I wondered what was going on on the plot of land next door: I could hear cracks and thuds and see a long wooden cane moving about.
It turns out they are harvesting the olives and the pole is being used to beat the trees to make the ripe fruit fall.
I know it’s totally non-pc, but I am reminded of the saying about “a dog, a woman and a walnut tree”. I don’t suppose anyone dares say that anymore.
Apparently they’ve decided it’s not good to beat olive trees, either. This list of harvesting methods describes “el vareo” as “un método no aconsejable ya que daña al olivo” – it’s not advisable as it damages the tree. The advantage of the method, though, is that it is quick and simple and a lot of fruit is retrieved.