Friday, October 9, 2020

In Greece ~ An Olive Grove Getaway

The air was still in our olive grove this morning, unlike yesterday when gusts were strong enough to send empty flower pots and chair cushions flying. Strong enough to make us wonder if those olives, so close to harvest, would continue to cling to their branches ~ but as always, they withstood the storm.

Our traditional Greek ladder in our grove

Walking among the recently sprouted wild cyclamen the sunlight through the tree branches was soft; an autumn sun, hot, but not with the intensity of summer.

Morning in our olive grove

The quietude of the morning was so intense that the waves slapping the shore in the harbor below echoed across our hillside terraces. It was the only sound to be heard.


Stairs link the terraces in our grove

Our Olive Grove - it is one of my favorite Greek destinations and luckily it is only footsteps away. While savoring my quick getaway, I realized that I often 'talk about' the grove on FB but that I haven't taken you there in quite some time, if ever.  

Stone House on the Hill from our olive grove

Our Stone House on the Hill was built in an olive grove. We have a neighbor's grove to one side of us and our grove stretches several terraces down from our home. In the distance the hillsides are covered with the silver green of olive groves. We live in the land of the Kalamata olive. 

Olive groves carpet the countryside

Technically we are in the land of the 'koroneiki' olive, a smaller fruit with a high ratio of skin to flesh which is said to give our 'Kalamata oil' its aromatic qualities. The larger olive, that you would recognize as 'the Kalamata olive' often served on Greek salad, is simply called 'the salad olive' around here.

Some of our Koroneiki olives just weeks away from harvest

Our grove of 17 trees, somewhat small by industry standards and just the right size by ours, was an unexpected bonus of this house when we bought it. We knew nothing about growing olives back then - had no idea how to tend the trees nor when one would harvest the bitter green fruit they produce. Siga, siga, slowly, slowly, as they say here, we have learned. And have so much more to learn.

'The Scout' at work in the grove - February burn season

In fact our lives, just as most who live in this area, evolve around the olive grove these days. Whether it is time to prune, time to clear, time to burn cuttings, time to spray, time to harvest. . .each task is tied to a season, an ages-old rhythm of life in this rural area of Greece's Peloponnese. So important is the olive here that restaurants and retail businesses gear their operations around 'the seasons of the olive'. Many are beginning to close now in preparation of olive harvest which will begin in mid-October and continue through December.

The summer's drought turned some olives purple

Greece devotes 60 percent of its cultivated land to olive growing. Messinia, the region in which we live, has some 15.863 million trees.  So many olives are grown in our region, that by the end of the 19th century, there were 20 olive presses operating within the city of Kalamata, the big city to our north. These days the processing plants are located outside the metropolitan area in or near the villages sprinkled about the countryside.  We have five such presses within five miles of our home.

A favorite spot in our grove

 Sometimes though the harvest and production of the oil is secondary to the joy we get just being in 
the grove. It is easy to lose track of time when wondering among the trees pondering who might have planted them a century or so ago and the events that have occurred around them during that time. 

Life in the grove continues. . .

Looking at the fruit dragging down youthful branches that have sprouted from old gnarled stumps assures me that even in a year as unsettled as this one, life will continue no matter how upside down the world might feel.

A peace that surpasses all understanding. . .

Often times the early morning or late afternoon sun rays through the trees turn the grove into a peaceful sanctuary - the beams as powerful and reassuring as those coming through any church window. The Biblical phrase, 'a peace that surpasses all understanding' comes to mind. A moment of stillness, a few deep breaths and the inner compass is reset.  

Wild cyclamen at the Stone House on the Hill

Hope you've enjoyed your time in the grove today and hope we will see you back again when I will tell that pirate's tale I promised in the last post.  I've got to admit that I've been researching another article for a publication and just didn't get the pirate story researched and written.  

Where ever you are, we hope that you are coping with the continued COVID prevention measures and that you and yours are well. 

Linking with:

Mosaic Monday
Through My Lens
Travel Tuesday
Our World Tuesday
My Corner of the World Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday








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