A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

Autumnal musings


It’s the time of year that always feels like a ‘winding down’ to me. The vegetable garden is winding down, the plants look sad, the produce is soft and sometimes unusable. The flowers look sad. The trees are turning. The evenings draw in earlier.

It’s a gorgeous time of year, too, with the leaves turning colour and starting to fall off the trees. The sunsets are prettier, as there are usually a few clouds in the evening. The heat haze is gone now, so we can see all the way to the ocean from our upstairs terrace.

It’s a necessary change, though. We usually get most of our rain in the autumn and winter, and after the summer’s drought, we’re desperate for moisture. Also, if we don’t get the cold weather, the ‘bichos’ aren’t killed off, so the insect problem is doubled next year.

The herbs and Lujos botanicals are still going strong, which is nice. We’re still picking calendula and lavender, which I dry to make infusions or to put into soap. The sage has really been appreciating the slightly cooler weather we’ve been having – during the heat of summer, I was afraid I’d lost it, it looked so sad! The rosemary is rich with oil now, and full of flavour.

On the very positive side, the olive harvest is coming up soon, and so far, it’s looking like a good year. It is very hard work (Kenton dreads it), but I get a masochistic pleasure out of the sore muscles, the tired nights, and the sore feet! I like it because it is so rewarding to see the olives falling into the nets, and to bring the jugs of our very own olive oil home. 

My mother used to be amazed (and probably amused) that the daughter who avoided the outdoors at all costs moved to Spain to become a farmer. After all, making olive oil is a pretty unusual thing for a South Dakota girl to be doing, so it’s a good thing I love it!


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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