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Moving Time

By Rick Gush, Urban Farm Contributing Editor

Friday, November 12, 2010

Moving boxes

Photo by Rick Gush

Moving these boxes—all 360 of them—down the cliff is going to be a real challenge.

I’d enjoy being able to recount the marvelous work that I’ve done in the garden this week, but it just ain’t so. Instead, I’ve been moving my office/workshop. (Well, I did at least manage to plant the fava beans this week. The little strip (pictured below) where I planted them is, in fact, my largest bed, so one can better understand the little handkerchiefs of cultivatable land I’ve created on the cliff face.)

Anyway, my office/workshop has been in its current location for 10 years now, so the process of packing everything up is sort of an archaeological exercise. I’ve been packing boxes and cleaning out the old place for the last month, and except for the computers, I’m mostly ready. I’ve counted 360 boxes and other wrapped stuff, all ready to move. Whew! 

Garden bed

Photo by Rick Gush

Despite all the work I've put into packing boxes for the move, I managed to find time to plant my fava beans.

The new place is full of charm. It’s a series of three rooms strung out behind a garage.  I’d estimate that it was last painted before the second world war, and there’s a fair amount of fixing up to do. The rear room was used as a wine-bottling and storage location by a local fellow and his brother. Along with a lot of cool old bottles, I’ve inherited some other winemaking equipment, so I’ll probably try my hand at winemaking the next abundant grape season.

There are windows running down the south side of the building, so even without lights, the place is pretty bright. Well, at least it’s bright now, since I’ve taken down all the ancient drapes that covered the windows. The ceilings are really high in two of the rooms, almost 10 feet tall. I like the frequency of tall ceilings here in Italy.  The ceilings in our home are also more than 9 feet high.

I did have to cut out some iron beams that supported a sort of second story built into the room I’m going to use as the office, but the upper floor was made with some ancient tongue and groove boards. I’m going to use those to make a nice wood floor for the office room. I’ve also inherited a truckload of mixed ceramic tiles, because the previous tenant was a builder back in the 60s. Some of the tiles are wonderfully wild, and I’m planning to tile the workshop room with an abstract pattern before I build the workbenches.  

There’s a little creek that runs right alongside the building, right underneath the windows. I like the loud gurgling that one can hear in all the rooms. I’ve already dropped a few tools into the creek while fixing up the windows, but I did manage to put a hook on the end of a long tube and reach down into the creek to retrieve them.  

My goal is to finish at least the one room I’ll use for my desk and computers by the end of the month, at which point I’ll round up my friend with the big truck and make the move. There are about 200 steps down to the street in the current location, so lugging the 360 boxes down to the street level will be a task.

I adore making shelves and stuff for my workshop. The opportunity to create a brand new workshop is intoxicating.  I’ve got a whole lot of lumber all ready to go and a delivery of some new plywood scheduled for next week.  It’ll be a fun winter.

Read more of Digging Italy »

Give us your opinion on Moving Time.
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oh I can't imagine moving
Kristin, upper sandusky, OH
Posted: 11/19/2010 9:46:11 PM
Ha, I'm thinking an artic circle trip would be just a bit much. I too am trying to live as simple as I can being in Urban town USA. Walmart is 2 miles away, Lowe's three miles away, and being surrounded within one mile by tons of fast food places makes for a difficult time to stick to the simple life style. I'm not sure that I could live without a car, but there are days when my truck never leaves the barn (garage).

I really do like working in the yard and garden. I am always in process of working on a project even through my Urban Ranch is a very small 50X100. I have five raised garden beds with enough room for two more. I've started into vertical growing. I call it my urban backyard biointensive vertical raised bed growing experient. It sounds pretty impressive but it's nothing more than a pile of compost with landscaping timbers around it and a few long sticks poked in the pile.

I too used to be the go to guy for the heavy lifting during a move, but the knees just won't take it any more.

Have a great Italy day.
David, Omaha, NE
Posted: 11/19/2010 6:21:52 AM
Hi David,

Cool! Could you drive over here and give a hand next Thursday? I suppose you'll need to put studded tires on, because you'll need to pass over the Artic Circle.

I remember what it was like to have truck and lots of friends who always seemed to have a need for assistance moving this or that large thing. I'm sort of a big apelike guy with long arms, so my specialty was being the guy that could pick up the refrigerator or couch and maneuver it down to the truck.

Boy do I know how lucky I was to make my decision to move here to Italy and change my lifestyle. I live on less than a third of the monthly cash that I used to need just to stay afloat. Not having a car or truck or both these days saves a ton of money. I used to eat out a lot, but nowdays we eat at home essentially always. The food's better, more the way I like it, and way less expensive. I sort of miss the adventure, but I really enjoy saving the time. It's not that growing a bunch of vegetables really save so much hard cash, but it does really contribute to the quality and emotional satisfaction with the meal eating routine.

There are almost no self storage places here in Italy, and boy do they need them. Know anybody with an extra million or so to invest in the building of a chain of Italian storage facilities? Pretty much a sure thing. The Italians are log term experts at moving in with relatives and every body needs a little extra space. Individuals living alone are really rare here.
Rick, Rapallo, YT
Posted: 11/18/2010 10:21:25 AM
Are you making any headway on moving. I have a Ford Ranger pickup truck and folks here know that I love to help move things. This time of year is a busy time for moving.

Have a great moving day.
David, Omaha, NE
Posted: 11/18/2010 5:29:32 AM

About the Blogger

Rick Gush

Rick Gush
Rick Gush has long been a staunch organic gardener. While a student at the University of California at Davis he worked at local tomato and sugar beet farms and continued in the agricultural and horticultural industries for many years. A career move in the 1990s led him to design computer games, but no matter how much of a techie he’s become, gardening and farming remain his principal passions.

In 2000, Rick moved to Italy, where he writes to you about his cliff garden and other experiences in Italian urban agriculture.

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