Posted by: Debra Kolkka | April 19, 2021

Cold spring at Casa Debbio

I don’t have much to report from Casa Debbio. April has been cold. After a few warm, sunny weeks in March the weather turned cold and damp. The garden was already damaged by deep snow in January and the current weather has made things worse.

The cherry tree had less than half the blossoms it usually gets and the lavender is looking very ordinary. The wisteria is still to bloom.

On the upside some of the peonies have bloomed and are looking gorgeous. I can’t get down to the lower terrace to see them, but Sarah picked some yesterday and brought them up to the house so we can enjoy them.

Most of Italy is still red or orange. Tuscany is orange, but it makes little difference to me. I have only left the house twice in the last few weeks to go to the hospital. The first time was just a check up and the second was to have the stitches out of my leg and ankle. All seems OK and I don’t have to go again until the cast comes off on May 6th and some screws are taken out of my ankle.

I turned out to be absolute useless with crutches so I now have a walking frame for upstairs and a wheelchair for downstairs. I still can’t get outside much because there are few flat surfaces here and the garden is all slopes and uneven terrain. The cold, windy weather has meant this is not  really appealing  anyway.

Sarah has been cooking up a storm. She makes a delicious lunch every day and loves to make cakes. Here is her chicken and leek pie.

I am very lucky to have Sarah here to help me. She brings me coffee in bed every morning and is there for me at the top of the stairs to meet me as I drag myself backwards up from the ground floor to my bedroom. She hauls me up onto my very helpful walking frame and I take it from there. It is sometimes made more difficult because we can’t stop laughing.

Filippo has been wonderful. He drives me to the hospital and takes care of all the things around the house that I can no longer do. He fills the pellet heater, waters my precious plants as well as his usual gardening work. He also likes Sarah’s cakes.

There is a bit of good news. It seems Tuscany will be declared a yellow zone next week and bars and restaurants will be able to serve customers at outside tables. I am looking forward to that almost as much as getting the cast off my leg.



  1. I pray you will continue to heal and get back on your feet very soon! Even though Italy is in a cold snap, the pictures are still lovely—especially those gorgeous peonies! Take care!

    • It is just 2 weeks and 2 days to go until the cast comes off. Warm weather is on the way and soon we will have more freedom to move about. It will happen!

  2. Those peonies would have to brighten any situation Deb ! So beautiful . Wishing you a continuing good recovery . Your patience must truly be being tested . Am off to make a chicken and leek pie , that picture has inspired me . Take care .

    • Well Deb, if you have to do this — and it is really hard! — you have chosen a pretty good spot. Someone to cook like that and someone to look after the garden and deliver peonies like that? Pretty good! We are missing your West End cottons so do consider making the trip ‘sometime’! Or will you be taking orders once you have a working leg. Just to keep the connections … Chin up, and get excited about the coming warmth, Catherin

      • I am sewing. I have to do something. I will have a bit of a collection to bring home when I finally can. Thank goodness for friends in a difficult situation like this.

    • The chicken and leek pie is a Women’s Weekly recipe and is excellent. I am past the half way mark now and am counting down.

  3. Such beautiful peonies. xx

    • They are the most beautiful flowers. At least something in the garden is doing well.

  4. I was hopeless on crutches too! I get to keep my two pins and plate in situ.

    • The pin and screws in the fibula stay there but the one in my ankle comes out. I will be very happy to have this sorted.

  5. The whole thing must be so difficult. How wonderful to have people around like Sarah and Filipo, I hope you recover as soon as you can. But can you please ask Sarah for her chicken and leek recipe, please please, it looks so delicious!
    Grazie, Derin Gemignani

    • I will send you the recipe. I am very lucky to have good friends around me.

  6. Beautiful peonies, my favourite. Seems you are being cosseted by friend and gardener, which is lovely. Hoping you get better soon.
    Your posts are always beautiful to read.

    • I would be stuck without my friends. I am very lucky to have them. I will certainly value my freedom when it comes!

  7. Deb lovely to again hear your news and see ohotos especially of the beautiful peonies. Sarah’s cooking looks delicious and also can just picture the 2 of you in stitches of laughter. Lots of love and everything will be OK soon.

    • Warm weather will arrive soon and the garden will catch up, but it won’t be a great season. Thank goodness for the beautiful peonies! And thank goodness for friends.

  8. I’m so pleased to hear that Tuscany is dialling down the level of Covid alert. It’s also good to hear that your ankle is improving. I too couldn’t get along with a walking stick – more often than not i got it caught between my feet and that made me laugh (or swear) and a couple of times I was really tempted to poke people with it! I’m very, very glad it was only a temporary prop. Your peonies are so beautiful – i rate them right up there with that fabulous chicken pie!

    • Things will slowly improve in all directions. 2 weeks and 2 days to go!

  9. Hi, Deb! Good to hear that you are surviving the ordeal and that you are getting plenty of help.
    I am having a bit of trouble after being vaccinated. That was almost a week ago and I am getting all the side effects on the list. I will have to be patient.
    Try to relax and enjoy all that beautiful food…

    • I’m sorry to hear you have had side effects from the vaccine. I am yet to get mine. Jim had his in Australia without problems. I hope you are back in top form soon.

  10. Two weeks and two days! I hope it goes quickly for you, surrounded by those beautiful flowers. And with the help and care of lovely friends. I’m sure they are happy to be of help to you, I know you are happy to have them 😊

    • I got to sit outside this morning in beautiful sunshine, but it disappeared and now it is overcast and looking like rain.

  11. Debra, I hope you enjoy the sunshine today. The chicken and leeks pie looks great! I will have to try that. We too are looking forward to better days, though there’s plenty to do at home and my lettuce seems to be growing despite rain and hailstorms. Stay positive! Love, Norma

    • The sunshine this morning was lovely. All of a sudden it changed and now we have clouds with a distinct chance of rain!

  12. Debra
    Thanks for all your wonderful posts – they bring a lot of joy. Hope you recover quickly and get to enjoy a wonderful summer on two feet, there in your part of Italy. Best wishes from me here in Northern New South Wales.

    • My foot feels better every day. The cast comes off in 1 week and 6 days. I am looking forward to freedom from restrictions because of covid and the cast. Warm weather is on the way…things are looking up.

  13. Stunning flowers those peonies. Good luck with your ankle.

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