Monday, November 17, 2008
After weeks of rain which was sorely needed, has made everything green and fresh, and has restarted the spring (aka: our water supply), we are having glorious weather. Blue skies with a warm sun and just a bit of a chill in the mornings and evenings...perfect autumn weather.
And, like some kind of divinely orchestrated plan this weather coincides with the exact week the olives are ready to be picked. Yep, it's that time of the year when we get to be in the fresh air, hanging from the trees harvesting baskets, buckets, burlap bags of beautiful olives that will become golden oil that will make every meal we prepare delicious.
Sounds romantic doesn't it?
Yeah, well, it's not. The romance is gone for me.
Here's the reality...When the sun has taken the chill out of the air you go out to the nearest tree with some form of a receptacle and, well, start picking. There are different ways to coax the olives from the limbs into your basket. Some people bang the branches with a big stick then collect the fallen fruit off the ground - imagine it's your turn at a huge pinata filled with just one kind of candy that you can't eat. Some people rake the tree - imagine brushing burrs out the long hair of an enormous child. Personally, I perfer picking them one at a time.
45 minutes worth:
It's a slow process. Very slow. It's one of those experiences I have (rarely these days) when it's painfully obvious to me that I'm not from around here. I don't know how to relax, enjoy it, appreciate it, understand it. I find my brain doing American mental gymnastics. I try to stop it but I just can't.
"There must be a more efficient way to do this. There MUST be. People have been doing this for millenia, hasn't anyone found a more efficient way to do this?!"
"If I pick 5 handfuls a minute. And it takes - wait, how many handfuls to fill that bucket? Ok, a guesstimations, roughly ONE MILLION handfuls...let's see..that means it will take roughly...F#*&^^! A LONG F)&^&* time to fill that bucket!"
"There must be a more efficient way to do this. Why hasn't anyone found it yet?"
"If I get roughly 5 liters of oil from a burlap sack of olives, and it takes roughly 10 buckets to fill the sack and it takes roughly A MILLION handfuls to fill the bucket, and it takes roughly 12 seconds for each handful...that means the 20 drops of oil that I dribble on one piece of bruschetta takes roughly...OH MY GOD! WHAT AM I DOING?"
more ruminations about the olive harvest to come...