Harvesting olives

Olive harvest 2007 - Days 2 - xx

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Kenton and the dogs picking olives
No wind today! And it was sunny! And still with the blue skies! Maybe we'll get really bored with this lovely winter weather soon? Nahhh....just kidding, we adore it!

So we started with the nets today. 2 large nets, 33 x 20 feet, positioned under each tree, and staked up on one end, so that when the tree is shaken with our mechanical shaker, the olives fall conveniently into the nets for scooping up into the bags. Well, in theory, anyway! You never get the nets quite right, some always fall between the nets or off to one side! Plus, we had NOT accounted for our new boxer puppy Milo and his favourite new game - jumping into the nets!

Yes, it was a total nightmare today. Milo insisted on helping. As we dragged the nets to each tree, he would jump on the net for a "ride" - meaning that you are lugging along an extra 20 pounds of puppy weight! I think Milo thought that the nets were a lovely moving sidewalk just for him. And, once we got the nets placed under the trees, and Kenton started shaking the tree, Milo would jump into the nets to chase (and eat) olives. Very helpful.

Incident 1 came just after we painstakingly placed the nets under a particularly difficult tree - the tree was the other side of our pump house, surrounded by some extremely spikey bushes, and right on a steep ledge! Just as Kenton started the mechanical shaker, Milo had one of his mad moments - he jumped in the middle of the net, raced to the other net and jumped into it too, then 'skated' over the bushes the nets were placed on top of. Predictable results, of course - the olive attrition rate was high, with mostly squished or lost olives from that tree. It sounds funny now, yeah, but at that point, we were seriously considering using our 'naughty rope' to tie him to the nearest tree!

Incident 2 came when Kenton was carefully backing up with a net, to place it the other side of a tree. Not seeing, of course, an unexpected small dirt 'ridge' behind him. Next thing he knew, he was looking at sky! It was a great new game for Milo, of course, jumping on Kenton as he lay on the ground! My first question was "did Kenton hit his head?" (no) followed by "I'm glad it wasn't me, because I don't fall as gracefully as Kenton does!"

The bad news today was that the ridge we picked from had been hit hard by the "hongo". Several trees had many olives on them, but 95% of them unpickable. These we picked by hand, as you can't risk mixing the fungus-hit olives into the olive oil, or it will end up bitter. Now you see why olive oil can be so expensive - the best stuff comes from olives carefully picked and sorted!

Olives picked: 70-ish kilos
Incidents: 2
Dinner: Kumla (Swedish potato dumplings), pork chops, leeks and carrots