Olives, jam, and bread

by cheri sabraw

The John Deere tractor—looking like a green scorpion with its powerful backhoe attachment—will cross the creek for the umpteenth time this year and instead of digging long trenches for irrigation pipes, will finally begin to fill them.

Sixty olive trees, babies in their fifteen-gallon tubs, wait in the Central Valley for a ticket to the Rancho. Here they will find a permanent home in soil that  suits them.

A new deer fence surrounds the olive nursery;  small pipes and wooden stakes demarcate where each little tree will be placed, its root ball surrounded by the wiry protection of a gopher guard.

All of the man hours and preparation for this project have been completed by the Judge and his high school buddy Don, who is a citrus nurseryman by weekday and a dear friend by weekend. How many hours have they worked side by side, saying little? (This is what I admire about men–how they can be together and enjoy time without saying anything.)

Me? I’ve done nothing noteworthy toward the completion of this project other than to hop the creek on occasion, delivering water tuna sandwiches, chips, and oatmeal raisin cookies to my human gophers, working the land.

My charge has been to guard the 27 newly planted olallieberry babies on the western side of our meadow who are trying their level best to fend off insects, heat, and birds. The judge tells me to let go of my worry that the sneaky deer will clear  the fence in one astronomical leap and then  chew my baby berries down to nubs.

Our olive trees should be producing enough olives for a harvest and oil in two years.

Rancholivo Oil.

Cheri’s Olallieberry Jam.

Why, all we need now is to plant a vineyard to be self-sustainable.

Who will bring the sour dough?

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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10 Responses to Olives, jam, and bread

  1. Fantastic project and best of luck. I so want one of those John Deeres!

    • Cheri says:

      Well, here in California, we can buy a John Deere and any attachment with zero percent financing. We’ve purchased each of our John Deere tractors, Gator, and backhoe attachment that way and just paid it off over a year. No interest is hard to beat!

  2. Rosemary Feeley Foreman says:

    Sweet….in every way!!! I will bring sour dough…and Chateauneuf du Pape!!
    (My daughter Jen was best friends for awhile with Lexa, the daughter of the Don you are talking about…they used to pretend they were horses in his groves…..lol!)

    • Cheri says:

      When the olives are ready for harvest, you will be invited Rosemary. Wine from Chateauneuf du Pape! Wow. We were there in May of 2011 and tasted their wine. Sure. You can bring it… 🙂

      I used to pretend I was a horse and gallop around whinnying and snorting, but not in Don’s nursery.

  3. Richard says:

    Those images are a welcome sight in our summer of wind, wet and cold.

  4. Cheri says:

    It’s been hot here, so the hills are very dry already. Seems like September. Our little creek is very low. We could use a big rain storm.

  5. imagenmots says:

    Working for the future, I see. On Kerkyra (Corfou)and Mykonos, two weeks ago,I saw 500 to 1000 years old olive trees all twisted and craggy like arthritic old folks and looking every bit as kind and wise. You felt affection for the old folks.
    Paul Costopoulos

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Paul,
      Welcome back! I hope you had a delightful time on your Mediterranean cruise. We saw those old olive trees while on Corfou six years ago…amazing old orchards. Your description is perfect.

    • Richard says:

      Mediterranean cruise? HMMPH

      Excuse me while I doff my waterproofs and stoke the fire.

      • imagenmots says:

        Poor Richard, victim of a Gulf Stream twitch. Come over here, it is 7:23 a.m. and already 25C, we expect 34C today. No stoking fires around here for the last 3 days in a row.

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