Country Life And Country Dress Ups

November 11, 2012

It’s nearly olive harvest here on the farm… that time of year when all the hard work pays off.

This year the olives aren’t as plentiful as I would like, yet they are beautiful… plump, juicy and clear as a bell… Our old fashioned, organic methods have paid off… no nasty little bites on our fruit… I can breath a sigh of relief.

Today has been perfect… some days are more than perfect in Provence… the kind of days that you read about in schmaltzy novels… the kind of days that we forget can even exist… A day of huge skies… so blue… so immense, with a flawless clarity… the air so crisp I could slice it in two… I awoke to this promise of beautiful sunshine and I could hear the olive harvesting underway… We use electric combs to pick the olives… I love hearing the buzz of productivity… I was worried that automation would upset me and my romantic imaginings… but it hasn’t. I appreciate progress for the help it provides and besides I have become accustomed to the sound… There is something deeply satisfying about the land, about producing… a tremendous feeling of a job well done… but more than that… there is a relationship with nature that rewards in a way like no other. I don’t kid myself that this is a profitable business, not yet… we are far from it… but hopefully we will be in the future. Passion must count for something… a love of what you do and the joy of creating are important… Right?

I am happiest when I am wandering the fields, enjoying the ‘fruits’ of our labour…Wait… Stop… Now that I say that… maybe that is not entirely true… I am also pretty happy in the city, pounding the pavements and enjoying the street style… the truth is I try to be content wherever I am…… and I believe that whatever we work and play at must make us happy.

Right now… I am in country mode… enjoying the outdoor jackets and snug sweaters… wearing my comfy boots and cargo pants… digging out the vintage scarves to keep my neck warm… In a way my country wear is much the same as my weekend wear… casual comfort but with a twist… I am always looking for those stylish pieces that make weekend dressing easy and country life cozy… xv

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  • Sounds wonderful Vicki…I love it when you give us all these great links. So much fun!! xx

  • tami holloway says:

    I can’t get the links to work. I’d love to see what’s there.

  • tami holloway says:

    Never mind. User error!

  • tami holloway says:

    Nope can’t get there. Any ideas?

  • Anita Rivera says:

    The country life in Provence has a way of shaving off all the excess of life and going for the bare essentials: good food, a connection to the earth and its bounty, simple yet beautiful home life and an appreciate for what others can take for granted. What is it about PROVENCE?????


  • cecile says:


    I just loooove this post!! You make me homesick for cool weather..


  • I can so identify, Vicki! Some days I want to be a country girl and completely simplify my life and other days I love my city life and would never want to leave!! However, I just want to dive into the box of olives…I love them!

  • Yes, today feels like a day full of possibility…I can almost feel your contentment and hear the snap of branches underfoot. Does Apache go with you on your wanderings?

    I have been bundling up in a vintage Bally coat that I originally bought for my honey. It is brown corduroy but lined in gray flannel with thick leather patches on the elbows and inside the cuffs–can you tell how happy I was that it was too small for him? :)

    And the joy of creativity, no matter what kind, is the stuff of life!

    • Vicki says:

      Apache is the ringmaster… loves the attention and is always wandering with us… He is a little in disgrace though… He has run away from home two nights in a row… he found himself a little girlie… understandable but he isn’t allowed to roam on his own… and seeing he has the run of 5o acres, that isn’t too tough..:) But boys will be boys and he has been sneaking out… except that he forgot his way home and ended up being delivered to the pound in Les Baux!! We had two sleepless nights and he was not at all pleased to be held there until he was picked up… So he is one timid giant! Now we know where she lives, so if he makes a visit… we know where to look…:)

  • The links are working great on my end and they are seriously making me want to do some internet shopping! Uh oh! Thanks for sharing them! My favorite part of all is seeing the beautiful olives and dreaming about that harvest! I could eat olives all day long and am dying for my sad little olive tree to start showing some growth! Thanks for sharing this and hope you’ve enjoyed your entire day!

  • frenchblue says:

    Dear Vicki,
    What a beautiful & wonderful accomplishment!!! I can only imagine the satisfaction you much be feeling~~and that crisp Provence air to wrap around you and hug you & the sun to kiss you as you walk through your fields of gold:) Love this post!

    • Vicki says:

      It has been a long time coming Janet… and these olives give us their fare share of grief… but I do love them and sometimes I joke and say we lavish so much care and attention on them… they are like children… :)

  • Leslie says:

    It’s fun to play dress up.. but I also like the feel of a worn sweater, vintage scarf, and warm boots. This sounds like such a peaceful existence and your {organic} olives look delicious. My brother is a wine maker and your verbiage on today’s post reminds me of what he says. It’s so rewarding to work with nature isn’t it?


  • What a brilliant post, Vicki. I remember my 1st comment to you when I gushed what a wonderful writer you were, not knowing that you actually are a writer. Your words are so evocative we all feel as though we can breath what you write. One day maybe olive oil, olive soap? Wouldn’t that be lovely.

