It’s that time again in our part of the world: olive-picking time. In Longoio we are near the top height for growing olives (and vines) – 1750 feet. This year for the very first time we’ve got something worth picking in our miniscule grove of twenty-odd trees. The afternoon was gorgeously autumnal and two of my cats, Cheekie and grand master Napoleon came down with me.
There was a surprising lot of berries to pick.
As my cats love climbing up trees I had a wild idea of training them to ascent up the olive trees and help the precious fruits drop. After all, more technically advanced people have a machine which, with a rubber band attached, shakes the tree so that the olives drop down into a net.
But my cats seemed uninterested in learning this skill and just lay in the dazzling sun and watched or played in chasing phantom fiends across the lush grass.
My system was a little more primitive I have to say, Most of the olives aren’t very tall so I just picked them by hand or used a rake to reach the top-most branches.
Then it was back home for the three of us. I’ll be back tomorrow to my orto to see if I can glean more olives from my maturing trees.
If those of you living in northern climes think all this is irrelevant think again. There are now olive groves in southern England (see http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-18551076 ) and, indeed, some London streets are lined with them (ever been down Islington’s Fife terrace?). Whether the fruit will be as succulent as that coming from the deep south of Europe is another matter of course…
Plant you own little olive tree and wait and see. The olive is a sacred tree redolent of peace and harmony and everything that can be said to be positive in our disquieting human nature.