This year most of our neighbours were using mechanical shakers and petrol driven leaf blowers to gather up the harvest. In previous years the countryside resounded with the sounds of wood on wood as sticks hit branches laden with olives. Sometimes we could even hear the satisfying thuds as the olives hit the ground. And there were always voices calling, shouting, greeting.. and laughter. That was all missing this year. At times we felt we were the only ones using sticks.
Except for one neighbour whose mechanical shaker broke and so he turned up the next day with some friends armed with sticks. We were able to call out greetings across the fence and shout encouragement. They finished well before us and tooted their car horns as they left. That made our day more pleasant. I wish all their machines would break.
We often wonder if using machines would help us in any way or at least speed up the process. We are skeptical. Most of our neighbours have very little or no grass at all under their olives. We try to keep ours short but we usually end up with grass too long to make a leaf blower a viable proposition. The branch shaker could work for us but they are very expensive, very noisy and we're not convinced of their effectiveness - there is always a few stubborn olives that refuse to budge.
Every year we focus on purchasing a large or expensive item with our olive money. This year we want a new cooker but since we don't know what price we are getting we just tried to focus on beating last year's total. At least that way we are less likely to be disappointed if the price turns out to be very low.
It's nice to think that we are doing something right when the trees keep producing more and more fruit each year, but I suspect that it's more to do with Mother Nature than just our efforts.
And finally the last full trailer load goes to the Cooperative.
Last years total beaten by a whopping 290 kgs. Whoop whoop!