Now before WW2, and before the advent of tractors and strimmers, most if not all olive grove owners would have kept sheep. These would have provided the family with wool, meat and milk. The other great benefit of the sheep was that they kept the pasture down in the olive grove.
Nowadays there are very few sheep kept and so there is a plethora of tractors and machines to do the job they used to.
Which brings me onto donkeys. Apparently there has been a decline in the numbers of Italian donkeys and so a number of breeds are considered at risk of extinction. The EU is offering subsidies to farmers who take on a donkey. I have heard of an agriturismo business which has given a home to two donkeys. Donkeys are like sheep and eat everything, grass weeds the lot and so are perfectly suited to keeping the grass down in an olive grove.
Rachel is very keen and wants 2 possibly more. But I have put my foot down and said no asses in the Casa Margherita grove!
It is a nice thought that the Umbrian hillsides may soon be dotted with donkeys keeping the pasture down in the olive groves.