is one thing I do like about living in this very dark and sparsely populated area though. I can see the stars - millions of them. I never knew there were so many stars in the sky. Something called the milky way is very visible overhead and now I can spot the big dipper. Soon maybe I will learn more of the constellations. I am particularly interested in locating the dog star.
I have to go now. Some truck just pulled up in front of the house with a box. I hope it is full of dog treats. I have to run and bark now.
Hoping to see you again soon,
Your Pal in Italy, Dino
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I am Maree, the voice of Dino - or at least I am the one who does the typing. For more information about me and my life in Italy, you can follow me at theproseccoproject.com.