It’s almond harvesting time here in Almeria. Apparently, the harvest usually starts around the second week of September, but this year, due to very low rainfall, the harvest started early, in August. Our local ironmonger told me this. Most of Spain closes down in August. It’s far too hot to do much, so most people take their annual leave. Anyway, said ironmonger took his holiday the last two weeks of August but found that he was constantly harrassed by phone calls from farmers needing their harvesting tractors repairing.
The two main ways of harvesting here are either by bashing the trees with sticks until the almonds fall onto a waiting net, tarpaulin, etc. or, attached to a tractor is a machine which looks like a large upside down umbrella. This machine vibrates, again shaking the almonds from the trees and they collect inside the ‘umbrella’.
Unfortunately this tractor was filling up not actually in the fields harvesting, but you get the idea about the umbrella thingy!
The upside down umbrella!
When I visit the local market here every Friday for our fruit and veg, I always buy almonds as well. They come in various ‘flavours’! Our favourites are the peeled and salted, and the honey roast. They’re great for snacking on and whipping out when we have unexpected visitors. We also crush them and add them to savoury dishes, often of the curried variety. Well, the hubby does, as he does most of the cooking around here!
So, August was a tad warm, and, as I said, Spain slows down a bit and we did too. However, I did manage to complete the last assignment of the proofreading course. Yay! I’m just waiting now for the results. I’m hopeful. I did well in the previous assignments. This was, though, the hardest of all. But if I don’t believe in me, who will?
It’s also ‘vendimia’ (grape harvest) time in many parts of Spain. We used to live in the north of Spain, Burgos region, and wine is very big there. In fact, our favourite wine is from that region; it’s delicious! Check it out here.
Although there are vineyards in Almeria, there are none in close proximity to us. However, some of our neighbours have a few grapevines! Not enough to run a bodega, but perhaps they can manage a couple of bottles for home consumption! Anyway, out on the trail recently, we witnessed the marriage of an olive tree and a vine!
Sweet ‘n’ Sour?
And this very morning, when I took the dogs out, I revelled in the tranquility. It was absolutely quiet, apart from the odd tweeting of a bird. The kind of quiet that rings in your ears. And the dogs enjoyed the sun on their backs and sniffing around in the undergrowth.
©Natalie Murray, 2014. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.