We’ve stopped traveling for the moment. In a sense. I mean we are no longer physically moving. But, each day brings us more new than we can process fully. As we have decided to make ourselves comfortable here, planning to spend two weeks, three weeks, maybe more here, we have dropped our previous existence completely and adopted the lives of others. This has always been the goal of our travels, to live a day or a week or a month in someone else’s culture. Here we are. Organic farmers in the French hills. We are now residents of the hill communities which we passed through earlier taking pictures.
There is no time for picture taking here. Not during olive season. There are always olives. In the morning we sort olives, in the evening when we go to get dinner from Margaret, she has a box of olives spread across her table waiting to be sorted. No conversation happens without olive sorting. And, when it stops raining (rain is very unusual here and people are not happy-Mike and I are fine) there will be no time for anything except olive collecting.
Today we took a break from olive sorting to “help the bees.” We learned about the things that affect the colonies, the lice that eat the developing bees and in the case today, the moths that eat the wax and destroy the hives. We cleaned tens of bee sheets today with a knife and a blow torch. It was nice for me. Olive sorting does not suit me, but Mike likes it very much even though he has problems “following his inspiration.” That means, go with what you feel. If the olive is good enough for paste, it goes there, if not, it goes in the oil pile. It is not brain surgery, but he always ends up with a little pile in the middle that he just can’t decide on. I on the other hand am very decisive. I understand that they are just olives and if I make one or two bad choices, no lives will be ruined. The reason Mike likes it so much is that he gets to talk to Claude and Margaret. They have great conversations and I get to listen quietly to the French being spoken around me. It’s getting a little easier to follow, but when je suis fatigue, I cannot listen at all. I tell Mike that I am like a baby. I am quiet now, but one day I will come out with a full sentence after hearing the adults speaking it for so long. I like to tell Margaret that she is my professor. She is so patient and speaks slowly for me and repeats whenever I need. She really wants me to understand and I feel no pressure from her, so I try hard to actually understand and not pretend.
It is only the second day here, but we have the hang of it. Tomorrow Claude is taking Margaret to the pharmacy and told us what needs to be done. We’ll be able to do it without any instruction. I prefer to work in this way. There are tasks, when they are complete, they are complete. Unfortunately, olive season is never ending it seems.
Oh, I almost forgot the best part! You know Margaret makes us our lunch and dinner at home. Most of the ingredients are from the garden or the farm. Today at lunch we had olive oil made here and some wine also from this farm. Tonight, we asked for some oil of our own and Mike went with Claude out back and brought back some oil that was made Sunday. Sunday! For lunch we had lentil soup with whole vegetables and sausage in it. For dinner, vegetable soup again with roasted potatoes and some sausage. Oh, and the olive oil made on Sunday. Mike put some garlic in it at Claude’s suggestion and it was amazing.
Last note, when I was picking olives yesterday, I saw an earthworm (nature’s tractor) that was over a foot long. I was so surprised I started laughing. I’ve never seen anything like it. It looked like 3 worms sewn together. I don’t think this is normal even for here.