The weather has improved and summer seems rushing towards us. The skies are blue and the days all of a sudden seem much longer.
The orange blossom is a sight and smell to behold throughout my land… I find it easy to lose track of time when I am there. In many ways it is a blessing…. a rest from “the mad world”.
I spent one day just chilling by the river. The last lot of torrential rains formed a little island in one part of the river and it is just magic sitting there listening to the sounds of nature.. I just kind of get lost in all that beauty. Everywhere I caste my glance..something mesmerises me and takes my breath away..
A stones throw from this place is the area where my majestic pecan trees stand. I spent one day just picking pecan nuts from the ground, I still have not picked them all. It too is an area that captivates the eyes and soul…
Yesterday one of the neighbours came round for lunch and then we walked back up the mountain to their land. We were pleasantly astounded and inspired by the amount of work they have done. Mainly practices to improve the quality of the soil and lots of ecologically grown vegetables. When they planted their beans they just threw them on the ground before the rains… I was a bit ensure of this style of planting but seeing the result ..well I decided to do the same!
Today was another hot day and I had loads of planting to do before I came to my home on the coast. The wave of inspiration was still rushing through me as I set myself a tough schedule for the day.
First I planted seven aloe vera plants in various semi shaded places, one oregano bush and one decorative cacti. (It looks like a lotus flower and it grows to be massive. (A present from another lovely neighbour) )
Digging holes in the ground to place the plants is my least favourite job.. and I had loads of holes to dig…
In hard core style I was not wearing any gardening gloves which resulted in a blister:\
So I put my gloves on and dug another seven great big holes for five pear trees and two fig trees ( thank you J and R for giving them to us xx) and proceeded to lower each one into its hole while Mo helped with the watering.
By this time I desperately needed a rest but I wanted to do one more task.
I had soaked various seeds (squash, chillies, coriander etc in water for a couple of hours ( to start the germinating process) I then mixed them with mud and walked up to various parts of my orchard and just threw bits of this seed\mud mixture in semi shaded areas!
Once these jobs were done I felt really good especially as the plants had been in pots for ages and needed to be planted properly.
I was in the mood for a simple lunch so I had an avocado, loads of lettuce and wild garlic with a slice of wholegrain unleavened rye bread.
After that I had to leave my precious land…
When I go back I have a massive job that awaits me… I have about a hundred aloe vera plants that need to be planted still!
Thanks for sharing below Amy xx
Just to recap, the small olive press we took our olives to is run by a charity and they had warned us that they would take a week, as much of the process is done by hand. Most olive oil of 500 kgs approx is made within an hour or so when taken to the various local industrial olive mills ..
Well they took a bit longer than a week but the end product is worth it.
Quality is so important… It reminded me of my friend Veron, who said I have so little money but I eat like a queen. During late summer her family help in farms to pick figs, almonds, autumn is spent picking olives etc. They are often “paid” with the produce. So they dry their figs, jar their olives, have their own olive oil all year and in addition to all that they plant fruit and vegetables wherever they stay. I still have a pumpkin they gave me last year! (Its stored in a cool, dark and dry place. )
Back to our olive oil.. When you normally buy olive oil, it is made with “regular” olives not the wild olives. The wild olives are a lot smaller in size so you have to work a lot harder at picking each tiny olive and to many it can feel tedious and time-consuming. However as we wanted thee best and time was not a BIG issue we decided to pick mainly wild olives, as did our neighbours J&R. We put our olives together and shared the olive oil. In terms of taste, the wild olives give the oil a MUCH stronger taste. That would not be to everyone’s liking but I love it. It is an oil more suitable for savoury use. I have also tried using it as a massage oil. It absorbs into the skin really quickly leaving it feeling soft and wonderful. No grease sitting on top of the skin at all. Amazing. 🙂
Due to lack of knowledge we messed up the timing of picking our olives. This year was an experiment to be honest. Next year we will buy our own press and make different types of olive oil picking them and pressing them as the various varieties ripen.
As a last note I would like to suggest… that when you buy some olive oil and consume it.. if you like please pay a thought to the olive tree and the hands that laboured to collect the olives. Olive picking is an EXTREMELY hard underpaid job normally done by those at thee bottom of the social scale. And not everyone has the refreshing attitude my friends V and N have to physical work….. Nor does everyone have their youth and strength…
I do what I do by choice because I want to reconnect with nature.. to feel “whole again”.
I wanted to share the below with you in my blog entry yesterday but I kept it to myself because it goes into a different dimension of life experiences which I have not shared with you guys much on this blog… However I have reached a stage whereby I want to start.. so here goes…
Yesterday as I crossed the “raging river” that NO ONE would dare cross especially with a dodgy leg, on a flyweight aluminium ladder with water crashing around me a few metres below……
I felt completely safe
That feeling was coming from the river…. not from me… it was strongest when I was half way across.
I felt it resonating towards me like you feel warmth from a fire….
It was magical and humbling..
Ok I am safe, warm and chilling in my apartment know.