    • Vicki says:

      I do think about producing our own olive oil but that would be so much more work… and I can’t do it all… and I choose the blog… :) Our fruit goes to Chateau Estoublon… they make delicious oil.. you can find it in WIlliam Sonoma and Dean and De Lucca in the US I believe…

  • I’d love a worn soft chambray shirt…
    I’d wear it with pearls.

    Your olive harvest sounds so intriguing, I have no farm experience at all…
    do you get very tired with all the work? Harvest time sounds busy.

    • Vicki says:

      It is a busy time… I don’t pick as much as I used to because we use the electric combs now, so that back breaking tiredness is a thing of the past… I miss that… but we had to move forward because there are too many olives now and the old ways were too slow…

  • As a country girl trapped in Southern California, I loved living vicariously through your olive-harvesting, boot-wearing, blue-sky-enjoying post. Thank you for these lovely words and delicious image.

  • Olives, ahh I do love them so! Thanks for all your doing.

    • Vicki says:

      Me too Peggy… It’s a wonderful pastime… working all year to a program and then seeing the ‘fruits’ of our labour… Very rewarding… :)

  • Amy Kortuem says:

    I grew up in the country and still love this time of year that calls for the warmest of the warm clothes and hats and boots.

    I just bought a pair of rustic brown leather boots this weekend. They’re screaming for the company of one of those gorgeous patterned scarves you linked to!

  • Gorgeous photo Vicki and I bet they will make wonderful oils this year. You are lucky, you suit both city and country girl looks so well. Enjoy the weekend activity. xx

  • Sue Lenton says:

    Sadly the links work all too well for me….my Penelope Chilvers boots are on their way!

    • Vicki says:

      Me too… I love my Uniqlo puffer… it’s fantastic and rolls up to be so tiny… I seriously would love one of those tartan shirts… and the sweater… Still thinking about them… :)

  • Sue Lenton says:

    Oh and my Uniqlo coat…

  • Oh so true Vicki, nothing beats the joy of creating…here’s to a passionate life and great olive oil! x

  • Vicki this reminds me of olive harvesting in Crete – THE BEST time of the year. Have also just found a copy of French Essence to replace the one I gave to my French sister-in-law – am So thrilled to have you back in my home along side My French Life. Every home should have Vicki Archer and Carla Coulson! Have a lovely weekend F

    • Vicki says:

      Thank you Francesca… :) I haven’t been to Crete… but I am sure their olive harvests are a wonderful experience…

  • Hi Vicki, our time in Provence in September this year was truly extraordinary. We stayed in Saint Andiol on an apple farm with apples, figs and grapes at our door and spent wonderful days in Saint Remy and Egalieres, as well as places a little further afar such as Aix-en-Provence and Arles. That sky is amazing… I think one thing I have taken home to Australia from my trip around France- something I felt wherever I was even Paris was the simplicity of a really good life doesn’t mean lots of things. We were getting so excited about tomatoes! and we laughed more than we ever have as a family- good food, good company and a good chair with that big sky, how devine it is. I think its a lesson in being content with the blessing that we have and knowing we don’t need much to feel love and true happiness xxCorrina.

    • Vicki says:

      I am so happy that the trip was all that you imagined Corrina… The French do live well and they understand that the simple pleasures are to be admired and appreciated… It’s a great reminder… :)

  • Pauline from Phillip Island says:

    Hi Vicki,
    I so love receiving your post each day. I’ve been back from France for four weeks now but reading your words transports me back again and I feel like I am still there. We are having one of those days here too, on my island off the coast of Australia – the sun is shining, the blue skies shimmering over the sea and the smell of the eucalyptus trees all around. Life is wonderful isn’t it?

  • I always love to hear about your olive production Vicki, I love the way you combine it’s earthiness with your beautiful property and sophisticated lifestyle.
    Lovely shot of the olives – YUM!
    have a great weekend

  • Vicki I picture you looking chic and edgy even if you were shoveling the barn out. I loved your links too. You had me sold on Penelope Chilvers boots! To see all your gorgeous olives harvested has to be so rewarding and a profound sense of accomplishement and pride. You are a woman to admire Vicki. xx

  • Gina says:

    Have a wonderful weekend Vicki

  • Karena says:

    Oh Vicki those olives!! Beautiful! I love this time of year city or country. I adore the Uniqlo Down Coat. Light as a feather is great so you can layer under.

    Art by Karena

  • Millie says:

    Goodness Vicki, Apache has had everyone on their toes hasn’t he. I can just imagine the No Speakies in the car on the way home from the pound! I’m never without my big jar of olives from Coriole Winery in McLaren Vale. The Lloyd family combine wonderful wines & fabulous olives, a mix made in Heaven I reckon!
    Millie xx

  • Sandy says:

    Thanks for sharing all your links AND your so well worded description of your perfect day. It sounds like pure heaven!!

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