Copper sulphate, Cicero and Aunt Marjorie in the countryside of Posadas (Cordova)

Hi folks, I hope that you are all well.

Firstly, sorry to say that the photos in this post and the last 5 posts have been eliminated due to insufficient space on the multimedia (see my later post for details…)

Yes, more days than usual have passed since my last blog, but that’s because we’ve been quite caught up with the olives — trees that is.

It’s time for a good dose of copper sulphate, and as you can see from the photos, my son adapted the trailer and 1000-litre tank with tubes and jets (where the spray comes out of and which look like megaphones) and an inline generator that starts the spraying action as he drives the old Surf along the lanes of trees.

This copper sulphate treatment has to be repeated twice a year, with the next time probably being in November depending on what the weather’s been like. (Luckily there was enough of the solution left over for me to spray my medlar, fig, almond and citrus trees, so now I’ll be busy treating those in my spare time.)

The work was supervised by others, as well as us:

It did involve a lot of walking too, so half way, I decided to survey the operation from a convenient lookout in one of the shrubbier areas:

As we all know, farmers work hard, and thanks to them we are well-supplied with food. I like Cicero’s saying about agriculture:

For of all gainful professions, nothing is better, nothing more pleasing, nothing more delightful, nothing better becomes a well-bred man than agricultureMarcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC ­— 43 BC).

Bust of Cicero in the Capitoline Museum, Rome (Wikipedia)

Cicero — ‘Roman statesman, scholar, and writer, known as the greatest Roman orator, and upholding republican principles in the final civil wars that destroyed the Roman Republic’ (Britannica).

And here is the first verse of a poem about agriculture, written by Margaret E. Sangster (Pen name, Aunt Marjorie 1838 – June 3, 1912). She was ‘an American poet, author, and editor. Her poetry was inspired by family and church themes, and included hymns and sacred texts’. (Wiki)

a "Woman of the Century"
M.E. Sangster ‘a woman of the century’ (Wiki)

The Farmer

The dawn is here! I climb the hill;
     The earth is young and strangely still;
A tender green is showing where
     But yesterday my fields were bare . . .
I climb and, as I climb, I sing;
     The dawn is here, and with it – spring!

When we did eventually get home, our old faithful was there to welcome us:

Dingo, our adopted dog that appeared sheepishly one day at our door, scared and just skin and bones. Now she’s much healthier and is another member of the family.

Thank you for reading. As usual, comments and questions are always welcome.

Take care! xxx

What I’ve been up to this week in my country abode of Posadas (Cordova)

Hi folks! Firstly, I hope this find you all in good health and spirits.

Secondly — what I’ve been up to. Well, I’ve had a bit of a busy week what with teaching, writing and doing some of my craftwork — as well as a) straightening out my vegetable patch after the wild boar broke in again, and b) preparing the olives for marinating that I am picking from our trees. And so I would just like to share with you some photos of my progress. Starting with a):-

Here he is, the ‘little’ blighter, sniffing around for acorns and roots! (Canva)
I had to straighten the pepper plants after ‘he’ had a go at them (but ‘he’ avoided the chilli peppers this time!)
That’s me hard at work with the roll of black string, tying up the tomato plants that have got taller than me. I tied them to the arched ribs that once used to support plastic sheeting when this used to be a greenhouse, but temperatures soared too high in the summer so I had to do away with it. Note the very blue Andalusian skies!
Old olive trees grow all around. I will be picking some of these too for my marinated olives — the manzanilla and gordal variety for pickling

The first step in preparing the olives is to cut each one of them (you can also lightly crush them, or not cut them at all but place them in caustic soda for a while. I have never yet tried these last two methods.) As you can see, I had a little bit of help…

Bag of small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree
Curious kitten wondering about the small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree
Curious kitten getting all anxious to lend a helping paw with the small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree
But I take command of the knife with which I make a sharp cut in the small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree! (And my fingers get oilier, greener and purply by the minute!)

The olives in the photos were picked from my son’s young olive grove…

This grove lies just by the old cattle track, Cañada Real Soriana that skirts the foothills of the Sierrezuela de Guadalbaida, and the Roman quarry, Cantera Honda.  It stretches approx. 500 miles, originating in Soria, NE of Madrid, then across the Sierra Morena continuing west to Seville, passing close to the Guadalquivir River and the Puente Romano (Roman bridge) in Cordova on the way.

The Cañada Real Soriana cattle track is number 7 on the Wiki map. (You might need your magnifying glass to spot it!)

And now to the first theme: my craftwork. Well, I have just finished making my angels (or fairies, call them what you want!) — and they are available to the public. So here are the little‘uns:-

Well, that’s all for this week. Thank you for reading — comments and questions always welcome.

Take care! xxx

A beautiful surise over the olive trees! (Posadas, Cordova)

A beautiful sunrise! (Photo: Talib Mir)

Hi folks — hope this finds you all well!

I couldn’t resist posting this photo of the early sunrise. It was taken at a low level from between some olive trees.

Needless to say that I didn’t take the photo, but it was shot by my son from his olive grove, using his Samsung Galaxy A51 .

He went there early in the morning because he had to run nitric acid through all the watering system which cleans out any lime deposits that can block the watering holes. The finca is quite large, about 6 hectares and supports a few thousand olive trees (the alberquina variety, which is used for making olive oil). They are planted in long rows which were dug out by the tractor, using its GPS so that they came out dead straight and symmetrical.

The land being ploughed a couple of years ago with the irrigation pipes being laid (via GPS). Rich red, silty earth. The pine trees in the background form part of the Sierrezuela and the National Park of Hornachuelos

The trees are only two and a half years old (ahhh — sweet!), but already have quite a few olives, perhaps about 5 kilos worth per tree. (A mature tree can produce about 40 to 50 kilos). This year they’ll have to be pruned with all the side branches cut away, just leaving two or three main branches. The finca is watered via a well, and the pump uses electricity supplied by solar panels — six of them, though one was stolen!

Looking down from the footslopes of the Sierrezuela hills towards the young olive grove in the background and across to the plains of the Guadalquivir Valley

It is in a pretty location, just on the lower footslopes Sierrezuela hills which form part of the vast National Park of Hornachuelos, overlooking the plains of the Guadalquivir Valley. (To read more about the Sierrezuela you can see my earlier blogs, eg. https://anenglishladyincordova.home.blog/2020/02/05/the-sierrezuela-posadas-cordoba-spain/)

The young olive trees are in the background. Photo taken in early spring when the almonds were in flower. There are dwarf palms growing in the foreground

As you probably know already Andalusia is full of olive trees, many of them ancient, dating a thousand years old and going back to Roman and Phoenician times — and since these early times, oil has been referred to as ‘golden liquid’.

It’s a shame that the US importation tariffs on oil from Spain (and not Italy) are so high — this has really hit hard the olive farmers who live and serve others through this hard work…

And here are some of the olive trees that grow on our land. They are as old as the hills…

(Photo from Canva)

Well, that’s all for today. Thank you for reading! As usual, comments and questions are always welcome. x