A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

Working in the campo

After all the months, weeks and days of rain over the winter, we are finally back to working weather! It’s still pretty windy, and sometimes rather cool, but there is no longer an excuse not to get out there!

And, of course, we’re way behind in everything  – but then, so is everyone else we know, so we don’t feel quite so bad!

Today’s job was working on Manuel’s land, collecting chestnut wood. He trimmed his trees awhile back, and the logs have been laying around since then. They have to be cleared off the land, as the tractor is coming soon to plow his land.

So after taking what he wanted for family use, Manuel asked us if we’d like the wood for next winter. Of course, we say! He doesn’t charge for it, but we have to collect it ourselves, naturally. It helps  him by getting rid of the wood, and helps us by giving us firewood.

Collecting the wood is not as easy as it sounds – the chestnut trees are at the very top of one of his vineyards, and you have to trudge up and down the hill all day. It’s a matter of: take the mule up the hill. Load the mule with wood. Take the mule down the hill. Unload the wood into the truck. When the truck is full, take to our house, and unload. Repeat ad nauseum!

I’m sure Kenton and I are not as quick or capable with the mule as Manuel is, as we aren’t very experience in mule-talk. And the mule (called “Sevilliano”) knows it, and takes full advantage – he deliberately goes the wrong way on the track, stops to eat grass, and all sorts of naughty mule behavior!

It’s the end of the day now, and we’re pretty tired, as are the dogs – we are really out of shape after the winter’s inactivity! As much as the body hurts now, though, it surely does it good in the long run.

And what was Manuel doing while Kenton and I did all the wood moving? He and his helper Paco were rotovating in all the manure that they had spread around the grape vines earlier in the week. They have to rotovate around each vine, 4 acres of them, most of which are on steep, narrow terraces. It’s incredibly hard work – as the terraces are narrow, it takes 2 men, one to push the rotovator, one to pull it and guide it with a rope. Not a job for most 68 year olds, but Manuel is not exactly ordinary!!

Collecting firewood

The hill we had to climb...again and again! (photo by Kenton @ imagenary.co.uk)

Loading the mule

Manuel shows us once how it's done (photo by Kenton @ imagenary.co.uk)

Loading the truck

Loading the truck with wood (photo by Kenton @ imagenary.co.uk)

Author: Ann Larson

One-time IT executive who lives on a 22 acre olive farm in Spain with husband Kenton and 2 boxer dogs. We make Yunquera Gold olive oil, and soap and skincare products from same. We aim to make natural, fresh, and handmade products at affordable prices!

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