Sometime around mid-March, little buds start to appear on our ancient olive trees. Not long after that, Darrio arrives to give them their biennial haircut.
Trimming olive trees is no easy task, best left to the professionals like Darrio.
Our olive trees are very tall, some have been estimated at 800-1,000 years old with trunks as wide as a Smart Car. Each of them is gnarled with age, like an old arthritic oak tree. They always make me feel so young, like we're just passing through and long after we're gone and forgotten, they'll live on.
We like to keep our trees trimmed neatly but not as severely as you see in some public parks here where they resemble coiffed poodles more than majestic olive trees.
Our guidance to Darrio is classic: to trim the trees so that a swallow could fly through the branches without touching its wings. So off he goes.
For a week or so, the usual stillness of our garden is broken with the constant sound of Darrio's gas powered olive branch cutter. From early morning to late evening, his generator growls. "Chunk" we hear as he cuts through a branch, "Swoosh" as the branches heavy with slate coloured leaves hits the ground. It takes him almost a day to trim each tree and by the time he's finished, the base of each tree is piled a metre high with branches and leaves. It's so tempting to jump on the pile and throw everything around like a kid playing in fall leaves but we don't; the olive branches are hard as steel and the leaves are capable of slicing skin.
|Old olive wood on the wood pile|