Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My LA Olive

My father-in-law is an amateur bicyclist who has taken on a couple of tough cycling challenges.  During the fall of 2007, he decided to bike across the country, starting on an Atlantic beach in Virginia and finishing on a Pacific beach in Los Angeles, California 45ish days later.  He also biked part of the Tour de France, but this post is not about that trip.

While my father-in-law was biking across the country, my mother-in-law spent each day driving their RV to their next stop.  She would pave the way and setup camp for the night.  When my father-in-law arrived at the campsite, he would eat, crash (sleep) and then get up to do it all over again.  [Of course, on a cross-country cycling trip, there were a couple of non-sleeping crashes too.   At least one of those left a mark.]  At some point, he actually reached water again in California.

My wife, her brother, his girlfriend and I flew to California as a surprise, to see my father-in-law finish his cross-country expedition.  We greeted him at the Santa Monica pier when he arrived on his bike the final day.  We stayed a couple of extra days in LA at my wife's uncle's house so as to make a little trip of the outing.  Living in LA, he has all sorts of great things growing in his yard that simply cannot be grown year-round outdoors in Oklahoma.

There are a number of Bird of Paradise planted along his house and a beautiful olive tree in the front yard.  He also has orchids sitting out on his porch in the shade.  They apparently love the weather and are very low maintenance for him.  [I have never dared to put any of my orchids outside.]  Before leaving I noticed there were some young saplings coming up around his olive tree.  My mother-in-law and I dug up a couple of them and she brought them back home to Oklahoma in the RV.  They were each about 8 inches tall I would say.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="The parent tree to my little olive.  I took this picture on a different trip to LA, remembering that I needed a picture of the "daddy" tree.  Unfortunately I was only there at night, so this lousy picture will have to do for my sapling's inspiration for now."]The parent tree to my little olive[/caption]

So now I have a celebrity olive tree.  Why a celebrity?  Well, because it's from LA.  I feel like I should knock before entering the room where I keep it.  And I probably should water it a little more frequently.  In fact, for a celebrity, it should have a much fancier pot.  Okay, forget the whole celebrity thing - it's just an olive tree.

After traveling to Italy during the summer of 2007, I have had great admiration for olive trees and their splendidly silver leaves.  I had been thinking that I would like to have a specimen of my own.  I knew I would have to keep mine in a pot, since it would freeze out here in the winter.  But I figured I could grow it the way that many people grow ficus trees as specimen trees in pots.  At some point it would reach about 6 foot in height and look really nice.  I never imagined I would dig up a little olive tree for free.

However, my promising little olive tree has not grown very quickly.  I think maybe olive trees are normally slow growers, but I'll be well into my 40's before my specimen reaches a respectable (non-embarrassing) height.  [By the way, I'm currently 26.]  For now I will just have to post his puny picture on the internet so that anyone in the world can see him and laugh at his puniness.  How's that for motivation!?!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="357" caption="My puny little olive sapling.  The short, wide stem to the left is the original plant.  It promptly died and new shoots arrived from the roots."]My puny little olive sapling[/caption]

One day (crossing my fingers) he will become large and strong like his father (the top pictured olive tree, not me) - and hopefully not be lopsided. :)

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