Author Archives: christinemargerum

About christinemargerum

As a part-time community-college instructor, I have a double life: working and living a wonderful life in the U.S. 's best town ever (Berkeley); and living and working in the wonderful Umbrian countryside whenever I can. Husband Terry and daughters Ingrid and Nina play along.

The Pleasures of an Un-mowed Lawn

Here I am, back at Calboccia in late April. I hear that it hasn’t rained in the area for two months, yet all is green – the trees, the foliage of our sixty-some rose plants, and the grass of our … Continue reading

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Of Hornets, Bats, and Wasps

How I Learned to Appreciate Wasps Some years ago, a hornet nest was being crafted diligently and expertly inside our house wall by some of these noisy and frightening creatures.  When I asked our gardener Vittorio, a gentle and animal-loving … Continue reading

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Long Forgotten 1939 Vintage Hand Towels

77-year old hidden damask hand towels finally hit the laundry line for the first time! Seventy-seven years ago, in 1939, back when this story begins, my German grandparents were the proprietors of a country store named “Kaufhaus Angeln,” which offered … Continue reading

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Thoughts About Planting

I have written earlier that I would report on our planting process at Calboccia, but then I didn’t.  It took me some time to think about this because there is more to say than what  we are planting this winter … Continue reading

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We Adopted!

Last Christmas, our children presented us with the most thoughtful gift:  The adoption of a fruit tree of an ancient variety at the “Archeologia Arborea” in San Lorenzo di Lerchi in Umbria (, just a couple of kilometers west of … Continue reading

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We got re-adopted: The Cat Came Back!

  Extremely well-fed and now neutered, stray cat Bianchino has returned to Calboccia after half a year of absence.  Over last fall and early winter, he must have been taken in at a neighboring villa, where the owners stay around … Continue reading

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Three Oddities: Thousands of Birds, a Summer Truffle in March, and a Red Mushroom

More winter experiences: One late afternoon in February, my attention was drawn away from preparing dinner to the sound of many bird wings outside.  When I emerged out of the house to the front terrace,  I realized that many thousands … Continue reading

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