Olive harvest at La Cazalla de Ronda 2016

November is harvest time at La Cazalla, including our home-grown pears, persimmons, quince and olives. It's pretty hard work to gather the olives, as we must lay out the nets under the trees and then either 'stroke' them from the lower branches or use poles to strike them off the upper levels. Plenty of tea and snacks are required to keep us all going!

Once harvested, we have a maximum of four days within which to take our olives to the mill. They are weighed and poured into a grate to commence their transformation into our single-estate organic extra virgin olive oil. Leaves and twigs are removed and the olives are cleaned and filtered into oil.

Whilst at the mill we learned that our harvest this year was not the only one locally that had not produced as many olives as last year, with many estates in Spain and Italy producing only a third of their usual yield. Despite the predicted rise in the price of olive oil, we will still be giving every family/group that stays with us a free bottle of our organic extra virgin oil in their welcome basket. Our local friends tell us it's delicious, so book your stay early to avoid missing out!

Our own personal unicorn

Since we came to live at La Cazalla, from time-to-time we have seen a wild white horse roaming in the ancient oak forest on the other side of the gorge. It was always an exhilarating sight, to see this proud stallion wandering alone in the woods.

We made enquiries with local friends and understand that there used to be two more horses with our lone rambler, but they disappeared some time ago. To us, this solo snowy stallion came to have a magical quality, and we started calling him 'our unicorn'.

We have occasionally been able to approach him whenever we stumbled across him during walks in the forest, but he had never previously approached us... until now. As animal lovers (we have five dogs and a cat!), with winter approaching we felt concern for our unicorn's health, consulted the local vet, purchased horse feed and went to find him in the woods. Having tracked him down and successfully fed him one evening, we were stunned to awaken the next morning and spot him directly across the gorge, staring at the house, as if to say "Buenos Días! Will there be breakfast today?".

We are happy to report that our unicorn is now running to meet us (which is a delight!), he looks well (although we will provide a video to the vet for confirmation) and perhaps he may be an addition to our family. Does anyone have suggestions for his name?

Making Fig Jam

This week we are making the most of our figs and blackberries! It's the first time we've made Blackberry Jam and I burnt my mouth in my haste to taste it - fortunately it was worth it! Fig and Chilli Chutney, Fig and Ginger Chutney and tomorrow I will try a new recipe for Fig and Orange Jam.