A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

The sounds of olive harvest

Yesterday I told you all about the smells of olive harvest time, so today we will talk about another of the senses!

It’s all about the sounds of olive harvest. What, you ask? The sounds of olive leaves gently rustling in the breeze? How idyllic.

Well, no. Today’s sound has to do with the reason I am writing this blog rather than harvesting! WIND! No, not your gentle breeze, not even a light wind. It’s a screaming, howling 60km/h wind. Why can’t we pick olives in the wind? To understand, you need to form a mental picture of a man with a tree shaker (Kenton) poised to shake the tree. Then you have one lady (me) trying to hold 60 square meters of nets in position under the tree to catch the olives.

It might seem an amusing scenario to you, but it is just not possible. We have picked in 40km/h winds, which usually involves both of us shaking our fists at the wind (note to self: the wind is not a good listener). Anything higher than that just won’t work.

So wind. Right. Not good.

Kent shaking tree

Using a bareadora to shake the tree

Another sound of the olive harvest is the sound of the ‘bareadora’. This is a handy hand-held machine that hooks around a branch and shakes it, quickly causing the olives to drop into the nets (or on the dogs’ heads, as they like to sit peacefully under the trees as we shake!!). There are other ways of getting the olives off the trees, but this machine is the easiest for the small grower, so on a still day you can hear all the neighbours using them during harvest time.

The other sound of olive harvest revolves around the dogs. As you probably know, we have 2 rather large boxer dogs. They love to work outdoors with us, and one of their very favourite activities is picking olives. Or, rather, they like to : eat the occasional olive. They like to : sit on the nets and sun themselves. They like to : push Kenton down the hill as he stoops to pick up stray olives. They like to : sit on the nets while we drag them from tree to tree. (this last trick was pretty cute when they were puppies, but not so fun when each dog weighs over 40 kilos!)

So the dog sounds during olive harvest involve a lot of barking and snorting. An associated sound is Kenton yelling at the dogs to stop jumping on him, and to get off the nets!

It’s all good fun until about 10am on the first day, after which it swiftly becomes tiresome!

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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