Coming down the road to the house, a red ute that I didn't recognize was parked in the olive grove.
We don't have a lot of unannounced visitors, which is a good thing for a few reasons. We don't do door sales, so there's no point tourists driving up and down our road to be turned away. Well, not turned away…I send them down the Great Alpine Road 10 minutes and they can buy the oil in Porepunkah.
But our cattle wander amongst the olives. They have, more than once, bailed up nervous visitors, bluffed their way past them out the gate. We've had lacebug carried in and then spread amongst my trees, so bio-security is a real issue for us.
A year ago I put up bio-security signs, and we keep the front gates closed. It' not unfriendly, but it is clear and business like, and as a result we don't have a lot of tyre-kickers. But this weekend we have my daughter and her family here, and I moved the cows so I could leave all the gates open to save them the hassle.
So the ute was an unexpected event. I drove past it…no one in it? Where were they?
I drove on to the house, followed the road around the house and parked in the shade on the far side. I got out and walked back to the house. My wife was standing there with two blokes. Sylva called out, "You will want to meet these guys! This is Vito…"
I said, "I know who Vito is!" and we said hello. Vito and his brother Pasquale were passing and called in on a whim. Vito was an owner of this property some 20 years ago, and was the man who planted our olive grove. It is also Vito who built our pizza oven.
Vito was gob-smacked at the size of the trees and what he had started. They didn't have a lot of time - there was a freshly shot deer fermenting in the back of the ute – but he was easily enticed into a quick walkaround.
What a great visit! He filled me in in what he had planted and why, and what he had intended for the farm. I could show him how things had panned out, how some of the trees were not what he thought, and we stopped and admired the huge olive trees which happen to be in full-bloom just this week.
While we walked he phoned his adult children, and Zoomed them around the grove with him. His son had been part of the team that dug the well, and he was interested to know if it was operational. Like Vito they were amazed at the trees, their size and shape.
Co-incidentally, we are at the point of expanding our olive plantings. Vito had intended to do that, too, and it was interesting to compare notes.
Like Greg, who sold the property to us, Vito was regretful that he had sold it.
I won't be making that mistake!