Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Anyone for olives..

I am probably setting us for a deluge of Biblical proportions by writing this but we haven't had any more rain since our first weekend here, just oodles sunshine.  The clear skies at night mean things are bitterly cold overnight with a hard frost in the morning but by mid morning, there is wall to wall sunshine and it is sufficiently warm enough to be comfortable just wearing t-shirts, so we are pleasantly surprised.  Most days we have been able to enjoy lunch on the terrace and sit for a couple of hours reading in the sunshine. 
We are smack bang in the middle of olive growing country here and the olive harvest is well underway but unlike the UK there is a noticeable lack of mechanisation employed. Your ears are assaulted with the melody of a two-stroke engine powering a hand held 'twig- wobbler' that shakes the olives from the branches.   The olives are then either raked into piles and dumped in a trailer or they use leaf blowers to achieve the same aim...but with more noise.  The harvest is very labour intensive and I wondered how the crop could be economic but it seems that olive trees attract  an annual EU subsidy of 700 euros per hectare (2.47 acres)....
 In another part of the old farm that we are staying on are six young Bulgarians that come every year for the olive harvest, in fact they travel across Europe picking crops in season in various Countries to earn a living. They are working seven days a week, leaving at 7.30am and returning at 5.30pm and they are paid about £50 per day each to harvest olives; Respect!!  Given the terrible level of youth unemployment in Spain one wonders why foreign labour is needed but I have nothing but admiration for those that are prepared to travel and put in the hours that these Bulgarians are prepared to deliver.
Have a lovely Christmas everyone..

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