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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

tomato planting with the world's cutest nonno.

the decision to include planting a garden with my nonno on my 30 by 30 list (near the top might i add) was one i didn't have to dwell much on. growing up spending every day of my summer at nonno & nonna's house while my parents worked is a huge part of who i am today; i literally spent a third of my childhood in their kitchen eating, and the back yard playing (and eating for that matter). same goes for the living room, family room, the kitchen downstairs and in bed, because nonna was cool like that. each morning, my nonno would wake up at the crack of dawn to spend his whole day outside, and not much has changed since. from about february when he moves into the greenhouse full time, until the very last head of radicchio in the fall, this man eats, sleeps and loves his garden.
a sheppard living in italy or the "old country" as he likes to call it, nonno worked long days to provide for his family. they grew vegetables, raised animals, and lived simply in the mountains of italy, until my mom was born and my nonno and nonna made the decision to move to canada with family to live a better life. with a six month old in tow, they took the two week journey across the atlantic ocean all the way to the ever-so-charming town of thorold -- i know, i don't get it either. long story short, they have proudly called canada home since 1960, and have never been back to italy. nowadays nonno continues to spend his time in the backyard of his own little italy, and when he mentioned planting tomatoes this past weekend, i told him i would be there bright and early to give him a hand. 
not that he needs it, the man's a machine, like a boss.
the garden had already been staked more precisely freehand than if he had used a ruler, tape measure, meter stick, compass, protractor, pencil sharpener, eraser or any other item one could find in a geometry set. i handed him the tomato plants as he dug, planted and watered all 30 of them -- each one placed at the exact same depth, packed in with the exact same amount of pressure and watered just the same. there was no sense in offering to do his part, as he has a system that works for him, so naturally, it works for me. nonna brought us croissants and coffee, and before we knew it, there was a beautiful crop ready to grow and yield big, fat, juicy tomatoes. come july, i'll be in that garden picking sun-warmed tomatoes and eating them straight from the vine. it was the perfect little morning, and i'm so thankful for it.
 *please note: in the first image, the 'espalier' of apple trees he's got growing along the length of the back fence. each spring they burst into a row of lovely white blossoms, followed by a summer of lush green foliage and a fall of harvesting delicious green apples.
*please also note: nonno gardens in a dress shirt, dress pants, dress shoes (specifically worn in the garden) and a belt without breaking a damn sweat even once.


  1. So cute. I love that you can have these sorts of bonding times with your grand-folk. Nonno looks like the sort of guy that helps you slow down and forget that the rest of the world even exists.

  2. Just to let you know I get first dibbs on anything from that Garden Seniority rules Princess!!!



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