Tag Archives: olive trees

Drastic action

There is no room for emotions on a farm. At this time of year, once the olive harvest is in and the farmers settle down to wait for their local cooperativa’s pronouncement about this year’s price [based on the yield of oil from the olives, not on the weight of olives harvested] there is a small pause before the spring cut. In the typical pragmatic way of the Spanish language, the phrase used for pruning the olive trees is ‘to cut’. And boy, do they cut. Lopping off branches, spindly new growth, sometimes most of the tree. It looks brutal. But olive trees live and yield olives for hundreds of years.

5 to remember
una granja – a farm
en esta época del año – at this time of year
el pronunciamiento – the pronouncement
una pequeña pausa – a small pause
pragmatico/a – pragmatic

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Drastic action: the spring cut. Olive #trees in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Q4

Olive trees pruned

Spring is the time for olive farmers to prune their trees. old olive tree pruned2 24-3-13 Every olive grove is dotted with piles of silver prunings, gathered into heaps ready to be burned on a still day. Sometimes the horizon will be dotted with spirals of pale smoke rising for the burning twigs. olive trees pruned2 15-3-13 The pruning can be quite brutal with entire branches lopped off, leaving the tree trunk and a single thin branch, but new growth soon appears again. olive tree pruned 24-3-13 5 to remember
podar – to prune
la hoguera – bonfire
quema – it burns
el humo – smoke
una espiral – spiral

Felled olive trees

Around one corner of the Thyme Track we are surprised to find a grove of felled olive trees. The location of each tree is marked by a wide shallow hole and a pile of roughly chopped timber. Our first thought is horror at the uprooted trees, disappointment at a now bare space. felled olive trees1 15-3-13 But that is our urban reaction and is a small reminder that olive trees are farmed, they do not grow wild. They are managed and are farmed as a crop, and sometimes that crop is timber. Notoriously olive wood burns poorly, giving off a lot of smoke, so locals prefer to burn walnut or oak if they can get it. Perhaps it is a sign of the bad economic times in Spain that olive trees deemed poor fruiters are destined for the fire. felled olive trees3 15-3-13 The wriggly roots do not look like the neatly sawn logs we recognise as firewood, these are more roughly hewn, more organic. Olive wood is notoriously hard to cut, the grain tight. All in all, I prefer the trees which in their most severely pruned forms look like Ents. felled olive trees2 15-3-135 to remember
la posición – the location
poco/a profundo/a – shallow
la madera
– the timber
el horror – the horror
la decepción – the disappointment

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A hole in the ground & a pile of timber: felled olive trees in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-98