Monday, February 02, 2015

the giving trees

Here in Liguria they call the Chestnut tree "the tree of life" because of its multi-uses.  As it was explained to me you can built a house with it, heat the house with it, use the leaves to stuff your mattresses, eat the nuts, grind the nuts into flour for bread, seems like there was more that I've now forgotten. 

We have a house, and a mattress, and flour so for me the Olive tree is the giving tree. 

Last year was such a great olive season that this year the trees just needed to rest.  Ok, that's technically not how it works.  But it is true that harvests tend to skip a year.  This is an off year.  So instead of rolling up nets and taking burlap sacks of olives to the frantoio now, everyone is pruning.  No oil this year, but there is wood for the fire and lots of sticks for kindling.  We used to just burn all the branches we pruned in a big bonfire but, by watching and learning, we see that that was very wasteful. Ligurians are very efficient and frugal people. Now we cut, trim, clean, and prepare the branches for the fire to keep us warm in the house.

That shit could keep us warm for days!  And it's only part of what David's been cutting down.

Division of labor (and skills with power tools) dictates that David does the log cutting and I'm responsible for the kindling.

HA!  Yeah, I WISH that was my work.  That's how the neighbor makes kindling.  Here's mine
I might need to do a little more watching and learning.  For example, it's useful to remember to keep the sticks that grow at a 45 degree angle apart, so you can place them at the corner of the crate and thereby increasing the efficiency of your kindling stacking.
That is, of course, assuming that you have crates and are not using grocery bags that you found in the back of your car.

Just in case any of you come here to see some knitting, here you go
That's a sweater that I've knit for a friend of mine.  DONE!  well, except for blocking and weaving in all the ends and that pesky stuff.  By the way, this friend of mine has a daughter who is an author and a crocheter and has a very cool blog.  Go check it out here. (she writes in german AND english).

And just because it's beautiful, here's a photo of our almond tree, already blooming. 

Um, ok, that's another of my famous "really, it's beautiful but that's a shitty picture" pictures.  Maybe if enough people ask in the comments, photographer David will make a proper photo of it and put it up on his blog.


  1. Olive branches or any other kind of branches put together in nice bundles are a kind of art, if you ask me. I do it with my leftover willow after basketing.
    In DK we really need a nice warm fire these days. Nice to know that you are heading for spring!

  2. You really need to put a close picture of your almond blossom on your blog. It looks so beautiful. Well, my mum's sweater too...
    Your wood making looks like a lot of work - and I'm pretty sure my branches would look like chaos and nothing even like your system of storage...