Black olives and a praying mantis

 

We picked just over a kilo of ripe olives in the garden this morning – a much smaller harvest than two years ago, but at least much better than last year when almost all the fruit was affected by olive fly. I’ll soak them in spring water for a couple of days, then prick them with a fork and salt them to draw the bitterness out. After a few weeks they should be ready to eat.  This is a quick way of curing olives and one that is only possible because we have such a small crop! As I was picking the olives Lo Jardinièr called me over to the rosemary bush where he’d found this praying mantis, upside down among the flowers.

 

Such strange creatures, that we seem to see more in autumn than at other times of year, and are apparently related to cockroaches although they seem more attractive to me! Because they eat smaller insects they are sometimes used for pest control in organic gardening, but they will eat anything (even each other if they can’t find anything else) so they can also eat beneficial insects in the garden.