Clouds and olive oil

We had some friends staying with us from Tasmania just recently. I had a brain wave and suggested a weekend away for the girls (Lizzie and I) at a resort at Karioitahi beach on the West Coast, leaving the boys at home and why not?

Nothing like some pampering at the resort spa, beautiful sea views with black sand stretching as far as the eye can see, while sipping on champers and watching the sun drop slowly in the sky, the light perfect for photography.

To top off our male free weekend, Lizzie and I enjoyed archery and air pistol shooting.

Cliffs at the beach

I love clouds!

A few days later with an eye to the sky, hubby and I were deliberating when to harvest our olives while pacing up and down the rows. The trees were sporting loads of green olives which would mean the oil could possibly differ from previous years. Hubby had checked the forecast so we knew we had a couple of rain free days ahead and our guests were still with us (that was the decider πŸ˜‰ ), so our harvest commenced on the 25th April, nearly two weeks earlier than usual. While hubby was collecting the nets and bins, I was on the telephone rustling up some help from our amazing neighbours! And trust me they are too …

Nettie and Lizzie

Friends and neighbours .. phone pic, thanks so much Stephen Bourke

Β Pic courtesy of Stephen Bourke

So with help from Steve, Lizzie and their lads and our awesome neighbours (all girls btw) we hauled in 188kg. It’s a big job and the fact that the trees are large, unruly and planted on a hillside made the pick a tad precarious, the ladder is another story!

Evidence .. serious pruning needed!

As it happens, we now have 30 litres of green, peppery and absolutely divine olive oil which is perfect dripping from fresh crusty bread! Lucky ha …

You all know how much I enjoy pruning don’t you? And given how hard the pick was because of the size and shape of our trees, it wasn’t long before hubby, Vicki (a great girl who just happens to be a horticulturist and is adept at pruning) and I were out with secateurs, loppers, pole and chainsaw! Bliss .. half of those trees are now done.

Autumn for us is nearly over … I’m dreading winter although I must admit, I do love winter clothes, scarves,Β jumpers and jeans and boots, I adore boots … and I’m not talking my gumboots either! Of course bowls of tasty soup with grated parmesan and crusty bread with olive oil aren’t bad either.

Lizzie made some delish pesto

You will be pleased to know that I have planted a bed of brassicas, poked in sugar snap peas, broad beans, carrots, lettuce, coriander (it’s bolting I’m not impressed), celery, spring onions and beetroot. And flowers always flowers dear people. Have I over-planted?Β  Of course. I remember at the time standing back and assessing my planting while grinningΒ broadly and wiping my dirty hands on my pants. Needless to say those beds were all prepped with a delicious combo of homemade compost, scraps from the bokasi bin, ash, dolomite lime, seaweed pellets, Rok solid, coffee grounds and worm castings. My garden loves it.

I’ve even been out on slug and snail patrol at night with my torchΒ and a bucket of warm soapy water. Now that was a satisfying night.

Thank you so much to our wonderful neighbours, Vicki and our friends from Tassie – Lizzie my dear, you are a star!


Happy gardening

105 thoughts

    • Hey Mr Price … always good to see you here! Yes fall is knocking on the door, no doubt about it. And it just happens to be raining now πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed the photos. Isn’t Eric a handsome boy?

  1. A wonderfulvacation, successful olive harvest and so many beautiful photos! The olive oil and bread makes me hungry! πŸ™‚ A Happy Autumn to you, Julie!

  2. As an ex olive farmer, I know well how taxing the picking and pruning are, but that first taste of your new olive oil makes it all worthwhile!

    • Hey Jane, we only have 50 trees, but that’s more than enough. Especially given how unruly they have become (our fault πŸ˜‰ ). But that first taste of olive oil, just changes everything! Lovely to see you here

  3. Awesome pics again Jules.
    Your property looks magic as usual and that oil will be amazing too. So looking forward to seeing you and Andrew asap….xxx

    • Hello Mr H … thank you! I think there’s a bit of magic here to btw. πŸ™‚ As for that olive oil, I think it is the best yet. So flavoursome .. Yep hurry up and get over here, love to see you! x

  4. Well Julie what stunning photos. I know some belong to Stephen. But you have surpassed your self. When I think of those little olive trees all those years ago. And planting on a slope? Still as you say you have good neighbours,and with the Bourkefamily . You certainly had a good harvest. Well done with planting so much food for the precious slugs and snails! You really do feed them? Nice shot of Wiggy . He looks very well. We have a nice summers day here today, might last until tomorrow!
    All for lots of love to you both. Bill. Xxx

