Mechanical aspects in our 300 year old temporary home...many photos include new homemade pizza recipe using local ingredients...



This paper towel holder is a dowel, a piece of string tied in loops on the ends to be hung on any available hook.  Simple and clever.

Today is a full three weeks we've been living in a charming 300 year old stone house, nestled in the mountains among a cluster of other attached homes built centuries ago, into the exquisitely forested and farmed hills and valleys of Boveglio in the Province of Lucca, Tuscany, Italy.

It's at about this time, as we've become more settled, that we wander about our vacation rentals with a more keen eye observing its quirks and nuances, some of which may be a violation of code in the US and other countries which we find to be unique and interesting. 
More cloth wiring in the kitchen with exposed bulbs over the sink.

The electrical wiring throughout the house is all exposed, using cloth as opposed to the conduit most of us are familiar with as a code requirement in the US and other countries.  We doubt that building/code compliance inspectors travel around inspecting all of these centuries old properties.

As shown above in the kitchen, the main source of lighting is these two fixtures over the kitchen table, encased in glass globes.  Energy efficient as the "curly" energy efficient bulbs we'd used in the US, this particular style takes approximately five minutes to light up the area which can be a little tricky at night.
 
As the designated cook (Tom's the dishwasher), I've had the most difficulty operating the stove.  Its a newer "made-to-look old" range and oven and there's nothing wrong with it. 

This hanging plant is used to hide an electrical outlet.

It's the same a stove type we used in Belize; gas without an automatic pilot.  One has to hold in a button while pushing in the dial to ignite the oven or burner.  It sounds easy but the trick is in the amount of time one has to hold in the button and the dial to keep the burner ignited.  Let go of one too soon and gas is free flowing without ignition.
 
I know its not rocket science nor does it require an inordinate amount of skill.  For some odd reason, I struggle with this, trying desperately to figure it out on the own without having to ask Tom.  Stubborn, I guess.  On occasion, even he, Mr. Coordinated, has trouble with this.  In several instances, we've had to stop, open the screen-less window wide waiting for the gas to clear to later begin again.

These cloth wires are above the small shower and near the sink in the large main bath.


Two things here to notice:  One, this is Tom walking down the long 42 foot hallway for which he obviously has to duck.  Yes, he's banged his head many times getting me into the habit of saying, "Don't bang your head!" as he walks to the bedroom.  Two, this is Tom desperately needing a haircut.  We've yet to find an available barber in any of the villages we've visited.  His last haircut was in March in Belize for which we wrote a post with photos. Ponytail or shave?  Which will it be?

This doorway to the main bathroom was cut to fit the frame, also low requiring that I also duck when entering or leaving. 

Another head ducking/banging doorway to a guest bedroom.



Earlier, we'd posted a different photo of access to the patio from the stone stairway.  These stone steps continue down a full flight, making this the most hazardous spot in the house.  Although this patio is our new sunning spot and only place to hang laundry outdoors, we spot each other each time we hike up there.  No happy hour is had on this patio!   
 


This is an old, now unused wood burning stove (we think unused) in the long hallway.

The uneven multiple steps in the long hallway along with the variation of low ceilings presents an ongoing challenge for both of us.  Tom is roughly four inches taller than I creating a much more hazardous situation for him.
 
The heating elements for the radiators are behind this hanging curtain in the long hallway.  Hummm....
Also, there are two uneven steps from the hallway into the master bedroom.  We've both adopted a habit of reaching around to the wall on the right of the doorway to turn on the overhead light.  This process reminds us of the two steps.

This meter, most likely electrical, is in the interior hallway by the front door.
During daylight hours, we leave the hallway light on all day (the only light that remains on) as a reminder to tread carefully through the areas of steps.  At night, we bring our mugs filled with ice water to leave at each of our nightstands and also use the en suite bathroom to avoid the long walk down the hall.

Tom was washing dishes one night while I tended to the laundry.  Hearing this box turn off and on rapidly startled me.  I ran upstairs to ask Tom when he told me it an "on demand" hot water heater.  I'd heard of these in the US but never heard one of them in operation.  In any case, most systems are energy efficient here in Italy.
Also, during the day, we keep the bedroom door, the screen-less windows and shutters closed.  These two steps keeps the bedroom cool for sleeping and more importantly, keeps the flying insects from flying around our heads at night. 


In our old lives, if our dishwasher or dryer broke down, we'd be in a tizzy for days until an overpriced repairman arrived with a fix.  Now, we chuckle as we hang the wash outside, do dishes by hand, swat flies and bees flying indoors all day, cook food in batches (as opposed to leftovers) with no microwave and look down while bending our heads when we walk around the house.

This green plastic hose could be anything. 

This week, we'll cook all the remaining frozen meats so we can defrost the tiny freezer before we go grocery shop again.  At this point, the buildup of ice is occupying a third of the space.  I can't recall the last time we defrosted a freezer.

This carved from the stone area inside the main door entry may be the water or gas meter.

 Much to our mutual delight, neither of us complains or whines to each other.  We observe, discovering solutions and adapt accordingly.  All of these minor inconveniences become a part of the experience, a part of our personal growth as we strive to adapt and a part of the stories we'll someday tell to anyone who'll listen...in English, please.

Last night's yet to be baked homemade low carb, gluten free, grain free, starch free and sugar free pizza made with "real" mozzarella (often referred to as buffalo mozzarella in the US) and locally grown ingredients.  The stringiness factor was tripled from pizza we'd made in the past using "manufactured" bagged shredded mozzarella which we hope to never use again.  It was our best pizza ever! I'd cut up double the ingredients in order to make another freshly made
pizza for tonight with no microwave for reheating. Nothing like two nights of freshly made pizza!
 

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