2016 – February

It has been a busy couple months here at Olive Tree Farm. What with trying to get prepared for Christmas and New Year, added to the workload, it was also olive picking time!

Last year, as many of you may already know,  it was the first time that we had actually cared properly for the Olive trees;  they were all fertilised, irrigated and pruned as they needed to be. So when we picked all the fruit and took it to the press we were thrilled with our 107 litres of oil, and having enough olives to have our own press done.

Another year on, and suddenly December was upon us. We had many trees that were almost touching the floor with the weight of the fruits, others seemed a bit sparser, and to be honest we were concerned that the harvest might not have been as good as the previous one.

However, we need not have worried. All our hard work seemed to have paid off, plus this time we had our son Ben with us to help, and that extra pair of hands was most welcome.

We had kept all of the crates from the previous year and they soon started to fill up. On some of the trees we were filling 3 crates, we were really surprised! It wasn’t long before we had to go out and beg, steal and borrow a few more crates. Once they were filled, we then found ourselves filling the empty animal feed bags, and still the picking continued.

We came to load up the cars and couldn’t fit it all in as we had done last time. We were now pretty sure that the 500kg target had been surpassed. We then had a scary phone call to the olive press, who 2 weeks earlier had told us there was no need to make an appointment, just turn up! Suddenly the information was totally different, and now we were informed that they were completely booked until January!

Thankfully Ben was here to help, and after a few calls to different presses we managed to find one that said it wasn’t a problem, and to come over the next morning. As we couldn’t fit it all in the one journey, we went, unloaded, and then had to come back for the rest. We were amazed to find that we had collected well over 800kg of fruit, which resulted in 183 litres of oil.

On the animal front up at the farm, our chickens are laying really well, and we are collecting between 10 and 14 eggs a day. The ducks have also been laying, including one of the Muscovy’s  hatched earlier last year. We did have a few of the duck eggs ourselves, but then decided to leave them in the nest box. Mrs Muscovy is now sat on 10 eggs and has been for just over a week, so fingers crossed!

Bonnie and Clyde our 2 geese, have also reached maturity and just in time as now is the laying season for them here in Spain. Ben has made various boxes and dotted them around the farm area, so we are hoping Bonnie might take a liking to one and start laying. Apparently you don’t bother to keep the first couple of eggs as they tend to be small and more than likely will not hatch. We are also thinking about taking a few and putting them in the incubator, that is of course, if we actually get any!

Ben also took over the rabbit breeding programme and has had quite a result. We currently have 25 babies from 3 mothers, all at various stages, so we have been working on a rabbit run to make sure they get plenty of exercise when they are big enough. The mothers are cross bred with a hare, so it will be interesting to see what the differences will be compared to our other rabbits.

In the vegetable  patch, Greg has had huge success with broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, radish, beans, and parsnips, so we have been enjoying many a meal eating our own produce. We have also bought some new grapevines, and have lots of peas, brussel sprouts and butternut squash on the grow.

If anyone is in Arboleas  on a Saturday morning by the way, we do have a stall on the Los Llanos Market every week. We always have some eggs with us as well if anyone fancies treating themselves to some. Plus we have a huge range of lovely handmade gifts including out up-cycled pallet wall art, olive wood candle holders, organic cosmetic made using out own olive oil, pet healing oils and of course bottles of our own oil, which we must say is rather tasty! Hope to see some of you down there, do come and say hello!