Sun rising over Taygetos mountains from Gargarou beach this morning
We had a great olive harvest this year, the trees were laden with ripe olives in November so we picked them early over 2 weeks with the help of 6 amazing people who came to help us through Workaway and Help- exchange organisations. We pick our olives by hand using handsaws to cut branches from the trees and sticks and rakes to take the olives off so just the sounds of nature around us, hard work and the wonder of nature combined. We got more oil than ever before and it tastes and smells wonderful, fresh and peppery.
The Peloponnese in the Spring is a beautiful time with wild flowers growing in the olive groves and Easyjet now fly from 31st of March from London Gatwick to Kalamata, flying Tuesday and Saturday in April and 3 times a week in May and 4 times a week June to October.
These are some photos taken by our friend Trond from Norway who came to visit us with 15 friends at Gargarou Retreat last April.
If you’ve stayed at Gargarou Retreat in the past or know Gargarou Beach you’ll mostly likley be surprised to see this wide sandy strip which appeared over the winter. Gargarou beach meets Perulia Beach which is always sandy but the Gargarou end is changed by the winter storms each year but up to now has always been narrow with a mix of rocks, shingle and sand. it was certainly a delight for us to watch the sand widen out over the past couple of months, also hoping the waves wouldn’t take it all away again one night. It’s sure to stay for the summer now, but we’ll need to wait to see what next winter brings:
Our olive grove is full of wild flowers, bees, butterflies…. and moths. David and Ann, our guests saw this Scarlet Tiger moth, Callimorpha dominula, holding on a blade of grass being moved with the wind…being still for ages.
We are at Gargarou Retreat after a visit to England and our olive grove is lush with beautiful wild iris, giant orchids, camomile, crown anemones, wood sorrel and many more. Wild Iris, Iris unguicularis
olive grove below villa Fig with crown anemones
I love the simplicity of how I work with clay now, gathering clay fallen onto the beach, the olive grove being my studio, moon lit shadows of the olive trees surrounding me, layers and layers of stars, bats flying, owls calling to each other in the olive groves, a bright fire, my hands making with clay.
I will fire the clay pieces with the olive branches cut from the olive harvest which we did today, so will build the fire next week.
I especially love November at Gargarou, still warm sun, eating breakfast and lunch outside or lunch on the beach, wild flowers growing, and delicious ripe pomegranates, the last of our okra and the last figs last week. The rosemary and lavender is in full blossom and full of buzzing of bees going from one flower to another. And some thunderstorms and some rain and rainbows over the sea!
We can see the Taygetos Mountains more clearly this time of year, in the summer it can be a bit hazy, this is from Gargarou beach.