Sunday, November 3, 2013

An Olive Afternoon

This afternoon we finally got over to Gloria and Gilbert's ranch to pick olives.  We arrived with our lard bucket not a moment too soon -- another few days and all the olives on the trees would have become dark and soft.  I don't know how it works, but green olives that are picked after they darken turn soft and bitter when processed while black olives are fine once they turn black.  Anyway, we were able to almost fill our bucket with plump, green olives.

Olives are one of the easiest fruits to pick.  You just reach in, grab a handful, pull them off and drop them in the bucket.  No clippers, no gloves, no squirting juices, and they don't bruise easily.  The trees aren't too tall and the branches have no thorns or stickers.  The hardest part about picking olives is knowing when to stop -- it's so easy to do that it's hard to stop.  Gilbert spurred on my picking frenzy by standing by my elbow with a bowl of his own recently cured olives.  I'd reach over from time to time and sample one -- tender, buttery and mildly salty.  Divine.

They recently got two puppies and first they played while we picked and later sprawled out and slept as we continued picking.  About the only thing that could add to the pleasure of picking olives would be the addition of two adorable puppies to the picture.

That and the wine, cheese and more olives that we sat down and ate afterwards.  Gloria retired from teaching this year.  After working with her for so many years, I miss her.   The woman I see now, though, is happy and relaxed now that she's taken off the work harness -- I'm suddenly aware that I too have reached a point in my life where being engrossed with something other than the classroom is looking mighty appealing.

I went off to pick fruit at Gloria's and came home with two things:  a bucket full of olives and an altered mindset on my personal timeline.

Oops -- sideways, but you get the idea

Olives are rather amazing.

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