Harvesting olives

Olive harvest 2007 - Day 1

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Max and Milo take a break
For the past 2 weeks, we have had constant sun, blue skies and warm weather. Temps around 60 degrees F, and very little wind. Not great for the veg garden, we think, but it will be wonderful to start olive picking in such ideal weather (compare to last year - almost constant cold weather and mist!). So we think, anyway.

I woke up in the night last night to hear fearsome winds, which did not die down in the night, but only got worse. Morning broke with strong winds of 35 mph, but still sunny and with blue skies! Did I forget to mention in my wishes that we did NOT want wind for olive picking, I wonder? How could I make such a mistake!

So using our nets today was out of the question - with only 2 of us picking this year, we cannot hold the nets flat to catch the olives, so the operation is impossible! We decide instead to pick the top terrace near the house, which contains mostly small trees which can be picked by hand (a very slow process, however).

All things considered, we did not do too badly on Day 1. We picked around 40 kilos of olives, with a few left to do with nets tomorrow, definitely up on last year's Day 1 picking on the same piece of land.

Not too many of our trees so far seem to have been hit by the dreaded "hongo" (fungus) which seems to have hit most of our neighbour's trees. The local guys say the hongo is due to the warm wet autumn we had - the humidity 'sat' on the end of the olive, causing it to grow a fungus that spread up the olive. Olives hit by the fungus are not worth pressing, as they are dry and bitter - our friend Manuel has had about 60% of his crop hit by the fungus, a pretty serious hit for him considering the number of trees he has. I think we lucked out due to our higher altitude and strong winds - we seem to be protected from most of the olive pests and diseases that affect other areas of Yunquera.

So we finished our Day 1 around 5:30 pm, with a few trees left to finish on the top terrace tomorrow. We are tired, and so are the dogs - puppy Milo spent most of the day running around like a loon, but has now crashed out in front of the fire! I think we will follow soon.

Olives picked: 40-ish kilos
Incidents: none
Dinner: leftover chicken, with our own potatoes and green beans. We have cooked ahead for the whole week!