A couple more days of picking and we can pack away the tarps, rakes and crates for another year. I admit I'm feeling exhausted, happy, and a bit melancholy too. This year we've had a lot of olives to pick (should be a total of around 12 1/2 tons). To help get the work done, we've had many people come and go from all parts of the world and for different amounts of time.
For example, in the photo below taken last week, there are 2 guys (one Israeli, one American) who showed up for the day to help out and to see what olive picking is all about. Ed from New Zealand, came for a few days and came back again for a short stay on his way back home. Biyiha came from Cameroon to learn about Israeli wheat and olive growing techniques and varieties, and to visit the Holy Land. His first trip outside Africa at age 56. Jan and Ruth, ex Gezer members from Norway and England, made their annual return to reconnect with the olives and the place that will always be their home. Miriam, a new immigrant from Maryland now living on Gezer, comes by to help when she can (and Zeev too), and to join in the interesting discussions. And these are just a few of the many people who have been a part of this year's harvest.
Maybelline and Stephen were here the longest, coming to Gezer for a month from Singapore on their first stop on their 3 month world tour. They sure got into eating hummous with zaatar and pools of Gezer olive oil!
I've made a lot of new friends and got to catch up with lots of old ones. Even kibbutz members who I don't get to talk to much. And no harvest would be complete without the kindergarten kids showing us how to party!
So this week we'll start pruning all the trees, and before you know it we'll be mowing the winter weeds,hanging the fly traps and the trees will start flowering. And so it goes.
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I'm Dani Livney, a member of Kibbutz Gezer, and the manager of the Gezer olives. I love it! I also work as a lawyer, focusing on environmental projects and promoting environmental empowerment and education.