In Cittanova in december it starts to be cool outside, and definitivly cold during the night, so I had to hurry up to find firewood to heat at home… what i might have done already last spring, chopping one of the big old olive trees. Nevermind, the only real problem is that the wood i’m burning now has been recently chopped from the plants, and contains too much water, so the heating power is not the best!
About foraging in december, I had to notice a certain good heritage of the numerous chickens which got killed by animals last spring: th whole area where they were use to run all around for several months, through their menure is now a field full of a local sort of cabbage plant, called “cime di rapa”. From them are consumed now the leaves, and later in winter-spring the flowers.
About the olives, I have to notice that the olive plants which grow up near the small brick house and wherever around the area where in the last few years came a certain amount of small stones, are really the plants with the most of the olives. This confirms the theory, after which small stones increase the fertility of this ground, for the soil hasn’t got originally any stone, but a very fine and deep dark earth. The soil near the house was completely covered by a lyer of fallen olives, after beeing covered last years by a lyer of stones!
I didn’t plant anything new, except for a few slices of garlic together with some plants of wild strawberry in a pot, and some seed of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) and garden cress in another pot where also grows a plant of grape.
In another top kept growing during the winter a potato plant, fed with all the rotten vegetal parts left by the died summer plants.
A delicious thing I’ve eaten in december was the small fruit called here in calabria “survu” or “sorvu”. My own trees don’t produce any fruit yet, but i could buy in the market a certain amount of them, and spend the whole month eating them after and after as soon as they were got ripe. As long as they are not ripe and very soft, they are not edible.
Another thing i did with the fruits was a so called “vino di sorbe”, made of some ripe ones, white wine and cane sugar or honey. It worked at the end as a proud liqueur during the Christmas time!
But the real Christmas presents brought up from the agricoltural world were two other: the soaps made of own olive oil from last year, shaped as hearts and mixed with sage and a few other local ingredients;
…and a small, green caterpillar, that lied several days long among the foraged cabbage leaves, until it felt like it has to change something in its life.
So it stopped eating, retired itself on a stick, and built around its body a silk security belt. After a few days it turned into a cocoon and stopped every life activity.
..until a special day, the first of january, suddenly from the cocoon sprang out a marvellous butterfly! Happy new year!