However, I just did something completely mental today…But before I tell you, I will start with telling you about my leg.
Two weeks ago I got a strange spot just below my knee which decided to grow..and grow and grow..till I could not walk. It was an open circular wound with a diameter of 2 centimeters approx.. So I stayed in bed for two days and by Friday I was still not well. I knew the rest of my crew wanted to get back to our coastal home for some creature comforts and internet access!! 🙂 However every time I got up my leg “poured blood out and felt like it was going to explode.
I sat and prayed to God to give me the strength to walk the 3 minutes distance to where our car is normally parked. (The rains last year broke the bridge over the river so we cannot drive upto our house ).
It had been raining and the river was a little stronger too. I was scared but determined. I got hold of my hiking stick that my wonderful friend Bertie gave me before he left for Australia. Somehow along with the prayers and that walking stick I knew I would get to the car ok.. I put a scarf round my leg to soak up the blood. In the meantime Derek washed the wheelbarrow down so he could push me in there at least upto the river. From there he wanted to carry me piggyback style to the car and I wasn’t having that! I also refused the wheelbarrow!!!
So after much arguing I said just hold me on either side and I will hop. Well between my Priya and Derek they got me upto the river carrying me there most of the way. Once at the river I wadded across on my own two legs. I had the wellies and waterproofs on so did not get wet even though the water was knee-deep in places.. I slowly continued walking to the car feeling like I had just witnessed a miracle…
That weekend I stayed in bed and by Monday I wanted to be back in nature, could not stand being away. I wanted to be in nature on the solstice (21st dec) and the full moon (22nd dec). So we headed back. It had rained some more, thankfully we still managed to wade across back to the farm. And then it RAINED and RAINED and RAINED… The rivers sounded like thunder from our house and I thought how are we going to get back to the coast for christmas…
I desperately wanted my eldest to be with us for christmas (he lives at the coast) but how were we going to get to him I wondered…
As I stood there watching the raging river racing by I had an idea.. This is the mental bit!
There is a narrower part of the river further down from where I was standing where two rocks jut out high on either side and maybe if we tied the metal ladder to a tree we could somehow walk across…
I mentioned it to D, thinking he would reject the idea but he said hmm it might just work… AND IT DID 🙂
So here I am typing away, sharing this thanks to that ladder. And.. I guess I better say thanks to the owner of that ladder!
J and C thank you!!!! P.s if the ladder goes awol we’ll buy a replacement 😉
Oh yes leg is healing quickly 🙂
I spent about 4 days picking olives this week. It was the most physical work I have ever done. It involved navigating my body up almost 60 degree angled stony terrain at times.. Each olive was handpicked as opposed to beating the tree with a stick as the locals do it.. In all we must have picked over a hundred kilos this week. Thankfully I fell only once, and even that was more of a slide down. Did not hurt 🙂 honestly! I have a few scratches on my arms and face from the branches.. that’s all.
I feel so alive, so connected with mother nature when I am at the land.. maybe I will get fed up one day of living in nature?.. I don’t see that happening anytime soon though…. 🙂
A loved one told me today in an incredulous manner, that ” for all the education you have, you are choosing to do THIS type of work?”
.. How can I reassure my loved ones that I am ok living a simpler life, I feel more at peace, more in touch with spirit, happy living in nature then the prized western life of Joe Bloggs…I guess I can’t with words..but time will reassure them hopefully.. ..
I have been picking and choosing my path in life in a manner which is alien in many cultures and societies. I guess some would call me selfish and self-centered. However I have always felt that we get one shot at being the best we can be in this life/present incarnation. Therefore I have bulldozed my way through any and every thing I saw as an obstacle to my growth. These included, certain aspects of culture etc.. but it all boiled down to, fear, fear, fear and more fear!
The world we have is the result of man’s fear. And it is killing us. Some are dying/being killed physically while the inflictors are dying spiritually… So I feel this strong sense of not wanting to continue along the.. what I see as the destructive path..I want a better future….
I want to learn how to live in harmony with nature and I am just learning basics yet..
Anyway back to the olives.. We took them to an old style olive mill that is run by a charity for the disabled. They are pressing them for us (cold pressed extra virgin etc etc! 🙂 ).
I will tell you how fantastic the oil is next week once I have tasted it 🙂
Mine was interesting as always.. We got together with all the neighbours from the adjoining plots of land. It is like the united nations there. 🙂
Last night we got to meet some new neighbours. They are 3 young people who want to live a more natural ..closer to earth lifestyle. One of them is from America. He said he wanted to “get away from there”. ..
Today we started the process to certify our land as an organic farm… It is “organic” already.. we never use herbicides or pesticides.. but we decided to “join” the register of organic farms… I have mixed feelings about that..
Tomorrow I am attending a festival that has been organised for the people of Ladakh who want to maintain their ecological lifestyle and who are under pressure from the Indian government to let it go…
Sunday I will be back at the land to prepare for the proper installation of the solar panels. We have a great guy from Lebanon helping us. So God willing things will go smoothly.. will fill you up on it all next week.