Exploring the Olive Grove

Below our terrace the ground falls away so steeply under the olive trees, you can’t see the bottom. It’s quite hard work clambering from terrace to terrace, so during the hot weather I haven’t explored very far. You can’t climb straight down, but have to tack like a ship in a gale, and it’s several hundred feet to the bottom.

But now, the weather is becoming cooler and the family who own the land have begun to spread the nets for the olive harvest. Soon it will be raining and slithery with mud. I realised yesterday that if I didn’t go now, I might not get another chance until the spring.

After three or four terrace levels I was already in another country - the house had disappeared from view, and wherever I looked there was evidence of a wide variety of wildlife. There were dens and bolt holes everywhere -

This one perhaps the den of the fox that came and looked at us one breakfast time.

This one looks as if it might be the badger den we’ve been told is there.

And who lives in these little holes?

The creatures who chatter in the trees at night and scamper across our roof are Ghiro’s - they look like a large squirrel and are a relative of the dormouse. They behave rather like possums. You rarely see them because they’re only active at night. I've been lucky enough to see a couple, but not quick enough to get a photo.  I found this rather nice drawing on an Italian wildlife site.

At the bottom of the olive grove is an old pathway with walls of cyclopic masonry - all now falling into ruin. It used to be used by residents to connect the village and the town. To the right of the path is ‘the wildwood’ - a jungle of trees, shrubs and brambles that fills the precipitous gorge and apparently contains a huge number of wild animals including deer and wild boar.

Above the path, gazing back up towards the house, the olive grove looks quite beautiful.

Its ancient trees grow straight out of volcanic rock outcrops and the walls of the terraces are constructed from the same stone.

Some of the trees are very old indeed.

And in the rocks around their roots wild clematis are blooming in every crevice they can find a space to grow.

Neil and I also explored a short way along the path at the bottom of our neighbour's olive grove and found something very interesting, which I'll be blogging about as soon as I've managed to find out more about it. 


  1. Ghiros? Never heard of them, are they a rodent?

    What an enchanting place, isn't it wonderful to see the wildlife coming back?

    Talk about building suspense!

  2. You have probably already answered my question by saying 'relative of a dormouse'


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