Monday August- A Gold Medal is a personal reward

Today we visited the olive groves that Zarko is developing. Some of the land has olive trees on it from hundreds of years ago and have had no care for a long time.

Cleaning this up is no easy task and Zarko has worked many hundreds of hours scrub cutting and pruning with the help of an old local expert, his sons and workers and then replanting has taken many months of hard slog. Most of the year is too hot to work and the cooler months have bitter winds tearing through the valleys making living and working here difficult. A gold medal for his recent harvest has been a personal satisfaction but there is no financial gain for these efforts when you take the costs into account. Zarko has taken the plot from above to this below.

This is the old house that the family used after the Italians burnt out the village as a temporary shelter. The house has a small water collection well and fruit trees surrounding it. They don’t get water from below as it’s all rock but make an area that is covered in slate that slopes into a reservoir to hold it. You can see the roof has now fallen in on the old shelter but Zarko says he may repair some day. You can see in the picture above piles of rock that have been collected off the land which is naturally covered in it. It is made into walls or terracing or simply piled up before the land can be planted. This would have been back breaking work only achieved by hand. We picked and ate beautiful wild blackberries and different varieties of the most beautiful figs

We can see where the wild pigs have rooted up around the trees looking for something to eat. I must tell the pig hunter it’s time to come in Zarko laughs.

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