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The Olive Tree

Imagine being surrounded by olive trees, like in a strange dream. Olive trees seem to be in every scene of your dream. Now open your eyes and suddenly remember you're in Portugal!

In Portugal, olive trees, like orange trees, are everywhere. There are so many that the natives pay little attention to most of them.

Of course, people eat a lot of olives, but being an olive tree might produce a million olives; plenty of olive trees here are long forgotten.

Olives grow wild on the side of the road like the trees in the photo above. (Don't worry, I stopped to take the photo; I wasn't driving!) They even grow in the middle of parking lots like this monster of an olive tree (like the photo to the left) that grows behind a restaurant. Every single white flower on this tree will be an olive!

At an open market I visited last year when I first visited PT, this long table displayed bins

and bins of marinaded olives, each sitting in a special flavorful marinade (photo left). A friend told me that many families make their own special family olive marinade blend! I have three olive trees in the backyard of the home I'm buying and thought of creating a marinade of my own, too!

I could harvest my olives and have them pressed at an olive factory. I don't know the cost, but I'm sure it's less than a 3-litre bottle in the store! Of course, some olives are best for oil, others are best in food prep, and still others will shine their tasty best in a jar of marinade. They are much too bitter and hard to eat from off the tree. I will have to ask an olive expert (I'm sure they exist) to see which olive is growing in my yard this summer.

I also learned that olive trees are goats' favorite food. Goats climb these often short trees and hang out on limbs, eating the olives and leaves! Here are some goats that likely plan an olive tree-climbing feast in their yard this summer. The olive trees line two sides of their grazing yard!

Large, overgrown olive groves are also designated land for hunting. Perhaps many wild boars, also bountiful here in the countryside, like to eat olives? (next photo)

Now that you know some interesting facts about the olive tree, which is ubiquitous in Portugal, I'd like to show you the most fascinating olive tree I've seen yet. (The last photo posted which is large so you can see up-close detail.)

This tree looks very old. The trunk, beaten to nearly nothing, likely from bad storms and floods, still lives and bears olives yearly! That's a testament to the hardiness of the age-old olive tree!

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