    • Hello Mr B .. always great to hear from you! I was very lucky getting a couple of pics from Stephen, there is a beauty of the house he took which I would love to share πŸ™‚ I’m glad you think I surpassed myself. Photography is a passion as you know and changes as we do. Haven’t those trees grown? Monsters … we are in the throes of pruning, the tops just need finishing now. It was a great harvest given it was such a difficult one πŸ™‚ I know I keep religiously feeding those slugs and snails – they are thoroughly enjoying some of my flowers (stock) which are looking bedraggled. Eric is gorgeous as ever. Lots of love right back at you xx

    • Hey Andrea .. just a weekend sojourn, but one out of the box! The views were amazing as were the sunsets πŸ™‚ It’s so funny, I find the harvest a tad stressful, but each time thankfully it is a success. Great to see you at Frog Pond

    • Hello dear Iris .. Thank you! It was a great harvest and the best olive oil yet. Pasta and pesto are made for each other aren’t they, of course adding more olive oil at the end is the icing! LOL


    I also love clouds.

    And I enjoyed each and every photo…the olive harvest and looking at the yummy end product with crusty bread!

    We still have a few more weeks of spring, before my favorite season begins.

    Enjoy your winter clothes…me I’m going to enjoy SUMMER clothes!

    • I love that kitty too Linda … he is such a lovely boy. I know you love clouds .. I always enjoy your pics of them. Ever changing skies … So pleased you enjoyed the pics, I always get so much enjoyment sharing them. As for that olive harvest, it is always stressful, but the end product is yummo! I shall enjoy my winter clothes while I think of you in those summer clothes with some envy too btw!

  6. I cannot grasp the concept of planting in the fall; we only put in garlic bulbs and spring-flowering bulbs. Your olive oil looks lucious; are the grapes all harvested too?

    • Hello! Oh so good to hear from you .. I miss your posts! We are so lucky being able to plant in winter be it lettuces, beetroot, brassicas … I’ve given up on the garlic though as mine kept getting rust (awful). The oil is divine and yes the grapes are well and truly harvested .. So good to see you here πŸ˜€

    • Thank you, I’m glad you found it interesting. The harvest is always a super busy time, but the end product is worth all the hard work (and stress πŸ™‚ ) . Glad you enjoyed the videos, it has been ages since I did any, it would be interesting to do one now and show the changes in our property.

  7. The images from the beach I just about melted over. What are champers? To have an ocean that close would be serious heaven to me. Harvesting those olives looks like a lot of HARD work! Yet the final outcome is more then worth it I am sure. I honestly don’t know how you and hubby maintain those huge gardens. I KNOW what I go through but it is nothing compared to what you have on your plate. LOVE the picture of your black cat. Winter for you should mean catching up on rest … or at least I would hope so. Beautiful post, Julie, and I really thank you for the pictures especially of the beach. Awesome all the way round! πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ

    • Hey Amy … I always enjoy your comments they are so you! I’m glad you enjoyed the beach shots, I couldn’t get over the vista, so much fun to be able to capture! Champers is sparkling wine, perfect to enjoy as the sun drops in the sky. The harvest is hard work no doubt about it and a tad stressful. But so worth it in the end πŸ™‚ I do sometimes wonder at the work to maintain our place, it is absolutely never ending, no matter the season. And it keeps on changing too. Plants and trees grow, flourish or die. It is still my little slice of heaven though. Isn’t Eric (kitty) divine? Such a lovely boy. Thanks dear Amy, awesome to hear from you!

      • The work here as well is never ending yet I try to focus only on what I have to do in the day that is before me and not too much else. If I look at the bigger picture I would get seriously overwhelmed. You are an amazing inspiration to me, Julie.

  8. Pics to die for, Julie, stunning, and how I love those clouds…and the idea of spending a few days in a spa on the ocean sounds quite lovely actually. A bit what I could do with right now, so if you go next time, I’ll join you! πŸ˜‰ Well done for harvesting the olives, 30l are great.. Do you have your own press? We’re enjoying spring here, all’s lush and wonderful. I’ll have a group coming to see the garden at the end of the week, so I shall be busy get things ready. Sadly Rudolf munched a lot of rose buds…if only…but that’s another story. Love to you both, enjoy your beautiful home, garden and scenery. Thinking of you xx

