the olive harvest!

Our weekend is pretty well summarised by the photos and videos – lovely winter sunshine and an activity that was good for body and soul, as well as helping us leave the planet a little better than we found it.

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Tree-climbing and then big bursts of energy to shake and whack the branches were our preferred method to get the olives down – a highlight from Saturday was Bernat’s monkey dancing- In one particular tree he had his feet balanced on different branches and could jump quickly from foot to foot using his body weight and the energy generated by hollering loudly to shake the olives down. (sadly there’s no video of that one). In between all this activity is the calm work sorting the olives from the leaves.

After a few hours of shaking, sorting, picnicing, and trying to teach Kira to put the olives in the bucket not take them out, we headed back to our warm apartment in town. As a winter treat I think I’ll be happy to rent an apartment every olive harvest. We very much appreciated a hot shower and an indoor kitchen to cook up a hearty dinner of the local butcher’s excellent sausages with cabbage from Gustavo’s vegetable garden.

Sunday was spent improving the efficiency of our collection method – more shaking and less whacking brings down less leaves with the olives. It means there are many olives left on each tree but with limited time and without volunteers we looked for the way to get the most olives for the least effort.

In all we collected 50 kilos, but we left at least 100 more on the trees. Our harvest, like 60% of the fincas this year, was infected with a burrowing fly so we couldn’t keep the olives to eat as we had planned, but they can be used to make oil. Before leaving we gave the 5 buckets to our neighbour who will add it to the harvest he takes to the mill and give us the oil in return.

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