Here we go again - picking the olives - and we though we did not have many......50 kilos of extra virgin olive oil pressed already and another 200 kilos of olives picked with only about another 200 kilos to go.
Painstaking job tomorrow taking out all the leaves and making sure that there are no stalks left on the olives - this reduces the bitter taste of the oil and also makes sure that the acidity is low.
At least we have some help this year - we have Neil an English guy with an "electric olive picker" - tends to add more leaves to the olives but certainly gets them down quicker and saves me climbing the trees! It is funny - I have 2 "english" boys and they hate picking olives and will not help plus they both want to live in England and here we have Neil who is enjoying picking olives and wants to live in Greece. Strange world we live in - most of the time we are far too soft on our children. Most of the things we do are "stupid", "we have not got a clue", "what planet are we from" etc. Of course, I forget, they will do things far better than us when they grow up, get married and have children, Note: Must remember to sell all the property and travel the world - remembering not to put a top up in my mobile or leave a forwarding address!
Well, another day and we should be finished, hopefully! Of course, that is not all that has been happening at the Olive Grove. We have also prepared about 50 kilos of Kalamon olives that will have matured by Easter, 30 kilos of green "split" olives (tsakistes) - each one being tapped with a flat stone to split it - then we removed the bitterness by soaking them in water which is changed on a daily basis (osmosis) until they have the right taste - now stored in brine and covered in oil and last but not least, we had an excellent harvest of Hamathes this year - a very special olive that ripens on the tree and can be eaten straight away - about 30 kilos - these sold out immediately!
Next on the list is to make olive pate - hopefully I will get around to this next week - I have had loads of requests - please do not throw little jars away - keep them for me. A slight diversion here, it really annoys me all the things we throw away such as glass jars, plastic bottles etc - we really need to find uses for them - it is such a shame...
Oh, another thing I have made this week is tons of jars of tomatoe sauce for pasta - there are loads of tomatoes around at the moment - just see one of the local farmers - the tomatoes make terrific sauce - store it in glass jars - making sure they seal properly - you will have sauce for the whole winter - can even eat it like tomato soup!
As soon as we have finished the olives it is then on to the tree pruning and wood cutting. We refuse to buy any central heating fuel again this winter so it will be back to the wood heater - we already have stacks of branches to start cutting up ready to make bundles to burn in the woodheater that has been our saviour for 13 years now. I am really looking forward to it getting cold enough for me to use it - the meals we make on there are fantastic and the potatoes in their jackets from the oven are to die for - and the chocolate pancakes - and the roast pork and roast potatoes - and the stews - and the homemade bread - OMG I forgot we have high cholesterol....... I also forgot to say that we treated ourselves to electric blankets this year and are looking froward to trying them out - hopefully it will sooth our old bones....
At the moment there is so much going on - life is up and down - but I have realised that in Greece everything appears surreal at times such as emotions, feelings and perceptions - everything is "stronger" - more vivid - just like the colours of Greece - everything is pronounced (exagerated would probably have been a better word!). Probably because, on the islands, life in general seems to go from one extreme to the other - there is everything here from bare feet to Louboutin - from no taps to gold taps - it is difficult to squeeze the wide spectrum into your life sometimes and you want to burst - but the fact that Greece is a place of colour - of extremes - makes it very real! Greece is big and you have to be a big person to get on with it - stand above it looking from the outside in - as if it was a theatre - it has everything - love -tragedy - humour - enjoy the show!
We make Greece work for us - to the best of our abilities - we love our olives - the oil - the soaps and herbal oils we make - we enjoy our way of life even though it is sometimes very hard and frustrating - but so it is anywhere in the world. At least here, up until last week - November - we were swimming, the blue skies and the sunsets are amazing - our children are safe and soon it will be time to settle down for the winter - have a few dinner parties - do a few boot fairs - help a few people - meet some new people - the world keeps turning - we just have to make the best of it and we are in one of the nicest places to make it an easier ride.
Then it will be time to start on the garden and getting ready for Christmas - but that is another story......