Salvatore Had a Farm EE-I-EE-I-O

And on that farm he had some stones


With a pick pick here and a pick pick there

Yes I know another nursery rhyme but if you had had three days of rain you would be going stir crazy as well. 5 inches of rain has fallen today and it is not yet 5 p.m. and that follows 3 inches yesterday. Thursday is forecast to be the only day of relief from it this week.

As I sat looking out at the rain over the large field we call rather laughingly call a garden I started again to foolishly think about me behind a rotovator turning the soil over and then me behind a large roller smoothing the ground ready for making some kind of real garden. Luckily a large clap of thunder bought me back to my senses with a jolt. The land around us is rocky in the extreme. Large and small stones and rocks litter the ground and lurk inches beneath the soil waiting for the unsuspecting blade of the rotovator.

I have been walking past a field that Salvatore one of our local farmers has been readying  for planting grass for fed for his cows. It has been an amazing  to watch.  Let me show you the issue first


This is what an untended field looks like before the farmer has had a go at it. Under all our weeds ours looks like this also.

So first Salvatore used a heavy plough to turn his field over . Then he hitched a trailer and as he drove slowly up and down the field behind him three guys walked picking up stones and throwing them in the trailer. He then ploughed again and the picking started again.  Oh boy did it look hard work unless you were the tractor driver of course. Slowly the pile of stones grew until eventually all seemed happy and off they went

Pile of stones

That pile is size of the house behind it and the field isn’t that big. The heart breaking thing is over the next two years more stones will rise to the surface and it will all have to be done again.

Now all these rising stones to me mean things down below are on the move, you know rock  strata and all that stuff. So when my friendly house insurance guy phoned the other day to offer me earthquake insurance I was tempted. It was only the fact that it seemed to double the quote and probably had more escape clauses than an Houdini act that I paused for thought and checked on line.  There I saw a word I hadn’t seen for years.  Stalactite .

My mind went back through the mist of times and there was I at Pembroke House Prep schools on a warm summers day sitting in a geography lesson being taught by the aptly named Mr. Cornwall. ( English County name). He was droning on at the front and I was strategically placed at the back of  class 5c the lowest of the streams attempting to pass common entrance . The sloping desk made an ideal pitch for playing Owzthat  which for the uninitiated is a desk cricket game played by rolling dice to get the score or how someone is out. The England number 10 batsman one Mike Jones no less was in the process of saving his team from defeat by the Aussies and was on 98 not out having already when England were fielding bowled 6 of the Aussies out. However at that moment Snozzle ( Mr Cornwall’s nick name as he had a nose not dissimilar to the map of Cornwall in length and size) uttered one of his occasional bon mots that if remembered could make the difference between pass and failure in the exam. Stalagmites push up with all their might and stalactites hang on tight. So stalactites hung down from the ceiling of a cave. I quickly scribbled this down and then went back to receiving the adulation of a packed Lords cricket ground as the dice rolled to 2 and I made my maiden hundred.

What I read on line was that in the many grotto of Puglia ( limestone territory around here ) there were stalactites that could be dated back thousands of years. Now during any earthquake action one of the first things to be shaken off  in  the grotto it being underground and therefore closer to the action are the stalactites . So the article said we can safely assume that for a long time there have been no earthquakes here.

Now I’m sure my friendly insurance man would counter that there is a first time for everything but I decided to decline his offer.

So dear old snozzle not only limped me through passing my geography common entrance but saved me a shedload of money  long after he himself was pushing up daisies. Incidentally I went on to score several centuries for England and took  plenty of wickets until the not so apply named Miss Loveitt caught me playing the game in prep and confiscated them.


About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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3 Responses to Salvatore Had a Farm EE-I-EE-I-O

  1. Sue Garrott says:

    I have watched a neighbor undertake another approach which uses 2 tractors with machinery that crushes the stone into a fine powder that gets cultivated into soil. Future rotovating needs to be fairly shallow so more stones are not encouraged to the surface. Hunting season started mid September and should end by last day of Jan 2014.

  2. Rosemarie Amatulli says:

    We’ve got similar ground, and “doing a bit of gardening” takes on a whole new meaning here!

  3. RP says:

    Just maybe you should have questioned Old Snozzle a bit more and discovered that stalactites & mites are features of a Karst landscape. The Murge plateau on which our houses sit is a classic Karst landscape and is covered in Dolinas, grottos, etc. A Dolina is an earth filled depression in a Karst landscape caused by dissolution of limestone and could indicate there are yet undiscovered sinkholes and ongoing subterranean dissolution. . Now the good news is that the likelihood of this happening is such low risk that even the insurers are not worried. But the next time you here a rumbling in the night it may not just be that dodgy lasagne!

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