    • Hey Miss … always lovely to see you here πŸ˜€ So pleased that you enjoyed the pics Annette, means a lot. Aren’t clouds the best? The weekend get-away was superb, you would love it. We are so lucky with the 30 litres of oil, I must admit I was surprised at the quantity. And it is particularly yummy too. We load the olives into Andrew’s car and he takes them to the press which is about an hour away. I bet you are enjoying spring. How lush and lovely. And best of luck with the group at the end of the week, is this for photography? Ah Rudolf, thank heavens he / she doesn’t visit our garden, but then we have more than enough little critters that enjoy partaking of our produce :). Love to you both too. Thanks so much for your comment hugs x

  9. Oh how absolutely wonderful an full of joy! Did you send it to be pressed or so it yourselves? Have you had such a good harvest before? Savour every drop x:-)x

    • Hello Gilly .. I like that ‘full of joy’! No we pile all the crates into Andrew’s car and then he drives it across country (about an hour) to the press. After the harvest, I’m rather pleased to see the end of those olives! Mind you, the oil is just fabulous! Lovely to see you at Frog Pond

  10. Wonderful photos. You sound super busy. From shooting air guns to planting a winter garden that sounds a lot like my summer garden! It all looks so lovely. How fantastic to have your own olive oil. Take care on your late night slug patrols! Bob

    • Hey Bob .. nice to see you at Frog Pond. πŸ˜€ We have been busy lately that’s for sure. And we have loads to do too! I haven’t even finished pruning the orchard yet and winter is knocking on the door. We are so lucky that we can plant an array of veg in winter … I can’t imagine not being able to. Now that olive oil is something else – the best yet! πŸ˜€ I shall take care on those night patrols don’t you worry!

  11. I love olive, black and green…. and I know how difficult to pick up the olives… but so enjoyable too, at the end you are going to have them… Beautiful photographs dear Julie, and you can guess, which one is my best πŸ™‚ Thank you, Blessing and Happiness to you all, and wonderful days in Autumn, Love, nia

    • Hello Nia .. you are so right, it is difficult to pick the olives especially as our trees are now so big. We pick by hand too, which is a job! But it is enjoyable no doubt about it, and really good when the pick is finished πŸ˜€ I’m so pleased you enjoyed the pics Nia and I sure do know which one is your favourite. Blessings and happiness to you too! Thanks for stopping by ..

      • Thank you, Julie. Things are changing to “normal”. We have now an apartment in Berlin Tegel which is 30 minutes by tube into the city center. It is much quieter here which is better than 24h traffic and people. I am getting used to the big city and enjoy my tours through Berlin. I am trying to leave the tourist spots now. May be I will find some hidden gems. Weather is excellent. Nearly to hot! But I will not complain. Oh, and I bought a new camera on the weekend. I upgraded my Fuji X100 to an Fuji X100F. From the oldest model of this series to the newest model. A small step for mankind… but a big step for me. Extra motivation to go out and shoot. I will try to post updates… here and on Instagram… on a more regular basis. Happy days and smiles to you my friend. Reinhold

      • 24 hour traffic and people is always a shock to the system πŸ˜€ I’m sure you will find some hidden gems (I am looking forward to seeing them!) Congrats on the new camera – the oldest to the newest is amazing! Loads of motivation Reinhold. Happy days and smiles to you too ..

    • Hey Francis … always terrific to hear from you! I miss your blog .. but you know that. Yes lots of hard work but you are right, very rewarding πŸ˜€ Isn’t Eric so elegant, such a special boy. I saw the cartoon (LOL) same but different! Thanks so much for stopping by

  12. How fabulous to have home grown olive oil. My mother-in-law goes out in her nightdress on slug patrol – she’s now in her eighties so we’re trying to persuade her it’s not a good idea though!

    • Hey Anne .. nothing beats your own oil! Probably tastes extra good because of all the effort πŸ˜‰ I think I’ll be out there in my 80’s too! She obviously adores her garden ..

  13. Nice blog and photos Julie, as always. I really enjoyed our day pruning too, and the lovely dinner that followed. Vick X

  14. You live in the right country for a cloud lover.
    Archery and pistol shooting? OK, I’m now officially scared of you.
    Julie, it’s good to know those olive trees are coming under control. I would hate for that harvest to go to waste. It’s interesting that the photos are by you, of the others working. πŸ™‚

    Bonjour from Paris.

    • We sure do live in the right country for clouds … πŸ™‚ I laughed when I read your comment … I was particularly good at the archery LOL. At last our olive trees are coming under control Mr Draco. And no way would that harvest have gone to waste. Ha ha, I did take a couple of snaps, not many mind you, too busy! πŸ˜€ Have a fabulous time in Paris .. thinking of you

  15. I luxuriated in the pictures and description of your leisure time, but a garden and orchard always awaits. Have you tried your olive oil in comparative tastings?

