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Sunday, 22 November 2009

No stopping work with just one hole in me arm...

First of a big thank you to everyone for your good wishes for my birthday and my operation. Sorry I haven't posted earlier, but I've been keen to be getting on with the olives, which is turning into a bigger job than anticipated and having a hole in me arm hasn't exactly helped. Here's Susan burning some of the olive cuttings.
Right, but one thing after another.

Tuesday morning I turned up at the hospital at 7am as requested, to then be left sitting in the waiting room for 4 hours before the threw some other poor sod out of a bed, so I could use it. After another 3 hours spent mostly waiting they finally wheeled me into the operating theatre. The actual operation took some 10-15 minutes. They wouldn't let me watch, but they did show me the piece of bamboo they extracted from my arm. It turned out to be the size of a small toothpick, but I didn't get to keep it. After waiting some more hours for the amnesty... the thing, you know the numbness, to wear off they finally sent me home at 6pm. I was knackered!

It wasn't until late the next day, when I changed the dressing (no not the salad dressing, you know the bandage and all...), that I realised what a huge hole they had cut into my arm. To top it all they stuffed half a yard worth of banadage right into that hole (sorry I hope I'm not being too graphic here). I believe they'll be pulling that out again on Wednesday, I'm not looking forward to that. I've tried pulling it out myself, but it hurts like hell!

The day after the operation I thought I better take it easy, so rather than hanging one-handedly off an olive tree we went on a wild food foraging walk. The weather has been so mild recently, and with those intermittent sprinklings of rain, the vegetation round here seems to think it's spring. So we went off picking a load of herbs that are normally more associated with spring. Below you can see 3 edibles in one picture: salad burnett on the left, oregano on the right and yes, the leaves of a wild strawberry in the middle, alas not bearing any fruit at the moment.

Here some fresh wild mint:

Lemon balm:

Wild chicory. When in flower like this, the leaves are usually too bitter to use, but we did find some young leaves, which we could use.

Wild fennel and young dandelion:

We used all this to add to a potato salad and it was delicious.

On Thursday we started big time on the olives again, but I think I'm paying for it now. My arm has been getting really sore again, so I'm giving it a bit of a rest today. I'm finding that I am becoming quite ampidextorous (is that how you spell it?), which is dead useful at times. If you are clambering amongst olive branches some 12 feet above the ground (I'm rediscovering my lost childhood here!), some branches are only conveniently reachable with the one or the other hand (given that you need to hang on with the other one so you don't fall off). So I've been managing to saw with my left arm quite well. The only thing I have to be slightly careful about is that if you cut branches above your head they are likely to fall on the latter.

Finally on Friday we had a bit of a belated birthday celebration. We went to our favourite local pub, the Pegaso http://www.pegasolive.it/. They have live music every Friday night, and last Friday it was Belfast singer / songwriter and troubador Andy White (http://www.andywhite.com/). We've seen him a few times there. Although he lives in Australia these days he tours Europe and the US regularly and he uses Arcola as base when he is on the Italian leg of his tour. With Susan being from Belfast, we usually have an animated chat with him. This photo is curtesy of Pegaso Pub (my camera has now finally given up its ghost):

Andy was playing a load of stuff from his new album songwriter. Some really nice melodic pieces, more folky than previous material with bits of Bluegrass in it. Listen to a sound sample on http://www.andywhite.com/video.html?v=JIV-EKIC8R0#.


Mr. H. said...

I'm so glad you managed to finally get the splinter out and hope you fully recover quickly, it sounds like the whole process was quite an ordeal.

I like Andy White! This the first time I have ever heard him but it is very nice. Thanks for sharing the link.

It is really neat how may wild edibles grow in your area. Just the other day I was tending to our salad burnett, which holds up extremely well in the cold, and wondering if it would ever naturalize beyond our garden.

Please be careful swinging about in those trees! The olive grove must be looking fabulous compared to how you originally described it.

Ayak said...

Heiko: I bet you are relieved to get the op out of the way, but please do be careful with your arm until its properly healed..I fear you are perhaps doing too much too soon?

Glad to hear your birthday celebration was an enjoyable one.

Ruralrose said...

Glad to hear you made it through ok. Healthcare is bad everywhere it would appear. Drooled over the greens, mine are all brown for the winter. I also enjoyed the music link. Don't work too hard, the plants will grow back but not your arm! Peace

Jenn said...

3 things:
1) you had a WHAT removed from your arm???? How long was it in there for? And can you make chopsticks out of it now?

2) You are so blessed to live with so much wild goodness around you! I plant all those herbs and just pray they will reappear in my wee garden every spring

3) happy birthday!

WeekendFarmer said...

Lovely photos of the herbs. Feel better soon!

Heiko said...

Thanks for your good wishes everyone. yes Jenn, a piece of Bamboo. It was in there for 3 months!, most unpleasant, but as I say I didn't get to keep it. The whole story is described on the 21st August post (http://pathtoselfsufficiency.blogspot.com/2009/08/bamboo-harder-than-bones.html). I didn't realise imediately what happened, nor did the hospital at the time.

I'm trying to take it easy, but the olives need doing otherwise they'll spoil before we can turn them to oil.

chaiselongue said...

Hey, don't burn those olive leaves - make tea with them! I tried the olive leaf tea for the first time today and it was good with a slice of lemon. I've only used quite young tender leaves. It had a lovely olivey smell and a herby taste. I don't like 'real' tea, so it's good for me. And it is said to help prevent colds and flu and lower blood pressure, but I can't vouch for that. I envy you your olive grove - it's my dream, but I only have two small trees. Glad to hear you're getting better.