Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Christmas Trees or Olive Trees

This weekend of Olive Trees is one memory that I will treasure forever.  We were invited by one of the Greeks that work for Sean to come to his home village for the weekend.  Fall into early Winter is when his family harvests their olive trees.  We woke early Saturday morning and drove the three hours to his village near Kalamata.  When we arrived at this parents house the kids got a chance to run around and look at all the amazing plants while we enjoyed a traditional Greek breakfast.  His mother made tiropita and countless other delicious things.  The tiropita, which are cheese hand pies, included cheese she had made from her own goats' milk.  It was amazing!

After breakfast we drove out of the town a little to get to the olive trees.  They had different sections of trees around in the area and we could see farmers and tractors all on their way too and from different orchards.

We immediately went to work helping his father harvest the olives.  The kids thought this was the coolest thing.  They were allowed to climb all over everything and just be kids!

 Of course we had to be shown how to use the machine that stripped the olives off the branches that were trimmed from the trees.

Nets were placed all around the trees that were being worked on to catch as many olives as possible.

Charlotte really enjoyed getting the olives that had fallen and placing them in her own bucket.

Ryan loved climbing the trees!

After Charlotte got tired I put her on my back while I used the racks to try and knock down the olives.  It helped burn off all the amazing food we had for breakfast.

We spent a few hours helping with the harvest then went back to the village.  It was time for the second part of our trip.

Helping to set up and decorate the village's Christmas tree.  They come together every year to light the tree and have a feast to celebrate.

The guys were in charge of helping set up the tree while the kids were encouraged to eat all the cookies the YaYas kept bringing them.  Children here are so loved.  Its amazing to see strangers want to spoil kids just because.  

Once the tree was ready, we all went inside the school to wait for feast to celebrate.  

Once everyone was gathered it was time to go outside and light the Christmas tree!

All the women of the village worked together to provide a huge feast.  The YaYas would just portion out food and it was non stop eating family style.  Everything was prepared from local ingredients and was fresh.  Even the wine was made by someone in the village.  Plate after plate of moussaka, horta, grilled goat, spanakopita went by.

At one point the silverware couldn't keep up and snapped......but you just keep eating!  

It was getting really late but we wanted to see what happened to all the olives that had been harvested that day.  So we walked down to the factory that turns them into oil.  The men working loved getting to show the kids how olive oil was made and watching the our faces as we saw the GREEN olive oil come out.

The next morning we drove to the next village over which was seaside.  We got to eat breakfast and wonder the town before we had to head back to Athens.

This tree was full of Christmas wishes by local kids from the village.

The Christmas tree is a new thing to Greece.  Traditionally they got their gifts from a Christmas boat! 

Home with the amazing gifts from our hosts.  Their olives, olive oil, and fig preserves!

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