    • Hey retrostuart … always great seeing you at Frog Pond .. I’m so pleased to know that you luxuriated in the pics. πŸ˜€ No we haven’t done a comparative oil tasting .. but trust me this harvest was a beauty! Hugs to Francesca

  16. Sublime and deeply enjoyable entry. That olive oil looks intensely delectable…I would absolutely delight in helping out with that undertaking- it looks like it was a blast, despite the grueling arduousness of the task. By the way, those cliffs and clouds look absolutely gorgeous…

    I share the same sentiment for boots πŸ˜‰ Boots are glorious- hiking, gardening and the fashionable-otherwise. And winter-wear. And soup…oh soup…

    So enjoyed dipping into your garden for a little while, again- always a glorious reprieve. Trust all is well with you!

    Smiling cheers,


    • Ah Smilingtoad … how nice of you to swim by. I do so enjoy your visits! πŸ˜€ How I would have loved your help with that harvest! It sure was a blast, but insanely wonderful when it is completed. So you enjoy boots too .. πŸ˜€ And soup. I made a particularly yummy Laksa this week. The delights of winter .. All is well with us. Stop by again soon x

  17. I swear I left a reply earlier Julie and now I find it’s not here. Must have been the dodgy wifi in the rainforest when I was up north. I cannot tell you how jealous I am of your olive crop and bottles of liquid gold. That is just amazing. And what great neighbours and helpers: your photos capture the spirit of the day, the excitement of the harvest and the sharing. If I lived closer I could make the bread to go with that beautiful oil.. As usual your photos inspire me to do better . Love that beach shot too.

    • Hello Miss … rest assured, when I’m next over I shall bring you a bottle of olive oil! It is particularly yummy. Our neighbours are such stars. It’s an exciting time for sure, but so good when it is over! LOL You sure could make some bread for that oil, what a treat that would be. Thanks for your lovely comment .. Hugs

  18. Oh Julie, it just sounds idyllic! That olive oil and bread has me salivating! What a garden you planted, too! The bounties of Frog Pond Farm! Thank you for a little vicarious pleasure, and have a cozy weekend!.

  19. Lots of hard work but you were deliciously rewarded. Isn’t it wonderful to have good friends. Love your beautiful photos…especially the clouds. It looks like you were floating among them.

    • Hi Karen … it is always lots of hard work, but so worth it and yes we were deliciously rewarded. Couldn’t do it without our friends. Thank you for your lovely comment, I do adore clouds … πŸ˜€

  20. Wow so Joni Mitchell song comes to my minds eye and my new found appreciation for quality olive oils after Portugal so yours looks amazing Julie β˜ΊοΈπŸ’« happy gardening smiles Hedy πŸ˜ƒβ˜€οΈ

  21. Thanks for the tour of your olive harvest! Hard work I’m sure but that olive oil looks worth it…I can almost smell and taste it from here πŸ™‚ Enjoy your winter woolies, ours are firmly tucked away as we brace for days in the 90’s F and humidity that makes us feel like we live in a sauna. Each season has its own gifts, eh? Cheers, Ben

    • Hey Ben … it is hard work but absolutely worth it! This oil is the best we have produced yet. I will enjoy those winter woolies while I’m thinking of you enjoying that warmth .. πŸ˜€

  22. So beautiful photos and I really envy you for that fantastic olive oil! It is not easy to get such a good quality. I was searching for years until I found a good olive oil dealer… πŸ˜‰
    Enjoy and have a nice weekend. Best greetings from Munich!

    • Hey Josephine .. this oil is the best yet! What a spoil …. so good seeing you at Frog Pond. Damp greetings from Auckland πŸ˜€

  23. Sounds like amazing; to have your own olive trees and being able make homemade olive oil! I get hungry looking at the bread and oil… You captured it all from the beach to the cat beautifully in these photos.

    • Hey Otto … harvesting our own olives never ceases to amaze me! Loads of work, but so worth it. And it tastes divine! Great to see you here – thanks for stopping by

  24. I miss seeing your photos and read your stories, so I decided to come and reread some old post again. Not sure how I missed this post… probably was traveling at the time. I am so glad I came. It’s 6 am, and after reading this post, I am ready for the day even though we don’t have any olive tree πŸ˜‰
    Have a great day, Julie.

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