Happy bees and wet olive trees

Somehow a whole week has passed since I last posted on this blog, and it’s been a typical spring week – a mix of warm sunny days, on one of which we ate lunch outside a café by the sea, feeling hot in the sun, and grey, gloomy days like today.

First, a happy bee, one of many buzzing around a wild Coronilla shrub at the edge of the village:



And then the olive trees – unfortunately the rain had to fall on the day fixed for an olive pruning demonstration organised by the Moulin de Casso in the village and the local branch l’Association Française Interprofessionnelle de l’Olive. We’d been told that if it rained we would be treated to a slide show in the salle des fetes – I wasn’t surprised because here in the Midi hardly any one goes out if it rains. But I was surprised to find that we did after all go to the olive grove and watch the real thing – much better than slides, of course.





In spite of the cold and the rain we were given a good idea of how to get the best out of olive trees – in our case only two small ones, but the course is aimed at all olive growers, from large-scale professionals to people like us who have a few trees in their gardens. And readers of this blog, and anyone who knows anything about the Midi, won’t be surprised to know that the morning ended with apéritifs accompanied by tapenade made from last year’s crop from these trees, followed by a very good lunch of charcuterie, cassoulet, cheese and apple pie, with white and red wine and muscat de Rivesaltes with the dessert… and a lot of Occitan joia e convivença (happiness and conviviality).

10 thoughts on “Happy bees and wet olive trees

  1. We pruned last week and set olive fly traps with 2 different baits . One is a pheromone lure and the other is a yeast product. We have 9 trees. I am still processing last year olives , a combo of salt brined and salt packed. I started my tomatoes yesterday and wondered if you had.

    • I’d be very interested if you’ve found an organic deterrent to olive fly, as I don’t want to use chemicals because our olive trees are too close to the vegetable beds. We have several varieties of pepper plants germinating, but we’re going to wait and buy tomato plants this year because we’ve got a lot going on at the vital time. I hope your tomatoes do well. I’m very envious of your nine olive trees – we have only two. I’m not sure where you are?

      • Hi,
        Here is the url for an article about organic fruit fly control. The traps we are using are the McPhail traps mentioned in the article. The University of Califorina at Davis is considered the expert sourse for agricultural information in our area. http://ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r583301311.html

        I live in the US in a small town called Fiddletown. It is about a three hour drive east of San Francisco. In addition to our olive trees, we have a small vineyard (which we pruned today) and a large vegetable garden. I started reading your blog over a year ago because we travelled to the Langdouc-Rousillan area last March. We had a very nice visit. We stayed in Quillan for two weeks. I was struck by the similarities in climate and geography between where we live and your area. Good luck with the olives! Teri

  2. Hee hee was reading Roger’s comment! Sounds like a wonderful event, especially the lunch afterwards 🙂 I remember reading that a swallow should be able to fly through the pruned trees without brushing it’s wings, I rather like that!

    • Our ‘teacher’ yesterday told us about this saying, although the bird was a dove in his version – it is a lovely image, but he says it’s only true if the tree is pruned only every two years, rather than every year. Actually, he told it as part of a funny take-off of a Parisian asking questions and not understanding what goes on here in the Midi! But that doesn’t detract from the beauty of the image.

  3. Thank you for identifying the Coronilla plant – I was wondering what it was. It is a nice cheery yellow but a bit scraggly, probably needs some goat nibbling to keep it in shape.

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