Recently, Don and I attended an olive picking party on Olive Hill in Lake County, California. People came from as far as Washington state, as wide as Marin County, and as close as Clearlake, to participate in this wondrous event. This is the third year we have participated in this event, where anyone's payment is a bottle of olive oil pressed from the olives.
If you ever plan on going to an olive picking party, you need to know there are two main methods to pick olives. The first is to position a large tarp below an olive tree, rake the olives from the trees so that they fall onto the tarp, roll the tarp, and then pour the large tube of olives into a bucket. The second way is to pick the olives by hand and put them in a bucket with straps similar to a baby pouch so that your back is not compromised as the bucket fills with olives.
Raking olives from the trees was faster, perhaps more efficient, but the sound of the rake against branches was abrasive and distracting. Hand picking the olives and dropping them into the bucket was contemplative and easy on both the tree branches and human arms. Hand picking invited conversation, raking required solitude. Neither method of olive picking was better or worse, and which one you chose was a matter of personal taste.
Don and I chose to hand pick the olives. The conversation was good, our hands softened from the natural oil of the olives, and after a few hours we were pleasantly exhausted from the activity. Later in the day, as we shared lunch with other olive pickers, I was reminded of the importance of community and the strength of helping out without expecting anything in return.
On the writing front, I completed draft six of my novel and am now working on my synopsis. Once I have my synopsis polished, I will work on my query letter. Finally, I will start the query process again.
I am also working on a short story or two, which I would like to submit to magazines. Maybe I'll even write a spooky story about what really happens at an olive picking party.
Happy writing all!